Darren Aronofsky has exited "The Wolverine," saying the length of the shoot would have kept him away from his family for too long.
The "Black Swan" director split from his longtime partner Rachel Weisz last fall. The couple have a young son, Henry Chance, together.
"As I talked more about the film with my collaborators at Fox, it became clear that the production of ‘The Wolverine’ would keep me out of the country for almost a year. I was not comfortable being away from my family for that length of time," Aronofsky said in a statement announcing his decision to step away.
"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."
Aronofsky was considered something of an offbeat choice for the "X-Men" spin-off, having made his name primarily in arthouse films such as "The Wrestler" and "Requiem for a Dream."
However, comic book fans hailed the choice as inspired, arguing that the director could bring the weight and grit missing from Gavin Hood's critically maligned "X-Men Origins: Wolverine."
The latest installment is set in Japan and purportedly contained a samurai subplot. Christopher McQuarrie wrote the script.
Fox did not say when production would resume or if it would push back the film's rumored 2012 release date. Given Aronfsky's exit and the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, a spring start date seems impossible.
“Hugh Jackman and Fox both remain fully committed to making ‘The Wolverine’. We will regroup and move forward aggressively,” Fox said in a statement.