Oscar-winning writer Christopher McQuarrie returns to theaters this week as both writer and director of the Tom Cruise mystery/action flick, Jack Reacher. Superhero movie fans will also remember McQuarrie's name, as the Usual Suspects writer was at one point the screenwriter of Fox's 2013 summer tentpole, The Wolverine - before director Darren Aronofsky left the project and it ultimately landed in the lap of a different creative team.
While talking with McQuarrie at the Jack Reacher junket in New York, I learned that his desire to play in the X-Men movie universe didn't start and end with The Wolverine. In fact, he seems to have a much bigger plan in mind.
McQuarrie is friends with writer/director Bryan Singer; the pair worked together on The Usual Suspects, as well as the upcoming fantasy adventure film, Jack the Giant Slayer. With Singer back in the director's chair for the upcoming sequel X-Men: Days of Future Past, and McQuarrie's involvement with The Wolverine, I naturally had to ask if the two had swapped ideas - or even script re-writes - to better link The Wolverine with Days of Future Past, as part of shepherding Fox's burgeoning X-Men movie universe.
Here's what McQuarrie had to say:
You know, Bryan and I have talked about it a bunch of times - and in fact, right after I got back from shooting [Jack Reacher] I had a meeting with Tom Rothman - just a general meeting - and I said to Tom, 'You know what I'd really love to do, is I'd really love to flesh out the X-Men Universe for you. You have this great wealth of these Marvel characters, and the X-Men franchise has only focused on a small handful of them - there's many more.'
And I thought that it'd be really cool to create a 'bible' - you know, a series of outlines of interlocking movies where you could do kind of what they did with 'The Avengers,' where you're creating multiple movies that could come together as one movie here and there. And... you know... I never heard back [laughs].
But that would kinda be fun - to do something like that - where you could kind of become the curator for something like that.
Fox currently has Kick-Ass creator Mark Millar shepherding their X-Men/Fantastic Four movie universe, but it seems like a missed opportunity to not take McQuarrie up on his offer. His work with Bryan Singer has resulted in great filmmaking (Usual Suspects); he's a serious talent as a writer (The Wolverine, Valkyrie) and an emerging talent as a director (Way of the Gun, Jack Reacher). Even Wolverine star Hugh Jackman was praising McQuarrie's script for that film when we talked to him recently. Fox could definitely do worse.
Marvel has settled into having Avengers writer/director Joss Whedon plan the "Phase Two" arc of their cinematic universe; DC/Warner Bros. has so far benefited from keeping the same creative circle for the entirety of their Dark Knight Trilogy - the same team subsequently behind the story and script for their Superman reboot, Man of Steel. In other words: studios are getting acclimated to the new blueprint for building these shared movie universes - and having a writing talent chart the overall path seems to be a useful component in that machine. If Fox was to be a contender in that ring, they may want to call back the guy who received an Oscar for making a smart and thrilling ensemble film.
Which way would you like to see this situation go?
Stay tuned for more from our interview with McQuarrie, including what it's like directing a blockbuster film like Jack Reacher, and what his version of The Wolverine would've been like.
Jack Reacher will be in theaters on December 21, 2012.
The Wolverine releases on July 26, 2013 and X-Men: Days of Future Past hits theaters on July 18, 2014.