Jennifer Lawrence Wouldn't Act in X-Men: Dark Phoenix Unless Simon Kinberg Directed

The latest X-Men movie is set to wrap up the long-running franchise with Dark Phoenix, capping off nearly two-decades worth of movies with an epic conclusion that will once again tackle one of the most iconic storylines from the pages of Marvel Comics. But it only came together because writer and producer Simon Kinberg decided to step into the role of director.

Kinberg spoke with the Hollywood Reporter about Dark Phoenix, explaining that the cast requested him to direct the next film after it was clear that X-Men: Apocalypse director Bryan Singer would not return. But it was Mystique actress Jennifer Lawrence who made the biggest impression, apparently.

"We presumed the First Class core cast — [Michael Fassbender, James McAvoy, Jennifer Lawrence, Nicholas Hoult] were coming back for this film," Kinberg explained. "Part of the reason I presumed that was at the end of finishing X-Men: Apocalypse, when it was clear Bryan Singer was not going to direct the next movie, it was the actors that approached me about directing the next of the X-Men movies. Jennifer especially. Jen said she wouldn’t come back for another movie unless I directed it. So, I had a lot of support from them."

Kinberg explained that his new role as director didn't change his approach to the material, but it did add on to his responsibilities.

"The writing and the producing and now the directing, they are all different job titles, but I approach them all the same way…in all cases I am looking at it from, how do I tell the best possible story with the richest themes and the deepest, most resonant characters? Each of those jobs, I feel like that is my responsibility."

This will, of course, be the end of the current run of the X-Men series because Disney just purchased 20th Century Fox, and now they're planning to give those rights over to Marvel Studios. But Kinberg still doesn't have any knowledge about that big change.

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"I have not had any talks with them about it. Kevin Feige and I go way back to my first X-Men movie actually," Kinberg explained. "He was the producer when I was the co-writer on The Last Stand. We've been friends over the years and are also people that root for each other and support each other. I saw him actually. We sat down to catch up. We'll have a meal every now and then, though obviously we've both been pretty busy over the past however many years. We met just before the Disney merger was made official, so we didn't talk about any business."

Dark Phoenix premieres in theaters on June 7th.

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