By Dr. Tom Snyder, Editor
This time it’s personal!
That was actor Hugh Jackman’s attitude toward his new action movie, X-MEN ORIGINS: WOLVERINE, where he stars as Logan, aka Wolverine, the most popular member of the X-Men team of mutant superheroes, and serves as a producer.
“This movie has a different dimension as a producer,” he said in a press conference attended by MOVIEGUIDE®. “In that way, I feel it’s more personal. It’s more my baby.”
To prove his point, Jackman noted that it was he who asked Gavin Hood, the South African born director of the acclaimed movie TSOTSI, to direct WOLVERINE. Also, he said he found himself the other day asking everyone what they thought about the movie and was more “nervous” than usual about their answers.
Jackman added that the movie’s storyline and character arc are also more personal because they delve deeply into the personal background and history of Wolverine.
“Comic book fans have loved Wolverine the character - in fact all of the X-Men characters - for more than the action,” he said in his friendly, easygoing Australian accent. “I think that’s what set it apart from any of the other comic books.
“In the case of Wolverine, when he appeared, it was a revolution really. He was the first anti-hero. There was not just good guys versus bad guys but [also] an internal battle of good and bad going on within the character. What fans relate to Wolverine is his uncompromising approach to life. He is who he is. He’s not always a nice guy. He’s got edge. And, there’s also vulnerability in there. There’s conflict and battles going on in there. With Gavin and the other actors, I had the chance to explore that more.
“Yes,” he added, “the first priority of this movie is for it to be fun. I want people to come and have a great time. I want them to be entertained. I want them to be able to see it on a big screen with their friends, or whoever, and just have a great time.
“But, what we have an opportunity to deliver is also to make them think a little bit, to make them feel and take them on a journey through these characters.”
Jackman also said that, with the new movie, though they wanted to make it a little darker and tougher, they also hopefully made it “a little more human.”
“I wanted the film to feel different. Gavin and I talked a lot about the aesthetic and tone of it. It’s a little darker, a little rawer, a little tougher and, hopefully, maybe even a little more human.
“That’s really what has appealed to me about the comic book.”
Director Gavin Hood said the toughest part about making the movie for him was balancing the action elements with the movie’s central love story, the rest of the character development and the comedy.
“Coming into a franchise that’s done as well as this franchise is obviously at some level a little intimidating,” he added. “I think I was lucky that this is a prequel and not a sequel, because if you’ve never seen any of the other X-MEN movies, you can still go along to this movie and enjoy it because this is the beginning.”
He also declared, “There was an opportunity here to do two things. There was an opportunity to deliver the expected spectacle, the action, the energy, and all of that wonderful eye candy great stuff. But also, there was an opportunity to do something that was really character-driven, to work with what, ironically, is very human emotion in what is, otherwise, a great big mythic comic book story.
“It would be very easy (and there certainly was a moment for me), to get caught up in the visual effects and the action and let that overwhelm you. The most important thing at the end of the day, when making a film, is still that moment when I’ve got a long lens on an actor’s close-up.
“That’s when I’m at my most focused, because, if you don’t crack that moment behind the eyes, that moment where those reactions are somehow just attacked perfectly [by the actors], if that isn’t there, then all the special effects in the world aren’t going to save you.
“I’m very proud of the performances by these actors, and I thank Hugh for getting me involved in this,” he concluded.