40 Things to Know About THE WOLVERINE From Our Set Visit

     May 28, 2013


Last year, when James Mangold‘s The Wolverine was filming in Sydney, Australia, I got to visit the set with a few other reporters.  While some sets feature a cast and crew more than willing to talk about the twists and turns of their movie, I found The Wolverine team on full lock down mode.  Now before you start to think they didn’t want to tell us about the story, that definitely wasn’t the case.  It’s just they all wanted to protect the story until we could see it on a movie screen.

However, even though the cast and crew were all very guarded when talking to us, I still learned a lot about the project and after the jump you can read forty things to know about the film.  If you’re the type of person that likes to avoid spoilers, the list is safe reading.  Hit the jump for more.

And one last thing before getting to the list, while I had serious issues with the last Wolverine movie, I’m extremely confident The Wolverine is going to kick serious ass.  I really think this is going to be the Wolverine movie we’ve all been waiting for.

The Wolverine hits theaters July 26th.  Before getting to the list, watch the recent trailer:

the-wolverine-movie-poster40 Things to Know About The Wolverine:

  • Mangold wanted a lot of “original faces” for the cast.
  • Mangold was very adamant that he wanted the film to take place after the events of all of the previous X-Men movies.  He didn’t want to be beholden to some pre-existing story.
  • The central idea that Mangold wrote on the back of the script was, “Everyone I love will die.”  He wanted to explore the curse of Wolverine’s immortality.
  • Mangold wanted to make a different kind of comic book movie that didn’t deal with a question of whether the earth/moon/a stadium would be destroyed. He wanted to make a character-based film that explored “the world of gods.”
  • The Wolverine fits into the X-Men universe, but it’s a standalone film.
  • Mangold and Jackman’s goal with the film was to make “the ultimate Wolverine movie,” which in their minds hasn’t been made yet.
  • Visually speaking, Mangold wanted the film to have a rawness.  He wanted it to feel “gutsy and handheld and very urgent.”
  • Mangold shot digitally in part because he wanted to push performance without having to cut and change set-ups, therefore interrupting the actor’s headspace.
  • The film was heavily influenced by Chinatown, according to Mangold. The director was excited about making a noir film in Japan.
  • the-wolverine-hugh-jackmanMangold isn’t too concerned with putting a tag after the credits, as he says the whole idea of adding something after the movie has already ended is “not his favorite thing.”
  • The third act of the film was evolving from a logistical point of view during production.
  • Christopher McQuarrie “set the tone” with the first major draft of The Wolverine script, and it was subsequently worked on by Mark Bomback, Scott Frank, and Mangold himself.
  • There are times in the film where characters speak Japanese, but the majority of the movie is in English.
  • The production filmed a bit in Japan, but most of the filming was done in Australia both on soundstages and on location.
  • Jackman was reading the samurai Wolverine comic on the first day on X-Men and discussed with producer Lauren Schuler Donner the possibility of someday telling that story.
  • Jackman says he always felt frustrated that they never really delivered what he thought to be the core of the character, which he believes finally makes it to the screen in The Wolverine.
  • The film has a generally darker tone to it than the previous X-Men films.
  • Jackman got weight training advice from Dwayne Johnson to put on muscle in order to get a lean, animalistic look for the film.
  • The film’s themes explore questions of mortality and humanity’s purpose in life, in contrast to the social issues that were raised in the previous films.
  • the-wolverine-james-mangold-hugh-jackmanThere are a lot of similarities to the Chris Claremont comics story, but also some significant differences.
  • Khodchenkova wanted to infuse some of her own flavor into the character of Viper, but was still eager to match it as closely to the character from the comics as possible.
  • The film doesn’t take place over an enormous amount of days.
  • Both Rila Fukushima and Tao Okamoto make their feature film acting debuts in The Wolverine.
  • The film’s version of Yukio is a bit different than the comics.
  • The design for Yukio is that she’s a cool agent assassin with a grungy, street side.
  • Fukushima trained for three weeks in Australia before filming began to prepare for the action sequences.
  • Okamoto had never taken acting lessons before, but Mangold told her not to take any lessons or advice from anyone after seeing her screen test.
  • Jackman showed Okamoto the ropes on set with regards to the filming process.
  • The approach to the action was to make it visceral and realistic in style.
  • the-wolverine-hugh-jackman-james-mangold-tao-okamotoMost of the action sequences were captured using practical effects. They tried to limit the amount of CG and visual effects in the film.
  • All of the action sequences are different from each other, from location to environment to style.
  • All of the weapons in the film have some symbolic meaning.
  • They made the claws in this film a bit sharper and more dangerous-looking than previous iterations.
  • Mangold describes the film as “a Japanese fever dream.”
  • The film also ties into the Western theme, as Wolverine in Japan is sort of like the “man with no name.”
  • They paid great attention to detail in depicting Japan and Japanese culture.
  • They considered filming the whole movie in Japan, but so much of the film needed the control of a big studio environment, so they settled on Sydney.
  • They built a massive amount of sets on the soundstage.
  • With regards to the film’s atmosphere, they wanted to make it moody and much more emotional than what we’ve seen before.  A place where danger is lurking around every corner.
  • The third act involves a fight in a village with snow and ice, then the action moves to inside a tower.

The Wolverine opens July 26th.  For more from our set visit:

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