Saturday, April 19, 2003
X2 CHAT: HUGH JACKMAN (WOLVERINE)
QUESTION: How does it feel to be the nicest guy in Hollywood?
JACKMAN: The nicest guy that claws people and slices and dices for a living. I've got to stop that rumor immediately because nice guys never do action movies for very long. So I can see my career going out the window.
But my father would be very happy. He said, "No matter what, always be polite." So there you go.
QUESTION: Who would win in battle, Wolverine of Cyclops?
JACKMAN: Well, maybe a fashion battle Cyclops would win. But in a battle, of course, Wolverine. … If I managed to get an arm's distance from him, I'm sure I will beat him.
The thing with Wolverine is, if you beat him, you've got to kill him. Because if you don't kill him, then he'll beat you. That's the only problem. And I don't know if Cyclops has got it in him to really take him out.
QUESTION: How has X-Men enriched your career?
JACKMAN: It has changed my life completely. From the moment X-Men opened, I think I remember getting phone calls from Tom DeSanto, our (executive) producer at about 7 o'clock in the morning on Saturday and he was still drunk. Then at about 7:02 from the head of the studio, who was also drunk. And then by 8 o'clock in the morning, I was drunk. It was a good weekend.
It's changed my life, much to the better. So thanks X-Men.
QUESTION: So you didn't have to be dragged kicking and screaming into X2?
JACKMAN: Well, I had a contract, and I couldn't get out of that. (laughs). I loved X-Men - of course. Wolverine is one of those rare action movie characters where as an actor there is so much to do. The action is so fantastic. I think the second movie is better than the first. I've just seen it, by the way, and it is better than the first. It's a gift.
I actually now am kind of regretting not having a three-picture deal. So you never know, they might not ask me back.
QUESTION: Why do you like the second one better?
JACKMAN: I used to say to people that X-Men 2 was going to be a better movie because X-Men 1 establishes so much, the characters, the world… I really like X-Men 1. But, after seeing X-Men 2, you don't have to see the first one anyway. I think it's a funnier movie. I think it's more intense emotionally. It's more full-on. The action is so much better. It's twice the money to shoot it. My trailer was much bigger…
In all seriousness, it's a better movie. I think everyone felt more confident, and I'm pretty confident that the fans are going to like it even more.
QUESTION: When you saw the film, was there anything that surprised you?
JACKMAN: There's always a lot of surprises when you see a movie like this. The very opening sequence, I don't want to give too much away, but it will blow your mind. It blew mine. There was a spontaneous round of applause after the opening sequence. Which I should put this into context: this was a press screening, OK? They're more used to throwing popcorn at the screen then applauding.
The first moment Wolverine's claws come out and the berserker rage is on show, it was kind of wild because they all stood up and started screaming and cheering and yelling. I thought I was in the coliseum. It was really fun to watch. It was very moving and I thought it was more moving than I expected.
QUESTION: Do you think Lady Deathstrike is stronger than Wolverine?
JACKMAN: You know what, there's a lot of mutants out there that have more spectacular powers than Wolverine. But what Wolverine's got is that he intimidates people and he's got a lot of heart. And, as I was saying before, you pretty much have got to kill him to stop him.
And Lady Deathstrike is kind of like, if Wolverine's a Mercedes, then Lady Deathstrike is the latest model Mercedes. She has claws; they're probably sharper. She's a little faster. Is she stronger? They're probably on a par. She can do some pretty amazing things, but I don't want to give anything away, but Wolverine, he handles himself pretty well.
I should qualify, that Wolverine gets his ass kicked in a couple of moments in that fight. As did I, by the way. That Kelly Hu is a black belt. She can pack a punch.
QUESTION: You and Kelly both spent a lot of time on wires. What was that like?
JACKMAN: The wires are fun to do. Kelly is amazing on those wires.
I don't want people to think this is very Matrix sort of style or that characters are all of a sudden flying through air like Crouching Tiger. The wires are used to make things more brutal, really. So that when we tackle each other and we fly into the wall and we smash into the wall faster than you can possibly do if you weren't on wires. The fight is brutal and the wirework just made it even more brutal.
QUESTION: Aside from the effects and action, what's the most challenging part of the playing the character?
JACKMAN: For the fans of the comic book, one of the pivotal books is Weapon X. It's one of my favorite ones. Tom DeSanto slipped that one to me under my trailer door when I first started. It is about the origins of Wolverine and you discover what happened to him, why he was experimented on and who did it to me and what happened to him when he escaped.
This movie's about Wolverine piecing together the puzzle and started to find out who he is. That amnesia is starting to get cleared up. But what happens is more questions arise. And when you first out things about yourself and your past, you're inevitably liberated and relieved, but at the same time there's a burden and a fear of what you're going to find out.
And with a character like Wolverine, he finds out some things about his past that are not all that pretty, shall we say.
So, as an actor, it's terrific to have that kind of depth and that scope of things to play in.
QUESTION: Are you keeping track of the character in the comics today?
JACKMAN: The last X-Men comic I read was the Origin series, which is a fantastic six-part series about the origin of Wolverine. Me, me, me, it all comes to me, (Laughs).
I read them because I'm given them quite a bit. And I read them. And I have so much respect for them. I was not a comic-book reader as a kid. But I have a lot of respect for the artwork and for the story lines. X-Men, as a comic book, is one of the more interesting for me to read as an adult. I think there's a lot in them for adults.
I read them now and again, but I don't have a subscription as yet.
QUESTION: Did the Origin comic affect how you play the character?
JACKMAN: The comic book Weapon X definitely did. In fact, there's one famous picture in the comic book where he's running naked in through snow after the escapes. He looks incredibly animalistic and wolf-like as he runs off.
I remember saying to everybody, "We're going to put that in." Not that I particularly wanted to run naked through the snow, but I said, "All right, here we go. Let's do it."
So I read the draft and of course it had Wolverine escapes, runs through the snow, escaping the army. Then I read the next draft and had Wolverine escapes, running through the snow, jumps into the lake, gets out the other side, chased by the army.
And I was like, "Hang on a second, hang on. There's ice on top of this lake. This is dangerous."
Luckily for me, the day we came to film it, there were like 80 mph winds, it was minus-15 degrees and all I could see was a severe case of shrinkage coming my way. We ended up canceling it, so maybe you'll want to wait for X-Men 3.
QUESTION: There's a scene in the film where the character is naked and there was a practical joke played on you…
JACKMAN: Only among very good friends could you play such a practical joke.
I came out, actually in a flesh-colored G-string at first. Then when it came time to shoot the scene, I was naked. I was assured that the light was behind me and you couldn't see anything. I demanded that if you could, there would be a little bit of CGI involved, but still that's another story.
I came out and said to the first AD (assistant director), I jokingly berated him. "I demand a closed set. There's people everywhere. Jimmy Marsden's mother is here, for crying out loud. I demand a close set."
So he said, "I very sorry, Mr. Jackman. I'll do that."
So, we came to shoot the first take, I ran up to the camera -- I was naked - I did my primal scream. As I ran down to the end of the tunnel, the camera pans around with me, and there waiting for me were 30 girls from the set - including Jimmy Marsden's mom - all clapping and cheering. A couple of them had five-dollar notes.
And you can imagine my dismay as I went to cover myself up, as I had the claws in my hands. It was a little dangerous.
QUESTION: Something to look forward to on the DVD…
JACKMAN: I don't know about that (laughs).
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