Hugh Jackman Talks Wolverine Director Changes and Rewrites
09.27.11 by Ryan
It's been a bumpy road for The Wolverine. It first lost its Academy Award–nominated director, got a new director but then was delayed by weather, and finally received a rewrite in the past year and is now on hold until Hugh Jackman to finishes work on a musical version of Les Miserables.
Had everything gone to plan, The Wolverine would have started shooting in April but, a month before, director Darren Aronofsky (Black Swan) dropped out. In a recent interview with The Playlist, Jackman revealed that he had been trying to work with Aronofsky again (the last time was 2006's The Fountain) for a while.
His personal life precluded him from making the movie. I asked him to do X-Men 3, I asked him to do Wolverine one and he said, "It’s not so much for me." And then he read this and said, "Man, I’m in. This is the best comic movie script I’ve ever read" and he’s been dying to do one for a long time.
Instead, Jackman will reunite with his Kate & Leopold director James Mangold, whom Jackman says had a "clear vision" for The Wolverine.
Many directors wanted to do this film, I’m happy to say, because of the strength of the script. When he came in he just had such a clear vision of where this movie should go. He had the best take. He’s done many, many genres. I look at 3:10 to Yuma, and when he started talking about The Outlaw Josey Wales I was like, "Okay, now we’re on the right track." He had a couple of things which, I think, even in Darren’s version of the script, hadn’t been solved that he just knew he had the key.
Speaking of the script, written by Christopher McQuarrie (The Usual Suspects) and described by Jackman as
"the best script yet," earlier this month it was reported that screenwriter Mark Bomback (Live Free or Die Hard, the upcoming Jack the Giant Killer and Total Recall remake) was going to rewrite it,. Considering how much the reverence was given to McQuarrie's draft, the news was a little surprising and seemed like something that was product of the movie's delay, but Jackman stated that Mangold needed to make The Wolverine his own.
When a director takes over any script they need to make it their movie. So Jim hired Mark to help him make the movie his own. Darren had worked on the script himself and taken it in a certain direction that was right for him. And that would have been a great version of the movie. I’ve seen Jim’s version now and, you know, Jim saw things that weren’t working for him that were working for Darren. And I’ve got to hand it to Fox and to Jim, it’s easy when you start with the best script we’ve had from Chris McQuarrie. Which is why Darren signed on. So once you have that, that’s 80, 85 percent of your movie.
The script was always reported as being based on the seminal 1982 Wolverine mini-series from writer Chris Claremont and artist Frank Miller which, like the script, took Wolverine to Japan. Jackman says The Wolverine won't be an exact adaptation and will be a "darker" version.
It’s a little darker and, I think, a little more true to the character. If you read all of [the Japanese saga] there is a lot of it that is a little disparate and some of it’s got X-Men in it. There’s a wedding and all that. So we take license with that.
With a release more likely for 2013, Jackman says that The Wolverine will shoot "straight after" Les Miserables. "For Les Mis to work, we would have had to start Wolverine, basically, yesterday," explained Jackman. "So when we needed to press the ["go"] button, we weren’t quite ready."