James Mangold Talks About Cutting Things Like Costumes And Cigars From THE WOLVERINE


wolverineThere has been a lot of talk about the classic Wolverine costume that almost made it into the final scene of James Mangold‘s The Wolverine. We’ve brought you the deleted scene itself and countless pictures of the costume. It’s too cool not to talk about, and luckily James Mangold agrees. After the Wolverine extended cut screened for select critics the other night (where the latest classic costume pictures come from), the director spoke with a few media outlets about the film and some things he had to cut from the theatrical version. Two things he mentioned was that costume and a cigar chomping Easter egg.

Speaking with IGN, Mangold was asked about an extended Ninja fight sequence that will be included in the ultimate cut Blu-ray. When the question was posed if that was a hard thing to cut from the film, the director said not only was that hard to cut but a cigar gag was one of the more painful casualties:

The toughest part to lose was the cigar bit at the end. That was the thing that hurt most. But I was actually conscious enough about the fact that I knew it might or might not make it that when I shot, way earlier in the schedule, Hugh and that scene with Yukio after ripping open his chest and getting up… He grabs this piece of paper off the wall to head out to go get Mariko. In some takes I had him grab the cigar, and in some takes I had him leave the cigar. That was the toughest part. But there’s also conventions in it, you know? I ask myself all these really critical questions. Like, I’m so tired of the mushroom explosion in these movies. So there are certain things, like, it’s really cool and it’s a cool sequence, but at the same time I’m always questioning myself like, “Do we need that? Is this one too many fireballs? Have we seen enough this summer?” I’m always trying to make sure that we’re doing stuff that’s fresh, and I felt like that gag with the cigar was fresh and really cool, and I thought the thing we came up with with the snowplow was really cool. Obviously, all that ninja staging is exceptionally fun to watch, but for me it’s always these dramatic beats that are kind of more difficult to let go of in some way.

wolverine iconOf course the question of the costume came up while talking about things that had to be cut from the film. Mangold talked about how that particular scene originally came about:

I made it up on set. Honestly, first of all, I kept hearing and seeing from fans who were just begging to see this wardrobe, and I kept thinking as we were shooting, “How can I do this? How could I ever service this desire for people to see it?” And there was a point where I just asked the prop department to make me a gift box. So when I did that scene on the plane with Yukio, with RIla [Fukushima] and Hugh [Jackman], I had no costume. The studio hadn’t approved of making one or doing anything, but I thought, “Let’s just shoot a couple takes where he opens the box and reacts to it, and I can figure out what to put inside the box later.” There was just a point later in the cutting room where I put it together, and I thought, “It’s kinda sweet.”

The director expanded on the reasoning for cutting the scene while speaking with SuperHeroHype. One of the reason it had to be taken out was because it set something up they might not be able to pay off anytime soon in the upcoming X-related films. On top of that, only the comic book fans understood it when the scene was shown to test audiences:

The trick was that I felt like, and I think the studio felt strongly that I was kind of handing a hot potato to whatever films followed in the sense that it’s one they couldn’t fulfill or one that we didn’t know if they could fulfill since we hadn’t even scripted them yet. So this implication that he would be wearing them in the next film which I couldn’t guarantee since I didn’t even know where I or who or what would be making one, and I certainly didn’t want to burden Bryan (Singer, director of X-Men: Days of Future Past) with suddenly based upon the last six seconds of the film throwing a wrench in the works of what he was up to. But I also have to say, for Wolverine fans I felt it would be hugely rewarding, but when we screened it, and we did with that ending on, it was very interesting that 60% of the audience didn’t understand what was in the box. So you also have the fact that you’re going to be ending a movie with a moment where a huge majority of the audience was going to be going “Huh?” So that definitely wasn’t a feeling I wanted, but I was very torn about it and thought it worked.
It also bumped a little when I went to Montreal and shot the credit scene that kicks you toward “Future Past,” it seemed to bump against that. You’re showing him open the box and have a costume in the end and then you’re coming from black and having him wearing street clothes. It just seemed like we were creating more questions than we were answering and maybe it wasn’t the most responsible thing to do.

Maybe one day, one magical day, Hugh Jackman will wear that costume. We can take comfort in the fact that Mangold knows fans want it. He tried to give us what we wanted, but the timing just wasn’t right. Maybe he can find a way to fit it in and make it stick while he’s writing the sequel. What do you think about the director’s comments? Do you agree with his reasoning behind the cuts?

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