If you weren’t already aware, Matthew Vaughn’s history with the “X-Men” franchise goes beyond making “X-Men: First Class,” attempting to cast Tom Hardy as a younger version of Wolverine, and developing “X-Men: Days of Future Past” before handing it over to now-disgraced director Bryan Singer. Once upon a time, 20th Century Fox was lucky enough to convince Vaughn to direct “X-Men: The Last Stand,” but he ultimately exited and was replaced with Brett Ratner (something of another Hollywood pariah due to his own sexual misconduct/sexual assault allegations).
Vaughn attended New York Comic-Con over the weekend to help promote his new spy film “Argylle,” which releases on February 2, and was able to finally dish the details of why exactly he left “X-Men 3.”
The reasoning for the exit had long been assumed that he decided to leave and focus on developing an incarnation of the solo “Thor” movie for Marvel before Kenneth Branagh ultimately signed on. But the British filmmaker is now setting the record straight to Collider that it was because of the mistreatment of Oscar-winning actress Halle Berry. After she was coaxed to return for the third installment with a fake script that would boost her role as Storm, executives had planned to toss it out once she signed on, which certainly irked the director.
“I went into one of the executive’s offices, and I saw an ‘X3’ script, and I immediately knew it was a lot fatter. I was like, what the hell is this draft? He went, ‘Don’t worry about it,’ and I’m like, ‘No, no. I’m the director. I’m worrying about this draft’. He wouldn’t tell me, so I grabbed it literally — it was like a crazy moment — opened the first page, and it said, ‘Africa. Storm. Kids dying of no water. She creates a thunderstorm and saves all these children.’”
Vaughn says the executives assured him this fake draft would be “thrown in the bin,” it was essentially just used to lure her back, and the director says this is one of the main reasons he exited the big studio tentpole. After all, if they’re willing to mistreat an Oscar winner and one of their most popular cast members, who knows what else they are capable of? Arguably, the Singerverse incarnation of Storm was never really that popular with the fans but given the studio had cast Berry on the cusp of her rise in fame, not unlike Jennifer Lawrence with the prequel films, having her return was in their best interest. However, duping her with a script they never intended to use doesn’t seem all that professional or ethical. At that point, Vaughn was done with the film.
“‘Wow, you’re gonna do that to an Oscar-winning actress who plays Storm? I’m outta here.’ So I quit at that point.”
Interestingly enough, Berry not only returned for “The Last Stand” but also briefly appeared in “X-Men: Days of Future Past.” There are rumors that she—and several other members of 20th Century Fox’s previous X-Men-verse— could cameo in Marvel’s “Deadpool 3.” However, this has yet to be confirmed by the studio (though ‘DP3’ filmmaker Shawn Levy has already hinted at it).
Of course, Vaughn and Berry would eventually reconnect when she took the supporting role of Ginger Ale in “Kingsman: The Golden Circle,” playing a female version of Q in the sequel as part of the Kingsman’s American counterparts, The Statesman. After her stellar stunt work in “John Wick 3”, there is an obvious expectation that getting Berry to play a bigger action-focused role in “Kingsman 3” would be a no-brainer. We shall see.