Sam Mendes has ruled himself out of directing the next James Bond movie following the runaway success of last year's Skyfall in order to concentrate on his theatre commitments.
The 23rd 007 adventure, starring Daniel Craig as the iconic superspy, grossed $1.1 billion at the box office and won a slew of honors during the 2012-13 awards season, including two Oscars.
However, Mendes will not be re-teaming with producers Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli for the 24th Bond installment as he wants to focus on overseeing the upcoming London stage production of Roald Dahl tale Charlie And The Chocolate Factory, as well as his other projects.
He tells EmpireOnline.com, "It has been a very difficult decision not to accept Michael and Barbara's very generous offer to direct the next Bond movie.
"Directing Skyfall was one of the best experiences of my professional life, but I have theatre and other commitments, including productions of Charlie And The Chocolate Factory and King Lear, that need my complete focus over the next year and beyond.
"I feel very honored to have been part of the Bond family, and very much hope I have a chance to work with them again sometime in the future."
A statement from Wilson and Broccoli reads, "We thoroughly enjoyed working with Sam, he directed our most successful Bond movie ever, Skyfall. We would have loved to have made the next film with him but completely respect his decision to focus on other projects and hope to have the opportunity to collaborate with him again."