Monday, April 28, 2003
X2 JUNKET: HUGH JACKMAN
QUESTION: With your commitment to the Broadway show The Boy from Oz, if there's an X3, how will you do it?
JACKMAN: I don't think we can do it in between shows. I'd hate to think how it would come out. (In Peter Allen voice) "Oh, Professor X, you look darling!"
Well, hopefully they'll wait. I don't know. I haven't even been asked. I don't think they've even decided if there will be one until about May 4 or 5.
QUESTION: I don't know if you've seen X2 with an audience…
JACKMAN: Press screening. Does that count?
QUESTION: About 20 minutes in, when Wolverine does that first slash, there's a cheer from the crowd. There's an interesting balance with that and the angst. What kind of balance is it for you between the action part and having the character rise above?
JACKMAN: When I first read this installment of the script … because when I've been talking to fans and if there's one thing they've said to me, it was, "You don't kick enough ass. C'mon, we've got to see that berserker rage. Let's go for it."
And I kind of thought about that. And it was like, "Geez, you're right." When I went back through X-Men 1, there really wasn't a lot there. I had a huge fight sequence with Mystique, where I ended up on my back, knocked out. And then there's a bit at the beginning. But there wasn't a lot of that berserker rage.
So when I read the script, I thought the relationships were better, I thought it was funnier and I thought there was more action. But I still said, "We've got to get more action." So I kind of fought for a little bit more in the mansion scene sequence, particularly. There was a little more berserker rage there than originally.
But apart from that I thought the script had a great balance. And I don't know, I think it works. I think it works for Wolverine's story. It's not like he's in the corner crying. He's at a crisis point where he's about to find out everything he's ever wanted to know. As liberating as it would be, it's frightening as all hell. He's on edge. He's having these nightmares.
So it all kind of works in with the action and that berserker rage.
QUESTION: How cool was it for your son to be Wolverine for Halloween?
JACKMAN: He loved it. I still laugh about that to this day.
The girls dressed him up literally like it was Mini-Me. It was Mini-Me. And I went out and I thought that if I got dressed up, it would be silly and get out of control. So I just had the claws. But I had the real claws from the set.
So I went to 50 houses and not one person recognized me. And everyone was, "Awww, the little Wolverine. He's so cute. He's sweet." And all my little boy would say is, "I'll slice you in half." He's 2-1/2, you know.
And then, because we've moved house so many times, he would just walk in. We'd go trick-or-treating and he'd think he's moved home. He'd go upstairs and around the back and people wouldn't know what to do. It was a funny night.
He loved it. He loves Wolverine. Although now he sees the posters and he says, "Daddy you're so cranky. Why can't you be happy?" He doesn't get it.
QUESTION: Was X2 like being with family?
JACKMAN: Absolutely. We were a pretty close group (on X-Men). And I think particularly when you're involved with a project people are pretty nervous about …
It certainly wasn't one of those films that everybody thought, "Oh, this is a slam dunk. It's going to be huge." The word was, from as much as I could hear or understand, this film will probably stiff. They didn't test it and it comes from a comic book. Who know what's going to happen? Do people really know X-Men? And how big is the fan base?
And then when it opened, it was so huge. And I think everyone in the film was proud of it.
You were at the press screening (for X2). All the actors were there. I've never been a screening before where all the actors come, when it's not an opening night.
I think everyone was really into it and loved it. And we generally all got on well together. And there was Halle (Berry), whom I had done another film with as well, Swordfish. It was really good fun.
QUESTION: You talked about the fans. Can you walk past a comic-book shop now without the fans rushing after you?
JACKMAN: Well, I don't get mobbed. I don't why that is. Either they didn't like it, didn't have anything good to say or didn't recognize me.
I had the odd, weird encounter with fans. Vinnie at Bobby's Restaurant in New York is my favorite encounter. He's a great guy.
I used to go to that restaurant quite a bit. And I've seen actors there. This is owned by DeNiro and actors go there all the time. And he's the manager, so it's not like he's unaccustomed to seeing actors.
So the waiter came up and said, "Are you the guy who plays Wolverine?" And it's about the fourth time I had been there. And I said, "Yeah, I am." And he said, "Oh God, Vinnie's a huge fan and he really wants to see you."
He says, "He's over there by the counter." And I look over and there's Vinnie ducking behind his little booth, literally ducking underneath.
Ten minutes it took, for him to come and see me. And he came over in a sweat. And I said, "Nice to meet you Vinnie. Are you a fan?"
And he looked at me and goes, "Am I a fan?" And he took his shirt off in the middle of the restaurant and he turned around and he had a full-color tattoo of Wolverine on the middle of his back.
