James Mangold Dishes On The Wolverine; Declares the Sequel A Dark Character Piece
Dotting on the film's core, speaking with Darren Aronofsky, almost turning the it down, among other things, make the jump for a lengthy chat with The Wolverine director!
The folks from The Playlist recently scored a lengthy chat with the director of Fox's X-Men Origins follow-up, The Wolverine, James Mangold. Discussing the core of the film, meeting the previously-attached director Darren Aronofsky, and comparing the sequel to Clint Eastwood's The Outlaw Josey Wales, among other things, read a majority of the interview below.
On why this sequel works for him, rather than an origin or ensemble movie
“You could actually just tell a story about this amazing character from the start, just the way they do when you really read a comic. You don’t have to spend the first hour saying how they were born; you can actually just find them in an emotional space, in the middle of action, and what happens is you’re not crowded with cutting to nine other action heroes. You can really make a movie about this dude.”
On almost turning the film down because of Darren Aronofsky's high-buzz
“I spoke to Darren a bit about it before I ended up taking it on. But I will tell you that when Darren stepped off, I was in the middle of doing a lot of other things, and when it was brought up to me, I actually didn’t even consider it for the very reasons you’re talking about. It was, oh, who wants to do that, and follow that, and I could hear all of the media swirl about it.”
“Several months went by and I hadn’t even really read it, and later when they came back to me and I kind of took it in, and a lot of that hand-wringing had kind of died down,” he explained. “What I saw was some really promising material, and to me an interesting character played by a great friend of mine who’s a terrific actor, Hugh Jackman.”
On what drew him to the film and it's difference from the other movies
“It’s a kind of adventure following such a unique character also in a really unique environment. I mean, the fact that half of the characters in this movie speak Japanese, this is like a foreign-language superhero movie that’s as much a drama and a detective story and a film noir, with high-octane action as it is anything like a conventional tentpole film.”
“I think part of the reason I’m doing this picture has been because it isn’t to me a conventional superhero movie. It isn’t an origin story, so I’m freed from that burden, and it also isn’t a save-the-world movie, which most them are. It’s actually a character piece; I actually think it has more in common with ‘The Outlaw Josey Wales’ and ‘Chinatown,’ what we’re doing, than the conventional, ‘will Wolverine and his compatriots save the world from this thermonuclear device’ question.”
On the fish-out-of-water opportunities Frank Miller's Japan-centered comics offered
“I think that this movie is much more an intense psychological and action-packed character piece, that’s much more about Logan getting lost in this very unique and insulated world of Japanese culture, gangster culture, and ninja culture,” he said. “The fighting is going to be unique because it’s all influenced by Japanese martial arts.”
On the ultimate core of the character and the storyline
“I think more than anything, it’s a character piece, asking really interesting questions that are what pulled me in about what it means to be immortal. What is it to live forever, when you lose everyone you’ve ever loved? Either you watch them get killed, or you just lose them by attrition. What is it to feel the burden of saving mankind through all of its mistakes, over and over and over again. What’s the toll it takes on you as a living being that is somehow living this Frankensteinian, eternal life? And there’s a lot of interesting dramatic questions we’re going to deliver on as well as some really inventive action.”
“I like to think that we’re out to make that Wolverine movie that people have been looking forward to seeing, which takes on some of the darker and more intense aspects of the character, and his own journey, that have not necessarily been possible in the origin story that they did or obviously when he’s sharing so much time as a character with so many others in X-Men.”
For the full interview, where Mangold discusses working with screenwriter Mark Bomback, head on over to The Playlist.
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