'The Wolverine' Loses Its Director

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"Black Swan" director Darren Aronofsky has bowed out of shooting 20th Century Fox's sequel "The Wolverine," starring Hugh Jackman, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

In a joint statement with Fox, Aronofsky told THR Thursday: "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 Thursday. "I was not comfortable being away from my family for that length of time. I am sad that I won't be able to see the project through, as it is a terrific script and I was very much looking forward to working with my friend, Hugh Jackman, again."
A Fox spokesperson said the studio is "disappointed," but noted: "Having done both 'The Wrestler' and 'Black Swan' with Darren, we know he is an extraordinary talent and we look forward to working with him on other projects in the future."'

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Fox hadn't yet greenlit the sequel, which was set to take place in Japan as the Marvel Comics character faces an inner battle between his killer animal instincts and his sense as a noble Samurai. (Christopher McQuarrie, known for his work on 1995's "The Usual Suspects," is penning the script).

No official word on how Aronofsky's exit will affect shooting --- which was to take place overseas (including Japan, which has been ravaged by an earthquake and tsunami) -- or the film's release (it never had an official date but was rumored to hit screens in 2012).

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Aronofsky's sudden departure also raises a big question for Jackman, who recently spoke out about how the Oscar-nominated director ordered him to bulk up for the role.

Just last month Jackman told The Los Angeles Times he was on a 6,000 calorie-a-day diet and weighed 210 lbs.

"I don't know how much I want to give away about it, but Darren said with the last one, 'Hey you looked great, but you're so tall that in those long shots you looked kind of like Clint Eastwood, and that's not Wolverine,''" Jackman said. "He said that Wolverine, in the comics, is powerful, stocky, you know, he's short and thick. So he said, 'I want you to go there, get bigger.'"

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It remains to be seen whether Jackman will have keep the weight on.

In its statement, the Fox spokesperson stressed that both Jackman and the studio remain "fully committed to making 'The Wolverine.' We will regroup and move forward aggressively."

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