- Matthew Vaughn left X-Men: The Last Stand because of the studio’s attempt to trick Halle Berry with a fake script
- The script was altered to include scenes that would appeal to Berry and discarded once she signed on
- Vaughn quit the project because he didn’t want to participate in such political tactics
X-Men: The Last Stand, released in 2006, marked the end of the first live-action trilogy of Marvel’s mutants. Initially, Bryan Singer was set to direct but dropped out to direct Superman Returns, leading to Matthew Vaughn taking over before eventually leaving the project and being replaced by Brett Ratner. At New York Comic-Con, Vaughn revealed that his departure was due to the studio’s attempt to lure Halle Berry back to the franchise using a fake script.
Vaughn explained that the fake script, called “the Halle Berry script,” included scenes specifically designed to trick the Oscar-winning actress into signing up for the movie. He described seeing a significantly larger script draft in an executive’s office:
“One of the main reasons I actually quit X3 and it was a true story, and I don’t care if I’m not meant to say it, but Hollywood is really political in an odd way. I went into one of the executives office and I saw an X3 script and I immediately knew that it was a lot fatter. I was like, ‘What the hell’s this? This draft?’ Oh, don’t worry about it. Like no, no, I’m the director. I’m worrying about this draft. Tell me what it is. Wouldn’t tell me, so I grabbed it from him. It was like a crazy moment, but I grabbed it. Open the first page and it said Africa, Storm. kids dying have no water, she creates a thunderstorm and saves all these children. Okay, it’s pretty cool idea.”
Although changes to movie scripts are common during the process, Vaughn could not accept the intentional manipulation of Berry’s emotions to get her to sign on: “They said it was the ‘The Halle Berry script,’ because she hasn’t signed up yet. But once she gets what she wants it to be and she signs up, we’ll throw it in the bin. And I was like, ‘Wow, you’re going to do that to an Oscar winning actress who plays Storm? I’m out of here. So I quit.”
Despite the controversy, the movie went ahead with the same cast as the previous films and found reasonable success. Vaughn later directed X-Men: First Class and is now focused on the new iteration of Marvel’s mutants, which includes the possible return of some Fox characters in Deadpool 3. Although Vaughn’s involvement in the X-Men universe has come to an end, a new chapter is set to begin in the MCU.