X-Men Origins: Wolverine will be released on DVD and Blu-ray in the UK next week, and UK magazine Empire flew out to the US to have a one-one-one with producer Lauren Shuler Donner. As expected, they asked her for updates on Wolverine 2, X-Men: First Class, Deadpool and X-Men Origins: Magneto and she had a lot to say.
Donner says that Wolverine 2 is the furthest along out of all the projects and will focus on the relationship between Wolverine and Mariko, the daughter of a Japanese crime lord, and what happens to him in Japan. She says they wanted an “A+ writer” so they got Chris McQuarrie (Valkyrie, The Usual Suspects) who has tightened up the story and has “got really immersed in the whole thing”. 20th Century Fox will also be working with the Japanese Fox executives as they “don’t want to portray the way [Japanese people] speak, dress and act in an inaccurate way.” Although it is “likely the characters will speak English rather than Japanese with subtitles”.
Donner finishes by saying “there’ll be samurai, ninja, katana blades, different forms of martial arts – mano-a-mano, extreme fighting. We’re going to come up with a new style of fighting. It’s going to be awesome.”
X-Men: First Class
According to Donner the script is not finished and they aren’t where they want to be yet. They are trying hard not to make it too similar to the previous trilogy and want to make it different. Donner also admits that the Harry Potter movies are “role models” for them but they “want it to be like the recent, darker Potters. It should not be a kiddie movie – we’re in the X-Men world so you can’t suddenly change the tone.”
She says that there’s still friction between mutants and the outside world, but First Class will be set before anyone knows mutants exist so it will probably have a more secretive edge. Regarding the characters Donner says they will be in Xavier’s School but they will also be off on adventures and some will be “naughty children”. She gives Cyclops as an example who is “a tough kid that bobbed from foster home to foster home, until he ends up at the school and becomes the leader.” None of the characters have been cast yet, but they plan on turning First Class into a whole new franchise so “the casting of the child actors will be all-important.” I’m not sure how young the actors will be but they’ll probably be young enough so we see them grow up on-screen.
Deadpool will be a complete reboot as they want to “ignore the version of Deadpool that we saw in Wolverine and just start over again”. Donner says it will be a “dark, snarky, very funny movie” and they are just working out which villain(s) to incorporate. They hope to have a writer on-board by next month and are currently talking to a few. “We need someone really imaginative because we want to do some really innovative, ambitious stuff. Ryan’s mentioned this in an interview already but there are parts where he’s going to break the fourth wall and talk directly to the audience in the cinema. We have to work out how to do that. I don’t know that Fox will agree with all our decisions, but we’ll see!”
X-Men Origins: Magneto
…won’t be seen for a while, if ever. Donner says the film is “at the back of the queue” out of all the films and she isn’t sure if the script David Goyer wrote is ever going to be made. “Maybe it’ll get made in five years – who knows? I can tell you that Ian McKellen won’t be playing the character the whole way through. We used Lola technology in X-Men 3 to de-age Ian and Patrick for one scene, but it’s very expensive. To do that for a two-hour movie would be prohibitive financially. And to find a younger actor to fill Ian’s shoes, that’s pretty daunting. It’s not easy.”
The X-Men franchise peaked in 2003. 20th Century Fox have since been too involved with the creative process and we have ended up with disappointments. Although, they have hired Chris McQuarrie to write Wolverine 2 and there is a chance Bryan Singer could return to direct. If that happens Wolverine 2 may actually be a good movie.
If Fox don’t screw things up they could have a new franchise with X-Men: First Class. The films won’t be as good as the Potter ones, but that franchise ends in 2011 and there will be a gap in the market. They need to get an “A+ director” involved.
I’m not that much of a Deadpool fan but from what we’ve heard they want to stay close to the source material. When we find out who they hire to write and direct it will give us an indication whether it’s a potential new superhero franchise or just doomed.
I’ve been wanting to see a Magneto movie ever since it was announced they were making one. Over the years I’ve questioned whether David Goyer is actually the right man for the job, but I don’t think he is. I’d rather get a great Magneto movie in 5+ years than have a sub-par movie start filming next year.
Which movie are you looking forward too (if any)? Can 20th Century Fox bring the X-Men franchise back up to the level it once was?