The good folks across the pond at Empire spoke with X-Men producer Lauren Shuler-Donner recently at the DVD and Blu-ray release of X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Donner was able to give the ultimate lowdown on the three planned spin-off films currently in development. Donner seems to be by far the most level headed person behind the franchise... Tom Rothman needs to step out of their hair, and let them do their thing.
She reiterated the already known facts, but gives some very promising new insight into the films as well. These are the tastiest nuggets from the feature. Here's Donner on...
It's actually the story we wanted to use for the first Wolverine film, but [Fox CEO] Tom Rothman preferred to set the character up with an origin story first. What’s cool about this part of the saga is that Wolverine will be fighting in a different style to what we’ve seen before. Mariko’s father has this stick-like weapon, so Wolverine will have to fight against that. There’ll be samurai, ninja, katana blades, different forms of martial arts — mano-a-mano, extreme fighting.
X-Men: First Class:
We want it to be like the recent, darker Potters. It should not be a kiddie movie: we’re in the X-Men world so you can’t suddenly change the tone. The First Class comics are really fun — they’re funnier than any other comics I’ve read. Basically in each one the kids are fighting strange villains, sometimes it’s aliens, sometimes it’s monsters. I want to get a flavour of that world.
I don’t see it as a problem that Ryan [Reynolds] is also playing Green Lantern. I mean, look at Harrison Ford – he was in Stars Wars and Indiana Jones at the same time and everyone was fine with that. Green Lantern could not be more different to Wade Wilson. Green Lantern is a guy who finds a ring and is thrust into this world, much like Spider-Man. Wade Wilson is a bad ass, a wise-cracking mercenary, who will go out and kill anyone for money. But the thing about him is that, underneath it all, and he wouldn’t want you to know this, sometimes he’s not such a bad ass after all.
David Goyer has written a brilliant script. It starts in the concentration camps and has Magneto coming out of there. But you know, I'm not sure that film is going to be made. The studio has a wealth of potential stories, and they have to stand back and decide which ones to make. And Magneto, I think, is at the back of the queue. Maybe it'll get made in five years - who knows? I can tell you that Ian McKellen won't be playing the character the whole way through. We used Lola technology in X-Men 3 to de-age Ian and Patrick for one scene, but it's very expensive. To do that for a two-hour movie would be prohibitive financially. And to find a younger actor to fill Ian's shoes, that's pretty daunting. It's not easy.
So much darker toned, more faithful(graphic) adaptations is the tune I'm hearing her sing. I hope she can follow through on this outlook. What do you think of their plans for the new X-Men spin-off films?
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