Hugh Jackman: this is the ‘ultimate Wolverine’

(Credit: 20th Century Fox)

Back in October, our pals at Yahoo! Movies Australia took a trip to the set of upcoming Marvel movie ‘The Wolverine’, then shooting in Sydney, to discover how after four movies we’re finally ‘finding Logan’.

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Based on the critically acclaimed ‘Wolverine’ comic book arc, scribbled by Chris Claremont and Frank Miller, James Mangold’s sequel-of-sorts takes the action to Japan, for a movie Hugh Jackman has been waiting more than a decade to make. “For me the whole thing was worth the wait,” said Logan actor Jackman, “I have been waiting 12 years for this Japanese saga, for this Samurai story. From the very first week I had on X-Men [in 2000].”

Despite the now inseparable association with the X-Men character, Aussie star Jackman still doesn’t think he’s nailed the ‘ultimate Wolverine’: “…I still don’t feel I’ve delivered who my vision of this character is, and I think the fans’ vision as well, he said, “so I’m really thrilled we got another shot at it.”

He added: “I know 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… I know many of the Wolverine fans, I’ve met many of them – they tell me exactly what they think either of the movie or of every scene and luckily for me so far there hasn’t been major disappointment because I am pretty sure I would get spat on in the street – that’s the level of passion involved here. So I’m happy.”

A consequence of Jackman’s history with Wolverine is trying to decide where this new movie fits in, in the grand scheme of the X-Men cinematic universe – something director James Mangold knew he had to tackle: “The reality is for that 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 …  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.”

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More than just a continuity issue, Mangold also revealed how the Marvel back catalogue made “finding Logan” after so many ‘X-Men’ movies key to ‘The Wolverine’s’ story. “I felt like what the saga of 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 had perished … The idea of finding Logan in a place where his tank was empty and that you know this is a man who killed his wife … And what the journey to Japan would then be if we could pick him up there. “

For Mangold, ‘The Wolverine’s’ influences are many (including ‘Chinatown’, ‘The Outlaw Josey Wales’ and ‘Black Narcissus’), but perhaps most inspired by the Japanese setting itself. “For me the biggest influence has been making a noir film in Japan … I am very much living and breathing in the world of the western and the noir film both in the sense that I want this movie to have actual romance, I want this film to have actual sensuality and danger and I don’t want it to live only on the bombast of its action sequences.“

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The film’s Production Designer Francois Audouy described the movie’s look as being like a ‘Japanese fever dream’ – and that while the film looks realistic “it’s kind of amped up to be stylized in a plausible way. We’ve created a world that could be, but exists in the shadows.”

He added: “Ultimately we want the audience to go and see this movie and feel something.”
‘The Wolverine’ is definitely going deeper into the Marvel hero’s mind, that’s Mangold’s vision, but with a reputation as one of Hollywood’s nicest guys, will Jackman himself be able to take Logan to those dark new places?

“I’m an actor mate, never trust an actor,” Jackman warns of his persona. “I think if we’re all honest with ourselves we all know that internal rage. On some level it has to exist and on many levels you have to imagine it, I mean that’s why I got into this business – you just have to imagine ‘What if…’”

‘The Wolverine’ is out in the UK 25 July 2013.

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