No Aronofsky Blade-Hands

Darren Aronofsky‘s stated reason for deciding not to direct 20th Century Fox’s The Wolverine, which would have required working in Japan for over a year, is that he “was not comfortable being away from my family for that length of time.”

Honestly? My first reaction was that Richard Nixon‘s attorney general John Mitchell offered roughly the same reason when he resigned from the Committee to Re-Elect the President on 7.1.72, saying that “he’d been spending too much time away from his wife and daughter.”

An industry friend explains: “Aronofsky was ambivalent about doing this project from the get-go, not EVER liking Chris McQuarrie‘s script, which he was reworking. So the success of Black Swan gave him enough clout to finally leave it without repercussions from Fox. Deadline Hollywood is feeding readers some company line that McQuarrie’s script is not to blame, but it’s one of the reasons [Aronofsky] is taking a walk.”

  • Jim Peacock

    We had to click through for three words? Jerk.

  • http://moviebob.blogspot.com/ THE MovieBob

    Yeesh. Wasn’t Fox supposed to be getting LESS rotten to work with for genre projects? It’s not like he suddenly decided he was too good for a Wolverine movie – he’s been trying to get onto a superhero franchise for over a decade now.

    Net-loss all around, either way – this would’ve been a hit and given Aronofsky TONS of clout on his next “me” project; and now the movie is probably off to the Ratner/McG/whoever assembly line.

  • Edward

    Considering what is happening with the nuclear power plants in Japan, it’s probably a good thing for him not to film there.

  • Eloi Wrath

    It just seems strange that he would drop out because of the time spent abroad. Wouldn’t it have been abundantly clear from the start that the project involved shooting in Japan? Someone on ThePlaylist also brought up the story where Matthew Vaughn used “family reasons” when he exited X-Men 3. Clearly a Fox euphemism for “creative differences”.

    It’s a massive blow. Can’t imagine being interested in seeing this any more.

  • Kakihara

    Methinks the reason he jumped ship was that people were going to ask him about Perfect Blue, since the word was getting out. Still, he made $200 million now because of a trip there ten years ago, and he still should at least fucking say something supportive to the victims like other celebs. Douche to the end. Oh, well, at least he’ll have an easier time ripping off Basketball Diaries now.

  • Mark

    Studio – D.A., glad you’re aboard! I think you’ll enjoy the budget you’ll be afforded. And Japan is a great place to spend a year of your life.

    D.A. – Sounds good…(6 month pause)…wait! a year????

    That’s either exactly how it went down, or else the whole production is in danger due to Japan being a disaster zone, and D.A. can’t wait around. I’m guessing it’s this 2nd scenario.

  • George Prager

    DeeZee’s post belongs in the hall of fame. ISomeone should compile his greatest hits.

  • tate4

    What exactly is “Perfect Blue?”

  • drbob

    “. . . .or else the whole production is in danger due to Japan being a disaster zone.”

    This seems like the obvious reason to me, i.e. his wife said “no way.” Think about it – if your spouse were leaving for a year long stay in Japan right now, what would you say?

  • LexG

    Not to be an insensitive asshole, but, yeah… I wouldn’t set foot in Japan for the next two decades until there’s a definite containment of that radiation situation and all its after-effects. Shouldn’t all flight in and out of Japan be cut off immediately? Are all those big actors and producers and suits REALLY okay with flying to Japan any time in the near future?

  • George Prager

    Why do they have to film The Wolverine in Japan? Can’t they do it in Australia or Canada or Pittsburgh? It’s just a stupid comic book movie that only comic book geeks, child molesters, pedophiles, infant snatchers and other assorted fanboys are going to enjoy anyway. Whats’ the difference? Just make it on a blue screen in the same studio where they tape “American Idol.”

  • Eloi Wrath

    I wonder what he’ll do instead. He had that Machine Man thing in the pipeline, and that Noah’s Ark graphic novel.

  • JLC

    I’m with Prager. They filmed Flynn’s Adventures of Robin Hood and Karloff’s Frankenstein on backlots in the Hollywood Hills. Why not film in Vancouver and have a few stock shots of Japan. CGI in Mt. Fuji once in awhile and you’re done. Cover story is right.

  • JLC

    On a related note, though, I haven’t seen any mentions anywhere of whether they’re still going to try to film Pacific Rim. A Godzilla movie at this juncture would seem to be a pretty tough sell (although if SyFy doesn’t do a Debbie Gibson flick about mutated Tuna, I’ll be bitterly disappointed).

