As far as long-running British pop-culture franchises go, Doctor Who and James Bond are almost twins: The Bond films launched a year before the first Who season. So it sorta makes sense that, for the most recent 007 flick, the director is turning to Who for inspiration.
Director Sam Mendes, who’s calling the shots on Daniel Craig’s third outing as Bond, Skyfall, is a Brit with some experience in geekery—aside from shooting the Oscar-winning American Beauty, he also made the comic adaptation Road to Perdition and was developing Vertigo’s Preacher for a good long while.
When it came his turn to step up to 007, Mendes recalled the grace with which Doctor Who dealt with new faces and reboots:
“I thought what [Bond’s producers] got right was Casino Royale. There was a kind of ‘We don’t need Q, we don’t need Moneypenny. We’ve got this character. We’re going right back to basics. He’s real, he’s in a real situation. Let’s start all over again.’ I thought that was very refreshing.
“That’s why I mentioned the word in the press conference, ‘regeneration’ rather than ‘evolving,’ because I feel it is like, you know, we have Doctor Who—there’s a geek answer—we have Doctor Who and I was brought up on the idea of the Doctor, who at the end of his final episode, he dissolves and a new actor pops up and he regenerates and it’s a whole other character: sometimes it’s an old man, sometimes it’s a young man, but he just changes. I’ve always loved that idea.”