Director and Studio Battling Over X-Men Origins: Wolverine?
by Alex Billington
August 20, 2008
These power struggles just never end in Hollywood. The director wants to make his movie, but the studio executives want to make a movie that they know will make them millions - so who wins? We finally are hearing a solid report from Jeffrey Wells at Hollywood Elsewhere that there is some sort of power struggle going on with X-Men Origins: Wolverine. I've heard this before, and Dark Horizons wrote about it back in March, but this is the first time it's really getting out there. Apparently we've got another case of a studio exec, Fox's Tom Rothman, trying to change a character to fit the widest possible audience when the director, Gavin Hood, who knows what he's doing, has been shooting something they don't like.
The story as posted on Hollywood Elsewhere, discusses a huge set being used recently that, according to his source, was "supposed to be on the dark, dinghy and somber side." This was Gavin Hood's choice as the director for the look of the set. But then Fox's Tom Rothman ordered them to repaint it and Hood came back "to find that it had been repainted top to bottom on Rothman's orders. The murky-scuzzy vibe was gone, and a brighter and less downish look had taken its place." Apparently that's all that Hollywood Elsewhere was told so far, but he suggests that "at the very least, given my confidence in the source, it suggests that a creative tug-of-war is going on, and that Rothman, one can reasonably gather, feels a certain managerial-slash-territorial investment in the X-Men franchise."
How coincidental that my complaint with the footage that they showed from Wolverine at Comic-Con was that it had "too many explosions, too many colorfully cheesy shots, and an unnecessary need to expand the story into a team of superheroes." The only reason it has so much buzz is because Wolverine is truly a badass character and because Gambit is in it. I also remember writing numerous articles, like this one from last September, that had Gavin Hood talking in interviews extensively about the character of Wolverine. And I could tell that Gavin actually got it, he got the character and knew exactly what to do with him in a solo movie. But since he's started shooting, we've haven't heard a thing from Hood. Coincidence?
As cheerful as Hugh Jackman seemed at Comic-Con last month, we just know there are some power struggles between Gavin Hood and Tom Rothman. I just hope someone like Jackman steps in to help figure out this mess, because he probably knows the character better than both Hood and Rothman. He is, in fact, producing the film as well. I really want X-Men Origins: Wolverine to be awesome, I want this movie to be the next best thing since The Dark Knight. A year ago, with Hood and Jackman both speaking out about the character and the film, I was confident that it would be fantastic. But now with this news and the somewhat disappointing footage from Comic-Con, I'm honestly concerned. Let's hope we don't see another drawn out power struggle like The Incredible Hulk or we might not get the Wolverine movie we all want to see.
Reader Feedback - 43 Comments
Goodness gracious, it's WOLVERINE. It'll be money in the bank regardless. How much concern can Fox possibly have of its financial success? Isn't it enough that they put the ridiculous "X-Men Origins" in the title to begin with? Hopefully they haven't been so busy ruining film potential as to not have witnessed the success of the The Dark Knight, a movie driven by the director's full creative control (but you all know that.) Fox's judgment is questionable in all fields of entertainment and news anyway (but you all know that, too.)
Frame on Aug 20, 2008
Making a gritty movie bright and beautiful for the kiddies is a bad move. Its unnecessary if the film has a great script. Case and point: Batman Begins and The Dark Knight.
Film-Book dot Com on Aug 20, 2008
...and there is laughter coming from the Burbank offices of Warner Bros....
Roy on Aug 20, 2008
......Do I smell karma in the air?...
Shanice on Aug 20, 2008
Someone needs to fire every executive at Fox. They have to ruin more moives that have great potentie than any ohter company. Greed drives them not good films.
Ripper on Aug 20, 2008
Didn't Fox learn shit from FANTASTIC 4 2????? I think Wolverine should be dark, but also have a somewhat friendly tone like the other X-MEN movies. I am not talking about DARK KNIGHT dark, but it should have those elements. Also, why the hell is Gavin Hood making this????