  • LexG

    “Pacific Rim” is either the most unfortunate or most AWESOME title ever. I can’t believe they’re going to release a movie called fucking “Pacific Rim.” As in, “I’d like to give K-Stew a pacific rim, if you know what I mean.”

  • Sams

    They could easily edit the script to make it set in Korea or Hawaii if Japan was the problem. It’s not like the plot calls for Wolverine to battle Godzilla on Mt. Fuji — and even then there’s always CGI. No, I also suspect there’s more to it than just child custody issues and Aronofsky being homesick for NY.

  • Zach

    Really a shame – Aronofsky would have put a unique stamp on an otherwise Eloi-ish movie. Now they’ll probably give the job to some hack.

  • LexG

    As someone on Poland said, Fox DOES seem to like John Moore and seems to have him under constant contract.

    I’d be down with that.

  • Kakihara

    Lex: “Shouldn’t all flight in and out of Japan be cut off immediately? Are all those big actors and producers and suits REALLY okay with flying to Japan any time in the near future?”

    If it was safe for U.S. forces to be there after the a-bombs, it should be safe now.

    George: The film was meant to be based on a particular story arc, hence the setting. And the last time they shot in Cali in place of Japan, The Last Samurai cost $140 million. And this one’s inevitably going to have more CG, so it could end up being prohibitively expensive, especially since Jackman doesn’t have pre-2006 Cruise drawing power to justify the higher costs.

    Eloi; You mean Tetsuo remake.

    Zach: “Aronofsky would have put a unique stamp on an otherwise Eloi-ish movie.”

    I’m sure that’s what they thought about Pitof before he did Catwoman.

  • BobbyLupo

    DZ – if you don’t shut up and stop acting like such a douchebag, I’m going to go back to making fun of you for catfishing and pretending that your mom had died.

  • Jeff and/or Danny Is Always Wrong

    Shut the fuck up, Danny.

  • George Prager

    Hey, Lupo. Don’t be a dick. He’s not lying about his mother.

  • Kakihara

    Lupo: That’s alright. I’m just going to make fun of you for pretending you had real parents and weren’t born in a test tube.

  • DCIJB

    @drbob “This seems like the obvious reason to me, i.e. his wife said “no way.””

    Considering his wife (or rather EX-wife) is together with Daniel Craig now, I do not think she would have any problem with Darren going to Japan.

  • 62Lincoln

    I’ve read that the issue is that of custody of their little boy. If that’s the case, it makes a lot of sense for him to remain local until the court rules on that issue. Flying off to Japan for a year probably wouldn’t impress the judge in a positive way (sarcasm).

  • Mark

    “They could easily edit the script to make it set in Korea or Hawaii if Japan was the problem.”

    Yes, because the comic-book base for such a movie loves it when you start fucking with Frank Miller’s source material. “How instead of Samarai roots, the antagonist is a Hawaiian surfer?? Everyone good? Cool, off to Oaui.”

    It’s set in fucking Japan. Trying to CG your way out of not filming in the country is a great way to lose the interest of any auteur director.

  • George Prager

    I hear that they need to film the Smurfs movie in Prague or it won’t work.

  • Kakihara

    Mark: Last Samurai was mostly not shot in Japan, and it did ok.

    Also, Japan and Kon snub aside, he’s still a bit of an ass to ask Jackman to put on extra lbs and then bail at the last minute. I do wonder if he’ll show up for the Swan premiere there, though.

  • Rashad

    Darren is a coward. No doubt about it

  • Gabe@ThePlaylist

    God, what a coward, to retreat from directing a comic book movie in Japan so he can be with his kids and cooperate with a stateside custody hearing with minimal fuss.

    Do some of you understand how real life works?

  • CitizenKaned4Life

    Only some, Gabe.

    D.Z. actually brings up an interesting point (!), if only incidentally.

    Not sure when the Japanese Black Swan premiere is, exactly, but if for some reason it doesn’t get canceled and Aronofsky’s a no-show, I think it would be a fair assumption to say that his “issues” in this specific situation might exist well outside of the “creative difference” realm.

    If I were in his shoes, I know mine probably would.

  • Krillian

    I think Darren really wanted to do a superhero movie; part of him must be disappointed this didn’t work out. He and Hugh are friends.

  • MickTravisMcGee

    “No Aronofsky Blade-Hands”

    I thought that title was the lamest thing I’d read all day.

    Then I started reading DZ’s posts.

