Until Death Do Us Part - Jonas

Jumaat, Mac 20, 2009

# 302. Interview : Falling for Wolverine

Hugh Jackman (centre) leads the cast of mutants in X-Men Origins: Wolverine. His love interest Kayla (Lynn Collins) is on the right.

ELAINE LIPWORTH speaks to Hugh Jackman about his upcoming blockbuster X-Men Origins: Wolverine where he reprises his role as the tortured comic-book mutant. But now there’s romance in the air.IT is only a 20-minute boat ride from Sydney, Australia to Cockatoo Island but it seems as though we are in the middle of nowhere.

Beautiful, yet austere and eerie as the sun sets, it is easy to see why convicts were sent here in the mid-19th century to live out their days.In the middle of Sydney Harbour there is a sense of isolation, which is only exacerbated by enormous, abandoned sandstone warehouses; the island served as a vital shipbuilding and dockyard centre during World War II.

With the immense machine workshops and the dog leg tunnel (originally used to transport men and equipment from one side of the island to the other), this is one of the major locations for X-Men Origins: Wolverine. (The film was also shot at Fox Studios in Sydney and in New Zealand; it is to be released in cinemas worldwide on April 29.)
The latest in the staggeringly popular series of films is certain to be the most dramatic and exciting installment. The producers (including Jackman himself) do not want to give away the plot line. The film is full of suspense and surprise, but we do know this much: it’s a prequel.

We go back to “the not-too-distant past” to discover who Logan/Wolverine really is, how he got those adamantium blades and why he is destined to live a life full of inner conflict and torment.

“Hugh could read the phone book and I think it’d be interesting, he is so talented,” laughs producer John Palermo. “There are moments of darkness in the character but what makes his performance so brilliant is that he’s also able to introduce a level of levity.

“And so there are moments where the scenes are very dramatic, but then you’re completely thrown off guard by a humorous line or gesture.”

We are on the island for a night shoot, an intense action scene in which Jackman is racing through one of the cavernous buildings escaping from Victor Creed/Sabretooth (Liev Schreiber).

Based on the Marvel comics, this film has a markedly different, darker tone which you can sense on the cold, grey set.

Along with the spectacle of the effects and tough, visceral action, there are those moments of humour but the story is fuelled by emotion. There is a heartbreaking love story at the core and the movie explores Wolverine’s battle with his nemesis Sabretooth, as well as examining his own inner struggles.

Lynn Collins portrays Kayla Silverfox, the love of his life. Danny Huston is crazed scientist Colonel William Stryker. Ryan Reynolds, Daniel Henney and will.i.am also star in the film which was written by David Benioff and directed by Gavin Hood who made the Oscar-winning Tsotsi.

The film from Twentieth Century Fox is produced by Jackman with his Seed Productions partner John Palermo, along with Lauren Shuler Donner and Ralph Winter. Executive producer is Stan Lee, chairman emeritus of Marvel Comics.

Jackman, 40, first became a recognisable face to international audiences in the box-office hit X-Men as the short-fused Wolverine. He reprised the role in X-Men 2 and X-Men: The Last Stand.

At one in the morning, after an intense chase scene on the Cockatoo Island set, Jackman is looking alert, energetic and ridiculously fit and handsome with Wolverine’s trademark sideburns, wearing a maroon shirt with jeans as he sits down for this interview.

Q: What was your motivation for returning to Wolverine for a fourth time?

A: I have to say of all the X-Men I’ve probably had as good or better run than most of them with my character. But I still felt that we never truly understood who this character was and we felt there was enough in the character and his history to make an entire film.

We have this guy who doesn’t really know about his past and according to the X-Men movies he can heal himself, so he may well be 150 years old. So, there’s a hell of a lot of history to this guy and even though he dealt with it a little bit in X-Men 2, the question remains: how did he actually become this man with a metallic skeleton and claws with the name Wolverine?

We know he has a checkered past, yet we don’t know what it is. I thought it would be great to find out so that was obviously the beginning of it.

Really, there’s no other motivation for my playing this role of Wolverine other than the fact that I love playing him. I find great challenges in the role. There are a lot of layers to be mined.

Q: Why are the story and character so compelling do you think?

A: It’s a great story and the more I have been involved in the X-Men world and the more I have read the comics, the more richness I have found in this character.

Q: Can you explain a little about the story?

A: We start the movie with Wolverine as a little kid, which I think the fans will really like. We follow him from about the age of 10 right through to what would be just before X-Men. Now if we consider how old Wolverine is, there’s a hell of a lot of time to track through so we see him going through time.

There’s quite an accelerated part of his life in the film where he is in a number of wars.

