Sam Mendes may direct the next James Bond film.

The British-born director - who is married to 'Titanic' star Kate Winslet - is rumoured to be the front-runner to take charge of the next instalment of the spy franchise.

A source said: "Sam is one of the best directors around. His work on 'American Beauty' and 'Road to Perdition' suggest he could add even more realism to the character following on from the new direction Bond has been taken in over the last two films."

The filmmaker - who won the Best Director Oscar for 'American Beauty' - is the latest in a string of suggested directors, including fellow Oscar winner Danny Boyle and Marc Forster, who helmed the last 007 movie 'Quantum of Solace'.

The as-yet-untitled adventure will see Daniel Craig reprise his role as Bond, while it has been rumoured that singing sensation Susan Boyle could be recording the theme song.

Michael Sheen is said to be being lined-up to play notorious villain Blofeld and 'Slumdog Millionaire' star Freida Pinto is being considered as the secret agent's love interest.

Girls Aloud star Sarah Harding recently revealed she would like to play a Bond girl in the movie.

She said: "I'd love to do some action stuff. I'd be good as the kind of character that Grace Jones played in 'A View to a Kill' - a bad Bond girl! I don't see myself doing the glamour stuff. I'm kind of edgier."