Ryan on Aug 20, 2008
Could it be the difference between a more family-friendly version, and something like "The Dark Knight," which I couldn't take my children to see? My son loves the X-Men movies, but he's only 8. If the studio is interfering in order to make it a little less scary and dark, I'm all for it. Sorry, but I am. Although I hear The Dark Knight was *fabulous*...I wish someone had thought how to make a fabulous movie for both kids and adults. Spiderman managed to do it. In fact, they made an effort to do that, and it was really a great film (as was Spiderman 2...Spiderman 3, well, not as great, but still entertaning). As long as they don't do another X-Men 3, I'm sure it will be great.
Movie Lover on Aug 20, 2008
Any attempt to make wolverine pg-13 and tame is going to suck. He has giant knives on his hand...he is just going to bloodlessly stab someone? Make it rated R.
Kyle A. Koyote on Aug 20, 2008
Did anyone see the trailer yet? Someone got a camera into there, recorded it at Comic-Con and leaked it on the web. I think it got pulled, though. Anyway, it looks pretty damn cool. And I didn't see any tight black leather suits, so two thumbs.
JL on Aug 20, 2008
@7: Here's a thought - not every movie is made for frack'in kids! I have kids. I take them to see Shrek. I don't let them watch LOTR. Our generation grew up. And now we are ready for adult situations and scenarios for characters we loved before. I don't need another frack'n Jar Jar in my movies just so I can take the kiddies without the wife complaining. Make Origins the next best thing since Descent. The character is dark. He started off dark in the first movie. He is not a nice guy in most of the comics. Studios need to get their heads out of their a$$ and understand who is buying the tickets.
grendel on Aug 20, 2008
Let's not freak out! This is yet another publicity stunt. Logically, "Wolverine" can not be turned into a kids movie. I'm sure Fox is well aware of the figures the dark X-Men trilogy pulled in and how "Dark Knight's" darkness has made that film the highest grossing comic book film ever! Publicity people, Publicity! Props to the marketing department!
Pickle on Aug 20, 2008
Fox executives... they are too nosy and destroy creative work. Not only in movies, but they also canceled two of my favorite tv shows: Arrested Development and Firefly. sigh.
Samm on Aug 20, 2008
And now a break for Alex, WB PR man.... Alex lay off Fox. You hear rumors and color them the big stupid Fox colour right away. This is a rumor told by someone who heard something about someone who has an opinion of which one of the executive or the Director has the better version. This will be a PG13 kiddy BS just like the rest of the X Men and with that absolute trash director they chose to film it to begn with, they will never be able to get it right, so get off the Fox bashing mood. Wolverine is a badass character, you got that right, but no mainstream or trash director will ever give it justice. James Cameron , Tarantino, Ridley Scott, Michael Mann etc, guys who know how to make gritty and bloody box office hits whithout setting the ridiculous PG13 stamp, could have done it right. Gavin Hood never will. PS. Just for the record, I dislike Fox.
Shige on Aug 20, 2008
I can't see how the character of Wolverine can sustain a very interesting feature film. There just not enough substance to the guy!
entertainmenttodayandbeyond.com on Aug 20, 2008
dude, fox is not the power studio they use to be... they've been on a downslide for a long time now and now that they actually have a shot to redeem themselves.... they want to mess it up by taking control? haven't they clearly saw how bad that's worked out for them recently? they should just let the director do their thing and hope for a great final product. the biggest hit they've had if anything lately is What happens in vegas. i'm also sick and tired of these tug-of-wars going on between the studio and the director. what the hell's the matter with these guys? aren't you supposed to hire a director to bring the vision of a script to life? not to take control once they've actually finished shooting or mid-way. i seriously cant wait to see how the incredible hulk's extended cut will differ from the theatrical cut especially how it's coming in THREE DISCS. this studio and director war thats been going on lately between numerous movies blows, enough said.
john on Aug 20, 2008
i hope gavin hood gets his way because the incredible hulk was a bit disappointing with the studio taking over the project. Oh , the footage at comic - con was badass, but too much of explosions, that was kind of annoying.
Darrin on Aug 20, 2008
I knew my comments would spark some anger. I'm not asking for a G rating or even a PG rating. But PG-13 can be plenty dark, plenty scary...uh, X-Men was PG-13 and had wolverine in it, and I don't remember people complaining that it wasn't good enough. The Dark Knight was PG-13, but a little too dark and scary from what I've heard, so I stayed away until I can watch it on DVD. My kids can handle most PG-13...it's the sex and over-the-top gore that comes with R, plus more swearing that I wouldn't expose my kids to. As for who buys the tickets? I think just as many parents with their pre-teen and teen kids buy tickets as single, adult males. Sorry.
