James Mangold And Hugh Jackman On The Wolverine’s Tone: Plus 5 New Images
We knew from the start that The Wolverine was going to be a different type of movie. The film is set after all the previous X-Men films and is adapted form the classic Chris Claremont Japan saga. Hugh Jackman has not been shy about sharing his displeasure with Wolverine: Origins, so it’s been comforting to hear him praising this one as much as he has been. Jackman and director James Mangold spoke about the film’s tone and even went so far as to say this movie gives us the definitive version of the character. The embargo has lifted from set visits and interviews with the duo are starting to hit the web. Read on to see what the men had to say about their vision.
Mangold stepped in to helm the film after Darren Aronofsky backed out to do other projects. The script obviously changed with the new director coming in, so Mangold touched on what drew him to the film and what idea he wanted to explore:
The reality is that for me the focus of the movie was always about a very specific idea, which is that I wanted to place the film at the end of the timeline of all the existing movies and stories we’ve seen in the movies. Meaning that, I didn’t want it to somehow be located in the middle of everything you’ve seen. I wanted to get past it all. I didn’t want to hand off to a pre-existing story. I also was really interested in an idea that spoke to me from the original Claremont-Miller epic, which was the idea of finding Logan at a point when he had… To me, what was most interesting about his character is this concept of his immortality and his healing. The fact that there’s a kind of exhaustion that sets in when you’re here forever, when you lose everyone you love. What I wrote when I met with Fox in the back of my script were like six or seven words, which were “Everyone I love will die.” But I felt the story I wanted to tell was about a man who in a way felt cursed and that everyone he had ever cared about in the world, whether it be the people he fought with as part of the X-Men, his wife, or others, had perished, and that the curse… I mean Isaac Asimov’s Bicentennial Man speaks to it beautifully in a different way, but this idea that we all kind of yearn or wish for immortality, but the curse of actually having to be on the Earth like a god forever is its own purgatory, its own hell, which is to have to see everything you love go away, and have to keep reconnecting and re-finding inspiration.
Hugh Jackman, and the majority of moviegoers, were displeased with Wolverine‘s last outing. X-Men: Wolverine Origins was a mess of a film that left everyone scratching their heads and wondering how some of the things made it past the draft stage. Jackman has been on record many times about not being too pleased. Someone threw the question to Mangold and asked if he and Jackman discussed the problems with Origins before getting started:
I certainly in public I don’t really get into knocking other people’s movies. That’s exactly what you’re asking me to do. The fact is that what I would say is that we’ve talked a lot about what we hoped this one would be. What we hoped this one would be is something that many other X-Men films or otherwise haven’t been in some ways. But I see that as much a function of my own sense of what I’m interested in in style in this particular story. But certainly, I think the opportunity I saw here was a great actor in one of the roles of his life who maybe hasn’t done it yet, who hasn’t done the one, the one that hits it out. That’s a huge opportunity for me and as a friend to go, we don’t have to deal with nine other members of the X-Men. This is about you. So that investment and the actual real estate from the running time in the movie means we can go a lot deeper than I think people have gone before. Both of us were really looking forward to that.
Switching over to Hugh Jackman‘s chat with the press, he started off by talking about how much he loves ol’ Wolverine and how happy he is that fans accept him as THE Wolverine. Comic book movie characters get recast a lot, but Jackman has stayed around more than all the others.
You always look at the pedigree of anything and the character itself in the comic book series is incredibly popular, so I could never take sole credit for any of that. I’m really pleased the fans have similarly embraced me in the part because I love playing the part. I never thought my run would last this long. To be a guy who can’t age, obviously there is a shelf life for playing this role, so I love it. I’ve always found it fascinating and slightly, I’ll admit, frustrating that I feel we’ve never really delivered what I would say is the core of the character. And I think in this story, you get to see the ultimate Wolverine. You get to see who he really is. You definitely see him at his most vulnerable, both physically and emotionally. As we were saying before, we had the preparation time so we were really in great shape, and I may be going off the question a little bit, I’m sorry, I feel really blessed in a way to have had the opportunity. I know a lot of the Wolverine fans. I’ve met many of them. They’ve told me exactly what they think of the movie, every scene, whatever. Lucky for me so far, there hasn’t been major disappointment because I’m pretty sure I’d get spat on in the street. That’s the level of passion involved. So I’m happy.
Continuing with the theme of bashing Origins, Jackman talks about that journey from X-Men to The Wolverine and how he feels The Wolverine finally gives us the movie fans have been waiting for:
In the X-Men movies, the movie’s called X-Men, so there are many characters and many character arcs, and actually the real difficulty with that is serving up as many different story lines in one and keeping the overall world of mutants and the world of X-Men in play. So, very difficult task. Bryan Singer did a brilliant job. We were also setting a tone that didn’t exist back then. There was no Chris Nolan. The idea that you could have a movie where you cared about the characters didn’t exist. So give him a lot of credit for what he created there. I think for whatever reason, there were a number of things working against us at the time in X-Men Origins: Wolverine. We all put our heart and soul into it, I just honestly when I watched it I went, I still don’t feel like we’ve really delivered who my vision of who this character is. I think we’ve got another shot at it.
You can read the full chat with Mangold by clicking here and Jackman by clicking here. The Wolverine hasn’t had that many problems (that we’ve heard about at least) and the trailers have looked promising. James Mangold and Hugh Jackman are taking this movie very seriously, so it does look like we’re going to get something special this time around. What do you think about what the duo had to say? Do you have high hopes for The Wolverine?