Hugh Jackman’s brooding Wolverine gets even darker

Hugh Jackman plays brooding mutant Logan for the sixth time in "The Wolverine." Credit: Ben Rothstein
Hugh Jackman plays brooding mutant Logan for the sixth time in “The Wolverine.”
Credit: Ben Rothstein

Hugh Jackman is a song and dance man, who regularly pops up in stage musicals and, with “Les Miserables,” film musicals, too. He’s even starred in “Hugh Jackman … One Night Only,” a one-man production of showtunes and recollections that he will bring to L.A. this fall. But to most, he’s Wolverine, the decidedly un-exuberant, brooding mutant of the X-Men franchise. Having explored his origins in the first solo Wolverine film in 2009, he once again dons his claws and his pissy stare for “The Wolverine,” a spinoff that finds his anguished asskicker considering mortality while fighting ninjas, robot samurai and a she-lizard in Japan.

I heard you were a big fan of the Chris Claremont and Frank Miller run from the early ‘80s, on which this was loosely based.
I read that during the first “X-Men” and I always thought that was a great basis for a movie. After 13 years [the producers] agree with me. I love the backdrop. To me, I want a character who symbolizes the anti-authoritarian. To go into the world of Japan with samurais is really fresh and different.

Wolverine has to fight ninjas and samurai, not other mutants. What kinds of challenges does that give him?
What’s really cool is the way they fight and the values, not just the training. It’s not just physical — it’s a control of the mind. I think to Wolverine, who is instinctive and animalistic and emotional, he just doesn’t think things through. It’s not like he’s fighting mutants. He’s fighting humans.

This is more stripped-down and darker than the first solo Wolverine film.
It is darker and I think it should be. Even in the storyline it’s a bit of a rebirth of the character. That character really is incredibly tense; he is darker. If there ever is an argument for an R-rated comic book movie, it is probably Wolverine. We did actually discuss that.

You seem like a nice guy. And you often play nice, more exuberant characters than Wolverine, who broods and hates everybody.
Acting always allows me to kind of explore other parts of myself and the human condition. Wolverine is something difficult for me to get back into because I’ve been playing him on and off for 13 years. James [Mangold, the director] was on me about being deep and more restrained and really highlighting the moment before he blows his top, and then when he blows his top we earn it.

James Mangold tends to direct smaller films than this, like “Walk the Line,” “3:10 to Yuma” and “Kate & Leopold,” in which you starred. What did he bring to this project?
It’s the sixth time I played the role but it was never like that. I felt like he got the best performance out of me and the best out of every actor. He had a huge range here and he was the same with all of us.

You were known for musicals (“Oklahoma!”) before you got the role in the first “X-Men.” How did they come to choose you?
It was the luckiest thing that ever happened to me. Seven months before I really got brought in someone else got the part, and finally when things fell through for Dougray Scott, who was cast in another film, then she said, “Remember that guy? Let’s bring him back in.” It just so happened that I was in L.A. that week. It was a lot of the skies certainly aligning.

Were you into comics before?
I really had no idea about X-Men, about its reach or size or passionate fans. I certainly knew afterwards. Being on a Hollywood set is very different than getting work in Australia. I remember being quite nervous to begin with. When I did my audition they were already a week into shooting.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Mayor reveals new tech hub Digital.NYC

Mayor Bill de Blasio revealed Digital.NYC on Wednesday, a new online platform aimed at connecting all things tech in New York City. The public-private partnership…

Local

Falling debris hits two men in Times Square

Two men were taken to the hospital Wednesday morning after being hit by falling debris from 110 feet above Times Square. Nancy Greco from the…

Local

Queens Assemblyman William Scarborough accused of misusing campaign…

Queens Assemblyman William Scarborough has been indicted on state and federal charges for allegedly withdrawing campaign funds as cash for personal use. Scarborough, a Democrat…

News

U.S. Secret Service director Pierson resigns under fire

U.S. Secret Service Director Julia Pierson resigned under fire on Wednesday after a series of security lapses came to light.

Television

TV watch list, Wednesday, Oct. 1: 'Criminal Minds,'…

The "Criminal Minds" team adds some supernatural assistance, as the "Ghost Whisperer" herself, Jennifer Love Hewitt, joins the show. She's playing an FBI agent, but you never know when someone…

Music

See the most popular Pandora station in your…

Who knew Bachata music was so popular?

The Word

The Word: Twilight just won't die

You thought our "Twilight" days were behind us, didn't you? Well think again. Series creator Stephenie Meyer (who would rather you not ask about "Twilight"…

Going Out

Which NYC restaurant lost its three-star Michelin rating?

A record 73 restaurants in New York City collected coveted Michelin stars on Tuesday as a mix of trendy spots and fine-dining stalwarts underscored the…

NFL

Rex Ryan fields more questions about Geno Smith,…

The idea Geno Smith will be replaced by backup Michael Vick appears to be all smoke, as the Jets are intent to ride with their second-round draft pick.

NFL

Will Beatty playing like franchise left tackle again…

Left tackle Will Beatty, who is the elder-statesman of Giants’ line, has turned around his season and become a consistent force on Manning’s blindside.

NFL

John Conner back with Jets for second stint

He'll be back. It's "Terminator 2" for the Jets, who brought back John Conner to the team on Tuesday after placing fullback Tommy Bohanon on…

NFL

Fantasy football: Ben Tate to break out, Larry…

Fantasy football: Ben Tate to break out, Larry Donnell will stay solid

Career

Creating a support system for minority women in…

When Kathryn Finney founded digitalundivided — an organization devoted to engaging minority communities with the tech world — she didn’t know quite what to expect.…

Sex

We can learn a lot from animals about…

There’s a lot we can learn about love from the birds and the bees — and the chickens, monkeys and squirrels that we share the…

Style

Saint Laurent

Our review of the Saint Laurent Spring '15 show at Paris Fashion Week.

Style

Céline: Paris Fashion Week Spring 2015

Our review of the Celine Spring '15 show during Paris Fashion Week.