Darren Aronofsky (The Wrestler, Black Swan) is close to a deal with Fox that will reunite him with Hugh Jackman (who starred in Aronofsky’s The Fountain) in a sequel to X-Men Origins: Wolverine.  If Aronofsky signs as is expected, it will represent a major upgrade for the franchise.  Fox has already hired the talented Christopher McQuarrie (The Usual Suspects) to script the Wolvie sequel, and the studio is hoping that hiring a director with art house cred like Aronofsky will pay off for the Wolverine franchise, just as the decision to hire Christopher Nolan to resurrect the Batman franchise did for Warner Bros.

According to Deadline, Aronofsky is in for a big pay day, reportedly $5 million vs. 5% of the gross.  The success of Black Swan, a ballet drama that stars Natalie Portman, on the festival circuit has certainly raised Aronofsky’s profile in Hollywood.  Deadline is reporting that he is turning down Warner Bros.’ period crime film Gangster Squad to direct the Wolverine movie.