The brooding mutant is holed up in a hideaway until a dying former soldier summons him. He is reluctant to go to Japan and for good reasons because unbeknownst to him, the war vet has ulterior motives that include death and destruction. Just last year when The Film Strip last talked to Jackman for “Les Miserables,” in which he was running from the law although his motives were also altruistic in that film. He meets his enemies head on in “The Wolverine.”
Director James Mangold has worked with Jackman before. He directed Jackman in one of the best romantic comedies ever made called “Kate & Leopold,” with Meg Ryan and Liev Schreiber. One of the most awesome and never before action scenes onscreen was the fight on top of a moving train.
Hugh, can you talk about that amazing train scene?
Well, it was a humbling. It took three weeks and, for me I’ve done a lot of action scenes but this was certainly one of the hairiest. There was this one scene where there are those industrial leaf blowers and I looked back and you can literally see the folds of my skin flapping around and I thought, I feel young but I don’t look so young. [Laughs] I had a few cuts, a few bruises, a couple of tweaked necks. I got a couple of early marks and people were worried that I would break my neck but the experience was really exciting because I felt that it was very emblematic, fun and really great action that isn’t totally overblown and over-the-top action sequence that show you just don’t care anymore.
How has it been playing Wolver over the years?
I actually am enjoying playing him more than ever. I was reflecting on that and why would that be. Wolverine is somewhere between 250 and 300 and on some of the four o’clock mornings, I felt 300 years old but I think generally just being a little older and the script, which you can see by the title, we are focusing on this character and his journey towards intimate and more interiors stories. This isn’t wall-to-wall mutants and people flying around and lasers coming out of eyes. This is a real true character story. Having someone like Jim onboard to not only give the action an unbelievable creativity and more it original but also make it a true drama and to see that human side and the vulnerabilities of Wolverine. All of these things have made it more challenging and more satisfying and more fun to play. I’m really thrilled that from the writers to the studio, everyone got onboard. The movie we wanted to make, I think we made.
There have been a few films in which Jackman has a played a cad, but for the most part his good guy roles reflect his upstanding character. While doing charitable work in Ethiopia, he developed a friendship with Dukale, a local coffee farmer that inspired his philanthropic foundation Laughing Man.
“I met a man man who changed the way I looked at the world,” Jackman stated. “As Dukale and I planted coffee trees together, I began to see the potential for one man’s hard work to transform an entire community … While working with Dukale that day, I was so inspired by what I learned from him and his community, I made Dukale a promise to do my bit to help. Laughing Man Worldwide is the fulfillment of that promise.”
All profits from Laughing Man go to the organization. In a number of cities, Laughing Man coffee shops have opened up—there are two in New York City. More proof of Jackman’s humanitarian concern is the fact that he adopted two bi-racial children because “there is more of a need” for homes for them than a white child.
Marie Moore is a syndicated veteran entertainment journalist who reports on film and TV from her New York City base. Contact her at [email protected].