Story by: Jack Foley
FANS of the X-Men cinema franchise
will be biting their Wolverine-claws with trepidation, following
news that director, Bryan Singer, has jumped ship, in order to
tackle the new film version of Superman.
News of Singer’s departure was announced by Warner Brothers
on Monday (July 19, 2004), throwing a massive doubt over the future
of the X-Men franchise, owned by rival distributors, Twentieth
The Superman movie will mark a dream come true for Singer, given
that the central character is said to have inspired his work on
In an interview with the Hollywood Reporter, he is quoted as
saying: "I feel that Superman has been late in his return
and it is time for him to fly again."
Singer will replace Charlie’s
Angels director, McG, who reportedly parted company with the
project following a dispute over the film’s budget.
But given the troubled history of the Superman project - during
which several directors and stars have been attached - Warner
Bros will be delighted to have secured the talents of Singer,
who delivered the X-Men franchise with such spellbinding effect.
Of the previous names to have been linked to Superman, directors
Tim Burton (Batman) and Brett Ratner (Rush
Hour/Red Dragon) had been
touted, while stars such as Nicolas Cage, Jude Law and Josh Hartnett
have all been tipped to play the super-hero.
Director McG - real name, Joseph
McGinty Nicol - is reported to have fallen out with Warners over
the choice of casting, location and budget. It is believed the
studio wanted to shoot in Australia, while McG favoured New York.
But while Singer’s arrival onto the Superman project is
likely to delight fans of the DC hero, it is likely to leave Marvel’s
X-Men followers in despair.
Plans for the third film in the series had been looking good,
based on the success of the second film, but Singer’s absence
could open the floodgate for the departure of several of the franchise’s
Hugh Jackman and Sir Ian McKellen are reportedly only contracted
for two films, and may now pause to see what happens before committing
to a third, while pay demands of stars such as Halle Berry could
also mean that the producers cut names in order to contain the
Jackman’s friendship with Singer has also led to speculation
that he could walk straight into the Superman franchise, especially
since Van Helsing failed to turn into the money-spinner that it
had initially planned to become.
Fox, though, will be keen to ensure that the X-Men franchise
is not abandoned completely, even though the initial release date
for the third film may have to be put back while suitable replacements
(if any) are found.