Darren Aronofsky Passes On 'Tales From The Gangster Squad'; Nearing Deal For 'Wolverine 2'

Just in case you thought there was any chance that Darren Aronofsky might stay in the semi-indie mid to low budget realm in which he's worked so far, this is your warning to get used to the idea of seeing the director's name on big studio movies. Or, at least, come to terms with the fact that his next film will be a studio picture.

Looks like Mr. Aronofsky's flirtation with Warner Bros. and Tales From the Gangster Squad was deeper than we'd thought, but the filmmaker has now turned down that project and is earnestly working on a deal to direct Wolverine 2 for Fox.

I'm not sure there's much to say about that prospect that we haven't already said a couple of times. All I can hope for is that the strength of the Hugh Jackman & Darren Aronofsky pairing will be enough to resist the incursions of terrible studio notes from Tom Rothman and others at Fox.

Deadline reports on the talks, saying only that the director is potentially in line for a big payday. That's something we can all celebrate; he certainly deserves it. And perhaps doing this will allow the cultivation of a a reasonably healthy 'one for them, one for me' situation. Can we assume that Fox sees this as an opportunity to make their own version of The Dark Knight? Hopefully so, because that might mean that Jackman and Aronofsky would get to make the film they want to make.

We still don't know too much about the thrust of Wolverine 2. Here are the basics as we've reported in the past. Frank Miller's Japan-set comics miniseries, which is said to be the inspiration for the story, has a lot of material that Mr. Aronofsky could use as raw inspiration for a solid film.

  • 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.