Sam Mendes to direct next Bond pic

Production could begin as early as June

It's Mendes. Sam Mendes.

The British helmer is in negotiations to direct the 23rd installment of the James Bond franchise.

Production is being fast-tracked and could begin as early as June with an eye toward a 2011 release. Plans for the film are moving forward despite a possible sale of MGM. Sony co-produced and distributed the most recent installment of the 007 series with MGM.

Bond regulars Neal Purvis and Robert Wade are writing, along with "Frost/Nixon" scribe Peter Morgan. Michael Wilson and Barbara Broccoli are producing. Daniel Craig will reprise his role as 007.

The film will be Mendes' first action-heavy project, though his 2005 effort "Jarhead" was set amid U.S. war in Kuwait. Mendes' most recent directorial effort, the road-trip dramedy "Away We Go," grossed $10 million domestically last summer.

Marc Forster directed the previous Bond film, 2008's "Quantum of Solace," which grossed $586 million worldwide.

Mendes is repped by CAA.
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