For today, Tom Rothman, we are cool.
I don’t know if this was a Rothman decision or more of a Hugh Jackman/Lauren Shuler Donner move. Doesn’t really matter. Whoever’s responsible, they done good. Gavin Hood is a great director who’s about ready to make a leap to the A-list this fall with Rendition, a politically-charged thriller starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Reese Witherspoon, Peter Sarsgaard and Meryl Streep. Prior to that, he directed Tsotsi, which I considered the best film of 2005. I really like this guy.
That he’d use the clout of Rendition to land a big studio project like Wolverine is curious; I didn’t know Hood was a comic book kind of guy. There isn’t much action in Tsotsi, so Fox (or Donner and Jackman) must’ve really liked what they saw in Rendition to entrust the fate of the spun-off X-Men franchise with a director who’s thus far specialized in morality plays. The only quote to go on belongs to Jackman, who tells Variety, "I have long been a fan of Gavin’s work and know he will make a masterful film with the character intensity and action beats the fans expect."
Hood also brings a good deal of writing expertise to Wolverine, so there’s a chance he might take a pass at David Benioff’s draft (which isn’t quite there yet). Clearly, Hood understands the career benefits of doing "one for them"; let’s just hope he can use Wolverine to get more intimate, less commercial stuff done. The South African filmmaker has already adapted Athol Fugard once; I’d love to see him do a big-screen adaptation of Sizwe Banzi is Dead or Master Harold and the Boys.
For those of you unfamiliar with the Wolverine story, it’s an origin tale drawing from Barry Windsor Smith’s Weapon X series.