You don’t want to make the Wolverine angry — especially in his newest movie.
That was the main takeaway from today’s live Q&A with The Wolverine star Hugh Jackman and director James Mangold (Walk the Line, 3:10 to Yuma), which EW exclusively announced last week. Over and over, the two made a point of noting that their film would explore the aspects of Wolvie’s famed berserker rage. “His ultimate weapon is his rage,” said Jackman. “If you look at all the mutants, there are other mutants with stronger powers — on paper. But who’s the person you least want to annoy? Wolverine.”
The actor and filmmaker had a few other surprising revelations about their film, due to open July 26, 2013. Check out their top five below, along with the film’s new teaser poster that evokes the film’s Japanese setting, below:
It’s an X-Men sequel, but not to the movie you think. Instead of following the much maligned X-Men Origins: Wolverine in the greater X-Men timeline, Mangold revealed that The Wolverine is set some time after the events of 2006’s X-Men: The Last Stand. “It finds Logan at a point when the X-Men are gone; Jean Gray is gone; a lot of the ties he had to the world, are gone,” he said. “I wanted to place this story somewhere where Hugh and I could develop a movie which could create its own world, wouldn’t have to in a sense hand off to another movie or answer to another movie.” Jackman made things even more explicit, noting that Mangold’s mantra was, “Enough with the ‘I can’t remember what happened to me, what was my past, who am I?’ We’ve explored it a lot.”
Their model for Logan was another famous movie tough guy. Mangold cited the 1976 Clint Eastwood western The Outlaw Josey Wales as one of his main inspirations for this film. “That’s a film in which Clint Eastwood watches his wife and children murdered in the first three minutes of the movie,” he said. “And the reason I kept thinking about how neatly and concisely the set up of that film sent Clint off on a journey that was built on loss and rage — not just depression and disillusionment, but a kind of quest for some kind of revenge.”
Wolverine may not be so invincible after all. With a character capable of healing his own blown out brain, Jackman and Mangold seemed quite aware of challenge of telling a story in which, short of decapitation, their hero can’t die. “In this movie, how do we put it — let’s just say he discovers his kryptonite,” teased Jackman, apparently unafraid of stepping into the Marvel/DC Comics no man’s land.
Jackman didn’t want to just get buff for this movie. Jackman has spoken before about ringing up The Rock (a.k.a. Dwayne Johnson) for advice on how best to bulk up for the role. But he made clear that he wasn’t just wanting to build up a brawny gym body. “It’s not about being buff,” he said. “I wanted to see veins. I wanted to be animalistic. I wanted to look not pretty — [more] frightening.”
Mangold similarly wanted to make things smaller, not bigger. “We’ve made a concerted effort to make the film feel more real, to pull back on the super duper abilities of Logan,” said Mangold. “Like, he doesn’t bring down any airplanes. It’s grounded.” As if Mangold could hear Fox’s marketing team have a simultaneous conniption, though, he was quick to add, “This is a tent-pole movie. There’s outrageous action.” We’re not communists, after all.
Check out the video of the full Q&A below, along with the first official teaser poster of the film.