Darren Aronofsky has bailed on The Wolverine. The director regrets that he won't finish the X-Man film he's been working on with star Hugh Jackman and writer Christopher McQuarrie, but production circumstances are such that Aronofsky would be away from the United States longer than he would like. In a joint statement to The Hollywood Reporter, 20th Century Fox indicated support for Aronofsky's decision - which we're certain had nothing to do with his being a lauded auteur indie filmmaker with an Oscar-winning ballet movie under his belt and big hairy X-Man starring him in the face -- and confirmed that a new director is being sought to work with Jackman and the existing script.It was reported last year that the next Wolverine movie -- recently confirmed to be called The Wolverine -- would take its inspiration from the classic Marvel Comics story Wolverine by Chris Claremont and Frank Miller, which took place primarily in Japan. As such, Fox's film would require extensive shooting time overseas -- over a year, according to Aronofsky -- which the director told THR was too long to be away from his family.

"As I talked more about the film with my collaborators at Fox, it became clear that the production of The Wolverinewould keep me out of the country for almost a year," Aronofsky said in a joint statement with Fox.

"I was not comfortable being away from my family for that length of time. I am sad that I won't be able to see the project through, as it is a terrific script and I was very much looking forward to working with my friend, Hugh Jackman, again," he continued.

The news of Aronofsky's departure is not particularly surprising. The director of Requiem for a Dream and The Wrestler taking on Marvel's biggest mutant icon always inspired a mix of excitement and incredulity, and one has to wonder how much the filmmaker's recent Black Swan success made him rethink the prospect of dealing with a multi-million-dollar superhero franchise and all the headaches that come with it (like some snarky jerk on the Web second-guessing his every move).

For their parts, 20th Century Fox and Hugh Jackman remain "fully committed" to the Wolverine and will "aggressively" move forward with the search for a new director to realize McQuarrie's screenplay.