One thing we do know about Wolverine is that he’s a warrior. He’s been a soldier in many different wars; he’s fought on many different sides. That’s who he is essentially.

Q: How does it all start?

A: Our story starts with him and the character Creed. There’s always been a kind of debate among fans as to whether or not they are related. One thing we know is that Sabretooth and Wolverine have always been longtime enemies.

In our movie we see them start off together; they are brothers and gradually they get pulled apart.

You find out why and you discover that Creed has joined forces with Stryker, who runs a team of warrior mutants.

We see in the history of Wolverine that he was one of a group of maybe eight or nine mutants who were part of a special force who go on special operations.

As we fast-forward, Wolverine is no longer part of that group. He’s become a rogue element. However, no matter how he tries to pull away from that group, they just keep coming back into his life.

Q: What else do we learn about Wolverine’s life and emotions in the film?

A: At the beginning of the movie, his life is relatively simple. He’s living as a lumberjack, as far away from people as possible and his life as he knew it, with a girl called Kayla. And he’s really, I’d have to say, in love.

He’s found some kind of peace for the first time in his 150 years on this planet. And then that peace is completely interrupted — shattered would probably be the better word — by Stryker coming back into his life. (In X-Men 2 Stryker was played by Brian Cox).

Q: Are there light moments too?

A: Wolverine is intensely human so he also wants to have a bit of a laugh too, occasionally. I think people are going to find ultimately this movie is a thrill ride, a complete roller coaster. And it’s a lot of fun.

Q: How much action is there this time?

A: The great thing about doing this movie and playing the role of Wolverine is that no matter what he’s going through, he always has a lot of fun with it. That goes right back to the comic books.

Even at the darkest times, he’s always got a funny line or a funny quip. Most importantly, there is always action. There is so much action in this one — a lot of fights obviously and there are all different types of fights. There are new mutants as well that you’ve never seen before.

In fact, an entire, fresh cupboard-full of mutants comes out. So I think for the fans that is going to be a lot of fun. The fights are very visceral. You feel like you’re a part of them, like you’re inside them.

Q: What were some of the more challenging action sequences?

A: Well the whole mantra to everybody involved with this film was: “We have to exceed expectations on every level.” We have fans of X-Men that have seen all of these great visual effects and great fights in all the films.

I prepared for a year to get in shape for this film. I had the right amount of time to prepare, more than I’ve ever had before.

Wolverine has at least 10 major battles in this film. Some of my favourite stuff right now is with Creed.

Liev trained with me. And by the way, he’s in amazing shape himself and physically quite incredible.

He was going to be a professional football player at one point. So we challenged each other and egged each other on because neither of us is 21 any more (laughs).

We looked to each other to see if the other one was fading or not and then both of us always said, “No, I’m fine, let’s go again. Come on, you can hit me harder than that.”

Q: What is it that you tap into to get that frame of mind for the movie?

A: You know, I feel very blessed in my life. I have a great life, I really couldn’t be happier. But let’s face it, I’m 40 and I have experienced dark times, like everyone else, times when I’ve been incredibly angry, particularly I think when I was younger. Also, I use tricks for myself, little tools. I’ve done a little thing on every Wolverine movie, which is almost a superstition now. I have an ice-cold shower every morning.

It started when we were making the first X-Men in Toronto. I had to wake up at 5am for filming and it was cold. I wanted to get a shower but there was no hot water. So I just jumped in and I couldn’t make any noise because I didn’t want to wake up my wife.

But I remember I just wanted to scream some swear words yet I just didn’t. I stayed in the cold water washing for 35 seconds and I said to myself, “That’s it. That’s Wolverine. He wants to yell and scream and take everybody’s head off and be angry but he can’t. He’s trying to hold it in.

“Ever since that moment I have had a cold shower every morning. If you imagine waking up and having an ice-cold shower, all you have to do is remember it and instantly you just want to smack someone.”

Q: Why did you want Gavin Hood to direct the film?

A: Gavin felt like the natural choice for us. I wanted a director who really knew how to create a great story and who was good with the camera.

When I saw Gavin’s movie Tsotsi I knew he would be great directing Wolverine because I want people to care about the story and to really feel something when they watch this movie.

Gavin has a strength in himself and he’s a great leader, but most of all for me he’s all about that heart and story and character.

Q: How contented are you now?

A: You know, generally I’d have to say right now things couldn’t be better. I’ve just had a really amazing time working with great directors who have been incredibly inspiring to me. If I think about the last five years, between doing Broadway musicals and animated movies too, I feel you should be really careful what you wish for because my career couldn’t be more fulfilling, rich, or varied. I am very lucky.

— Courtesy of 20th Century Fox
Source : The New Straits Time

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