Director Darren Aronofsky, an Oscar nominee for his ballet psychodrama Black Swan, was set to direct Hugh Jackman in The Wolverine, a big-budget X-Men spin-off. But yesterday Twentieth Century Fox announced that Aronofsky had moved on. In a statement, the director cited family as his reason, saying that "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." Is there more to this story?
He doesn't need to do a superhero movie anymore: At one point, directing The Wolverine must have seemed a "strategic move," a big film that would let Aronofsky make the smaller, weirder movies he really wants to make, says Christopher Campbell at Indiewire. After Black Swan's global success, that's no issue. "Surely he, like everyone else, never imagined that Black Swan would be a big hit," earning $106 million domestically, more than twice the grosses of Aronofsky's other films combined.
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And he wasn't given creative freedom: "Family comes first, but there's also the chance that this is more of a problem of creative differences than either party is letting on," says Cole Abaius at Film School Rejects. Fox isn't known for giving their directors a lot of creative leeway, and the stakes would have been especially high on a big budget event movie like The Wolverine.
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Maybe it really is a family thing: "It's entirely reasonable to take Aronofsky at his word," says Scott Tobias at The Onion's A.V. Club. He recently broke up with his longtime partner, actress Rachel Weisz, and they have a young son. There might be some custody complications and questions, so it's understandable that he would not want to be shooting a big movie out of the country for an entire year.
"Aronofsky drops out of Wolverine"