Hugh Jackman and James Mangold Talk ‘The Wolverine’

Hugh Jackman Interview
Hugh Jackman stars in 'The Wolverine' - Photo © 20th Century Fox

Hugh Jackman returns as the steely-clawed mutant in The Wolverine, an action thriller set in Japan and directed by James Mangold (3:10 to Yuma). The Wolverine catches up with Logan at a low point in his life, missing those he’s left behind and still in mourning over the death of Jean Grey. However, given that this is an X-Men film, Logan’s grief soon takes a backseat as he gets caught up in protecting the granddaughter of a Japanese business tycoon who Logan met decades earlier.

Teaming up with director Mangold, Jackman talked about this new Wolverine film and his take on the character during a press conference at the 2013 San Diego Comic Con:

How was your experience shooting in Japan?
Hugh Jackman: “One thing that was really important to Jim and I was that, of course, this film is based on a famous comic book set in Japan. But as we made this film, we were constantly thinking about how this film would feel to the Japanese people. We wanted them to be proud of how we show their country and customs and culture.”

The trailers show Wolverine seemingly choosing to lose his healing powers. Is that really part of the storyline?
Hugh Jackman: “That’s a good question about trailers in general, I think. It’s not that he chooses. I don’t want to give too much away, but you’ve inferred something that might not actually be true. And of course that would make a big difference to you and I understand that might be upsetting.”

James Mangold: “I think you might be spending too much anxiety before seeing movie. You should see it and then get really pissed or not. [Laughing] I think that you may be more satisfied with what you experience in the film when it’s not up-cut to two minutes and ten seconds.”

Hugh Jackman: “What is in the film, and I don’t mind saying, and you can feel that from the trailers is imagine being 200 or 300 years old and living with the fact that everyone you’ve known or loved has passed or died, and in the case of Jean Grey, the love of his life, he killed her as she’d become the Dark Phoenix. At the end of X-Men 3, he kills her and then roll credits. So finally in this movie we get a chance to live with what haunts Wolverine and what it’s like having that sort of immortality, being who he is and knowing that his strengths bring destruction, pain and loneliness as well. He questions the burden that is his life, but I’m not going to say he chooses it.”

What’s your proudest moment working on The Wolverine?
James Mangold: “Well, there’s a couple of things. One proudest moment would be my long-term association with this guy right here, just realizing about halfway through that I was really proud of what we were making and just on a simple friendship basis and an emotional basis you can go back 12 years and I can remember working with him and being very proud of where we have come to…just on a simple gut level. But on a movie level, I think that what I’m really proud of on the film and that we worked very hard to do is that we deliver intense action to the fans with Wolverine, but also deliver a drama, deliver character work, deliver an actual movie in which between the set pieces of action, there weren’t set pieces of action but actual scenes with characters dealing with the ramifications of actions and where they’re headed. I think that was really a big goal for all of us when we got involved in this, was to somehow figure out if we could both let the reins go and even go further with intensity, and at the same time carry an audience through scenes that are dramatic in nature and not feature an explosion.”

What has it felt like to have Wolverine expand outside of the X-Men films into his own movies? What’s your impression of the character and can you ever see leaving him because he is so perfect for you?
Hugh Jackman: “Thank you, but I think you’re slightly exaggerating and round about Memorial Day next year you’ll see that you’re slightly exaggerating because the X-Men movies are beloved all around the world. Actually, if you get back to the comic book series the Wolverine sort of spin-offs are very, very popular. But The X-Men series has always been kind of the foundation.

I think what X-Men did – and Wolverine is a great example of it – was invent a way to make superheroes human: complex, flawed, interesting. That’s why they’re played by so many interesting and different actors, that’s why so many great directors take them on because there’s an opportunity for something very, very human as well as something spectacular. When I grew up, I loved Mad Max, I loved Dirty Harry, I couldn’t get enough of them, right, because that’s who I thought was cool, that’s who I wished I was like. In a way, I think Wolverine fills that kind of archetype. He’s a bit of an anti-hero. Deep down he’s a good guy, but he’s never a nice guy. He’s conflicted and he is, in a way, flawed, but at the same time, he’s just the last person you want to piss off. There’s something really cool about that.”

By Rebecca Murray

Follow Us On:

Stumble It!