Guy Ritchie

Guy Ritchie

Guy Ritchie is in talks to direct the next James Bond movie.

The 48-year-old star is currently in Los Angeles where he is set to hold talks with producer Michael G Wilson about taking over the franchise from Sam Mendes.

A source told Mirror.co.uk: "Guy has moved up the shortlist and is now the front runner. He's meeting Michael this week to try to do a deal and see if they can agree on a shared vision for the film.

"Guy is under serious consideration for Bond 25 and this LA trip should help take this further. He doesn't have Sam's artistry, but Guy is a fast-paced, stunt-based director who knows his stuff.

"He also has on his side the ability to keep calm and balance a big budget."

Sam has directed 'Skyfall' and 'Spectre' in the long-running spy franchise but revealed in May that he will not return for another movie as he wants to work on something new.

He said: "It was an incredible adventure, I loved every second of it. But I think it's time for somebody else. I'm a storyteller. And at the end of the day, I want to make stories with new characters.

"I can guarantee whatever happens with it, it will not be what you expect. That's what she [producer Barbara Broccoli] has been brilliant at, and that's how it'll survive."

Meanwhile, Ralph Fiennes - who plays Bond's MI6 handler M in the franchise - recently argued that the next director needs to offer a different "tone and argument".

He said: "Well I think if you're the next director of Bond, you're going to not want to go down the tone and argument of what Sam [Mendes] has put into the films.

"Questions of British nationhood, and whether Bond is a dinosaur, all that. So I would guess if you're coming to do the next Bond, you'd want to take it somewhere radically different, I think."