It looks like James Bond 23 has a director, and it’s a very unexpected one at that – Sam Mendes.

According to the Heat Vision Blog, Mendes is in talks to direct the next Bond film, which could be shooting as soon as June with a 2011 release date. This is on the heels of news that the film was being delayed (possibly by MGM’s death throes), but I guess that’s not the case anymore. And I guess that the good people at EON are not making obvious choices anymore, either. After all, Mendes is not known as an action director – but he is known as something of an auteur (sort of), which has never appealed to the folks behind the Bond franchise before. See, they prefer directors who will take direction from the producers, and it’s hard to imagine that Mendes will do that.

Or maybe he will. Revolutionary Road, his Oscar-bait from 2008, didn’t go anywhere, and while I really loved Away We Go, the film didn’t set the box office on fire, even for a small indie. So maybe Mendes will be happy to do whatever the Broccolis tell him to do with their cash cow character.

And while Mendes is a truly weird choice, it’s not out of left field. Remember how surprised we all were when Marc Forster was announced for Quantum of Solace? Of course that turned out to be really mediocre (and which wasn’t helped by being compared to the very excellent Casino Royale). Maybe we’ll end up with a Lars von Trier Bond yet.