Interview: Hugh Jackman thinks the ‘X-Men’ movies are only getting better

"X-Men: Days of Future Past" is either Hugh Jackman's sixth or seventh turn as Wolverine, if you do or don't count his cameo in "X-Men: First Class." Credit: Getty Images
“X-Men: Days of Future Past” is either Hugh Jackman’s sixth or seventh turn as Wolverine, if you do or don’t count his cameo in “X-Men: First Class.”
Credit: Getty Images

Hugh Jackman has a Band-Aid on his nose. This is a good thing: His doctor spied a bit of basal cell carcinoma on his nose. “It is a skin cancer, but if you’re going to get it, it’s the kind you want,” he says. It was actually found while Jackman was checking up on an earlier bout of the disease from six months ago. It was bound to happen: “I grew up in Australia. I have English parents and English skin.” It’s changed everything for him. “I went down to Australia this summer. It’s a whole different thing for me to actively try to stay out of the sun.”

But he’s supposed to be talking about super-strength. Jackman is in town to promote “X-Men: Days of Future Past,” based on the beloved 1981 two-issue run, which finds the Wolverine jumping to 1973 to change a bleak dystopian future. It’s Jackman’s sixth bout as easily-riled mutant Logan, aka Wolverine (seventh if you count a cameo in “X-Men: First Class”). In person, Jackman is as far from his most famous screen incarnation as possible (which is to say very approachable and talkative). And he’s not tired of him, even after 14 years.

What is it like staying with the same character for so long?

I’m weirdly enjoying it more than ever. I think the movies are getting better, the scripts are getting better. This one is based on the comic book, but it felt really organic in the way it celebrates the whole series. I love that it’s part comic book movie, part time travel movie. It reminds me of “Back to the Future.” And I’m the only one lucky enough to play both time periods, so I got to work with everyone.

Logan’s much more calm in this one, especially compared to how volatile he was in “The Wolverine.”

He’s been around. He’s come to a certain pace in himself, about his position, about his past, about who he is. It’s more about the team now. It’s taken him a long time to get to that point. I think it’s been well-earned, and I think after “The Wolverine] it feels natural. He gets to play a mentor/diplomat/guide/wise old sage role and not just have him flying off the handle every five seconds. I’ve been around long enough to know that this is a rare thing: to be able to play a character you love after all these years and still feel like it’s relevant, and not just old hat.

This image aside, Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) is a lot more chill in "X-Men: Days of Future Past" than usual. Credit: Alan Markfield
This image aside, Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) is a lot more chill in “X-Men: Days of Future Past” than usual.
Credit: Alan Markfield

Where do you see him going in the future? Any surprising directions?

My son just saw the movie. He loved it; he just turned 14. He said, “Dad, I’ve got an idea for the next one. I think he should not be in any fights at all. I think he should just be a gardener, and he’s kind of cool but he’s really at peace.” And I said, “Now hang on: Good idea, but I think the Wolverine fans around the world want to see one little fight.” He said, “No. I think we’ve seen enough. I think he should just be calm.” [Laughs]

This was made soon after “The Wolverine,” too.

I did “Prisoners” in between. That had complications, because Denis [Villeneuve, “Prisoner”’s director] didn’t want a neighborhood father — who was supposed to be kind of an everyman — being completely jacked. And I was training every morning, a lot. I was training for this while I was shooting that. I never really told them. They kept looking at me when food was being delivered every two hours — all these chicken breasts. They had the sense to not even ask me. But Denis did cover me up. If you notice I’m always in long shirts. There were no tee-shirts. I complained about it after awhile, but it’s easier to stay in shape than to get into shape. That’s an old Will Smith quote. And it’s true.

Reaching out:

Jackman was a newbie to most when he was cast as Logan/Wolverine in the first “X-Men” from 2000. But he was already an established star of musicals, including playing Curly in “Oklahoma!” in London starting in 1998. Throughout he’s made a point at being versatile, doing dramas and epics and brainier thrillers, like “The Prestige.” One thing he’d like to do — or at least do more of — is romantic-comedies. “I did one, with ‘Kate & Leopold,’ a long time ago. I’d like to do that again.”

Follow Matt Prigge on Twitter @mattprigge



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

At 91, Marvel creator Stan Lee continues to…

By Piya Sinha-RoyLOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Marvel Entertainment's chief emeritus Stan Lee may be in his ninth decade, but it hasn't stopped him from adding…

National

Islamic State says beheads U.S. journalist, holds another

Islamic State insurgents released a video purportedly showing the beheading of U.S. journalist James Foley, who had gone missing in Syria nearly two years ago.

Local

VIDEO: NYPD seeks shooter in East New York…

Cops are on the lookout for an unknown shooter who aimed and missed hitting a man on a bicycle, instead nearly striking a nearby officer in East New York.

Local

NYS state forces thrift shops comply with ban…

Nine New York City thrift shops were reprimanded by the state attorney general for selling children's clothes with drawstrings around the neck and waist.

Television

'Pretty Little Liars' recap: Season 5, Episode 11,…

Caleb's not a ghost. Spencer might still be an attempted murderer. And Hanna's going to die next week. In other words, we actually got some…

Movies

At 91, Marvel creator Stan Lee continues to…

Marvel Entertainment's Stan Lee is adding outposts to his creative empire to interest a new generation of children in super heroes of all shapes and sizes.

Television

Mira Sorvino explores immortality on 'Intruders'

Mira Sorvino's new show "Intruders" centers around a secret society that achieves immortality by taking over the bodies of other people.

Television

5 things you need to know about new…

"Doctor Who" returns Saturday with a new star, Peter Capaldi. Here's some things to know about him (mainly his turn as sweary spin doctor Malcolm Tucker).

MLB

Shane Greene travels unlikely road to Yankees stardom

Shane Greene was throwing a bullpen session on a quiet field at Daytona Beach Community College one day when the ball started moving.

NFL

2014 Fantasy Football: Rankings, list of top NFL…

2014 Fantasy Football: Rankings, list of top NFL tight ends (TE)

MLB

MLB Power Rankings: Angels supplant A's, Nationals climb

MLB Power Rankings: Angels supplant A's, Nationals climb

NFL

David Wilson returns to triple jump, sets sights…

Giants fans know David Wilson can jump. They are just more used to seeing him go for backflips, not distance.

Style

11 timeless gifts for registries or just because

Gifts to prove you're a style maven once and for all.

Parenting

How everyday moments can inspire kids' creativity

"The Artist's Way for Parents" author Julia Cameron gives advice on how parents and children can be creative together.

Tech

How to stay safe online

Stop worrying about keeping your online passwords safe, and start worrying about keeping your username a secret. Actually, worry about both. According to Shaun Murphy…

Tech

OpenTable now lets you pay your bill via…

The restaurant app OpenTable added the ability to pay your bill (and tip) with your phone, thus cutting back on a few dining annoyances.