Mike Fleming

Bryan Singer is getting his green light on Jack the Giant Killer, and he’s now figuring out who’ll climb the vine and slay the oversized villain. I’m told it has become the role that young actors are circling. I’ve also heard that Singer’s sweet on Aaron Johnson, who played the title role in Kick-Ass, and portrayed the young John Lennon in Nowhere Boy. Now, Johnson is hardly a lock; New Line is seeing a lot of other young actors as well. Production will begin this spring. The remake was developed by New Line as a dark re-telling of the Jack and the Beanstalk fable, with a script by Darren Lemke and Mark Bomback. Singer sparked to it when he was simultaneously developing X-Men: First Class to direct. When the Jack script needed work, though, Singer was momentarily tempted to do the X-Men project first. But Warner Bros, which once pulled Singer away from X-Men 3 to do Superman Returns when Fox took too long to close, wasn’t leaving the possibility for payback. Warner Bros locked Singer into a holding deal. Fox instead hired Matthew Vaughn, Johnson’s Kick-Ass helmer, to direct X-Men: First Class. Singer remains a producer. Jack required a lot of visual effects prep work, and while that was happening, New Line brought in Singer’s The Usual Suspects scribe Christopher McQuarrie. That scribe, who also whipped X-Men Origins: Wolverine 2 into another early 2011 production start–with Darren Aronofsky directing Hugh Jackman–brought Jack to where it needed to be in order to get the green light from financiers Warner Bros and Legendary Pictures. Neal Moritz and David Dobkin are producing.

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