'Tsotsi' director takes on 'X-Men' spin-off film

Twentieth Century Fox has set Gavin Hood to direct Hugh Jackman in “Wolverine,” the “X-Men” spin-off film that was scripted by David Benioff.

Pic, which begins production in November for 2008 release, will be produced by Lauren Shuler-Donner, Jackman and his Seed Prods. partner John Palermo.

Hood is the South African director whose 2005 film “Tsotsi” won the foreign film Oscar. He was among several hot young directors vying for “Wolverine” and sources said Fox brass was swayed after viewing his latest film, “Rendition,” the politically charged New Line drama starring Reese Witherspoon, Jake Gyllenhaal, Meryl Streep and Peter Sarsgaard. It opens Oct. 19 and premieres at Toronto.

Using several resources that include the Marvel Comics lore, along with the more recent Weapon X graphic novels by Barry Windsor-Smith and work by Frank Miller, “Wolverine” mixes action with an origin story about how Logan emerged from a barbaric experiment as an indestructible mutant with retractable razor-sharp claws.

After three “X-Men” films grossed over $1 billion worldwide, studio has made “Wolverine” a top priority.

“I have long been a fan of Gavin’s work and know he will make a masterful film with the character intensity and action beats the fans expect,” said Jackman.

Hood’s repped by WMA and Anonymous Content.

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