THR reports that Darren Aronofsky has left the director's chair for 'Wolverine.' Last fall, it was reported that the film was gearing up to start shooting next month for a 2012 release, but we'd wager both of those dates are now up in the air. With shooting expected to take a full year, including on location work in Japan, Aronofsky -- who recently split with longtime partner Rachel Weisz -- cited the distance and time from home (and most notably, his son) as a factor.
"As I talked more about the film with my collaborators at Fox, it became clear that the production of 'The Wolverine' would keep me out of the country for almost a year,” Aronofsky said in a joint statement with Fox. While it may comes as a bit of a surprise, the director was wary about being away for so long from the start. Last fall, it was said the film would shoot largely in New York so he could be close to be home, but clearly, that won't be happening.
A number of names cropped up last year for the director's chair including Slade, Matt Reeves (Jackman and 20th Century Fox, pay attention, he would be a great choice!) and Robert Schwentke (who has since committed to "R.I.P.D." which is likely to shoot this summer). But this is a big blow to the film on a number of levels, but foremost, finding someone with both geek and critical cachet like Aronofsky to take over will be an exceedingly difficult task. Expect a host of names to start circling soon as the studio "aggressively" finds a replacement.