There are a few certainties in life: Death and taxes, sure, but just as important is acknowledging that you can’t please everyone. It’s a plain, uncomplicated truth, and yet humans have this primitive, tribal need to be accepted, thus assuring our own inevitable misery. Sam Mendes knows this truth too well. The filmmaker delivered one hell of a good James Bond movie with Skyfall (the sweaters alone!), but followed it up with what most fans consider to be one of the franchise’s worst: Spectre. That Mendes was able to deliver an installment in one of the most iconic and beloved franchises that pleased anyone at all is something of a miracle in itself these days; the fact that he made a sequel almost no one enjoyed is not very surprising. Speaking with The Sunday Times, the filmmaker says that just thinking about the pair of Bond films he made is stressful. “When I think of them my stomach churns,” said Mendes, whose latest film, 1917, was recently nominated for three Golden Globes awards. He went on to describe the experience of contributing to such a prolific franchise:
It’s just so hard. You feel like the England football manager. You think, if I win, I’ll survive. If I lose, I’ll be pilloried. There is no victory. Just survival.
That’s a pretty relatable concept for most people, but especially if you’ve spent any significant amount of time on the internet or Twitter, where the primary directive is just to make it through a single day without becoming outraged or attracting the outrage of others. So there you have it: Directing a James Bond movie is like being on Twitter.