After well over a year of rumor and hearsay, Twentieth Century Fox have revealed Wolverine will be helmed by Academy Award-winning director Gavin Hood. Set for a late 2008 release and written by Troy screenwriter David Benioff, the X-Men spin-off will delve into the origin of the character - played for a fourth time by Hugh Jackman - and combine accepted comic book lore with more recent takes by Frank Miller.
Continuing what seems to be an ongoing trend among comic book adaptations, the studio's decision to hand the job over to the South African director of Tsotsi may come as a surprise to many fans. After all, Brett Ratner had been rumored to take the reigns once more following his success with X-Men: The Last Stand, while Underworld director Len Wiseman had reportedly expressed interest as well.
Fans of the mutant franchise may recall the initial shock over Fox's decision to have Bryan Singer direct the first X-Men film on the back of The Usual Suspects and Apt Pupil. Of course, Singer went on to become the director-of-choice for superhero films, departing the production hell of X3 to work on Superman Returns. Ang Lee was another left-field choice for Hulk, though the merits of that decision will be debated for years to come.
Speaking in favor of Gavin Hood, Hugh Jackman - who will also produce the film - had this to say:
"I have long been a fan of Gavin's work and know he will make a masterful film with the character intensity and action beats the fans expect."
If you ask me, intense characters and rhythmic action certainly won't go astray after the relatively abysmal and emotionally clumsy third X-Men instalment, so I'm happy so long as Ratner steers clear of the project. Whether or not the film is as exciting and intelligent as Singer's contributions is yet to be seen. However - as someone reasonably indifferent towards the Wolverine character - I sure hope we get a few other cool mutants to avoid what could essentially be a sword-fighting/torture flick.
Then again, nothing could possibly disappoint me more than last year's 'effort'.