Mark Romanek Turns Down THE WOLVERINE Directing Job

Mark Romanek is an A-class director and 20th Century Fox would have been lucky to have him for The Wolverine but the One Hour Photo and Never Let Me Go helmer has revealed to Digital Spy that despite appearing on a recent director's shortlist, he in fact turned down the project months ago;
"That€™s just one of those stories that floated around. I was on their list, I received the script months ago. It didn€™t seem like my kind of thing. That script was a terrific version of that kind of thing, but not something I felt really passionate about.€
I think we can take from this that Romanek isn't a comic book guy and that's fine with us if he continues making movies as thoughtful and precise as the two mentioned above. We just wished he would work a bit more frequently having only churned out two films in ten years and with no clear project on the horizon, he'd be happy for him to make a movie out of the Phone book right now just to see him add a third movie to his CV (he had most recently helmed the pilot for the Locke & Key t.v. adaptation of Joe Hill's comic that was never picked up). But what now for The Wolverine? Everyone including Romanek who has read Christopher McQuarrie's script has praised it to the hilts as something particularly special but Fox are having a hard time finding someone to direct it. Or at least someone they want to direct. They had thought they had found their perfect man in Darren Aronofsky before the lengthy shoot in Japan put the Oscar nominated Black Swan helmer off, delaying the film seemingly until at least next year - perhaps even forever. With the first non-Hugh Jackman starring X-Men movie X-Men: First Class not exactly doing gangbusters at the box office, we won't be at all surprised if the character was thrusted into a sequel to that movie to beef up the star power and improve the box office receipts. But until that news comes, we have to believe The Wolverine is still very much a go-project at Fox and although we can scratch Romanek off the director's shortlist, that still leaves plenty of other names that were mentioned; 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 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. 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 will probably go in front of camera's next year... if Fox ever find an Aronofsky replacement.
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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.