    Seriously, if you’ve started a sentence with “methinks” in the past year or so … kill yourself. I’m kidding. But not really. Do it. No don’t, not really. Maybe just climb the highest tree you can find and throw yourself off the top branch. See what happens.

  • Kakihara

    Gabe: “Do some of you understand how real life works?”

    Yes, and short of an accident, illness, or pregnancy, dropping out of a shoot at the last minute still makes you an asshole. He should’ve resolved his personal issues sooner or just declined the project. You seem to forget that studios also have *money* invested in these things, too, especially considering FOX could lose the rights to the franchise and characters to Disney soon. Hell, taking on this gig in the middle of a potentially bitter custody battle in the first place comes off irresponsible. On top of that, he drops everything to make sure that he gets a good deal out of it, and that might actually make him look worse in court than if he’d *stayed* on the project. Because if he’s not willing to stick to a job and if he’s running off whenever he feels like it, can he be counted on to properly supervise the kid when he gets visitation rights? But who knows? Maybe the studio will wait for him to get his shit together, anyway.

    Kane: It’s supposed to officially open there in May, according to the Japanese FOX site, but they cancelled a journo preview which was supposed to be this week.

  • Rashad

    I love how Aronofsky only now does this. Didn’t he bring this up a couple months ago, and then they decided to move a lot of the shooting to NYC to accommodate him and his family? Now it’s all a surprise or something.

    I hope Matt Reeves ends up taking over. He was the better choice for it to begin with.

  • CitizenKaned4Life

    Reeves blows.

    If Aronofsky’s off the project, my interest plummets to near-nadir levels.

  • Rashad

    The shit you say sometimes.

  • Gabe@ThePlaylist

    Who are you fucking guys, acting like it’s a great crime that we don’t get a Darren Aronofsky-directed Wolverine movie? Rashad, DZ, you’re both galactic idiots, but you’ve both never sounded so fucking oblivious as you do tonight.

  • the sandwich

    Aronofsky can do whatever the hell he wants. If there’s a price to be paid for backing out late in the game, so be it. SOMEHOW, I think he’ll be o.k. in the wake of not directing Wolverine.

  • PastePotPete

    “Seriously, if you’ve started a sentence with “methinks” in the past year or so … kill yourself. ”

    THANK YOU. Biggest pet peeve I’ve ever had.

  • LexG

    YES. Can I triple-sign the “methinks” and add that I also want to throttle anyone who ever says “shite” in a post.

    “Shite.” God that’s embarrassing.

    Also, rare is the thread where Gabe is the voice of reason.

  • zumpano

    According to the Hollywood Reporter, this movie wasn’t even greenlit yet. So all this talk of “leaving people high and dry” and “late in the game” doesn’t know from which they speak of, and mostly spout hyperbolic bullshit.

  • Wiggumx

    DZ proves yet again that he doesn’t understand anything, ever.

    And somehow you’ve yet again proven to be even dumber than we thought, seeing as you think that DA might not have wanted to go to Japan because he was worried that people would ask him questions about the anime that you swear he ripped off. It really is impossible to underestimate you.

  • Steven Kar

    So now the next time DA comes out with a movie will be some time around 2014.

  • Deathtongue_Groupie

    “Yes, and short of an accident, illness, or pregnancy, dropping out of a shoot at the last minute still makes you an asshole.”

    I hate to resort to the cliche, but exactly how many shoots have you helmed to speak with such authority?

  • Kakihara

    Gabe: “Who are you fucking guys, acting like it’s a great crime that we don’t get a Darren Aronofsky-directed Wolverine movie?”

    *I* personally don’t *care”, ‘cus Darren doesn’t seem like a guy who could shoot an action movie if his life depended on it. I *liked* The Wrestler, but the “bonding” moments with Rourke’s daughter were the most boring parts of that movie, and I’d hate to see Wolverine going in that direction. I’m just saying that if Darren wants to play with the big boys, he needs to take this shit seriously. I’m starting to wonder if that’s partly why he wasn’t picked to reboot Batman.

    zumpano: It wasn’t greenlit yet, even though Darren was already training Jackman?

    Wiggum: “And somehow you’ve yet again proven to be even dumber than we thought, seeing as you think that DA might not have wanted to go to Japan because he was worried that people would ask him questions about the anime that you swear he ripped off.”

    Well, I will admit he could’ve avoided the topic before, but now he’ll have to say *something* nice about the place if he does press there; and Kon and PB would inevitably come up.

    DTG: I was an B-T-S extra on an indie film, actually.

  • Rashad

    It wasn’t greenlit the way Dark Knight Rises wasn’t greenlit.

