20th Century Fox and Marvel Entertainment set Brett Ratner ("Rush Hour" films) on Friday night to replace Matthew Vaughn as the director of X-Men 3, reports Variety. Shooting will start in August for a Memorial Day weekend 2006 opening date.
A comic book enthusiast, Ratner was among the helmers considered to direct the first X-Men. The job went to Bryan Singer instead. Ratner then spent a full year developing Superman Returns, the film that ultimately prompted Singer to drop out of directing "X3."
The trade adds that the "X3" budget is locked, and Fox and Marvel brass consider the script by Zak Penn and Simon Kinberg to be at least as strong as that of the first two installments. The original returning stars have been signed, and the cast is bolstered by Kelsey Grammer as Beast, Vinnie Jones as Juggernaut and Lost star Maggie Grace as Kitty Pryde (aka Shadowcat).
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