Matthew Vaughn on X-Men 3 & Stardust

Director Matthew Vaughn has been making films for a number of years, working as the producer of Guy Richie’s three films. When Richie declined on directing the crime drama Layer Cake, Vaughn stepped up and decided to take up the directorial reins. Even before the movie was released in the States, it was announced that Vaughn would also be taking over for Bryan Singer on X-Men 3, much to the surprise of many fans of the franchise.

Almost a month to the date of the announcement, Vaughn was in New York to talk about Layer Cake, so had a chance to learn more about how he got involved in that highly-anticipated project, as well as a second comic book project, and to get his thoughts on how he will approach them.

“It was a mutual finding of each other,” Vaughn told us when asked about how his involvement with X-Men 3 came about. “I heard Singer wasn’t doing it, and I just told my agent that I’d be intrigued and asked “can you get me in a room?” They saw the film and really liked it. ‘X-Men’ has sort of taken me by surprise. One of the reasons I’m attracted to it is also the reason why I’m scared of it, is that it’s such a short amount of time to get it done. I thought maybe it would be good to do it because there’s a lot for me to learn if I do it. The irony is that I haven’t got the luxury of casting most of these guys, which is going to be odd, especially if I don’t like what they’re doing, cause I’m going to have to pull them aside and tell them to ignore everything they did in the last film.”

Many people wonder how Vaughn’s approach will differ from Singer’s two films. “I can emphasize with what’s gone on,” he said. “I think Singer probably treats it in a more simplistic manner then I’m going to. It’s going to expand on things. There’s three or four scenes I know people will just be shocked and close to tears.”

Things like that tend to make fans worried, but Vaughn didn’t seem to nervous about the amount of pressure of him to follow in Singer’s footsteps. “I’m all for fans being wary of me; they’ve got the right to be,” he explained. “I’m just going to make the film as good as I can, and hopefully, they’ll like it. I know that there’s going to be elements I’m going to be bringing to it that will worry the fans in the sense that I want to make a movie that stands up in twenty, thirty years time basically. The film I’m doing is more in the tone of [the Clint Eastwood Western] ‘Unforgiven’.” He wasn’t too worried about the bigness of this type of project compared to his smaller-scale debut. “I just want to make films that I think are entertaining. I like the idea of doing big budget films with a heart.”

Vaughn is hoping that his long-time pal Vinnie Jones would be in the movie, more than likely as Juggernaut, but he hasn’t signed anything yet. “What’s interesting about Juggernaut is that he’s the brother of Professor X, and that’s why I thought it would be interesting having an English thug opposite Patrick Stewart.” Vaughn wasn’t too familiar with the origin of the character, but he didn’t think it would have anything to do with Vietnam, as with Stan Lee’s origin. He said that he had been looking into the Dark Phoenix story, but admitted that he thought “bits of it are great but other bits are a mess.”

A few months ago, it was announced that Vaughn would also produce and direct an adaptation of Neil Gaiman and Charles Vess’ graphic novel Stardust sometime after he finishes X-Men 3. “I’ve written the treatment, but I’m not a writer, so I’m just trying to find the right writer,” he updated us. “Obviously, to make it into a movie, I have to change it a bit, and put a new third act on. It’s going to be cool, sort of like ‘Princess Bride’ meets ‘Midnight Run’.” Vaughn mentioned that he has some limited edition art that Charles Vess sent him, but that his movie would look somewhat different. “The way he paints is very Victorian in a way, but I want it to have more of a modern look. I think the problem is that when people say ‘we’re going to do a fairy tale, so therefore, let’s shoot it in a fairytale way.’ I wanted to shoot it more modern and grittier.”

Vaughn wasn’t sure which film he’d get to first after finishing X-Men 3, since he also has a spy film with writer John Hodge on his plate, which was originally intended as a film version of The Man from U.N.C.L.E..

With two very different comic book movies on his plate, we had to ask whether Vaughn was a fan of the medium. “I like comic books, but I don’t read them like I used to,” he told us. “I quite like graphic novels more than comic books. That’s how I got to know Neil Gaiman. I like to be entertained and I like good stories. I think people who write comics take them very seriously, so you get that serious application to quite a commercial world.” He wouldn’t tell us what his favorite comics were because they might give away the plot for X-Men 3. According to him, ” they have become the basis for the film”, but he did admit a fondness for Joss Whedon’s recent run on the characters.

In the meantime, Layer Cake opens in New York and Los Angeles on May 13, and elsewhere after that.

Source: Edward Douglas