Back in August it looked like the race to direct The Wolverine (or Wolverine 2 as it was known then) was between David Slade (Hard Candy, 30 Days of Night, Twilight: Eclipse) and Robert Schwentke (Flightplan, Red). Both had been approved by 20th Century Fox and had meetings with Hugh Jackman, who would make the final decision.
But then, as we all know, the studio entered talks Darren Aronofsky who had previously worked with Jackman on The Fountain and was riding high from Black Swan awards buzz. This, along with Fox’s need to produce a solid movie following X-Men Origins: Wolverine, secured him the job, but at the expense of David Slade who was moments away from booking his flight tickets to Japan.
“There are meetings that you get to the point where you’re about to start out work on something and then everything shifts and the world falls from beneath your feet. The process of getting a feature film, getting [it] green-lit unless you’re one of the very, very, very, very, very, select few people is actually very complicated. Takes a lot of your time,” he told HitFix. “The Wolverine” was like that, I had a great meeting with Hugh Jackman. We were all ready to go and then Darren Aronofsky, who has a great relationship with Hugh, showed up. You kind of feel like: “well, the girlfriend’s come back. I can either put up a fight here or I can just let nature take its course.”
It’s good that he isn’t bitter about it (I probably would be). I think one of the reasons he took on The Twilight Saga: Eclipse was so that he could go on to bigger and better things he actually wanted to make. It didn’t happen in this case, but in the interview Slade mentions he has spoken to Guillermo del Toro about a possible collaboration in the future, and says he has three possible films lined up to direct next, so he’ll soon move on from The Wolverine.
Darren Aronofsky will begin shooting with Hugh Jackman in April.