Saturday, October 17, 2009

Lauren Shuler Donner talks X-MEN franchise!


"Empire magazine recently got a chance to talk to X-Men franchise producer Lauren Shuler Donner, who shared some great bits about Wolverine 2, X-Men: First Class, Deadpool and X-Men Origins: Magneto.

Wolverine 2

'That's the furthest along of all the X-Men projects on the boil. It's actually the story we wanted to use for the first 'Wolverine' film, but [Fox head honcho] Tom Rothman preferred to set the character up with an origin story first. This movie will really focus on the relationship between Wolverine and Mariko, the daughter of a Japanese crime lord, and what happens to him in Japan. We're very fortunate to have a story mostly outlined for us [from the comic book arc co-written by Chris Claremont and Frank Miller]. And we wanted an A+ writer, so we want to Chris McQuarrie (Valkyrie, The Usual Suspects). He came in and has tightened the story and got really immersed in the whole thing - he's in Japan in his head! We want to make it authentic so I think it's very likely we'll be shooting in Japan. Also, by the way, we are looking to have the Japanese Fox executives involved in helping and counselling us, because it's a different culture and we don't want to portray the way they speak, dress and act in an inaccurate way. I think it's likely the characters will speak English rather than Japanese with subtitles. What's cool about this part of the saga is that Wolverine will be fighting in a different style to what we've seen before. Mariko's father has this stick-like weapon, so Wolverine will have to fight against that. There'll be samurai, ninja, katana blades, different forms of martial arts - mano-a-mano, extreme fighting. We're going to come up with a new style of fighting. It's going to be awesome.'

X-Men: First Class

''Harry Potter' is a bit of a role model for us, absolutely. But we want it to be like the recent, darker Potters. It should not be a kiddie movie - we're in the X-Men world so you can't suddenly change the tone. The First Class comics are really fun - they're funnier than any other comics I've read. Basically in each one the kids are fighting strange villains, sometimes it's aliens, sometimes it's monsters. I want to get a flavour of that world. Occasionally the kids will be in class, but more often they'll be off on adventures. Which Professor X isn't too happy about! There's nothing more interesting than a bad kid, and this is full of naughty children. Cyclops, for example - he's a tough kid that bobbed from foster home to foster home, until he ends up at the school and becomes the leader. There's also still an element of friction between the mutants and the outside world. Remember that this will be set way back before anyone knew mutants existed. Right now the script is not done -we're not where we want to be yet. We have to be careful that we don't tread on familiar territory, that people don't say, 'Oh, I've seen that, been there.' But (screenwriter) Josh Schwartz has a great young pulse and he's doing an amazing job bringing the characters to life. We want to make this a franchise, following these kids at the school, so the casting of the child actors will be all-important.'


'I want to ignore the version of Deadpool that we saw in Wolverine and just start over again. Reboot it. Because this guy talks, obviously, and to muzzle him would be insane. I don't see it as a problem that Ryan [Reynolds] is also playing Green Lantern. I mean, look at Harrison Ford - he was in Star Wars and Indiana Jones at the same time and everyone was fine with that. Green Lantern could not be more different to Wade Wilson. Green Lantern is a guy who finds a ring and is thrust into this world, much like Spider-Man. Wade Wilson is a guy who unfortunately gets cancer, and volunteers for a test that will give him healing powers. He is a bad ass, a wise-cracking mercenary, who will go out and kill anyone for money. But the thing about him is that, underneath it all, and he wouldn't want you to know this, sometimes he's not such a bad ass after all. Sometimes he does the right thing. It's going to be a dark, snarky, very funny movie. It's the hardest story to tell, I think. There's no clear cut villain - though you do have great baddies from the comic-books like Black Tom, Slayback, Blind Al and the Weasel. Blind Al is this blind woman in his house, who he abuses and mocks… it's terrible. But you find out that she was a convict who did something terrible and he saved her from execution. So he lets her live in his house and she looks after him, but they both torture each other. Anyway, there are good stories and we're figuring out which ones to incorporate. We're right in the thick of talking to writers right now, and hopefully by November we'll have decided who's going to do it. We need someone really imaginative because we want to do some really innovative, ambitious stuff. Ryan's mentioned this in an interview already but there are parts where he's going to break the fourth wall and talk directly to the audience in the cinema. We have to work out how to do that. I don't know that Fox will agree with all our decisions, but we'll see!'

X-Men Origins: Magneto

'David Goyer has written a brilliant script. It starts in the concentration camps and has Magneto coming out of there. But you know, I'm not sure that film is going to be made. The studio has a wealth of potential stories, and they have to stand back and decide which ones to make. And Magneto, I think, is at the back of the queue. Maybe it'll get made in five years - who knows? I can tell you that Ian McKellen won't be playing the character the whole way through. We used Lola technology in X-Men 3 to de-age Ian and Patrick for one scene, but it's very expensive. To do that for a two-hour movie would be prohibitive financially. And to find a younger actor to fill Ian's shoes, that's pretty daunting. It's not easy.'"

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