‘The Wolverine’ loses Darren Aronofsky: ‘I won’t be able to see the project through’

March 17, 2011 | 12:39 p.m.
wolverine2 The Wolverine loses Darren Aronofsky: I wont be able to see the project through

Hugh Jackman as Wolverine (Fox)

Darren Aronofsky, the Academy Award-nominated director of last year’s “Black Swan,” falls in love with a project, gets his star to pack on the pounds and gain new muscles for the role and then leaves the movie. It happened several years back with “The Fighter” and now, it’s happened again. This morning, news came that Aronofsky has officially departed “The Wolverine,” leaving star Hugh Jackman all bulked up and with no one to direct him in battle.

wolverine5p1 cover The Wolverine loses Darren Aronofsky: I wont be able to see the project through

Wolverine (Marvel Comics)

Twentieth Century Fox confirms Aronofsky has officially moved on from the project, which didn’t have an official start date but was expected to go before cameras in late spring, with the filmmaker stating that he didn’t want to be away from his family for a long period of time.  In a statement, Aronofsky said, “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.”

The studio has been very high on the script from Christopher McQuarrie (“The Usual Suspects“), in which Wolverine travels to Japan to train with a samurai warrior. Whether or not the studio will look quickly for a new director is still up in the air. The scenario has to feel familiar to Fox, too; the studio hired Matthew Vaughn (“Kick-Ass“) to direct “X-Men: First Class,” due out June 3, after producer Bryan Singer couldn’t direct the upcoming prequel as he had hoped.

Fox’s slate for 2012 is chock full with Ridley Scott’s Prometheus,” “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter” and “Ice Age 4” all scheduled for next summer. Complicating matters is the fact the film was supposed to shoot in Japan, which added another wrinkle to the production. It’s unclear if the story will be retooled in the wake of the natural disaster that has rocked the country and continues to worsen from day-to-day.

Jackman, who previously worked with Aronofsky on “The Fountain,” had already began his rigorous training efforts for the role, eating 6,000 calories a day, in an effort to bulk up beyond the 190 pounds he was carrying on the last Wolverine movie. Said Jackman in an interview in February, “Darren said with the last one, ‘Hey, you looked great, but you’re so tall that in those long shots you looked kind of like Clint Eastwood, and that’s not Wolverine… So he said, ‘I want you to go there, get bigger.'”

Now what’s Jackman to do? Calls to his reps weren’t returned but maybe “Fighter” star Mark Wahlberg could offer some advice.

–Nicole Sperling


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13 Responses to ‘The Wolverine’ loses Darren Aronofsky: ‘I won’t be able to see the project through’

  1. Chris says:

    You know, this was probably the only comic book movie I was looking forward to outside of Christopher Nolan's reboot of Superman and final Batman film. It seems like a cop out and I think there's definitely something afoul. One things for certain, Aronofsky is the only director I know of that could have made an appropriate Wolverine film. This sucks!

  2. sophie says:

    I'm glad. No love lost for Aronofsky.

  3. Andrej says:

    "It happened several years back with “The Fighter” and now, it’s happened again"

    …you mean "The Wrestler" ? :s

  4. Andrej says:

    Oh, whoops. Thought that there was a mix-up between The Wrestler and The Fighter, but I didn't know about Aronofsky's involvement with the latter film. The more you know.

    As for this news… well, can't say I wasn't curious to see how it'd turn out. However, I understand his reasons. Hopefully someday he'll have another chance at mainstream filmmaking so more people will be inclined to browse through his small but very diverse film catalog.

  5. Sean says:

    I don’t know… I mean I was interested for sure when I heard Aronofsky was going to direct it. But I also must acknowledge that The Fountain wasn’t the greatest movie in the world, not terrible either, so I suppose the question would really be; would the second collaboration between Jackman and Aronofsky be superior? If Black Swan and The Wrestler said anything about the director, it’s that he can make @#$% good character dramas with the lead roles shining. The thing is, all four of the X-Men movies have really centered around Wolverine, intentional or unintentional. And Jackman really did shine, even if the film itself (like Origins: Wolverine or The Last Stand) weren’t too good. Wolverine is a violent character, no doubt. But we haven’t seen that yet! People don’t need a philosophical story unless it’s done right (like Nolan does with the Batman movies). Or an action/fight scene that isn’t choreographed or edited correctly, like the last Wolverine movie. You’ve got an actor who really does a wonderful job and needs to continue playing Wolverine as long as he can. Whoever the next director is… please select someone who knows how to direct an action movie. Nothing against the independent directors, I am a fan of independent films, but it’s not a great transition! Seriously Gavin Hood who directed Tsotsi and Rendition… should never have handled the last movie. This is an established franchise and it needs a director who knows how to utilize big budget films. If their could be a choice, I’d go with Guillermo Del Toro who directed Blade II and Hellboy 2, as he has a knack for directing movies with some really inspired action scenes. My opinion!

  6. Tmiller says:

    That is too bad. Some scrub will probably come in and make a not-as-good-as-it-could-have-been movie.

  7. Nire the Liar says:

    Aronofsky must come back to this film. Fly back and forth on the weekends, your family will understand and live with that for a year. You and Tarantino are the only directors that could make an epic comic book movie. I guess Nolan, Snyder, Donner and Milus have made some amazing superhero movies but still only Aronofsky should direct this film. He gets great performances from his actors and he could go wild with this film.

    • Rowland says:

      I also suggested Tarantino and/or Robert Rodriquez below. Tarantino because he understands epic violence and RR after being impressed with Machete among other things.

  8. Guest says:

    Calling Bret Rattner! Enlisted to take over at the last minute on "X-Men 3," he ended up making that movie the best of the "X-Men" trilogy. (And for all of you haters out there: If Bryan Singer's name had been on exactly the same movie, everyone would have loved it — but because so many people already had formed an opinion about Ratner before seeing the movie, they didn't give it a fair reaction. "X-Men 3" was great!)

  9. Lynette says:

    I am glad Aronofsky quit, glad Jackman doesn't have to gain 20 pounds of muscle, and glad that Jackman is going to go to San Francisco and sing and dance for two weeks. Maybe by then they will have found a new director who likes Hugh as is, and somewhere that looks like Japan. Or Jackman can go back to Broadway where he belongs and do Houdini… Wolverine can wait.

  10. Rowland says:

    For gods sake, will somebody call Quentin Tarantino and/or Robert Rodriquez. These guys understand violence and blood on the level needed for a real wolverine story! :)

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