Variety reports that 20th Century Fox has set Sheldon Turner ("The Longest Yard," "The Amityville Horror," "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" prequel) to write Magneto, an action-thriller based on the villainous character played in the first two "X-Men" films by Ian McKellen.
The project marks the second extension of the studio's "X-Men" comic book franchise. The move follows a Fox deal with "Troy" screenwriter David Benioff to write Wolverine, who is played by Hugh Jackman in the films.
The studio is developing the spin-offs as they separately develop X-Men 3. Simon Kinberg is writing the third installment. Magneto will likely be produced by the "X-Men" duo of Lauren Shuler Donner and Marvel Studios' Avi Arad.
The original "X-Men" film began with a prologue that showed Magneto as a child being led to a concentration camp by Nazis, and that is the period in which the new film will take place. Since the character will be seen almost exclusively in his formative years, it is not clear whether McKellen will be in the film at all, says the trade.
"I pitched a film that is almost 'The Pianist' meets 'X-Men,' about a guy who, after watching his family slaughtered, has an awakening of his powers and seeks revenge," Turner said.
The storyline will heavily involve Professor X (played by Patrick Stewart in the films). That character was a soldier in the allied force that liberated the concentration camps. The professor meets Magneto after the war, and while they bond over the realization that they are alike in their special powers, their differences soon turn them into enemies.
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