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Mendes quits James Bond director's chair

Sam Mendes has spurned the chance to direct the next James Bond film to concentrate on his theatre work, he said in an interview out Wednesday.

Mendes directed "Skyfall" (2012), the last movie about the British secret agent, which became the highest-grossing film ever in Britain and took more than $1 billion at the box office worldwide.

The British director, 47, who won an Oscar for directing "American Beauty" (1999), said it had been a "very difficult decision" to give up the director's chair for the 24th official Bond film, which will again feature Daniel Craig in the title role.

Mendes told Empire film magazine: "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."

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