Nicolas Winding Refn sat down with The Telegraph this week promoting his new stylish horror flick The Neon Demon, where he revealed that his next project will be a spy thriller. The Avenging Silence, which will be Refn’s “James Bond movie,” was co-written with Robert Wade and Neal Purvis, who have been writing James Bond since 1999’s The World Is Not Enough.
Refn also revealed that he was on the short list of directors to potentially take over the Bond franchise had Sam Mendes not signed on to last year’s Spectre; he declined to give exact details, but says franchise work isn’t for him. (It’s not surprising that the man who followed up Drive, his slick take on ’80s Michael Mann machismo and criminals with a code—a surprise indie hit in 2011—with a tone poem set in the Bangkok underground of sex workers and Muay Thai fighting wouldn’t want to be held down by Eon Productions.)
The only other detail that the director, who is notoriously cagey about upcoming projects, revealed was that the film would be set in Tokyo. (Perhaps this could be Refn’s take on the wild films of Seijun Suzuki?) Refn—once referred to as “the Sex Pistols” of cinema by his frequent collaborator, composer Cliff Martinez—is apparently more concerned with making the movies that he wants to make than getting paid. (His commercial work for Hennessy, Lincoln, and Gucci pays the bills).
“I just know this way I can do whatever I want,” explains Refn as to why he turned down James Bond to do his own spy movie. “That outweighs any money anyone can give me.”