Five things we learned from today's 'Wolverine' online chat with Hugh Jackman
Film companies continue to push for new ways to reach out to audiences as they figure out when it's okay to start hyping a film. Summer 2013 movies are already starting to stake their claims and premiere imagery and set visit glimpses and posters. 20th Century Fox has a pretty big stake in "The Wolverine" working, and one of the first big moments for them came last week when Empire magazine revealed some of what James Mangold told them for their upcoming story. We wrote about that piece, which included a new image of Wolverine with his bone claws extended, last week, and it seemed like one more promising detail in what is shaping up as a very promising entry in the long-running "X-Men" franchise.
Today, James Mangold and Hugh Jackman spoke directly to fans around the world who tuned in for a live online chat that YouTube streamed from Sydney. It sounds like more and more journalists are arriving in Sydney today for further press events in the days ahead, and according to Mangold and Jackman, they're only a few weeks away from wrapping the film. I'm guessing there's got to be a trailer soon at this rate. They've described the film, and now it's time to let people know what it's going to look like in motion, what that world is that they're talking about. When Mangold references both "The Bicentennial Man" and "The Outlaw Josey Wales" as thematic touchstones, it's probably safe to assume this isn't just going to be another standard-issue superhero movie.
As Mangold said last week, the film is set after the events of all of the "X-Men" movies, once everyone is gone, and Logan is alone again. I'm sure there will be material spanning his whole life, and Mangold seems to love the notion of how it feels to live forever and lose everyone, as well as the way "Wales" tells a story about a journey built on loss and rage.
Rage seemed to be a big buzz word for them today, and the other major idea was that the film is not meant to be an escalation in how big a superhero movie can be, but instead a new way into dealing with the character.
Here are more points that were made today:
1 - Jackman promises this is going to have more action than any film where he's played the character so far, and action of a different nature than we've been getting in superhero films lately. Mangold talked about how superhero movies seem to have to play a constant game of one-upmanship, constantly cranking up the scale of what they do and the mayhem, destroying larger and larger cities and basically getting "louder." Both Mangold and Jackman say this film's action will be more contained, but more personal, and that Jackman has had to really push himself so Mangold can shoot long close-ups with no stuntmen and no cuts. But no matter how vicious, Mangold wants some sense of reality. "He doesn't bring down a plane in this film," he promised.
2 - It sounds like Wolverine will find his limits in this film. Jackman said, "He's at his lowest point at the beginning of the movie… he's at his most vulnerable." Since Wolverine has his healing factor, he's somewhat indestructible, and so far in the films, we haven't seen anything that seemed like a credible threat short of beheading him. Mangold promises that Wolverine will finally find his "Kryptonite" in this film, something that will push him in ways no enemy has tried before. They were both coy about the specific nature of this threat, but seemed excited by what it means for Logan.
3 - Jackman said at one point, "From 'X-Men' on, my secret dream has always been to shoot this particular story arc." Mangold said the Frank Miller/Chris Claremont Japan storyline is also one of his favorites, and was important to him to get right because of his affection for it. Fans have been asking for it since 2000. Could this finally be a case where the studios have listened and given us what we've actually been asking for?
4 - Wolverine's real power is his rage. "That's the thing that makes him badaass and cool," according to Mangold. "That's what we're trying to key in on." Ryan Penagos, who moderated the online chat, talked about the crazy photos he's seen of Jackman in full rage mode and how scary he looks in the role. Jackman laughed and said, "I show those photos to my kids all the time. It works a treat. 'Do you want me to look like this or do you want to do your homework?'" He credits his hyper-ripped appearance to, among other things, eating tips he got from Dwayne Johnson.
5 - It'll be harder to spot the bad guys this time. Mangold promises that Logan will have to negotiate a "labyrinth of 'who do I trust'?" in the film, filled with "Yakuza, industrialists, politicians, woman of various trustworthiness… other mutants," and that Logan shows up in this movie trusting no one. "Most superhero movies are very clear about who the bad guy is and who the good guys are going to have to battle at the end of the film, and this film is much more of a mystery."
At the end of the chat, they teased an online reveal, and it turned out to be the teaser poster for the film, which we've embedded below for you to enjoy.
And if you want to watch the entire live chat, it appears to be archived and you can see it for yourself.
Jackman seems excited by this one, by playing a character who starts the film with no reason to live, constantly fighting a war within himself, and who will be hopefully finding a new purpose to his life.
We'll see when "The Wolverine" arrives in theaters July 26, 2013.