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''X-Men 3'' keeps Wolverine, finds new director

”X-Men 3” keeps Wolverine, finds new director — British crime-drama helmer Matthew Vaughn will direct, with Halle Berry, Patrick Stewart, and Ian McKellen possibly returning

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Start growing those muttonchops again, Hugh Jackman. According to the Hollywood Reporter, Jackman is confirmed to return as Wolverine in X-Men 3. In talks with Twentieth Century Fox to return as well are franchise stars Halle Berry (Storm), Patrick Stewart (Professor Xavier), and Ian McKellen (Magneto).

This time, they’ll be working for a new director. It’s relative newbie Matthew Vaughn, the British producer-turned-director who may be better known for being married to supermodel Claudia Schiffer than for his film career. Vaughn’s sole directing credit to date is 2004’s Layer Cake, which has yet to be released on this side of the pond; it’s a stylish London-set gangster movie in the vein of the ones he produced for Guy Ritchie. Vaughn also has a deal with Warner Bros. to direct a big-screen version of The Man from U.N.C.L.E., the 1960s TV spy series that starred Robert Vaughn, whom Matthew believed was his father until paternity tests proved otherwise a few years ago.

It’s not clear who else from the first two X-Men movies will return. One actor who probably won’t be coming back is James Marsden (Cyclops). Director Bryan Singer, who left the Fox franchise last summer to direct Warner’s upcoming Superman Returns, took Marsden with him. He’ll play Richard White, who’ll compete with Clark Kent (Brandon Routh) as a love interest for Lois Lane (Kate Bosworth). Superman Returns began shooting this week and will continue through August, while X-Men 3 is due to shoot in July. It has a scheduled release date of May 26, 2006.