Even though it was generally loathed by critics, X-Men Origins: Wolverine made Fox a lot of money, and that means guaranteed sequel. Right now they’re looking for a director, presumably someone who will make less of a hot mess of the project than the last guy, Gavin Hood, did. Now word is they’ve narrowed their directing pool down to two choices, one which makes sense, and one which is too good to believe.
Deadline says Fox is deciding between David Slade (director of Hard Candy, 30 Days of Night, and most recently Twilight: Eclipse) and Darren Aronofsky (yes that Darren Aronofsky, director of things which are challenging and good). Slade makes a lot of sense, after signing up for Eclipse the guy has pretty much proven he’ll do anything for money. But Darren Aronofsky? That’s a little hard to swallow. He’s hot off The Wrestler and his next movie Black Swan looks like it could be another Oscar contender but he was attached to direct the Robo-Cop remake so?
So what’s Aronofsky’s name doing on this particular list? Blame Hugh Jackman. Jackman worked with Aronofsky on The Fountain and apparently they’ve developed a good relationship. Hugh, who I suspect knows the last movie wasn’t what it should have been, has been talking Aronofsky into it. And if Darren gets the job, suddenly there’s reason to be excited about Wolverine again.
Except here’s the really incredible thing: Fox may not even want him. Deadline thinks Slade has the edge simply because he directed Eclipse and it made a lot of money. Since this is Fox making the decision, it’s easy to believe they’d be that ridiculously shortsighted. Let’s be logical here: Eclipse making money had nothing to do with David Slade. It’s a Twilight movie, it would have made the same amount of money if someone had dug up Ed Wood and stuck him behind the camera. The box office totals of Eclipse should be irrelevant.
What is relevant is that Darren Aronofsky is a genuine auteur, one of the most interesting and challenging filmmakers working in Hollywood today. Hire him and you stand a good chance of getting the next Dark Knight out of Wolverine 2. Hire David Slade and the best you can hope for is just another Wolverine movie. If you’ve actually managed to talk Darren Aronofsky into putting himself up for this almost certainly thankless, shitty job then you’d better goddamn well hire him.