Ever since Darren Aronofsky slid down the escape chute and bailed on the task of directing The Wolverine, 20th Century Fox and Hugh Jackman have been considering all manner of directors to take up the slack on the superhero semi-sequel. Now, according to Variety, the choice has apparently narrowed to a short – well, shortish – group of eight eclectic choices that includes Doug Liman, Jose Padilha, Mark Romanek, Justin Lin and Antoine Fuqua.
Let’s look at the possibilities one by one, shall we? You may imagine some Generation Game-style conveyor belt muzak here...
Liman, of course, has a great relationship with Fox having made Mr & Mrs Smith and Jumper with the studio to solid box office results. He’s also experienced with both big name talent and effects.
Then there’s Jose Padilha, who has been generating enough heat in his career based on his Elite Squad movies to keep a city warm. He’s been hired to direct MGM’s RoboCop reboot and just today announced details of another developing project, drug drama Tri-Border.
Mark Romanek is a more surprising possibility given that he hasn’t tackled a big blockbuster yet and the last time he thought about it, he ended up bowing out of The Wolfman. Still, he’s a superb director who could do something interesting with Logan’s story.
Lin needs little introduction, since he’s on a roll with Fast Five and being offered every action project under the sun. Given that the much-discussed new Terminator films are likely now on ice thanks to Arnold Schwarzenegger’s personal scandals, his schedule is now a little clearer.
Fuqua’s more worrying, as he’s been distinctly variable since the storming Training Day. He’s made the likes of King Arthur, but also crafted last year’s solid cop drama Brooklyn’s Finest.
Gavin O’Connor stepped up from producing to directing with 2004’s Miracle and since then has made Pride and Glory and the incoming Tom Hardy/Joel Edgerton UFC pic Warrior. He could certainly handle Wolverine’s scrappy style.
James Mangold, meanwhile, is coming off of Tom Cruise action comedy Knight and Day and also showed off an impressive blend of action and drama with 3:10 to Yuma.
Finally, there’s the wild card: Gary Shore, a graduate of the adverts/music video school of filmmaking who has worked on commercials for Adidas, EMI and Nokia and came to Hollywood’s attention thanks to an impressive trailer for a film he wants to make called Cup of Tears, which featured plenty of martial arts/sword action. Would Fox take a gamble with one of their biggest franchises? We’ll see…
With a script by Christopher McQuarrie, the new Wolverine has been sitting in limbo for a while now, ever since the dual punch of Aronofsky’s exit and the tragic earthquakes/tsunami that affected Japan. It remains to be seen when it’ll get back on track, but finding the right director will be key.