The first hint that this might be happening came, as so many hints do these days, from Twitter.
Jonathan Ross, or @wossy, is the outspoken English TV host and comic book/movie supergeek who happens to be married to the charming and wicked-smart Jane Goldman. She was Matthew Vaughn's co-writer on both "Kick-Ass" and "Stardust," and based on my time watching the two of them together on-set, I'd say that she's a key collaborative part of Matthew Vaughn's process. The script that the two of them wrote for "The Debt," a Helen Mirren film that is still looking for a release date, is probably the strongest thing they've written together yet, and a clear indication that they're capable of far more than just post-modern comic book riffing.
About the same time that Matthew Vaughn was confirmed by Fox as the director of "X-Men: First Class," Ross posted something about how his wife's new job would keep her busy for the next ten weeks.
I tried to verify the news through the regular channels, but before I could even get a response, Ross did it himself. Today, he posted that his wife is away from home working on "X-Men 4." Okay, then. Unless we hear that they've broken the team up so Goldman can write a future X-Men film with Matthew's working on "First Class," I'm going to take this as confirmation that Vaughn is indeed customizing this movie as he works to get it ready for a mid-summer production start.
This is great news, frankly. No offense to anyone who has worked on the script already (Josh Schwartz was the first guy to take a crack at it, and then Jamie Moss took a crack at it, and "Thor" writers Zack Stentz and Ashley Edward Miller also had a turn), but for a director to have any hope at actually making a film like this coherent and personal in any way, they need to figure out a way to bring it all together. Matthew Vaughn is a filmmaker who likes to work with the same crew, the same cast, the same people around him. He and Jane share a sensibility, and they have a similar approach to outrageous material. I'm sure there's good material in all of the drafts that already exist, but I'm also sure that after something's been through that many hands, you start to see fingerprints on it, and it stops being something that feels like a cohesive whole. Having Goldman's voice in the mix, working with Vaughn in the two months or so between now and the start of the production, could be exactly what the film needs to work.
Now if only they'd hire Michael Fassbender as young Magneto...
"X-Men: First Class" is due in theaters June 3, 2011.
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