X-Men 3 director-less again

The Hollywood Reporter wrote recently that X-Men 3, the sequel to 20th Century Fox’s two X-Men features, is once again without a director.

The studio said Tuesday that Matthew Vaughn, citing personal reasons, is stepping down as director.

Vaughn produced Guy Ritchie’s crime movies Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and Snatch, and made his directorial debut with the critically hit gangster tale Layer Cake. Released by Sony Pictures Classics, the $7 million movie has grossed $729,488 in its first 18 days of limited release as well as another $8 million in foreign release. X3 would have been Vaughn’s first big-budget studio project, and the director said he was determined to bring “more heart” to the Marvel superhero characters, played by a cast that includes Hugh Jackman and Halle Berry.

Instead, Vaughn, who had planned to commute between the film’s Vancouver location and his family in London, said that he’d come to realize that he would have to move to L.A. and Vancouver for a year, and he decided he did not want to uproot his family for an extended period.

Vaughn is the second director to be involved in the project. Bryan Singer, who directed the first two X-Men features, had been expected to direct the third, but when he chose to first take on Warner Bros. Pictures’ upcoming Superman Returns, Fox opted to bring another director onto X3.

X3 is scheduled to begin production Aug. 2 and is scheduled for release May 26, 2006.

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