Well it looks like the list of contenders for the director of Fox’s The Wolverine has been narrowed down to eight. Following the sudden departure of Darren Aronofsky shortly before filming was to commence, Fox began searching for a replacement for the Hugh Jackman-starred follow-up to Gavin Hood’s X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Now, Showblitz reports that the shortlist of contenders for the job is as follows: Doug Liman (Mr. and Mrs. Smith) Jose Padilha (upcoming Robocop remake), Antoine Fuqua (Shooter), Mark Romanek (Never Let Me Go), Justin Lin (Fast Five), Gavin O’Connor (Warrior), James Mangold (3:10 to Yuma ) and commercials director Gary Shore.
With a script from Christopher McQuarrie, The Wolverine is largely set in Japan. Filming was poised to take place in that country, but it’s currently unknown if that’s still the plan given the natural disaster that recently ravaged the landmass. Hit the jump for more, including my thoughts on this list.
While none of these choices are as interesting as the prospect of seeing Aronofsky take on a superhero flick, I’d personally like to see either Romanek or Mangold’s take on the material. I found Romanek’s Never Let Me Go to be vastly underrated, and he was poised to take on the beastly character of The Wolfman before dropping out of that film over creative differences. Mangold’s 3:10 to Yuma showed his penchant for staging great-looking action set-pieces anchored by intense character drama, and Knight and Day was an incredibly fun and criminally overlooked adventure-flick.
Ultimately, though, this list seems to include directors that lean more toward “eye-candy” material than I was hoping after Aronofsky’s involvement. Lin definitely knows how to stage action but hasn’t really tackled any sort of serious material before, and Fuqua hasn’t made a good film since Training Day (and even that’s stretching it). It’s really just hard to care about this movie if they’re going for a straight popcorn flick, especially after the first film. Hopefully they’ll end up choosing someone who can do something different with the material. We’ll find out soon enough.