Fox narrows down shortlist for The Wolverine

News Simon Brew
26 May 2011 - 06:28

With X-Men: First Class bringing in enthusiastic reviews, 20th Century Fox is turning its attention to its next X-Men project, The Wolverine. But who will direct?

If all had gone to plan, The Wolverine would have been shooting by now. This would be the movie where Hugh Jackman gets to reprise his most popular role, in a film that would follow on from, but not be a sequel to, X-Men Origins: Wolverine.

But things haven't gone to plan. The man who signed up to direct, Black Swan helmer, Darren Aronofsky, walked away from the film. And the tragic natural disaster in Japan halted, at least for the time being, plans to shoot in that part of the world.

Unless Fox turns things around very quickly, as it did with First Class, The Wolverine will not be in cinemas in 2012.

Yet, there are signs that the project is kicking back into life. According to Variety, Fox has hammered down a shortlist of potential directors, although it's not a particularly adventurous list at first glance. It's also one that omits Duncan Jones, the director of Moon and Source Code, who was widely linked with helming The Wolverine earlier this year.

So, who is on the list? Well, Elite Squad director, José Padilha, for starters, but he's signed up to direct the reboot of RoboCop. Doug Liman isn't a bad shout, off the back of Mr & Mrs Smith and The Bourne Identity, and neither is Training Day's Antoine Fuqua. Yet, neither strikes us as giving Wolverine the shot in the arm that Matthew Vaughn has managed with First Class.

More interesting is Mark Romanek, who, with films such as Never Let Me Go and One Hour Photo has found a dab hand for telling stories with a very human focus to them. Gavin O'Connor, the man behind Miracle and Pride And Glory is also being mentioned, as is Justin Lin. Lin, however, is linked with the Highlander reboot, Fast & Furious 6 and Terminator 5, and thus, Fox will struggle to get him.

James Mangold is on the list, too, although his last project for Fox, Knight And Day, didn't do great business. He did have more luck for the studio with Walk The Line. And finally, there's Gary Shore, the lesser known name on the shortlist, and he's a man with a background in TV commercials mainly.

Hugh Jackman has insisted that Fox is pressing ahead at speed on the project, so we might just get an announcement soon. Of the names mentioned, though, only Romanek gives the impression that he could bring something to The Wolverine in quite the way that Darren Aronofsky would have done.

We'll keep you posted...


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