In late August, it was reported that 20th Century Fox was looking at Darren Aronofsky and David Slade for the X-Men Origins: Wolverine sequel, while Red director Robert Schwentke had been a frontrunner but dropped out. At the time, I didn’t put more weight to the report.
Aronofsky has a connection to star/producer Hugh Jackman who starred in The Fountain, and Aronofsky has said for a long time now that he wants to graduate to bigger budget films, but it didn’t really seem like a project Aronofsky would consider. Don’t get me wrong, I can definitely see Aronofsky’s interest in Logan’s Japanese story, but would an auteur filmmaker really sign on to direct a comic book sequel, and on top of that, for 20th Century Fox, a studio which has often been criticized as being creatively disruptive? Aronofsky has good luck with the Fox-owned low budget/art house division Fox Searchlight, but that is an entirely different world.
New York Magazine’s Vulture is reporting that Warner Bros is now offering Aronosfky “other valuable consolation prizes by Warner Bros., like Tales From the Gangster Squad,” a high priority project that was offered to Ben Affleck (he turned it down) and the Superman move has resulted in Fox pulling the trigger and offering the Wolverine sequel to Aronofsky. But will Darren bite? He’s obviously interested if it has gotten to this point, and his reps are said to be in negotiations at this minute.
- Christopher McQuarrie (The Usual Suspects, Valkyrie) has turned in a draft loosely based on the early ’80s mini-series by Chris Claremont and Frank Miller that helped establish Wolverine as one of Marvel’s major characters.
- So what’s different in McQuarrie’s draft? Friedman says he’s been told the film features “a love story featuring a Japanese actress.” That suggests that the primary female character is switched from being Mariko Yashida, the daughter of Lord Shingen Harada. In the limited series, Mariko was forced into marriage with an abusive man, which Wolverine attempted to help her escape. Shingen drugs Wolverine and challenges him to a duel, who defeats him. Also involved is a female assassin named Yukio, who later became part of the extended X-Men universe. The female lead could still be the daughter of a warlord, or married to an abusive man. Maybe she’s married to an abusive warlord! More than anything else, I expect the script to make the female lead a more active presence than we saw in the mini-series.