Skyfall director Sam Mendes has turned down the chance to take charge of London's National Theatre as he is convinced the role would get in the way of his film career.

The Oscar winner was one of several high profile names, including Danny Boyle and Sir Kenneth Branagh, tipped to take over from the prestigious theatre's current director, Sir Nicholas Hytner, who will step down in 2015.

Mendes will be returning to the National Theatre in the autumn (13) to direct British actor Simon Russell Beale in the title role of William Shakespeare's King Lear, but admits he won't be in the running for the company's top job.

He tells The Stage magazine, "It's the most amazing job. But it's a simple thing for me and if I run the National Theatre, I can't direct movies. It's no more complicated that that. I love directing movies as well as plays."