Sam Mendes is promoting his first foray into one of the biggest worldwide franchises of all time. The director's first James Bond film, Skyfall, is being released today in the United States. Mendes could have also been the director of another blockbuster franchise. He says he received an unconventional package asking him to consider directing The Avengers.
In an interview with Moviefone (via Indiewire), Mendes says he received a package "a few years ago" for The Avengers. It "was full of comic books, but no treatment; there was no script. But the cover letter said 'Marvel's 'The Avengers' will be released on May 3, 2012,' or whatever it was. That was the first sentence of the cover letter."
Mendes laments the current trend of setting a release date before a script even exists. He admits he "was probably one of 50 that got sent it," but he "wasn't interested." He adds, "I'll go see it, particularly with my kids, but I didn't want to make it."
Marvel ended up with Joss Whedon at the helm, and many would argue it worked out well. However, Mendes isn't the first filmmaker to criticize The Avengers. Wally Pfister, the cinematographer of Christopher Nolan's Batman films, said Whedon's film was "appalling."