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The X-Men film series still seems to have some appeal to Matthew Vaughn, the director of Layer Cake and Kick-Ass, who is directing X-Men: First Class for 20th Century Fox. This is happening despite reports last week that stated he would not do the project. The film has also been fast-tracked for a June 3, 2011 release date, which will put it in a bit of competition with Warner Bros.' The Green Lantern, which comes out two weeks later.
X-Men First Class has had a turbulent pre-production, with Josh Schwartz (The O.C.) writing the screenplay but missing out on the directing duties. Bryan Singer (X-Men, X2: X-Men United) was attached to direct and brought in Jamie Moss (Street Kings) to re-write the script. Singer has stepped down as the director but remains as a producer.
Fox had formulated a shortlist of capable directors to helm X-Men: First Class, including Louis Leterrier (The Incredible Hulk), Timur Bekmambetov (Wanted) and Daniel Espinosa (Snabba Cash). Vaughn was due to direct X-Men: The Last Stand, but left the project reportedly for family reasons. It was believed he left, however, because of the rushed production schedule that Fox tried to impose on him. Since, he has been critical of Brett Ratner’s take on the film.
On paper, Vaughn and Singer seem like a filmmaking dream team and both are working with a great comic book series. However, the head of Fox, Tom Rothman, is known for having a dislike for comic book films and has micromanaged many
big projects. He has alienated top directors like Ridley Scott, Alex Proyas, Gavin Hood and Mathieu Kassouvitz. He has been a source of fear for film fans and his reign of Fox has been critically derided.
Although X-Men is great source material and Singer’s films are excellent examples of how superhero films should be, do fans really want a teenage X-Men scripted by the creator of The O.C. compared to full-on adult action with Wolverine, Cyclops et. al.? At least there is a good team behind this project so there is hope the X-Men franchise can get back on track.