Los Angeles: Daniel Craig is back as 007, the spy series' producers confirmed, in a Danny Boyle-directed film due for release in 2019.

Bond producers Michael G Wilson and Barbara Broccoli of EON Productions announced Thursday that production on the 25th official James Bond thriller will begin in December at London's Pinewood Studios.

Daniel Craig had said in 2015 that he would rather "slash my wrists" than return to the role.

Photo: AP

Craig will reprise his role as Bond and Oscar-winner Boyle (Trainspotting, Slumdog Millionaire) will direct from a screenplay by Boyle's frequent collaborator John Hodge.

Confirmation of Craig's fifth Bond film followed speculation that the 50-year-old actor was about to hand in his license to kill. He said in 2015 that he would rather "slash my wrists" than return to the role — but later backtracked on those remarks, made just after he finished filming his fourth Bond film, Spectre.

Boyle has directed Craig as Bond once before, in a 007-themed segment for the opening of the 2012 London Olympics.


Danny Boyle directed Craig as Bond for the opening of the London Olympics in 2012.

Photo: Steven Siewert

EON said that after more than a decade at Sony Pictures, Universal Pictures will release the next instalment of the superspy franchise internationally. MGM will handle the US release.

Sony's Bond contract expired in 2015 and many of the major studios competed for the chance to distribute the profitable franchise.

The Bond films has been among Hollywood's most successful, with box office sales totalling almost $US6 billion in the US and Canada alone, adjusting for inflation, according to Box Office Mojo.

The last Bond film MGM released was Die Another Day in 2002.

As per tradition Bond 25 will open a bit earlier in the UK, on October 25, 2019, than in the US, where it will debut on November 8.

AP, Bloomberg

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