Hugh Jackman claws deep into 'Wolverine' to expose a softer side

Updated: 2013-07-24 10:01


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In the latest film, Jackman's down-and-out Wolverine character Logan is lured to Japan by a feisty, punk-style martial arts expert, played by newcomer Rila Fukushima, to bid goodbye to a dying, powerful Japanese industrialist he had saved decades earlier.

Wolverine barely has time to adjust to modern-day Japan with its bustling traffic, neon signs and sleek buildings before he is thrust into an ancient world of rituals and customs. He battles Yakuza criminals, Ninja warriors and the villainous mutant Viper, and saves Mariko, the mysterious heiress and his love interest, played by Japanese model Tao Okamoto.

Jackman believes Japan was the perfect setting to expose Wolverine's vulnerabilities and to push the character physically and emotionally.

"He's a natural outsider and I think the customs and the atmosphere and the history and Samurai codes of honors and obeying, and all that stuff is the opposite of Wolverine," he said.

For American director James Mangold, a fan of Japanese films, "The Wolverine" was an opportunity to explore the country's culture and history and to pit Wolverine against formidable foes.

"We weren't at the budget level of some of the other summer movies and I didn't want to compete on the epic scale. I wanted to compete on the intensity scale," said Mangold, whose credits include co-writing and directing the Oscar-winning 2005 Johnny Cash film "Walk the Line" and the 2007 Western "3:10 to Yuma."

Whether it was a fight on top of a speeding bullet train, a battle with the giant Silver Samurai or a love scene, Mangold said his goal "was to try to make it feel more real."

Jackman sees Wolverine as an anti-hero, whose powers come from an emotional place. He said it's not Wolverine's steel claws, healing powers or weird hair that is his defining characteristic. It's his rage.

"There is unresolved anger in all these characters, all of them," Jackman said about the comic book characters. "They somehow use that dysfunction, that pain, that indecision, all the things that are within become their strength, and become their defining quality. With Wolverine, as you see in this film, it's as much a burden as it is a superpower or a great thing."


Hugh Jackman claws deep into 'Wolverine' to expose a softer side

Hugh Jackman claws deep into 'Wolverine' to expose a softer side

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