Apparently, The Wolverine has narrowed-down its list of potential new directors to eight candidates to replace the exiting Darren Aronofsky.
According to Variety, directors Jose Padilha (Elite Squad 1 & 2), Doug Liman (Jumper, The Bourne Identity), Antoine Fuqua (Shooter, King Arthur), Mark Romanek (Never Let Me Go, Locke & Key), Justin Lin (Fast Five, Annapolis), Gavin O'Connor (Warrior), James Mangold (Knight and Day, Walk the Line), and Gary Shore (The Draft.)
It's clear that this is quite a diverse list of established action helmers, along with some buzz-heavy, up-and-coming indie talent. In a sense, it's a list that still somewhat reflects the mentality 20th Century Fox studio had when Aronofsky, director of dark, surreal dramas like Black Swan, The Wrestler, and The Fountain was brought aboard to helm this latest outing of Marvel's claw-wielding adamantium-lined ass-kicker. However, it could be sign that the studio is now exploring other creative options.
Where is The Wolverine heading?
Before Darren Aronofsky had dropped out as the X-Men follow-up's director, the film seemed ready to go full steam ahead in the first quarter of 2011, with its director seemingly locked and star, Hugh Jackman pumped-up and enthusiastic. However, when it became clear that the film would keep him away from his family during a critical custody battle over his son, he would leave the film, handing it a first critical setback. At that point, the film would see another obstacle when the recent tragic disaster in Japan struck, leaving much of the country in which it was set to shoot in ruin.
The list of potential replacement directors could thus be seen as the studio reaching logistical crossroads with the film. Do they go the rough, closely-shot, organic route, taking the chance on a relatively unknown director? Or, do they look at their setbacks and decide that it now makes financial sense to pick the safe choice with an established director, who may likely take it into a more conventionally stylistic route with blue-screen performances and effects-heavy visuals.
Are any particular names in this list standing out for you?