Liev Schreiber talks about playing Sabertooth in X-MEN ORIGINS: WOLVERINE

     December 8, 2008

Written by Steve ‘Frosty’ Weintraub

Yesterday I attended the press day for Paramount Vantage’s upcoming film “Defiance”. If you aren’t familiar with the movie, it stars Daniel Craig and Liev Schreiber and it’s based on the extraordinary true story of a group of Jews that banded together to survive in a forest during WW2. And while surviving would’ve been enough, they also managed to fight the Nazis and save over a thousand people. It really is an incredible story and in the coming weeks I’ll have interviews with most of the cast and director Edward Zwick.

But let’s get to the reason you’re here.

During my roundtable interview with Liev Schreiber, we managed to get him to talk about his next movie “X:Men Origins: Wolverine”, which arrives in theaters May 1st.

While exact details on the story are still under wraps, we all know from reading the comic books that Sabertooth and Wolverine don’t get along…in fact, you could say they sort of hate each other. Of course the big question is why…andI think the film will explain it.

Anyway, when we finally started talking about “Wolverine”, we managed to get him to talk about fighting Hugh Jackman, the fan reaction to his being Sabertooth, what he did to train for the part, and he told us that he was originally offered Striker but asked to play Victor Creed…

With the movie coming out in about six months, you can expect tons of info to start hitting the net soon. Until then, here’s what Liev said.

Q: You’re in Wolverine. How much fun did you have being in that?

Liev Schreiber: It was insanely fun. I felt again, I felt very self conscious initially because I knew fans didn’t like that idea of me playing Sabertooth. I think I am perceived as a kind of urbane New York … I don’t know maybe I’ve done too many movies with Jewish characters [laughter] and they’re like “It’s like Woody Allen playing Sabertooth” and I’m like no actually it’s not. I’m 6 foot 3 I’m bigger than Hugh Jackman [laughter] I can do this.

Q: Can you take him?

LS: I can take him. [Laughter] No I really can. In fact I do. But the reality is that he’s become – Hugh since I’ve known him, I’ve known him a long time – has become this colossus of a man. He’s like he’s huge and muscles everywhere and I have to play this guy who whoops his ass. So as soon as I was finished ‘Defiance’ I began this kind of four month training period, weight lifting period genocide of chickens phase of my life where I just got bigger and bigger and it was awful but amazing and fun. When I finally got there and I got to choreograph the fights with Hugh and get on the wire and do the work it was not just fun, I saw some footage it’s pretty cool.

Q: You’re listed twice in the Wolverine credits as Victor Creed and Sabertooth. Why is that?

LS: [sinister laugh] What’s that about? Victor Creed is Sabertooth.

Q: So that’s why it’s listed twice?

LS: Just wanted everybody to know I got a name. [Laughter]

Q: Could you talk about how long you were filming and can you talk about what research you did? Did you read the comics?

LS: I read the comics before I got offered the part. I mean, I knew the character really well. Initially I was asked to play Striker and I asked “is there any chance I might be able to play this Victor Creed guy?” The research that I did on it. Victor’s particular mutant issue has nothing to do with his name Sabertooth, but that was the place I decided to start. Just what is a Sabertooth and how does that work? How do they move? What are their behavioral characteristics? I knew this stuff from the comic, I knew that he was just a complete savage street fighter and that was his MO but what I hadn’t seen in some of the earlier films that I was curious to kind of pursue is what drives the guy and what are the kind of qualities- I guess for be it’s the same thing with a character like Zus- rather than just say they’re a violent brute what’s the cocktail that makes the brute tick. Hopefully people will like it.

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