Director a top choice to take over franchise

After stop-and-start negotiations, Matthew Vaughn is in final talks to helm origins pic “X-Men: First Class” for 20th Century Fox.

Talks between Fox and Vaughn broke off late last week. But today, discussions resumed.

Fox and Vaughn have danced together before. Vaughn was attached to direct “X-Men: The Last Stand,” the third installment in the blockbuster franchise, but opted out reportedly because he didn’t want to move his family to Vancouver.

Vaughn’s ability to weave action with complex characters in particular has impressed studio execs. Vaughn is currently in theaters with “Kick-Ass.” The R-rated pic, about a nerdy teenager who decides to become a superhero, has turned into a sleeper success for Lionsgate, grossing $42.2 million domestically. “Kick-Ass” has grossed $35.8 million overseas, where rights are split, for a total global haul of $78 million.

Vaughn’s first outing as a director was indie pic “Layer Cake,” followed by Paramount’s “Stardust.”

The “X-men” prequel explores the friendship between Professor Charles Xavier and Magneto as they open a school for mutants. But their diametrically opposite points of view have powerful ramifications for the school–and the world.

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