Interview: Donner On R-Rated Deadpool And Delayed Japanese Wolverine

The X-Men franchise has seen many different directors, writers, and actors, but one name that has been attached to all of them is producer Lauren Shuler Donner. Ever since 2000, when Bryan Singer first brought the uncanny heroes to the big screen, Donner has been behind the scenes making it all work and in the case of X-Men: First Class, she helped the project hit it out of the park.

With the summer superhero blockbuster set to be released at the end of this week, on what they are dubbing “First Class Friday,” I had the chance to sit down with Lauren Shuler Donner and discuss not only X-Men: First Class but also upcoming franchise properties such as The Wolverine and Deadpool. Check out the interview below.

In many ways this film does maintain the continuity established in the first four films but there are also places where things don’t sync up. Would you say that this film is a prequel or is it simply the first film in a new timeline?

Both [laughs]. Really, it is. Because of choices that were made it’s obvious now in its own timeline, but we have no intention of ignoring the other movies.

Do you know what the future of the First Class timeline is going to be yet? Is there going to be a sequel? Obviously the X-Men universe as a whole is gigantic with many different possibilities.

We’re talking about it. We’re talking about a next one. We’re just in discussions now, so it’s kind of early.

In terms of contracts, are the actors all signed on for multiple films?

Studios always do that.

While I have you, I was also hoping to talk about some of the other properties in the X-Men universe. There was a story a couple weeks ago that said that production on The Wolverine has been pushed back to 2012. Is that true?

Yeah, that’s true.

Is it because of the effects of the tsunami?

That hurt us. It really did, I mean, it hurt them more, obviously, but yeah, that had an impact on us. It’s still the Japanese saga. It’s still the saga and we will shoot there as much as we can. It’s just that that point was the wrong time.

Is the plan to split time between Japan and Canada?

Not sure. We’re figuring that out now. We’re exploring where we’re going to shoot it.

There was a long list of candidates for the Wolverine directing job. What do you think made James Mangold the right choice?

I really liked Walk The Line and I really liked Girl Interrupted and I really liked 3:10 To Yuma. For me there’s three things that I look for. One thing is performance, because really it’s all about characters, even in action movies. Two is a look, you know, visual, because we have to have a style. Three is the ability to handle action and certainly with 3:10 To Yuma you could see that and he’s very experienced. I think we lucked out.

I’m also a huge Deadpool fan and I really can’t wait to see what the big screen has in store for the character in a solo film.

Good! You’re going to love it!

How real is it looking at this point?

I’ll know by the end of this year. We’re pulling all of the elements together now. I can tell you that the script adheres very closely to the Deadpool world; it’s outrageous and it’s violent and it’s funny. It’s really funny and irreverent and I think we’ve captured his essence.

As a two part question, Tim Miller is a young director, and the project would be his first feature film. What did you see of his work that ended up getting him the job and will the Deadpool movie be rated R?

If we make the movie it needs to be a rated R film. Otherwise you can’t make it. As for Tim, most of the advertisements for the games you play, everybody plays, he does those. He’s just…it would give it a very different look, a very different feel, which would be totally appropriate for Deadpool. Again, I don’t want people to feel like they’ve seen these movies before. Every movie has to have its own identity, and he will bring a whole different visual style to it. Very different visual style. And he’s funny! He fits right into that world. He fits right in. He’s perfect.

Eric Eisenberg
Assistant Managing Editor

NJ native who calls LA home and lives in a Dreamatorium. A decade-plus CinemaBlend veteran who is endlessly enthusiastic about the career he’s dreamt of since seventh grade.