X-Men Franchise Update: Producer Lauren Shuler Donner Discusses First Class 2, The Wolverine & Deadpool
09.10.11 by BJSprecher
Though both a critical favorite and a box office success, X-Men: First Class didn't stack up too well against the other Marvel Comics adaptations that opened this summer — First Class opened to $55.1 million versus $65 for
Captain America: The First Avenger and $65.7 for Thor — or against the rest of the X-Men movies, only beating the original's opening total by $1 million and earning only half of what X-Men: The Last Stand brought in on opening weekend. Still, Fox has apparently been discussing a sequel internally, possibly waiting to see how well the movie does now that it has been released on home video.
Now, producer Lauren Shuler Donner — the authority on the past, present and future of Fox's X-Men franchise as the producer of every one of the movies going back to X-Men in 2000 — has divulged to HitFix that things are looking "hopeful" for a First Class sequel, and that she wants Matthew Vaughn to return as director. Shuler Donner also
revealed that production on the The Wolverine will be delayed (further), possibly until the middle of next year, and said that development continues on the decidedly "different" Deadpool spin-off, with no one in mind for the lead but Ryan Reynolds.
Despite its lackluster opening, Shuler Donner said that she is "grateful" that First Class performed as well as it did.
You know, I don't think there's a movie that any producer does that they don't wish it would do better. Even though it does well. So I'm glad that we did $56 [million]. I'm grateful for whatever we did, honestly! ... We're talking about [a sequel], you know, we're seriously talking about it. We definitely want Matthew to come back. Absolutely!
Shuler Donner admitted that she didn't know when the highly-anticipated non-sequel sequel to X-Men Origins: Wolverine, would go into production. The gritty adaptation of the now-classic 1982 Wolverine mini-series by Chris Claremont and Frank Miller was supposed to go into production in April of this year under the direction of Darren Aronofsky, but it got sidelined when the acclaimed director dropped out a month before cameras were supposed to start rolling. James Mangold was brought in to direct The Wolverine, but then weather conditions in Japan and title star Hugh Jackman's commitment to appear in Tom Hooper's (The King's Speech) musical version of Les Miserables threatened to push the start date into the new year. When she spoke with HitFix, Shuler Donner admitted that The Wolverine might have to wait until Summer 2012.
I'm not sure when we'll start. Maybe Summer 2012 we'll start shooting. It's based on Hugh's schedule, frankly. When he's available, we'll film. ...He's doing Les Miserables, and then he has to come and train for us. So it's all dependent on him.
As for Deadpool, the "Merc with a Mouth" spin-off written by Zombieland screenwriters Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick that has visual effects guru Tim Miller attached to direct, Shuler Donner said that it's still in development and that they're trying to give it "a different look" than the other X-Men movies. She also stressed that she "absolutely" wants Ryan Reynolds to reprise the role of Wade Wilson/Deadpool and said she "can't imagine" anyone else playing the part.
We're working on getting it ready, and presenting some things to the studio, cause we're gonna give it a little bit of a different look. It's a different kind of movie. If you know Deadpool...it's true to Deadpool So you know, it'll be violent, and outrageous, and funny, and all that. So we're sort of putting it all together now.