Sam Mendes has confirmed he won't direct the next Bond film.

The 'Skyfall' director - who picked up the Outstanding British Film prize at the BAFTAs last month - is too busy with his theatre commitments to helm the 24th chapter of the Daniel Craig-fronted spy franchise and has regretfully decided to pass up producers Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli's ''generous'' offer.

Sam told Empire magazine: ''It has been a very difficult decision not to accept Michael and Barbara's very generous offer to direct the next Bond movie.

''Directing 'Skyfall' was one of the best experiences of my professional life, but I have theatre 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.''

Blockbuster hit 'Skyfall' has passed the $1.1bn mark to become the highest-grossing film ever at the British box office, and 47-year-old director Sam was rumoured to be returning for the next instalment after the praise he received for his fresh take on the long-running franchise.

However, the filmmaker doesn't want to leave the Bond family for good and hopes to be involved in secret agent 007's adventures in the future.

He said: ''I feel very honoured to have been part of the Bond family and very much hope I have a chance to work with them again sometime in the future.''

Daniel Craig, Naomie Harris, Ben Whishaw and Ralph Fiennes will all reprise their roles in the action flick, with filming reportedly taking place early next year.