Kick Ass director to helm X-Men: First Class

Matthew Vaughn (Kick Ass, Layer Cake) is reportedly in negotiations to direct X-Men: First Class for Fox Studios.

UPDATE (May 5): It’s been confirmed! Vaughn’s X-Men: First Class will open June 3, 2011. Now, back to the story!

Entertainment Weekly revealed last week that Vaughn was being courted by Fox to direct the long-gestating film, set to feature your favourite X-Men as teenagers at Professor Xavier’s school.

Before the day was out, Deadline jumped in to announce that Fox were no longer interested in Vaughn, and were instead eyeing off every other hot action director, including Timur Bekmambetov, Louis Leterrier, David Slade, Daniel Espinosa, Carl Erick Rinsch and Samuel Bayer.

What a difference a weekend makes. Deadline now states that Vaughn is close to finalising a deal with Fox.

The studio had originally hoped X-Men and X2 director Bryan Singer would return to direct First Class. Singer will instead act as producer. Interestingly, Vaughn was originally slated to replace Singer as director of X-Men: The Last Stand, but he eventually quit the project before production began, handing the reigns over to Brett Ratner.

HeatVision blog suggest that all the hoohaa is tied to Fox’s purse strings. The studio needs a tent-pole release for 2011. They announced a 2011 release date before hiring any talent to write, direct or star in the film. Now that the pressure is on to begin production, they are forced to acquiesce to Vaughn’s salary demands. With Kick Ass, Vaughn proved that he can make a good movie quickly (the controversial picture was made outside of the studio system on a tight budget and schedule). No wonder that Vaughn seems like the best choice for Fox.

The studio hope to achieve with X-Men: First Class what J.J. Abrams achieved with the Star Trek reboot. The film will depict the origin story of Cyclops, Jean Grey, Iceman, Angel and others.

The O.C. and Gossip Girl creator Josh Schwartz was originally slated to write the screenplay, but Street Kings screenwriter Jamie Moss was brought in to pen a new script based on a treatment by Singer.

Oh, and if you still care, Wolverine 2 still looks set to begin shooting next January.

Discuss: How do you feel about the direction the X-Men franchise has taken? Do you think Vaughn would be a good fit for X-Men: First Class?

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