And he's goes "Am I a fan!? Of Wolverine!?" And he got down on his knees and he was sweating. And he says, "Thank you for doing the film. I loved the film. This is fantastic."
And my wife pulled out a camera. "Vinnie do you want a few shots?" Well, Vinnie was doing the poses. He even had his arm around me and he turned his back and was flexing his back with the muscles. We took a whole roll of film for Vinnie and sent them to him.
QUESTION: Maybe for just a moment you were concerned about him?
JACKMAN: I had a few moments when he came over sweating. I was like, "I don't know where this is going."
Before he came out, I met a few. Fans were like, "You better be doing this. You better be doing this. You better be playing him Canadian. You better say this."
And I was like, "Aw, geez," because I'd just finished shooting the film.
And I was like, "Yeah. OK. Interesting. I'll do my best."
QUESTION: What's the difference between doing this and another big spectacle movie like Van Helsing?
JACKMAN: Well, it is big a summer action blockbuster, there's no doubt. I read the script and I knew the film was going to be great. I spoke to Stephen (Sommers, writer/director) about it.
It certainly wasn't on my radar. I was in the middle of a franchise. I was about to shoot X-Men when I signed on to it. And I thought, "I'm in the middle of a franchise. Do I need to sign on? It's kind of compelling because the script is so good." I knew all the people involved, or I found out about them, and it just seemed like a top-quality project.
And I have to say, I'm feeling a little smug with myself because we're three months through shooting and I've seen enough of it to realize it's going to be pretty good.
QUESTION: At ShoWest, they showed the production and the sets. But the director said, "Every Universal monster that's ever been used is in the film. But we're not using any blood." How could you make a monster movie without any blood?
JACKMAN: Did he say that? No blood? That's not entirely true, let me tell you. I just bit on a blood capsule about a week ago. All, I can say is that it's going to look unbelievably good. Those monsters are amazing and those fight sequences are out of this world. It is going to be frightening enough and have action enough to just sneak in there under the PG-13 rating.
It looks fantastic and there are monsters in it. But it is an adventure story and the characters are really well etched. And I think people will really go along for the ride. I feel like I'm really in an Indiana Jones kind of movie. It's that big. It's huge.
QUESTION: Rebecca (Romijn-Stamos) said she shaved three hours off the make-up time. Was it easier for you this time?
JACKMAN: Easier? Almost everything. The process for hair and makeup is the same, hang me from my feet and spray three cans of hair spray on my head.
I felt so much more confident with this film, not in an arrogant way. If I didn't admit it to myself on the first one, I was pretty scared for that first month. I landed the part a week into shooting. It's my first Hollywood movie. It was fun, but it was pretty overwhelming.
And I really didn't feel like I had the character for three or four weeks. So there were a couple of scenes where I went, "Now I've got him, now I've got him. Right, right, right." I can go back to X-Men 1 and see the scenes where I'm sort of there but it's not fully in focus.
So starting again from the beginning, being able to get ready physically … you know, we had to work out to get in the right shape. The first one, I'd just come off three weeks holiday in Sicily. If you hear the commentary by Bryan Singer in the X-Men 1.5, there's a scene where I have my shirt off in the beginning and he goes, "He's a little bit flabby there." Which I was.
So in every part, it was easier. The studio giving us more leeway to do what we wanted. I felt like I owned the character more. I had now three trailers, not one. I had an entourage of seven and not one. So everything was easier. I had someone to do my dry cleaning and wipe my ass and all. So it's perfect.
QUESTION: Well, that's important when you have the claws.
JACKMAN: It is important when you have the claws, thank you. I was joking about the entourage, by the way.
QUESTION: Does your son have a toy of his dad?
JACKMAN: Yeah, which is slightly disturbing. Because the toy he loves the most is about a foot high and is voice-activated. It says things like, "I'll slice you in half." And he sometimes takes it to bed. And I'll be in other room and I know he's cuddling it. And it goes off in the middle of the night. And he's getting these subliminal messages. "This kid will take you down." "I'll slice you in half." And he's going "Da-da, da-da." And he kisses and hugs it. And I can see years of therapy coming my way.
QUESTION: What can you tell us about the video game?
JACKMAN: I've just seen the front cover. I haven't played it yet.
QUESTION: Did you do work on it?
JACKMAN: No, I didn't do the motion capture work. I didn't do any of that. I don't know if they used my voice on that or not. They probably have. Damn, let me call my agent.
I did a lot of recordings on the first movie for dolls, video games, and they'll probably use the same stuff.
QUESTION: Would you rather be the star of a video game or an action figure?
JACKMAN: Action figure. People can stick pins it, put it in the freezer. It's far more dangerous than a video game.
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