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.
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.
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