Nicolas Winding Refn’s films are definitely not for everyone. He’s known for telling dark stories of violence, betrayal and insanity. And what also makes the director’s style very unique is his gorgeous visuals. Occasionally, those qualities can appeal to wider audiences if mixed in with more relatable characters, as is the case with his 2011 film Drive. But Refn’s latest effort, a horrifying tale of the modeling industry called The Neon Demon, has left audiences divided. While this film has him going back to his roots, the director revealed that he hasn’t gone unnoticed by big studios. In fact, he revealed that he was courted to direct a completely different project: Spectre.
The James Bond epic, helmed by Sam Mendes, was considered by many to be one of the weaker entries in the spy franchise. Mendes had just come off of the highly-praised Skyfall, so his follow-up really felt like a big step down. Being as massive as it is, the franchise often has many high-level directors lined up to potentially take on the next installment. However, in a recent interview with The Telegraph, Refn discussed being asked to do Spectre – and why he decided to turn it down. Because like his filmography would show, he seems to enjoy doing completely original stories, not giant blockbusters.
I just know this way I can do whatever I want, and that outweighs any money anyone can give me.
Who knows what Spectre would have been like if Refn had accepted the gig. It feels a little similar to Quentin Tarantino having expressed interested in directing the 2006 Bond film, Casino Royale. It’s fair to say there are probably more odd invitations like this that are kept secret, but they are still fun to think about. Maybe one day we will get to see a director like Refn take on an entry in a huge franchise. Nevertheless, it’s admirable for him to stick to his true passions, no matter how small in stature they may seem to mass audiences.
The Neon Demon is currently playing in theaters.