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By now you probably know that The Wolverine, the sixth installment of the thriving X-Men franchise, is based on a 1982 comic run penned by Chris Claremont and Frank Miller. But I bet you don’t know how Wolverine star Hugh Jackman came across these books to begin with. It turns out the Academy-Award nominated actor who also serves as producer on this film credits an overzealous onset edict of X-Men director Bryan Singer for his discovery of these inspirational comics.
During a press conference with his Wolverine co-stars and director James Mangold in New York City, Jackman regaled the assembled press with this story that reveals the surprising origins of The Wolverine:
"Bryan Singer had this mandate that no one could read comic books on the set because when he was creating the first X-Men he wanted it to be very human and three dimensional. And he was worried that actors would come on set with an over-the-top performance if their perception of the comics was two-dimensional. Even though X-Men, as you know, is not.
Jackman didn’t realize the comic's potential for a stand-alone Wolverine adventure at first. That far back, he was thinking these Wolverine books could be a great setup for a possible sequel to the then in-production movie. But as years passed, the concept evolved. He explains:
“Those people who know the Chris Claremont and Frank Miller series know that it involves all the X-Men, so I said, 'This would be a great X-Men movie.' Actually as it progressed, the idea of making it into the ultimate movie for Wolverine grew in my mind. And Jim (Mangold) agreed with me in that this great fish-out-of-water story, this idea of taking him to a place (Japan) that's completely foreign and making him sort of unhinged and not knowing who anybody is is a great way (to build his story)—because he's a natural outside. And I think the customs and atmosphere, and the history, and all the samurai codes and the honor and obeying is the opposite of Wolverine. It's just the perfect place to put that character."
The Wolverine takes place a few years after the events of X-Men: The Last Stand, and finds Logan determinedly isolated when a messenger from an old friend urges him to come to Japan. There, Logan an his dying old pal reunite, beginning an adventure that forces him to face down his past and fight for his future. Co-starring with Jackman is his X-Men colleague Famke Janssen, as well as Japanese star Hiroyuki Sanada, and newcomers Rila Fukushima and Tao Okamoto.
The Wolverine opens Friday.