LONDON Sam Mendes will direct Daniel Craig as 007 in the 24th installment of the blockbuster James Bond film franchise about the fictional British spy, its producers said on Thursday.
The film is set for release in the autumn of 2015 and follows on the success of Mendes-directed predecessor "Skyfall", which earned $1.1 billion at the box office worldwide and was the highest-grossing film of all time in Britain, producers Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli said in a statement.
The screenplay for the Sony Pictures Entertainment and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc film will be written by John Logan, who also worked on "Skyfall".
"Following the extraordinary success of 'Skyfall', we're really excited to be working once again with Daniel Craig, Sam Mendes and John Logan," Wilson and Broccoli said.
Mendes has been rumored as the director of the latest Bond project for months, but his participation was not a certainty while he was involved in the creation of a stage musical version of children's writer Roald Dahl's "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory", which opened last month.
"I am very pleased that by giving me the time I need to honor all my theatre commitments, the producers have made it possible for me to direct Bond 24," the 47-year-old Mendes said in the statement.
Mendes has a long background in theatre direction and burst on to the movie scene by winning an Academy Award for his debut feature "American Beauty" starring Kevin Spacey.
His collaboration with Craig as the suave superspy and handling of key new cast including Ralph Fiennes and Ben Whishaw in "Skyfall" was widely praised by critics and helped the film become a major commercial success.
(Reporting by Paul Casciato; Editing by Michael Roddy)