Mike Fleming

DBE-003563EXCLUSIVE: Things are back on with Matthew Vaughn and 20th Century Fox on X-Men: First Class. A deal is being negotiated right now. That’s where I told you this was headed last week, until both sides confirmed that the deal hit the rocks last Thursday. Fox, having gone far down the road with the Kick-Ass director on X-Men: Last Stand, had put together a killer list of alternative directors for the job. Several were interviewed, but then others were cancelled after Vaughn came back into the picture this morning. Now, I hear the studio is working with his WME reps to close the deal. Great choice, I say.

Fox will put the film into production by late summer or early fall, with Bryan Singer, Lauren Shuler Donner and Simon Kinberg producing. Vaughn began his career producing Guy Ritchie’s early films, and then turned heads when he directed the Daniel Craig gangster pic Layer Cake. His followup, Stardust, wasn’t a hit but that and Kick-Ass were interesting films. Before talks hit the rocks late last week, Vaughn had developed a creative partnership with original X-Men director Bryan Singer, who hatched an origin story that he was going to direct until Warner Bros locked him in for Jack The Giant Killer and Fox couldn’t wait. The film has undergone a late stage rewrite by Ashley Miller & Zack Stentz, the duo that did the same thing on another marvel property, Thor. Singer will produce with Lauren Shuler Donner and Simon Kinberg.

Of the directors who were being considered when Vaughn bowed out, I’m told that Clash of the Titans director Louis Leterrier had made a strong impression, and the studio was meeting with Samuel Bayer, Timur Bekmambetov, Daniel Espinosa, David Slade and Carl Erick Rinsch, when Vaughn began negotiating for the job and Fox began canceling meetings.

With Kick-Ass Helmer X’d Out, Fox Zeroes In On Filmmakers For ‘X-Men: First Class’