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Darren Aronofsky Being Pursued By Warner Bros. And Disney For 'Moses' & 'Maleficent'?

Photo of Cory Everett By Cory Everett | @modage May 21, 2011 at 10:38AM

After spending a decade scraping together financing on his films (only working with a major studio once on his passion project "The Fountain"), it seems like suddenly everybody wants to be in the Darren Aronofsky business. We guess that happens when your $13 million-budgeted ballet thriller goes on to make over $100 million dollars and wins an Oscar for its leading lady, despite, as the director has noted, every major studio passing on the film and financing being raised independently. Fox thought they'd get first crack at some of that Aronofsky "edge" giving him a 2-year development deal and hiring him to take on "The Wolverine," a standalone tale that was to take place largely in Japan and repair the damage caused by 2009's franchise killer "X-Men Origins: Wolverine." Unfortunately for them (and fans of the character), Aronofsky dropped out of the project shortly before filming when he realized he would be away from his family for nearly a year.
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After spending a decade scraping together financing on his films (only working with a major studio once on his passion project "The Fountain"), it seems like suddenly everybody wants to be in the Darren Aronofsky business. We guess that happens when your $13 million-budgeted ballet thriller goes on to make over $100 million dollars and wins an Oscar for its leading lady, despite, as the director has noted, every major studio passing on the film and financing being raised independently. Fox thought they'd get first crack at some of that Aronofsky "edge" giving him a 2-year development deal and hiring him to take on "The Wolverine," a standalone tale that was to take place largely in Japan and repair the damage caused by 2009's franchise killer "X-Men Origins: Wolverine." Unfortunately for them (and fans of the character), Aronofsky dropped out of the project shortly before filming when he realized he would be away from his family for nearly a year.

A few weeks ago it was reported that he was eyeing a script called "Human Nature" to star George Clooney as "a man who is cryogenically frozen and wakes up years later to a world in which humans have become pets of another species.” Our interest was piqued until we learned that it was being produced by Oscar-winning "Batman & Robin" scribe Akiva Goldsman, but it seems like that's not the only project Aronofsky is being courted for. Badass Digest reports that the director is apparently being sought by both Disney and Warner Bros. (where 'Nature' is set up) for two of their noteworthy projects. It seems that Disney has the director in mind to fill the recently departed Tim Burton's shoes on their Angelina Jolie-starring dark fairytale "Maleficent" and Warners has him in mind for their religious epic "Moses."

While each studio is probably looking at a number of directors for each film, it's hard to imagine Aronofsky taking on either of these projects. Fairy tale reimaginings may be all the rage these days but we're pretty sure the director didn't leave "The Wolverine" to start picking up Tim Burton's leftovers. On the other hand, Warner Bros' "Moses" is one of two projects about the figure currently in development, the other one set up at Fox (yikes). The picture would focus on the Exodus, with Moses leading the Jews out of Egypt and many are presuming that because Aronofsky has been trying to get his own religious epic "Noah" off the ground, the director might be inclined to settle for "Moses" instead. But, frankly, we don't really see this one happening either. While we're sure Francis Lawrence or McG or somebody will make fine work out of both these studio pictures, we're holding out hope that Aronofsky is a director who chooses his projects a little more carefully.

Moreover, it was widely suggested at the time he bounced from "The Wolverine" that the success of "Black Swan" put him in a unique position in his career to strike while the iron is hot on a more personal project. He no longer needed the validation or the open doors that a studio project would bring as much had changed in the roughly eight months since he had signed on. Let's just hope that this report isn't a sign that the director -- who has proven he can bring in mega bucks with an original idea on a minimal budget -- is still struggling to get money together for whatever he wants to cook up.

So um, Megan Ellison, if you're reading this, please help our buddy Darren make whatever he wants next. Thanks.

Love,
The Playlist Staff

This article is related to: Films, Film Studios, Fairy Tale Films, Warner Bros, Maleficent


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