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.