What is Sam Mendes' role in the next "Bond" film??

There are times that movie news makes me smile and today is one of them. is reporting that Sam Mendes, the man behind American Beauty and Road to Perdition (which I just love), just might helm the upcoming Bond 23.  For more on this, here’s an excerpt from

MGM first announced (via Heat Vision) that Oscar winning British filmmaker Sam Mendes, of American Beauty, Road to Perdition, Jarhead, Revolutionary Road, and Away We Go, has been hired to direct the upcoming 23rd James Bond movie. Despite recent concerns that the production was temporarily on hold, MGM is on track to release Bond 23 in late 2011. Bond regulars Neal Purvis and Robert Wade are writing the script along with Frost/Nixon writer Peter Morgan. Michael Wilson and Barbara Broccoli will produce. Daniel Craig will, of course, reprise his role as 007.

Later, the news was followed up by Nikki Finke with another update saying that Mendes is only being brought on as a “consultant” for the time being because once he’s signed on as director, MGM has to spend money (and they don’t have any). “The producers are working on a deal to bring Sam on as consultant with an eye to direct.” But he’s not officially signed on yet.

So whether or not he officially “signs on” I think he will bring, at the very least, some great visuals to the franchise.  That silent street scene in Road to Perdition is one of my favorite sequences in movie history, but is that kind of ‘artsy’ direction right for MI6’s (now revamped) rock ’em sock ’em secret agent?  Most people (me included) have been on board with the more hard-edged “ruff n’ tumble” Bond and Mendes’ style doesn’t really seem relate to this new direction.  Other talented, yet unlikely, directors have shown their diversity from movie to movie (i.e. Danny Boyle and Sam Raimi to name a few) so this might actually work out OK.  Guess we’ll have to wait and see.  What do you think??