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

Mutant worms stay sober, even on alcohol

U.S. researchers have developed "mutant worms" that do not get drunk by alcohol, a breakthrough that could lead to new treatment for people trying to quit drinking

Local

K-9 nose helps capture $150K in cocaine at…

A furry, four-legged security agent helped authorities stop an illegal cocaine shipment from sneaking past JFK customs.

National

Minnesota man asked to leave Southwest flight after…

A man and his two sons were asked to leave a Southwest Airlines flight after the man sent a tweet complaining about being treated rudely by a gate agent.

National

Man sues hospital after surprise penis amputation

An Alabama man who went in to a hospital last month for a circumcision awoke after surgery to find his penis had been amputated, his lawyer said on Thursday.

Movies

Review: Brett Ratner's big 'Hercules' movie is small…

The latest "Hercules," starring Dwayne Johnson as the half-god beefcake of Greek myth, strips its hero and tale of most of its fantastical elements.

Arts

Scientists recreate world's smallest Monet copy

Scientists have reproduced a famous Impressionist painting using nano-printing, to create what has been described as the world's smallest work of art. Reworked at the…

Television

Jerry Seinfeld is ambidextrous, and other Reddit AMA…

See some of the weirder highlights of Jerry Seinfeld's recent Reddit AMA.

Going Out

Grab a pedestrian and start dancing at What…

As a New Yorker, I’ve mastered the art of focusing my gaze straight ahead. Though it occasionally piques my interest, the absurdities that play out…

NFL

2014 NFL Fantasy Football Top 100 overall player…

2014 NFL Fantasy Football Top 100 overall player rankings

U.S. Soccer

NYCFC announce signing of Frank Lampard

The tease of a big signing Thursday by new MLS side NYCFC ended up being one rumored for weeks. England midfielder Frank Lampard agreed to…

NBA

NBA great LeBron James sends 800 cupcake apologies…

By Kim PalmerCLEVELAND (Reuters) - NBA star LeBron James, whose recent return to the Cleveland Cavaliers in his home state of Ohio sparked a frenzy…

NFL

Jerry Reese confident with Giants, skipping countdown clocks…

Last year, Giants GM Jerry Reese installed a countdown clock in the locker room to inspire Big Blue to play in their own stadium for Super Bowl XLVIII.

Tech

Forget Wi-Fi: Li-Fi could be the future

Li-Fi technology – developed by Mexican company Sisoft – is wireless internet connectivity using specialized LED light.

Tech

Weather app Climendo might be the most accurate…

The wait for a truly accurate weather forecast could finally be over thanks to a nifty new app called Climendo.

Tech

Napkin Table puts focus off the phone and…

Michael Jan, a design student at Tunghai University in Taiwan, has invented a serviette-picnic blanket hybrid called the Napkin Table.

Style

Essie's new Color Boutique

Essie launches high-tech kiosks at major airports and malls across the country.