Movie Lover on Aug 20, 2008
How short their memories are in Hollywood. Tom Rothman needs only to look back to what Warner Bro. did to Batman know he should butt out. They killed the franchise (well, put it in a coma anyway) and almost the whole superhero genre. Let the director make his movie!
rick on Aug 20, 2008
And aren't *you* kind of selfish for demanding it be as R-rated as possible? The studio needs to make money in order to survive, so they are definitely interested in selling the most tickets. Sorry if that means watered down fare for you. It's a business... I don't remember groaning during Spiderman 1 & 2 or X-Men 1 & 2...not sure where that comment came from. Clearly, you want everything to be as gore, sex, and swear-riddled as possible. That's fine. But your taste is different from others...and there's nothing wrong with having different taste or wishing a film would be more inclusive of its teen and pre-teen fans. Personally, I also like to watch some non-R rated stuff (sans children). Because sometimes when they make a film R-rated they stick crap in there just for the sake of having it in there even when it doesn't support the storyline.
Movie Lover on Aug 20, 2008
The Superman Reboot. Nolans Batman reboot X-Men, etc were dumbed dowd chopped down and rated down to fit the whole clueless teenage moneymaking machine. Movie Lover, if you have read the comics or know anything about the real story behind the characters you watched you would know it is nothing but a god damn pathetic way to milk cash out of the established franchise from the new generation of teenagers. (this includes TDK which is as far from Batman as you can go) The only PG 13 movies that were somewhat true to the comics are the Spiderman 1 and 2 and Daredevil Directors cut (I repeat here, directors cut not the dumbed down version you saw in theaters)
Shige on Aug 20, 2008
Disappointing footage Alex are you serious? That leaked trailer that was shown online, the one you didn't write like more then a paragraph about was about the coolest damn thing I saw of all the Comicon stuff Ive seen and my most highly anticipated movie at the moment. I'm not sure whats up dude you need to take the blinders off or something, anyway, wtf HULK was good, the worst thing I thought was the villain fight it was kinda cheesy and I don't think that the director could have made that look better, so for the tone I still think it wouldn't have made much of a difference so the whole fuss about it probably is just power struggles for ego.
Richard on Aug 20, 2008
Dude, Movie Lover, not every superhero is Spider-Man. Not every character is a wise-cracking, light-as-day, colorful costumed guy. There are dark ones, there are light ones. Therefore, their movies should fit the feel that is portrayed in the comic books. A movie with Wolvie joking at every punch or getting the girl at the end would just be dumb. A movie with Spidey's girlfriend getting killed, and a Green Goblin that stabs a guy in the eye with a pencil would be too much. There is a time and a place. And not everything needs to be a dumbed down version of what it should be. It's not about taste, it's about what it is. It's more selfish to want stuff dumbed down just so kids can watch it, changing the original material, than to expect (or demand) the material to be kept untouched, even if kids can watch it.
Alfredo on Aug 20, 2008
I meant: even if kids CAN'T watch it... sorry
Alfredo on Aug 20, 2008
The problem nowadays is that children are being chained to a leash about everything, so when they grow up they go crazy and do all sorts of stupid things. I grew up reading X-Men and watching movies like Robocop when I was only 10 or so and I turned out ok :P. I honestly see this problem happening in this country, because in other parts of the world people don't make a huge fuzz about things like these. And there's no way Wolverine can be compared with Spider-Man. I love both heroes, but they are completely different from each other so you will get 2 different types of movies. There's really no need for the movie to be rated R, but it shouldn't be toned down just so the studio can make more money, the movie will make millions anyways with so many Wolverine fans out there.
Diego on Aug 20, 2008
Fox is the worst seriously. Can't they take the hint? X Men 3 sucked because they messed with it, and Fantastic Four bombed because they wanted to make the movie they wanted and not what the artists wanted. Now this? Jesus Christ Fox.
