Darren Aronofsky has exited the director’s chair on The Wolverine. The sequel to 2009′s X-Men Origins: Wolverine was supposed to see Logan taking what he does best (stabbing) to Japan. Filming was rumored to begin this month for a 2012 release date. However, Fox has now sent out a press release stating that Aronofsky didn’t want to spend a year out of the country and away from his family. While the “spend more time with family” excuse usually is a smokescreen for behind-the-scenes machinations, Aronofsky recently divorced from Rachel Weisz and there may be a custody battle over their son. Also, as you may have heard, there was recently a giant earthquake in Japan and now may not be the best time to shoot a movie there.
Hit the jump for the press release, which includes a statement from Aronofsky and from Fox. I’ve also included my thoughts on Aronofsky leaving the project.
LOS ANGELES, CA (March 16, 2011) Darren Aronofsky and Twentieth Century Fox today issued the following statements about the director’s involvement in the movie, “The Wolverine”:
Stated Aronofsky: ”As I talked more about the film with my collaborators at Fox, it became clear that the production of ‘The Wolverine’ would keep me out of the country for almost a year. I was not comfortable being away from my family for that length of time. I am sad that I won’t be able to see the project through, as it is a terrific script and I was very much looking forward to working with my friend, Hugh Jackman, again.”
Stated Twentieth Century Fox: “While we are of course disappointed that Darren can’t do ‘The Wolverine’, we also understand and respect his reasons. Having done both ‘The Wrestler’ and ‘Black Swan’ with Darren, we know he is an extraordinary talent and we look forward to working with him on other projects in the future. Hugh Jackman and Fox both remain fully committed to making ‘The Wolverine’. We will regroup and move forward aggressively.”
The only reason I was even moderately interested in a Wolverine sequel was Aronofsky’s involvement. Yes, there are other directors out there who could make an interesting movie, but it was clear that Aronofsky got the gig because of Jackman’s backing. Since Fox now has to “regroup”, I’m betting that they’ll hire a journeyman director who will get the film in on time and on budget. However, I can’t help but wonder how they’re going to handle the film’s Japanese setting. Shooting in the country is out and will be for months (and it should be–what’s happening in Japan right now is far more important than any movie). Will Fox build sets? Will they re-write the script to change the locale? It will probably be more interesting to see where the film goes from here than what finally ends up on screen.