EXCLUSIVE: Twentieth Century Fox has begun negotiations with James Mangold to return for another installment of The Wolverine, with Hugh Jackman bringing back his signature character with the razor sharp adamantium hooks. This comes after The Wolverine played very strongly overseas, enough to now sit as the second highest grossing X-Men film of all time. The film has grossed $413 million worldwide, with $132 million domestic and $280 million in international revenue.
RELATED: Comic-Con: Q&A With ‘The Wolverine’ Director James Mangold
Here’s where it is right now. Mangold is making a deal to write the treatment, with X-Men franchise matriarch Lauren Shuler Donner producing. The storyline is being kept under tight wraps. I think Mangold did a bang up job on his first superhero film. When I met him at Comic-Con San Diego, he said he tried to veer from the usual superhero formula–if hero doesn’t succeed, world is doomed–and instead make it a character-driven storyline. There were plenty of action pieces, samurai swordplay and reasons for Logan to work up that famous temper, but at its core the film worked because the stakes were subtler and the storytelling somehow more intimate. Mangold is repped by WME and Management 360, Jackman by WME.
Back when Darren Aronofsky stepped away from The Wolverine to direct Russell Crowe in the Biblical epic Noah, the emergence of James Mangold was something of a surprise. He’s an accomplished filmmaker, but his sweet spot is grounded characters with earthbound dilemmas in films from Walk The Line to Girl, Interrupted, Copland and 3:10 To Yuma. Just before he and Hugh Jackman unveiled a killer highlight reel as part of Fox’s Hall H panel, I sat down with Mangold to see why he related to Marvel Comics’ perennially pissed-off protagonist.
DEADLINE: You’ve directed actors like Reese Witherspoon, Joaquin Phoenix, Angelina Jolie and Sylvester Stallone to career performances, but with the possible exception of Knight & Day, your movies have always been very grounded in character and reality. What made you take the leap into the fantastical genre of superheroes?
JAMES MANGOLD: Several things appealed to me. The studio and the star were ready to do something different. This didn’t have to serve other films, we were operating off some perception of disappointment for the first film. To follow an act that tripped in some way gave us a lot of freedom. As for my own sensibility as a filmmaker, the opportunity I sensed was a chance to make a movie more like the comic books I’ve read and less like what I call comic book event movies. I’ve been a comic book fan since I was a kid, and they weren’t always about the fate of the world hanging in the balance. Every week, it was not about how a city, a continent or a universe will be destroyed if X doesn’t happen. That is unsustainable for the comic book writers. I think what is missing from a lot of comic book films reliant on peak battles is the angst, the character work, the things that as young people we related to. It was not infantile, but incredibly mature themes about life, death, betrayal, revenge, friendship, loyalty, parents, genetics, who we are and accepting ourselves for who we are. Those are themes in the comic books but the movies dabble in that but become about defeating a villain who’s intent on destroying the X that will occur unless Y happens to stop them. I was really interested in the idea of making a superhero film that purposely avoided putting the audience at risk. It seems all too often that comic book movies convey situations to the audience that, if the superhero doesn’t succeed, we’re all dead. I was trying to make a film that operated as a real drama, a real thriller, noir, Western or a real samurai film. Where you become invested in the heroes of the film worried about their interests, their needs, their safety, and not yours. Read More »
Amanda Seyfried is in negotiations to co-star alongside Reese Witherspoon in Three Little Words, which Witherspoon’s Walk The Line helmer James Mangold will direct. Lewis Colick and Michael Petroni wrote the script, an adaptation of the 2008 New York Times bestseller by Ashley Rhodes-Courter, about a … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: James Mangold’s next film will be the X-Men spinoff sequel The Wolverine with Hugh Jackman that 20th Century Fox will put in production next spring, but he has just come attached to direct City State, an Icelandic crime … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Producer Cathy Konrad and James Mangold’s Tree Line Films will partner with Tom Pollock and Ivan Reitman’s Montecito Picture Company on an adaptation of the Anne Fortier novel Juliet. They’ve set the project at Paramount for Mangold to direct, … Read More »
Bumble Ward, who halted her career as a personal publicist to take up creative writing in 2005, is in negotiations to head up film publicity at 20th Century Fox, I’m told. She would replace Carol Sewell and report to Oren … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: The studio says it never officially has given the sequel a production state date. Fox was looking at a Fall 2011 start date for the Christopher McQuarrie script for Wolverine 2 starring Hugh Jackman and directed by James Mangold. But now … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Welcome to the 1960s, Las Vegas style. CBS has put in development Ralph Lamb, a drama project set in the early ’60s from Goodfellas writer Nicholas Pileggi based on the true story of Ralph Lamb, a cowboy-turned-Las Vegas sheriff in the ’60s and ’70s. CBS TV Studios, which is producing the project, has assembled a formidable feature team. James Mangold (Walk the Line) is on board to direct. He will executive produce with his producing partner Cathy Konrad and another film producer, Arthur Sarkissian (Rush Hour). Pileggi will co-write the script with TV writer Greg Walker (Without a Trace). Pileggi originally developed the project as a movie at MGM with Sarkissian who got the rights back when MGM went through bankruptcy.
Ralph Lamb was Clark County’s longest-serving and most famous sheriff who was in charge for two decades — from 1961 to 1979. Known as the cowboy sheriff as he was often seen riding his horse, Lamb modernized the department, brought in a modern crime lab, assembled the city’s first SWAT team and oversaw the merger of the Las Vegas and the county law enforcement agencies into the Metropolitan Police Department. But he was probably best known for his tough stance on the Mafia, which still controlled most of the casinos at the time. He famously roughed up Chicago mobster Johnny Rosselli in public and sent him to jail. After making bail, Rosselli’s was never head from again until his corpse was found floating in a 55-gallon oil drum off Miami 10 years later. There has been speculation that that if mobsters were causing too much trouble, Lamb’s men simply killed them, but Lamb has denied such murders have ever occurred. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: James Mangold is 20th Century Fox’s and star Hugh Jackman’s choice to direct The Wolverine, ending one of the most competitive contests among directors for a major studio film. Negotiations are about to get underway, but I’m told that Mangold … Read More »
James Mangold and wife/producing partner Cathy Konrad have signed with WME. Mangold most recently directed the Tom Cruise-Cameron Diaz starrer Knight & Day, and before that the remake of 3:10 To Yuma and the Johnny Cash biopic Walk the Line. … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Feature director James Mangold has come on board to direct the CBS/CBS Studios drama pilot Rookies, an ensemble cop show from The Color of Money writer Richard Price, which is executive produced by Robert De Niro and Jane Rosenthal … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: The smash hit stage musical Wicked is taking its first formative steps toward the movie screen. I’m told the musical’s producer Marc Platt, book writer Winnie Holzman, and songwriter Stephen Schwartz have begun meeting with filmmakers. Insiders confirm that JJ … Read More »