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‘Wolverine’ Director: Credit Jackman for Franchise Success

19 Nov, 2013 By: Chris Tribbey

CENTURY CITY, Calif. — Hugh Jackman probably had no clue what he was getting himself into when he did his first stint as Wolverine in X-Men in 2000.

“He was part of an ensemble in that first film, and I don’t think he had any idea, even after completing it, what was happening,” said James Mangold, director of The Wolverine, out now on Digital HD and on disc Dec. 3 from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment.

In 2014 Fox will release X-Men: Days of Future Past, the seventh film featuring Jackman as the iconic Marvel Comics character, and there’s a chance he may come back for an eighth in a sequel to The Wolverine.

“I would credit Hugh. He’s just incredible, versatile,” Mangold said of the success of Jackman, Wolverine and the “X-Men” franchise, adding that many famous actors have gone wrong trying to “prove their versatility,” a mistake Jackman hasn’t made.

“I think when you find a groove, you should stick with it,” he said. “I think the moment Hugh is tired of doing this, personally not challenged, he’ll quit.”

Speaking at 20th Century Fox studios, Mangold said he wanted to approach The Wolverine differently from the other franchise films. He set out to make a film he would want to watch, he said, and that meant no comic costumes, less hairspray, different claws for Wolverine, and a story based less on mutants and more on how one mutant is surrounded by death.

“You’re always walking that line, where you want to create something that’s similar to [the comics], and at the same time make something that physically works,” he said. “I didn’t want Wolverine to look like [English new wave band] Flock of Seagulls.

“This was a film that wasn’t going to operate on the ‘Will the world be saved?’ question. It was whether you were interested in [Wolverine] as a character. There is no central villain out to hurt millions. The whole thing is operating on a different architecture.”

Mangold said he was especially hesitant to take on the directing job, after Darren Aronofsky (The Wrestler) dropped out.

“Following Darren seemed like a suicide mission,” Mangold said. “I felt like anyone who even attempted was going to get slaughtered. It would be like following Springsteen. Why would you bother? Everyone’s just going to imagine what could have been.”

Looking at the results — positive reactions from fans and critics and $371 million at the worldwide box office — he didn’t have to worry.

Fox releases The Wolverine on disc with DVD, two-disc Blu-ray Disc and four-disc Blu-ray SKUs, with the four-disc set featuring an extended, unrated cut of the film, an alternate ending, a commentary, several featurettes and a X-Men: Days of Future Past set tour.

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