‘X-Men’ star Hugh Jackman shows off Wolverine’s exhibitionist streak
Sunspot (Adan Canto), left, Kitty Pryde (Ellen Page), Iceman (Shawn Ashmore) and Colossus (Daniel Cudmore) prepare for an epic battle to save their kind in "X-Men: Days of Future Past." (Fox)Link
Ian McKellen returns as Magneto in "X-Men: Days of Future Past." (Fox)Link
Young Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) meets his older self (Patrick Stewart) in "X-Men: Days of Future Past." (Fox)Link
Hugh Jackman as Wolverine in "X-Men: Days of Future Past." (Fox)Link
Dr. Trask (Peter Dinklage, seated) plots to eradicate mutants in "X-Men: Days of Future Past." (Fox)Link
Beast (Nicholas Hoult) unleashes his inner animal in "X-Men: Days of Future Past." (Fox)Link
Ellen Page, left, as Kitty Pryde and Shawn Ashmore as Iceman in "X-Men: Days of Future Past." (Fox)Link
To be clear, Hugh Jackman says it was his idea for Wolverine to be naked in “X-Men: Days of Future Past.”
Early on in the new film, which brought in $111 million in its debut over the Memorial Day weekend, Jackman’s Wolverine is transported from a bleak future into a far groovier past, where he wakes to find himself without clothes — and in a waterbed no less.
“The scene was written that Wolverine gets out of bed wearing boxer shorts and I’m like, I’m sorry, boxer shorts and Wolverine doesn’t go together,” Jackman said in an interview with Hero Complex. “They said, Don’t worry, we’ll make it briefs. I was like, Yeah, that’s worse. I said, ‘If he’s in bed with a girl, I don’t think he’s getting out wearing underwear.’ I just felt like I was really letting him down — either that or I’m an exhibitionist, one of the two.”
If anyone should understand Wolverine, it’s Jackman. The Australian actor first played the antihero with a temper in Bryan Singer’s 2000 comic book tentpole “X-Men,” the film that arguably ushered in the modern age of superhero cinema. In “Days of Future Past,” which sees Singer return as a director to the franchise for the first time since 2003’s “X2,” Wolverine’s consciousness is sent back in time to help prevent the events that led to the future world in which nearly unstoppable robots known as Sentinels track and kill mutants.
That lands him squarely in 1973, an era that Jackman thinks suits Logan well.
“I’ve always said he was born for the ’70s,” Jackman said. “I’ve always imagined the moment Rick Astley, Duran Duran, Wham came in musically, that’s when he actually escaped to the forests of Canada. It had nothing to do with Stryker. Leg warmers, shoulder pads, bad hair and ’80s music was enough.”
Based on Chris Claremont and John Byrne’s famous “X-Men” comics story line and written by Simon Kinberg, “Days of Future Past” unites the casts of both the original “X-Men” trilogy — including Patrick Stewart as professor Charles Xavier and Ian McKellen as his friend-turned-foe Erik Lehnsherr, better known as Magneto — and Matthew Vaughn’s 2011 prequel, which featured James McAvoy as a younger Xavier, Michael Fassbender as Magneto and “Hunger Games” star Jennifer Lawrence as Raven/Mystique, a role played in the original films by Rebecca Romijn.
Also featured are Nicholas Hoult as Beast, Ellen Page as Kitty Pryde, Halle Berry as Storm, Omar Sy as Bishop and Evan Peters as Quicksilver.
Peter Dinklage joins the ensemble as Bolivar Trask, the mastermind who develops the Sentinels to help humanity defend itself against mutant powers.
“It was like two films,” Jackman said of his time on the film’s Montreal set. “We shot the future first, … It was like a reunion to begin with. We shot all that stuff with the old cast, and then I remember the last day that Patrick worked was James’ first day. That was the beginning of the new type of film. The younger cast really are very close, and as big a stars as they are, they’re very down to earth and they really actually work together incredibly well. They laugh a lot, they sing a lot, they play practical jokes. They shoot each other with BB guns.”
Jackman also praised Singer, who stepped back from promoting “Days of Future Past” after a teen sex abuse lawsuit was filed against him last month. (Last week, the filmmaker filed a motion to dismiss the suit.) The film is the biggest hit in recent years for the director, whose previous two cinematic outings were the fairy tale update “Jack the Giant Killer” and the Tom Cruise period war movie “Valkyrie.”
“He had a real clear vision at the beginning — which was a bold one at the time when there was nearly no comic book genre — of this movie being a character piece first, and that for every bit of superhuman ability that you see, you see every bit as much if not more of their human frailties and flaws,” Jackman said of Singer. “Plus also I think the underlying themes — tolerance and acceptance and second chances and discrimination — these are all things that he’s passionate about and that he brings out so well.
“He’s one of the very few who can handle multiple story lines and character arcs and still make it work and make it satisfying and have the big picture be so clear,” the actor continued. “He was very passionate about this movie not just because it’s his genre in a way and his franchise that he helped to create but also just as a time-travel movie, which he’s a big fan of. There was a lot at stake for him.”
He appears to have succeeded. “Days of Future Past” has a 91% fresh rating on the review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes; in her review for The Times, critic Betsy Sharkey said, “The massive top-drawer cast — basically anyone who’s ever had a walk-on in an X-Men movie shows up — has never been better employed either. It is amusing and at times moving to see the older and younger versions of key characters as they rewrite a bit of X-Men history.”
Jackman, for one, was keen to see that history revised: “I think what Bryan and Simon have done so well is unify the series and almost give it a fresh life because there were some inaccuracies — different filmmakers come in and some cared more than others about how things made sense in terms of timeline. Now I feel like in Bryan and Simon’s hands that’s been addressed. I got goose bumps at the end of this movie. It did make me feel like it was a fresh beginning.”
While Jackman has hinted that his tour as Logan might be coming to an end at some near point in the future, he’s set to reprise the role at least twice more — in a sequel to last summer’s stand-alone film, “The Wolverine,” again working with that movie’s director James Mangold; and in “X-Men: Apocalypse,” which Singer announced he would direct on Twitter earlier this year.
“I do think the raw material for this character is pretty amazing,” Jackman said. “There is a lot to him, I think that’s why he’s been one of the most popular characters in the comic book. There is a lot more to discover, and I feel like the scripts are getting better and better. The films feel fresh and original. It generally feels like there is a reason and hopefully we’ll find out that there’s a desire for more, but I’m not going to do it unless there is something new for the character and we keep him going in the direction we are.”
– Gina McIntyre
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