Eye on the Oscars: The Director

Pulled into the Bond universe by Daniel Craig (who unofficially invited the “American Beauty” auteur to helm the 23rd franchise entry), Mendes faced the stiff learning curve of mastering over-the-top action set pieces and cutting-edge visual effects while still deploying his theater background and indie-drama cred. He was aided by 007 franchise regulars like second-unit d.p. Alexander Witt (“Casino Royale”), who says, “It’s a little more character driven, a little less action — I think that’s what Sam brought to the table.”

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