Darunia on Aug 20, 2008
Movie Lover, You're being kind of selfish asking Hollywood to tone everything down just so your kids can enjoy it. Don't you think they could tough it out for a few years until they're old enough to enjoy a darker movie as opposed to having it permanently "kid-friendly" (which just means that people without kids are going to roll their eyes and groan while watching it). Considering there are hundreds of Batman cartoons to choose from that were made for your child, you shouldn't be upset that "Dark Knight" is for the PG-13 crowd.
Jason Schueppert on Aug 20, 2008
Whoa, I never said make them as 'R' rated as possible. My opinion is that the director and writers should be able to make the pictures they envision without parents interference. It's not your place to dictate change. Write your own movie, don't meddle in other people's properties.
Jason Schueppert on Aug 20, 2008
I still from the first day think they should have cast Mel Gibson as Wolverine, he would have been bad ass, especially since Magneto is Jewish.
HOLY SHT on Aug 20, 2008
Alfredo on Aug 20, 2008
BinYe East on Aug 20, 2008
FINALLY, you guys took the time to squeeze in some news about Wolverine in between the thousand Watchmen articles on this website!! I can't wait for Logan to go solo.
Daas on Aug 20, 2008
vu on Aug 20, 2008
I agree with *Jason Schueppert* and *Alfredo*. Movie Lover, it's not about demanding that the movie be "as gore, sex, and swear-riddled as possible." It's about demanding that they stay true to the nature that is the character of Wolverine. The character was written a certain way, with its faults and complexities and dark background, and that is the way it should be presented on the film, not be changed to fit a standard that is suitable for children to watch. *Alfredo* has it right when he says that "not ever superhero is Spider-Man." There those out there that are much darker and if there is a movie to be made about them, the fans deserve their stories to be faithfully told and not turned into cheesy, kid-friendly versions. "The Dark Knight" is phenomenal the way it is BECAUSE it's not kid-friendly. And to be quite honest, all special effects and violence aside, even if I knew that my kid was a huge Batman fan I wouldn't take him/her to go see the movie for the simple fact that they wouldn't understand the concept of who Batman is beyond the black costume. A cheesy, one-dimensional portrayal may be somewhat acceptable for some superheros (because, really, no superhero is ever truly one-dimensional but there are those whose stories are much less complex than others), but it certainly does not for others such as Batman and Wolverine.
Hazel on Aug 20, 2008
God first they screw up what could have been an amazing Spider-man 3 and it seems like they haven't learned from there mistakes, why cant they just leave it the way the director wants to do it why do they have to meddle with shit they dont understand im getting sick and tired of sony and there constant meddling. If they get a hold of Watchmen and Fuck that movie up then so help me god!
Curits on Aug 20, 2008
Can Wolverines knife hand stop Spidey from shotting web all over the god damn place? They should put that in the movie as a joke. Spidey attempts to shot web and Wolverine stops it with his bowie knife. Then Magnet comes out and throws Wolverine into Spidey and it makes the same sound when Mario dies from Super Mario Brother 2 (which in turn is the same sound effect as when Mario dies in Super Mario Brothers 3). Super Mario is a mutant or moreso his costume is a mutant. He changes pending whether he eats a mushroom, fly trap plant, or a feather.
Badass on Aug 21, 2008
#29 Love that idea, I also thought that Bruce Willis would've made a really good Wolverine too, but that was 10yrs ago.... not to take away anything from Jackman, he's still does a good Wolverine.
Omega728 on Aug 21, 2008
Hey guess what y'all, you don't know what it's REALLY like to be a parent until you got kids, so dont tell the parents that it's ok to take them to see The Dark Knight when it might not be. I'm an uncle of three very lovable kids, now these kids are tough, and they've even seen Kill Bill, the oldest is 11, the middle is 8, and the youngest is 5. Would I take them to see The Dark Knight? Maybe the oldest, but not the younger ones. Why? It's too fucking scary! I was fucking scared when I saw the joker pull off that magic trick! Kill Bill was silly action that kids arent gonna take seriously, I mean they were a lot younger when they saw it and they weren't scared but they wanted to make sure "the lady liked kids and wouldnt hurt them" and they understood it when my sister told them that the men she was killing were bad men and they went to sleep that night without a single thought about it. But the Joker? He was scary, even to me. So I wouldn't take the younger kids to see that. Now I'm not saying dumb down a movie to make it family friendly, I'm against that, but they shouldn't market these movies to kids when they obviously AREN'T for kids. So there wasn't any blood in The Dark Knight, blood isn't scary, it's what happens to SPILL that blood that's scary, and there was enough of that in The Dark Knight.
