Bryan Singer’s X-Men is arguably the film that revitalized the superhero genre in Hollywood, after Joel Schumacher all but destroyed it with Batman & Robin. But we almost got a very, very different X-Men film many years prior.
Chris Claremont – probably the most renowned X-Men writer ever, having written everything from “The Phoenix Saga” to “Days of Future Past” – recently reflected on the potential X-Men film from way back when – the one produced by James Cameron (Avatar), directed by Kathryn Bigelow (The Hurt Locker), and starring Bob Hoskins (Who Framed Roger Rabbit) as Wolverine and Angela Bassett (Waiting to Exhale) as Storm.
Courtesy of The Wrap, Claremont said:
“James Cameron, Bob Hoskins, Angela Bassett — ahhh. Fanboy heaven. I would have been happy as a clam.”
Claremont recalled seeing Hoskins in Lassiter – you know, the action-adventure film set in the 1930s that Tom Selleck made when he lost his chance to play Indiana Jones – and believing that he would be perfect for the role in Wolverine.
While this may come as a shock to those who are more accustomed to Hugh Jackman as Wolverine or even the taller, thinner Wolverine of modern-day comic books, the version of the character that Claremont worked with was hairy, stocky, and short; in other words, he looked exactly like a 1980s Bob Hoskins (give or take a few pounds and some hair on top).
Angela Bassett, of course, was a fan-favorite for playing Storm all the way through the 90s. In fact, after the “Do you know what happens when a toad gets struck by lightning?” debacle of the first film, many a fan wanted Bassett to replace Halle Berry in the sequel. Instead, Bryan Singer just gave Berry a better wig.
“Just think about this for a minute: James Cameron’s X-Men. Directed by Kathryn Bigelow. That’s what we were playing.”
It certainly would’ve been an interesting experience. An X-Men film without a movie called The Matrix to influence it? Sign this Screen Rant writer up. But what, pray tell, happened to torpedo such a potentially excellent vision of superpowered mutants?
“So we’re chatting. And at one point, Stan [Lee] looks at Cameron and says, ‘I hear you like Spider-Man.’ Cameron’s eyes lit up.”
“And they start talking. And talking. And talking. About 20 minutes later, all the Lightstorm guys and I are looking at each other, and we all know the X-Men deal has just evaporated. Kathryn goes off and writes a screen treatment for X-Men that was eaten alive by all the idiots who have a piece of Spider-Man because Marvel during its evolution has sold off the rights time and time and time again. To Carolco. To Universal. To this, to that. To Fox. It was just a nightmare.”
Anybody who knows his/her Spider-Man film lore knows that the adaptation went through about fifteen different hands and iterations before it finally wound up on the screen starring Toby Maguire. However, one of the details from Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man that carried over from James Cameron’s treatment was the organic webshooters.
It’s too bad we didn’t get to see the outcome of this X-Men film, but then, that’s how I feel about most superhero films that never come to fruition — even the ones that would’ve undoubtedly been abysmal, like Green Lantern starring Jack Black.
What do you guys think? Are you bummed you never got the chance to see Bob Hoskins as Wolverine and Angela Bassett as Storm? Let us know in the comments.
Follow me on Twitter @benandrewmoore.
Source: The Wrap