    Aronofsky talks a big game with these sort of movies, but he never backs it up.

  • Mr Hooper

    Jesus, guys, can we not remember that this decision not to go to Japan for a year comes just days after the country was hit by its biggest disaster since WW2? You think that maybe that might have had more than a little to do with him backing out? They can officially say it was something about not wanting to be away from his family (which is likely true) but it’s no coincidence it comes while nuclear reactors are melting down over there. Forget reading “creative differences” into the subtext; try reading “I really don’t want to spend a year in a natural disaster and radiation zone but I’m too polite or politic to say that.” Fuck.

  • CitizenKaned4Life

    Yeah, Hooper, that’s what I was trying to drive at in comment #31, and some of the non-insane commenters above me (drbob, Lex, Edward, Mark) alluded to it, as well.

    Rashad — I’m sure he would be utterly thrilled to take a big comicy paycheck under the right circumstances. Let’s remember he was just nominated for Best Director and his last film contained the Oscar-winning Lead Actress Performance. He obviously has plenty of career still left to go, but he’d be a fool to not at least try to capitalize on his current stock; there’s a distinct possibility that it will never be higher.

    D.Z.’s on fire (and not in a good way) all throughout this thread, and comment #46 represents a peak of his insanity I haven’t glimpsed in a little while. I think my favorite part was his VERY RELEVANT statement that he had been “an indie extra” in response to the claim that he hadn’t helmed a film before. HA!

  • Eloi Wrath

    I’m not convinced about the nuclear situation being behind it all. Aronofsky’s the only one who quit. They’d have moved production entirely if they were that concerned about it.

    Custody battle seems far more likely, but also strange. It’s not like Weisz is going to stay put for the rest of the year. They’re both working people in the movie business; travel is part of the job.

    It’s ridiculous to assume that the length of the shoot and the location wasn’t discussed in early negotiations. I mean, didn’t Del Toro initially turn down The Hobbit because he was made aware of how long he’d need to be in New Zealand? Of course he changed his mind, but I find it hard to believe that Aronofsky signed up to this Japan-set major blockbuster and didn’t know they’d be filming in Japan for all that time.

    Smells fishy as fuck.

  • Dan Revill

    Comment #38 by Gabe wins.

    I’m not really broken up about this. I never bothered with Wolverine in the first place but I can understand why Jackman would go back to the well.

    Aronofsky would be better served to do something a little more close to his heart – or at least something where he’s essentially a gun for hire. Maybe find a lesser known comic book and develop that if he still has the comic itch.

  • Eloi Wrath

    Yeah, I’m not really bothered about the loss of a Wolverine film. I couldn’t care less about another one of those. But an Aronofsky Wolverine film sounded genuinely exciting, based on what he had to say about it. Now it’s just another comic book movie.

    The metal man project he was thinking about sounded fairly intriguing.

  • Kakihara

    Hooper: “They can officially say it was something about not wanting to be away from his family (which is likely true) but it’s no coincidence it comes while nuclear reactors are melting down over there.”

    Well, yeah, but as we noted, he could still shoot elsewhere. Either way, though, he still missed his op to say something conciliatory to the Japanese like other celebs. ["Hey, I'm sorry I can't make it right now, but I really love visiting most of the time, especially because you're the country which gave us Satoshi Kon. So it saddens me to see more similar tragic losses of your country's best and brightest so soon. I hope things turn around for you. "] That might be considered bad PR for him when Swan comes rolling around.

    Eloi: I’m guessing Del Toro really turned down The Hobbit because of all the slow-ass negotiations between Warner and MGM. Plus, he might’ve butted heads a bit creatively with PJ.

    Dan: Actually, he’d been wanting to remake Lone Wolf and Cub, even though that already happened with Perdition.

  • Kakihara

    On a related note, via Rotten Tomatoes:

    “Usually there is a celebrity from the disaster area who really picks up the banner and rallies other celebrieis and makes it a reality to us Americans, but who is that giant star [with ties to Japan]?”

    Yes, who could possibly rally the troops on this? Hmm….

  • Eloi Wrath

    It’s not Aronofsky, Daniel. Do you really think your Uncle Hank will be compelled to pick up the phone and donate because the director of The Fountain asked him to?

  • bitplaya

    I don’t know him as a human being but I think his work is highly overrated. I don’t get all the lather people work up about him. Swan was boring melodrama the Fountain was unwatchable and Requiem was a freak show.

  • Kakihara

    Eloi: Well, he’s supposed to be the “it” director right now, right?

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