New Zealander Lee Tamahori will direct the 20th film in the venerable James Bond series.
Pierce Brosnan will assume the cloak of super spy 007 in front of the camera for the fourth time, when filming begins in early 2002.
Franchise producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson hope to mark the 40th anniversary of Bond's birth with the release of the newest Bond film in late 2002. Dr. No, starring Sean Connery, debuted in 1962.
Tamahori has directed box office successes (Along Came a Spider) and A-list Hollywood actors (Alec Baldwin and Anthony Hopkins in The Edge) before, but was clearly a dark horse who only emerged last week as the frontrunner.
Tamahori takes the helm from Michael Apted, who directed installment No. 19, The World Is Not Enough. There's a lot of pressure on Tamahori to succeed, as the last three Bond films have grossed more than $1 billion worldwide combined.
The next James Bond installment is to begin filming in January--with Pierce Brosnan as Agent 007, contrary to rumors that have been circulating that unknown Scottish actor Gerard Butler would be taking over the role.
"It just isn't true, and I wish these rumors would stop. We have been inundated with calls all week,'' a spokeswoman Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli, producers of the James Bond franchise, told Reuters.
Monday's Scottish Daily News quoted Butler as confirming the rumors.
Brosnan, 48, has appeared in the three latest Bond thrillers, The World Is Not Enough, Tomorrow Never Dies and Goldeneye, and will start filming the latest, as-yet-untitled flick at London's Pine Woods Studio in early 2002.