Filmmaking today, in terms of the business side of things, is a totally different landscape than what IÂ dreamed of when I first decided I wanted to be a filmmaker.Â I don't envy any director with a strong personal vision who also has to play the studio game.Â There are choices, life or death career decisions, that filmmakers have to face these days that have little to do with their own tastes or interests.
The best possible scenario, of course, is when a filmmaker manages to make a big studio movie that fits into their tentpole schedule that also somehow scratches a personal itch.Â For example, let's look at Darren Aronofsky, currently enjoying some of the best reviews of his career for the amazing "Black Swan."Â In the past, he's been attached to at least two different Frank Miller adaptations ("Ronin"Â and "Batman:Â Year One") and he's spent time trying to make one of the great samurai stories ("Lone Wolf and Cub") as well as an adaptation of a famous anime ("Perfect Blue").Â Considering one of the most famous of the Wolverine/Japan storylines was created in part by Frank Miller and that it played heavily on samurai movie iconography, it would seem to me that a Darren Aronofsky film starring "Fountain" lead Hugh Jackman as Wolverine in Japan would not be too far outside the realm of the expected.Â And with Christopher McQuarrie writing it?Â That starts to become downright appealing.
There's just that little matter of the oh-my-god terrible "Wolverine:Â X-Men Origins."
It would be one thing, perception-wise, if Aronofsky was asked to just make a stand-alone "Wolverine"Â movie away from the "X-Men"Â franchise, but having to follow up that wretched Gavin Hood film (and, no, IÂ don't blame Hood, who seemed to be eaten alive by that process) would be a depressing prospect, no matter how many good ideas you have for a story.
Even so, Michael Fleming reports today that Aronofsky has begun talks with Fox about taking the job, and it sounds like they're significantly down the road on the discussions, with the decision up to Aronofsky at this point.Â I would imagine he's going to have a conversation with Matthew Vaughn, currently directing "X-Men:Â First Class," since Vaughn has been quite vocal about problems with the studio system and Fox specifically in the past, and if he's a happy man right now, that might be encouraging.
Even though it's Fox 2000 that released "The Wrestler" and that will be handling "Black Swan"Â this December, Aronofsky is obviously a significant filmmaker for the studio at large, and right now, he's at that moment in his career when he has been lauded as much as a filmmaker can be, critically speaking, and what he could really use would be a big fat $500 million grossing mega-movie.Â I spent time on the set of "The Fountain," and it was obvious from the way Hugh Jackman and Aronofsky dealt with each other that there was a good, easy rapport there and a whole lotta mutual respect.Â Jackman is the most important creative voice on the "Wolverine"Â franchise, frankly, and making him happy is going to be key to making this next film in the series a good experience.Â If you put those two together again, chances are we'll get something as sincerely intended as possible when you're making one of these giant franchise movies.
Right now, Aronofsky's not officially signed on, but it sounds like the decision Warner Bros. made to offer Snyder the "Superman"Â job may have spurred Aronofsky to grab hold of this one while it's still available.Â I can see why so many big names were interested in "Superman," and as much as I love Robert Zemeckis or Aronofsky, IÂ think Warner Bros. made the right call with Snyder.Â In that same way, Aronofsky is a best-case scenario here for "Wolverine 2," and the studio would be very lucky to pin him down.
If he does it, I hope that means we get a whole decade of "this one's for me" movies afterwards.
In the meantime, I hope Jackman's training with a samurai sword master.Â Could be fun.
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