Daniel Craig to return as 007 in 2019, Danny Boyle at helm

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LOS ANGELES (AP) — Daniel Craig is back as Bond, 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.

Craig will reprise his role as 007 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.

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

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

As per tradition Bond 25 will open a bit earlier in the U.K., on Oct. 25, 2019, than in the U.S., where it will debut on Nov. 8, 2019.

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