The big shocking news of the day is that Darren Aronofsky has left his gig directing “The Wolverine.” He gave an official excuse, but is there more to it?
When he signed on to direct “Wolverine” sequel, I was pretty shocked. Only four years earlier I had seen the filmmaker speak at an NYC Apple Store (then it was the Apple Store), where he claimed to have no interest in making a superhero movie. He had once been attached to the “Batman” franchise, but he apparently never intended on actually doing that. And while Wolverine is not the same kind of costumed crusader that Batman is, and it’s possible Aronofsky was drawn to the chance of making the sequel as unlike a conventional superhero movie as possible, I can’t help wondering if he really ever meant to direct this project, either. Here is what he said back in 2006 (originally posted by yours truly on The Reeler, a site currently only available via the Wayback Machine):
I didn’t really do much on the Batman thing. For the last six years I’ve been working on The Fountain. That’s been my dream and my passion and that’s what we’ve been working on. It’s been a really difficult film to make, because I think that anytime you do something that doesn’t fit into the studio box, it’s pretty hard. So, when it came up that they wanted me to work on [Batman], I was like, “Well, I just made a $4 million movie about drugs. Maybe if I take their most valued franchise and tell them I’m interested, they’ll let me make The Fountain.” So, it was kind of like a strategic move. But, I wasn’t really into it. I’m not a superhero type of guy. I just really wanted to make The Fountain.
Yeah, him just saying he’s not a “superhero type of guy” doesn’t necessarily mean he planned on never doing one. However, he may have also intended for it to be another “strategic move,” giving him leeway for doing the film he really wants to make. Surely he, like everyone else, never imagined that “Black Swan” would be a big hit, let alone a gigantic success worldwide (its $106 million domestic gross is more than double that of his other films combined). So now he doesn’t even need to prove himself bankable with a blockbuster in order to later continue churning out works with more integrity.
Obviously this is all speculation, and the combination of Aronofsky’s stated reason to not be away from his family for so long and the unaddressed possibility that the disasters in Japan might affect the likelihood of filming there are good enough excuses for the sudden halt in “The Wolverine” production. I guess I’ll just have to wait and see if the filmmaker ever ends up not only signed to but actually directing a superhero movie to lay that old statement of his to rest.