In the absence of an official trailer, The Wolverine director James Mangold – with assistance from newly-appointed Fox Marvel Movie Universe overseer Mark Millar – has devoted a fair amount of time and effort to hyping the project by just talking about the movie. That includes engaging in a live chat with star Hugh Jackman and interviews where Mangold breaks down the Japanese influence of the (not really) standalone X-Men installment.
Mangold is promising that a trailer is arriving sooner, rather than later, following his Twitter statement from last year (claiming an “early 2013” date for the teaser). However, until that happens, he’s sharing even more insight about the film’s Asian-inspiration and how he’s not aiming so much for a certain rating as he is intensity-level with the portrayal of violence in The Wolverine.
Oscar-winner Christopher McQuarrie’s original Wolverine script (based partially on Chris Claremont and Frank Miller’s famous Japan-set comic mini-series from the 1980s) laid the foundation for what he intended as “[Japanese director Akira] Kurosawa’s Wolverine.” However, that was prior to Mark Bomback (Live Free or Die Hard) coming aboard for a rewrite, so there’s since been reason to wonder how much Mangold’s film retains the Samurai cinema influence (as embodied in the first script draft from McQuarrie).
Here’s what Mangold told MTV, about the Eastern-flavor of Wolverine:
“There is a significant amount of Japanese spoken in the movie, and the cast is almost entirely Japanese. So there is this wonderful sense of cross-pollination between a very Western character and a far Eastern culture, and I think it’s very cool and something we haven’t seen so far. I think there is a lot of ways that Japanese film, Japanese fighting, Japanese martial arts have had an effect on this movie. And certainly the movie is dripping with Japanese tradition both cinematically, fighting-wise and philosophically as well.”
On the topic of Wolvie’s violent tendencies in Mangold’s film:
“The whole point is not about violence or rating; it’s about intensity. I wanted to make a film that in a way captures the intensity of his character. One of the things that has always been a feature of Wolverine in the comics is that he has a berserker rage, that he has anger and some of his abilities are driven by something more primal. Honestly, to get really pissed off — not cute pissed off, not quippy pissed off, not funny pissed off or cigar-chomping pissed off, just pissed off — that can then help drive the fighting, drive the combat. That is interesting for me and then for the character, some of the jet fuel underneath some of the combat in the film.”
There was a time when Jackman was proposing an R-Rated Wolverine cut (no pun intended), claiming he and Mangold were talking about producing two different cuts of the film (essentially, a PG-13 version for theaters and an Unrated take for DVD and Blu-ray release). It’s possible, if not likely, that nothing will come of that, but the creative mindset it points to is a welcome one, especially after the X-Men Origins: Wolverine installment and its hokey action movie throwback feel.
As for the trailer: Mangold admits, “For me, I’m not the marketing department of Fox, but for my own tastes, less is more,” and references the degree of awareness surrounding the Wolverine character. It’s a good point, but don’t be surprised if Fox ignores it and instead releases a more revelatory Wolverine trailer. (Complete with now-customary Inception-style percussive booms?)
For more, check out the full MTV interview with Mangold.
The Wolverine is directed by James Mangold, from Mark Bomback and Christopher McQuarrie’s screenplay. It stars Hugh Jackman, Svetlana Khodchenkova, Will Yun Lee, Brian Tee, Hiroyuki Sanada, and Rila Fukushima.
The Wolverine hits theaters July 26th, 2013. X-Men: Days of Future Past hits theaters on July 18th, 2014.
“Wolverine” Header Image via Empire