Kail on Aug 21, 2008
when is hollywood going to learn that changing a character or script or even set to "reach the widest demographic" will really only offend the widest demographic? Every time that we get into the later pieces in a series the suits who work for the studio but don't know a thing about making a movie come in with their complex formulas for the perfect movie and almost invariably we get Spider Man 3, AVP2, and Jar Jar Binks (thanks for that Lucas) I understand that the directors and writers can't be given complete free reign over the movie because it is the studio's money and they are investing it to make more, but I just think that if they would view this as more of an art form and less of a mathimatical equation in the long run they would make more of those profits they like so much. HIT MOVIE FRANCHISE PLUS CHILD SIDEKICK DOES NOT EQUAL BIGGER HIT SEQUAL
kiran on Aug 21, 2008
I'm sorry, but I as an X-Men and Wolverine fan want a real Wolverine movie and not some kind of Disney-Wolverine. The comics are made for teens and for adults and not for little kids!! So the movie should be darka dn have a real Wolvie feeling to it and not some kind of cut-version-Disney-friendly-Wolverine, which will piss off all the real fans again and destroy the franchise.
Dan on Aug 22, 2008
Personally, I'd prefer Wolverine in the X-men movies rather than a stand-alone film. If it works, I'm all for it but upon hearing the news that dickface CEO want's to "Disney" it for his own purposes is just plain stupid. Why can't FOX (the by-product of network TV) take notice of The Dark Knight and Iron Man? Can't they realize those two films did so well because of complete creative control from the director? Marvel has had many hits and misses (Hulk, Ghost Rider, FF1&2, Spidey 3, don't get me started on X3) but TDK did TREMENDOUSLY well at the box-office with it's dark, gritty story with Bale and Heath Ledger 's(RIP) performance as the Joker as well as it's themes of escalation and crossing the line between Hero and Vigilante. If there's one thing I learned is that "Creative Interference" has plagued many movies with potential to be blockbusters; AVP1 and 2, Die Hard 4 were all victims of it because FOX is to chicken shit to produce movies that tackle the dark aspects of humanity (with the exception of Wolverine) and above all, too mentally geared towards marketing and profit rather than creativity and ingenuity. That's my 2 cents.
DarkGrittyMovieLover on Aug 24, 2008
HaHahaha, like i just did a thesis paper for my journalism studies in movies. Hollywood is run and controlled by that specific race, which was so profoundly stated in Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice. Though not all of them are like 'Money Thirsthing Execs', but many of these type of execs exist in FOX. Marvel had movie flops like HULK, FF1 & 2, Spidey3 and X-men 3, because Marvel didn't have much creative control over those movies. But with their new deal with Paramount, upcoming Marvel movies are gonna kick ass .... big time. Marvel should take back their movie rights from Fox & Sony and then the fans can seat back and watch 'real, great comic book movies'. When a studio controls at least 50% creative rights, comic book canon are all thrown out of the window. Now, I beilieve I'll only watch MARVEL movies that are made and produced by themselves, through Paramount.
Shawn Gregory on Aug 25, 2008
Just throwing this out there. When I went to see TDK (no lie) there was like, an eight year old girl sitting in front of me laughing hysterically at the movie. I was a little disconcerted. Why did her mom have her there watching a movie that was clearly not age appropriate? And more importantly what kind of little freak was this child? The other X-men movies were cool for kids (well for the most part). But that was when the Xmen team, a much more family friendly aspect of the story, was the focus of the movie. This movie is about Wolverine’s dark past that we heard so much about in the other movies. While I don’t think this should be just the same as TDK and should probably be a lot less twisted, it is still about the aforementioned “dark past” so I think it is a given that it will be pg13 though I seriously doubt it will be rated R. At any rate I am looking forward to seeing Gambit
BlueM on Sep 18, 2008
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