In March, just as Darren Aronofsky's "Black Swan" had crossed the $100 million mark domestically on its way to a superhero flick-like $310 million global haul, the director ditched his plans to helm an actual comic book film.
In announcing his plans to depart the Hugh Jackman-starring "The Wolverine," Aronofsky cited the project's lengthy production schedule and said, "I was not comfortable being away from my family for that length of time." Ever since, "Wolverine" has been wandering in the swirling winds of online rumors, as the likes of David Slade ("New Moon") and Duncan Jones ("The Source Code") were said to have interest in taking on helming duties.
Now, according to Variety, Fox has narrowed the directorial search to eight candidates: José Padilha ("Elite Squad 1"), Doug Liman ("Mr. and Mrs. Smith"), Antoine Fuqua ("Training Day"), Mark Romanek ("Never Let Me Go"), Justin Lin ("Fast Five"), Gavin O'Connor (the forthcoming "Warrior"), James Mangold ("Knight and Day") and Gary Shore (a director of commercials and a 'Wolverine' short film).
As Variety points out, the studio is targeting a diverse group of directors, from ones with blockbuster experience (Liman, Lin, Mangold) to music video skills (Romanek) to relatively untested talents (Shore). That's hardly a surprise. Aronofsky, after all, had been known as more of an art-house darling than a director ready — and interested — in taking on more commercial fare.
Although Fox is pushing forward with "Wolverine," the project still has many question marks clouding its future. The film is said to take place largely in Japan, and the recent earthquakes there have reportedly disrupted plans to shoot on location.
"Fox is very anxious to make the movie and we're moving ahead full steam to find another director," Jackman said in March. "We need to find another director and once we've found that, we'll be able to know."
Who would you like to see at the helm of "Wolverine"? Tell us in the comments!
For breaking news and previews of the latest comic book movies — updated around the clock — visit SplashPage.MTV.com.