He directed the highest-grossing James Bond movie of all time, but with a full dance card, Skyfall helmer Sam Mendes has told Empire Magazine that he will not return to the 007 franchise for the next installment. “It has been a very difficult decision not to accept Michael and Barbara’s very generous offer to direct the next Bond movie,” he said. “Directing Skyfall was one of the best experiences of my professional life, but I have theater and other commitments including productions of Charlie And The Chocolate Factory and King Lear, that need my complete focus over the next year and beyond.” Mendes is also working with Skyfall co-writer John Logan on psychosexual horror series, Penny Dreadful, for Showtime with production eyed to begin in London in the second half of the year. Logan is penning the next two Bond pictures.

Producers Michael Wilson and Barbara Broccoli didn’t rule out the possibility of working with the director again, however. “We thoroughly enjoyed working with Sam, he directed our most successful Bond movie ever, Skyfall. We would have loved to have made the next film with him, but completely respect his decision to focus on other projects and hope to have the opportunity to collaborate with him again,” they said.