8 Directors on THE WOLVERINE Shortlist

With X-Men: First Class opening next week and from everything we've heard the superhero prequel is a rip-roaring success (OWF's Ed Whitfield and Mark Clark both loved it and called it a 60's style Bond espionage thriller with superheroes!!), 20th Century Fox are in the process of turning their attention to the stalled Wolverine sequel with Hugh Jackman. Originally set to be filming now in Japan under the direction of Black Swan helmer Darren Aronofsky, the film is without a captain after he exited the project, reluctant to live for the best part of a year so far away from his family. Instead of pushing through a rush appointment like they did in 2006 with X-Men: The Last Stand when hack-for-hire Brett Ratner was brought in to replace Matthew Vaughn with only weeks to prepare before filming began, Fox bided their time and have taken a few extra months to find the right man. Variety last night got their hands on a studio wishlist of helmers being seriously considered and we are told one of the following will probably end up with the job on The Wolverine; Doug Liman (The Bourne Identity, Mr. and Mrs. Smith) - who has been scrambling around for a tentpole after Paul W.S. Anderson and Summit beat his WB Three Musketeer project into production. He would be a steady if unspectacular choice. James Mangold (3:10 to Yuma, Knight & Day) - very, very fine director who is capable of making good films in all genres. I would love to see what he would do with this but then he always seems to be on these shortlists and he never ends up with the job. Mark Romanek (One Hour Photo, Never Let Me Go) - an accomplished director with a skillful approach to shot compositions, mood and visuals. He very nearly made The Wolf Man at Universal and would be an inspired choice. Jose Padilha (Elite Squad) - Brazilian helmer currently developing a RoboCop reboot and would seem out of reach. Antoine Fuqua (Training Day, Brooklyn's Finest) -had been developing a Tupac Shakur biopic to shoot this year so his appearance on this list can only hint that he must be struggling with it. An action helmer who hardly gets the blood pumping with enthusiasm, right? Gavin O'Connor (Pride and Glory, Warrior) - interesting choice. I didn't catch Pride and Glory but I've been anticipating Warrior for a while now. He's less experienced than some of the names on this list and would probably be seen as an outsider. Justin Lin (Fast Five) - slick action director whose attempts to revive The Terminator franchise have been halted after Arnie's decision to put his big screen comeback on hold and who is hot property right now having made the year's highest grossing worldwide film to date. I can't imagine his Wolverine movie would be anything more than loud and insulting mess but there you go. His last movie made a ton of money so he has to be in contention. Gary Shore - a t.v. commercials director who seemingly pitched a short film to Fox some months ago titled Wolverine vs. The Hand or X-Men Origins: Wolverine 2 (which you can see below) and has clearly impressed Fox enough for him to be in contention. However I would imagine all the names above would have to turn down the project before it ended up with him. Wolverine Vs The Hand from Gary Shore on Vimeo. Personally I wouldn't look much further than James Mangold or Mark Romanek - both guys who could do something with this. Doug Liman wouldn't be an inoffensive choice but the rest quite honestly I would overlook. Chris McQuarrie's screenplay based on Chris Claremont and Frank Miller's 1982 bloody limited series will be an all Asian affair except for Hugh Jackman and could yet film late summer, probably for a release in 2013.
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Matt Holmes is the co-founder of What Culture, formerly known as Obsessed With Film. He has been blogging about pop culture and entertainment since 2006 and has written over 10,000 articles.