Much to the dismay of fans and 20th Century Fox, Oscar nominated director Darren Aronofsky has pulled out of his directing spot on the studio's anticipated follow up to 2009's X-Men Origins: Wolverine. The filmmaker was supposed to reunite with his The Fountain star Hugh Jackman, with whom he has a close friendship, for the The Wolverine, but the lengthy shoot in a foreign country just seemed to be too much for the family man.
Says Aronofsky: "As I talked more about the film with my collaborators at Fox, it became clear that the production of ‘The Wolverine’ would keep me out of the country for almost a year. I was not comfortable being away from my family for that length of time. I am sad that I won't be able to see the project through, as it is a terrific script and I was very much looking forward to working with my friend, Hugh Jackman, again."
Meanwhile, Fox issued a corresponding statement: “While we are of course disappointed that Darren can’t do ‘The Wolverine’, we also understand and respect his reasons. Having done both ‘The Wrestler’ and ‘Black Swan’ with Darren, we know he is an extraordinary talent and we look forward to working with him on other projects in the future. Hugh Jackman and Fox both remain fully committed to making ‘The Wolverine’. We will regroup and move forward aggressively.”
While the news is disheartening, the hope is that the studio will be able to lure another director with the right amount of experience and pedigree into the fold immediately, as production should be starting very soon for the film to meet its summer 2012 release date. Personally I feel that this is a major blow to the project, which has a lot to prove after the disaster that was X-Men Origins: Wolverine.