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Is Sam Mendes turning 'Bond 23' into an Oscar-friendly actor's showcase? The director of 'American Beauty' is reportedly cutting back on the franchise's signature stunts and action scenes to focus on "characterful performances" from leading man Daniel Craig. Since "characterful" isn't even a word, we're going to take the rumor with a large grain of salt. Insiders are speculating that Craig wanted to add more "emotional depth" since he'll be going up against Oscar-winning actor Javier Bardem as his adversary.

Sources say the "action scenes in India have all been axed," but that other action sequences in Istanbul and Duntrune Castle in Argyll "are still there for the moment."

While it's true that the India action scenes are no more, that's due to the lack of cooperation by the Indian government, who wouldn't let Mendes film a spectacular train wreck there. The director reportedly decided to move the train sequence to South Africa since the Indian government wouldn't (ahem) get on board with dangerous roof-top stunts.

Mendes is familar with the Oscars: he won Best Director honors for his work on 'American Beauty' in 1999.

[Express via Total Film]

[Photo: AFP/Getty]



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