Did Wolverine director nearly get fired?

Another blockbuster is suffering from a troubled production. The problem is, it's a film we're really looking forward to seeing...

X-men Origins: Wolverine. Coming in 2009.

Following a summer that can fairly easily be described as not one of 20th Century Fox’s best (Meet Dave, Babylon A.D., The X-Files: I Want To Believe and The Rocker all failing to ignite), much has been made of the upcoming slate from the studio, which looks far more promised. The Day The Earth Stood Still is very much on our radar this Christmas, and then next summer there’s the small matter of a sequel to Night At The Museum (which should bank the cash) and the more eagerly-anticipated X-men Origins: Wolverine.

It perhaps goes without saying that we’re keenly looking forward to the film that gives Hugh Jackman centre-stage (without Halle Berry walking round the corner into key scenes), and our hopes were further heightened at the announcement that Gavin Hood had been drafted in to direct. Hood, with Tsotsi and Rendition to his name, is an unusual choice, but if Fox was hoping for the Christopher Nolan effect, it certainly doesn’t seem to have obeyed the rule of getting on with your director.

According to a piece in Variety, Hood has come very close to being fired from the project, with Fox apparently lining up a couple of replacements in case it decided to pull the proverbial trigger. A series of disputes between the director and studio are believed to have been the main problem, and this follows hot on the heels of Babylon A.D. director Matthieu Kassovitz laying into Fox in the aftermath of that film’s release.

Things were eventually smoothed over, the piece continues, thanks to the intervention of Richard Donner, and Hood remains on the project. And while disputes on films have contributed to a good end product in the past, it all hardly fills you with confidence.

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X-men Origins: Wolverine is scheduled for release next summer, and with Fox planning a series of further X-men movies afterwards, there’s plenty riding on it. Let’s hope this is a story with a happy ending….