There hasn’t been much to report on The Wolverine as of late, other than Hugh Jackman’s continued assurances that the film’s script rewrites, directorial change-ups, and production delays won’t result in a final product that fails to mark an improvement on the less-than-loved X-Men Origins: Wolverine.
However, Jackman – who can currently be seen teaching robots how to box in Real Steel and is set to headline the Les Miserables musical adaptation next – recently broached a topic that should pique fans’ interest: the possibility of a R-Rated Wolverine flick.
Current Wolverine helmer James Mangold has delivered solid R-Rated and gritty thrillers in the past (see: 3:10 to Yuma, Cop Land), so it’s not a stretch to say he’s up for the task. However, given the more box office-friendly nature of PG-13 tentpole pics, it’s all but guaranteed that the theatrical cut of The Wolverine won’t bear the restricted audience rating. That doesn’t mean an alternate cut is off the table, according to Jackman.
Here is what the actor had to offer MTV, on the topic:
“There’s such great temptation to make an R-rated ‘Wolverine’. I’ve always felt that. I know a lot of fans would like that. I totally get it. If there was ever a superhero that was going to be R-rated, it’s Wolverine. However, in the last ten years, I’ve also met many, many 12, 13, dare I say 10, 14, 15 year-olds who, for them, Wolverine is not just cool, you see it in their eyes. He’s everything to them. So my thing is — which James Mangold and I talked about — is let’s not put it off the table. There’s even a talk of us doing two versions, as in finding a way for us to do both as you shoot it, which could be really cool. But you need to have a really good reason to exclude those fans.”
The Wolverine is partially an adaptation of Chris Claremont and Frank Miller’s popular 1982 Wolverine story arc, which follows the loner mutant on a deadly adventure in Japan. While that comic book mini-series is an action-packed and violent tale that could lend itself to an R-Rated adaptation – not to the same degree as, say, most Deadpool stories or Mark Millar comic books (ex. Kick-Ass) - it could still easily be translated into a PG-13 movie the same way that previous X-Men films with Wolverine were: by making Jackman’s fight scenes essentially bloodless.
Wolverine re-writer Mark Bomback has somewhat of a history crafting action flicks that just avoid crossing over into adults-only territory (see: Live Free or Die Hard, Unstoppable, and the upcoming Total Recall remake). The concern is that he and Mangold would fashion The Wolverine as so much of an R-Rated venture that a PG-13 version could feel noticeably edited down or “declawed” (pun intended) by comparison. That’s a criticism that’s often been made of Bomback’s Die Hard flick, in particular.
A “non-compromised” Wolverine is nonetheless something a lot of fans would be interested in – and, arguably, it’s long been a possibility, going back to when Darren Aronofsky was attached to direct. We’ll probably have to wait for the DVD/Blu-ray release to actually see what that label encompasses, though…
We will continue to keep you posted on the status of The Wolverine as more information is released (or as Jackman continues to talk about the project).