Are you ready to see Hugh Jackman back in the super-heroic, butt-kicking role that put him on the map?
“The Wolverine” finally hits theaters today and if you’re on the fence about checking out this crowd and critic-pleaser, Yahoo! Movies sat down with the film’s stars and director to have them highlight a few of the film’s more intriguing elements (berserker rage! Sword fights! Jean Grey mind trickery!), which should get you extra psyched to see it.
First, Wolverine isn’t just angry or agitated at this point in his long life, or after four movies (five if you consider his hilarious cameo in "X-Men: First Class"), he’s dangerously disturbed and suffering from heavy emotional baggage that often triggers his “berserker rage.”
“It’s not just angry, there’s a thing in the comic books 'berserker rage,' it comes from the Viking term of when they would go into battle they would whip themselves into a frenzy where they were fearless and formidable and almost unbeatable,” Jackman explained. “I love this quality because Wolverine on paper doesn’t have the greatest powers of any mutant and yet he’s always the most feared, the most formidable, and he’s the one person you don’t want to piss off.”
Getting inside Wolverine's head was at the top of director James Mangold’s to do list. And what better way to do that than by using the one person who got closest to him emotionally: Jean Grey (Famke Janssen).
“I wanted to try and get behind the anger, not just have it be an attitude or exterior,” Mangold said. “When you don’t have six other X-Men [in the film], we have the time to get inside him.”
“Where we find him at the lowest point in his life and exploring this interesting idea that someone who can live forever, what’s the cost?” added Jackman. “What’s it like when everyone you know and love has come and gone? You’re left with a lot of pain and the person who meant the most to him and died in the most tragic way is Jean.”
Janssen’s Jean Grey has a sizable amount of screen time despite the fact that her character isn’t technically living anymore (or is she?). Janssen was only on set for one week, but the film still shows us a a softer side of the superhuman, albeit with an air of mystery.
“He’s riddled with guilt, living in a way that a lot of people are in, trying to reconcile their past.in order to move on with their future,” Janssen explained. “I came to Australia just for a week. I arrived at 6am, went right to set and Hugh Jackman is standing there with his arms wide open, giving me the biggest hug,” she recalled with a smile. “So all of the sudden you’re just back because he makes it so easy.”
But don’t let all this talk about feelings and emotional connections make you think that the film is lacking in action, there are plenty of complicated and visually-stunning action sequences to satisfy all tastes and many of them were done practically, sans CGI.
“I didn’t want another film where the action was about cities collapsing, stadiums collapsing, or planets being destroyed,” said Mangold. “I thought the really great intensity of Wolverine lies in feeling like it’s really him [doing the fighting] and it’s sweaty and it’s bloody and hand-to-hand. Everyone worked really hard.”
Jackman once again put himself through the ringer when it came to getting in peak physical condition and this time he called in some guidance from a fellow fitness buff, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.
“The [workouts] get harder as I get older,” Jackman admitted. Before this one I rang Dwayne Johnson – my mate – and said, ‘Buddy how do I do this?’ He said, ‘Okay here’s the deal you need six months [of prep], you can’t do it in three.’ Six months, 6,000 calories a day, workout three hours a day.”
Just your average workout, right?
Hey, it ain't easy being a superhero, but Jackman clearly sets a standard for looking and acting the part, which is obvious when you watch him in action.
Fortunately, we won’t have to wait too long to see Logan in action again soon, as Jackman will follow-up “The Wolverine” with a pivotal role in “X-Men: Days of Future Past," due out in May 2014.