Industry legend Richard Donner and his wife, super producer Lauren Shuler Donner, were present on the red carpet for the Saturn Awards last week to take some questions about popular projects they have been apart of and may be moving forward with.
The more interesting topics covered are the ones we'll discuss here: updates on X-Men: First Class and Deadpool. The interview comes from Steve at Collider who also managed to get Donner to talk about Wonder Woman, a film she admits she's campaigning to produce for Warner Bros.
X-Men: First Class
X-Men: First Class is the first X-Project on Fox's plate and it's being fast-tracked for summer release next year as a Fox tentpole feature. As we already know, casting is underway with Michael Fassbender and James McAvoy signing on to play Magneto and Professor X respectively.
While production was previously rumored to start this month or in July, Lauren Shuler Donner now says production will begin in August. Producer Bryan Singer (previously attached to direct) and director Matthew Vaughn (who was originally Singer's replacement for X-Men 3) have a lot of work to do with casting to fill out the X-Men roster and the rest of the supporting cast.
Donner is excited to have Singer back and although he can't be involved on set daily - as he would if he were able to direct as originally planned - she's happy to have him back in the loop and involved in the creative process. I think most fans are happy about this too.
An interesting point was brought up about Matthew Vaughn, who we know is not a fan of studio interference (hence the independently produced and financed Kick-Ass). When asked how Vaughn is adjusting to working with Fox, a studio famous for interfering with the X-Men films, Donner evades and just says he's doing "fine" and regarding Fox being more hands-off with First Class, Donner says they're "partners." Touchy subjects.
The last point on the the topic of X-Men: First Class is that we'll be (unsurprisingly) hearing about more casting announcements soon. They'll be shooting in London in studio and on location, attempting to shoot a lot of the film practically.
X-Men Origins: Deadpool
Not much came from Lauren Shuler Donner's words on Deadpool other than the good news that Ryan Reynolds is still intimately involved with the project and is keeping in touch with the writers, despite his increasingly busy schedule now that he's also playing Green Lantern for Warner Bros. and has multiple other projects in development.
While there's nothing concrete yet on scheduling or who's helming the project, Donner says they hope to get working on it next year, which means we'd likely be seeing Deadpool in theaters in 2012, possibly sharing the summer season with Wolverine 2.
On the director front, star Ryan Reynolds half-jokingly shared his interest in having Quentin Tarantino helm the Deadpool movie months ago but according to a recent report, an offer went out to Robert Rodriguez, a perfect substitute for Tarantino. We don't know if the offer's been accepted, but if he does sign up, we can expect big things from this project knowing that Reynolds is starring and that Zombieland writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick are penning the Deadpool script.
Stepping outside of her normal lineup of comic book movies, Donner also revealed in the red carpet interview that she's "campaigning" to produce Wonder Woman and has definitely been in direct communication with DC and Warner Bros. about the property. She points out that Warner Bros. isn't interested in the film, but that in her mind such a project could work.
"She's the greatest character. She's right up there with Superman and Batman, the three of them. I want to producer on of them."
She has a couple of current younger actresses (in their twenties to support a franchise) who she thinks could play the part, but wouldn't list any. How could a project - which appears difficult to translate into a serious live-action film - be done?
"Okay, look. She's a goddess and a superhero. I mean, how great is that. You need to stay close to the myth, but the studio I know wants to make it accessible (i.e. somewhat contemporary) and I think there's a way to do that."
X-Men: First Class and Deadpool finally give us something to look forward to from the X-Men film universe, and while I've been fooled twice now (well, one and a half - I expected the Wolverine flick to be disappointing), I'm still willing to give the franchise a chance now that Bryan Singer is back in a position of authority on the project. More importantly, Matthew "take no crap" Vaughn is helming the project after showing no fear about quitting the doomed X3: The Last Stand, so we can certainly give him the benefit of the doubt after Kick-Ass turned out to be a hit.
As for Wonder Woman, we're still anxiously waiting to see what DC Entertainment is planning to do next on the film front. We know Superman and Batman 3 are finally in the works for a 2012 release and we expect news on The Flash and Justice League at Comic-Con in a few weeks.
What do you think about Deadpool, X-Men: First Class and the potential of a Donner-producer Wonder Woman?
X-Men: First Class opens June 3, 2011 and Deadpool is likely to release sometime in 2012.