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With “X-Men: First Class” making its bow on DVD and Blu-Ray, “X” still marks the spot for producer Lauren Shuler-Donner’s future projects.
The film’s retro-‘60s take on Marvel Comics’ still massively popular mutant super-team proved to be one of the best received blockbusters of the summer, proving that the flexibility of the ubiquitous comic book franchise is adaptable to the big screen as well. And Shuler-Donner, the behind-the-scenes power that brought all four “X-Men” properties and the “Wolverine” spinoff to cinematic life, tells PopcornBiz there’s so much more mutant mayhem to mine.
“For now we're talking internally about the possibility of having another 'First Class', following our characters,” the producer reveals. “We're talking about doing them, but we're just in discussions now.”
She admits no decision have been as to whether any sequel would continue to be set specifically in the 1960s or possibly fast-forward to another era (the 70s are rumored), and was pleased that the unconventional choice to look at Professor X and Magneto’s Cold War origins, as stylishly executed by director Matthew Vaughn, went over well with critics and audiences.
“Listen, every movie is risky – every single movie. You never know, but yeah, we knew it was our job to reinvent the franchise a bit and make sure that audiences today could relate to it, give it a difference and a different look. The James Bond feel is different than the more comic book approach before, and then giving it a historical event to base it upon really grounded it and took it in a way that we hadn't done before.”
Beyond “First Class,” Shuler-Donner says she remains in the midst of seriously films centered around the two biggest marquee names in the X-Universe. “I’m focusing on ‘The Wolverine’ and possibly ‘Deadpool.’ That's enough for now. I don't think we want to over-saturate the market. I think if we had six 'X-Men' movies out there nobody would want to see them.”
For “The Wolverine” – a sort-of "X-Men Origins: Wolverine" sequel set in Japan starring the clawed Canadian berserker still played by Hugh Jackman, suffered a setback when the original director Darren Aronofsky dropped out in March. But Shuler-Donner says the project remains on track.
“We're figuring out where we're going to shoot it and working on the budget and the script and all that sort of stuff – we're in good prep,” she explains. “Hugh and I wanted to do this originally. I showed him ‘The Wolverine Saga' [a comic book series collecting the integral moments of Wolverine’s once-mysterious life] and we're both very passionate about it, for years now, and so, yes, we're very excited to get this to the screen finally. It's a great story.”
Meanwhile, despite Ryan Reynolds’ defection to Marvel competitor DC Comics to play Green Lantern, Shuler-Donner fully expects to realize a “Deadpool” film with Reynolds, who originated the role in 2009’s “X-Men Origins: Wolverine.”
“Absolutely – I wouldn't make 'Deadpool' without Ryan,” she says. “I wouldn't be involved. He's been extremely involved in the process. He was involved with the script. He worked with the writers, throwing out a lot of ideas. We have a great director in Tim Miller from 'Blur' and will give it a different kind of look than all the other movies. Its tone is insane. Oh, it's really funny. It's outrageous, irreverent, violent. I mean – It's Deadpool!”
And does the producer have plans afoot that might bring back the classic characters from the films that first launched the franchise? “In the future – way in the future – would I like to do an 'X-Men 4'? I would, but again there's no reason to saturate the market. So I would say no – I'm happy with what I'm doing right now.”
"X-Men: First Class" is avaiable on DVD and Blu-ray today