James Mangold Talks ‘The Wolverine': An Unconventional Superhero Movie

Published 3 years ago by , Updated February 15th, 2014 at 4:26 pm,

james mangold wolverine James Mangold Talks The Wolverine: An Unconventional Superhero Movie

X-Men fans have become increasingly concerned about the potential quality of The Wolverine (a.k.a. Wolverine 2) ever since director Darren Aronofsky abandoned the project. While a solid replacement, in the form of James Mangold, was eventually hired on to fill his place, the combination of production delays and significant script rewrites have left many people grumbling about how this sequel seems destined to follow in the (mediocre) footsteps of X-Men Origins: Wolverine.

However, between star Hugh Jackman talking up the possibility of a R-Rated cut of The Wolverine and a recent interview with Mangold, discussing his approach to the film, there is arguably still very good reason to remain hopeful that this new X-Men flick will be something memorable.

Here is what Mangold told The Playlist, with regards to his signing on as helmer for The Wolverine after Aronofsky left the project:

“I spoke to Darren [Aronofsky] a bit about it before I ended up taking it on. But I will tell you that when Darren stepped off, I was in the middle of doing a lot of other things, and when it was brought up to me, I actually didn’t even consider it… It was, oh, who wants to do that, and follow that, and I could hear all of the media swirl about it. Several months went by and I hadn’t even really read [the ‘Wolverine’ script], and later when they came back to me and I kind of took it in, and a lot of that hand-wringing had kind of died down. What I saw was some really promising material, and to me an interesting character played by a great friend of mine who’s a terrific actor, Hugh Jackman.”

The Wolverine 2 release date James Mangold Talks The Wolverine: An Unconventional Superhero Movie

Jackman previously collaborated with Mangold on the time period-jumping 2001 rom-com Kate & Leopold. Between that film and the crime drama/Noir flick Cop Land, the true-story inspired “big personality” character studies Girl, Interrupted and Walk the Line, the gritty Western thriller 3:10 to Yuma, along with the popcorn action movie Knight and Day, Mangold has demonstrated himself to be a fairly versatile director – as far as his ability to handle different genres goes.

In fact, based on his description of The Wolverine (see below), Mangold’s X-Men flick almost sounds like a collage of plot, character, and genre elements from his previous films:

“It’s a kind of adventure following such a unique character also in a really unique environment. I mean, the fact that half of the characters in this movie speak Japanese, this is like a foreign-language superhero movie that’s as much a drama and a detective story and a film noir, with high-octane action as it is anything like a conventional tentpole film… I think part of the reason I’m doing this picture has been because it isn’t, to me, a conventional superhero movie. It isn’t an origin story, so I’m freed from that burden, and it also isn’t a save-the-world movie, which most of them are. It’s actually a character piece; I actually think it has more in common with ‘The Outlaw Josey Wales’ and ‘Chinatown,’ what we’re doing, than the conventional, ‘will Wolverine and his compatriots save the world from this thermonuclear device’ question.”

Mangold also offered the following – with respect to The Wolverine‘s thematic qualities:

“I think more than anything, it’s a character piece, asking really interesting questions that are what pulled me in about what it means to be immortal. What is it to live forever, when you lose everyone you’ve ever loved? Either you watch them get killed, or you just lose them by attrition. What is it to feel the burden of saving mankind through all of its mistakes, over and over and over again… I like to think that we’re out to make that Wolverine movie that people have been looking forward to seeing, which takes on some of the darker and more intense aspects of the character, and his own journey, that have not necessarily been possible in the origin story that they did or obviously when he’s sharing so much time as a character with so many others in X-Men.”

wolverine 2 script rewrite James Mangold Talks The Wolverine: An Unconventional Superhero Movie

Mangold has been collaborating with Mark Bomback (Live Free or Die Hard, Unstoppable) on the task of reworking Christopher McQuarrie’s original draft of the Wolverine screenplay – which is based partially on Chris Claremont’s acclaimed 1982 Wolverine comic book story arc about the eponymous Adamantium claw-wielding mutant’s adventures in Japan.

While that’s a promising narrative basis, the X-Men film franchise arguably has a mixed track record when it comes to the execution of intriguing plot material. Case in point: the largely-disliked X-Men: The Last Stand is often criticized for fumbling two acclaimed narrative threads from the original comic books (re: the “mutant cure” and Dark Phoenix storylines).

If nothing else, though, this year’s X-Men: First Class appears to have restored many distraught fans’ faith in the X-Men movie franchise. So, hopefully, between the involvement of a competent director like Mangold, what reads as an intelligent storytelling approach, and Jackman’s (seeming) unabating enthusiasm for the film, The Wolverine will likewise mark another good addition to the franchise.

We will continue to keep you posted on the status of The Wolverine as more information is released.

Source: The Playlist

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  1. as long as the words “dark” and “gritty” don’t come into play at any point in the discussion.
    They have become the new cinematic cliché. Hollywood’s “extreme”.

    • How about adult and violent? lol

      • haha

  2. Wolverine is like Riddick — a great character that is best used jn an ensemble and NOT the focus of the story.

    • Riiiight thats why wolverine has had his own comic series for almost 20 years and ranked #1 on Wizards “200 greatest comic book heros of all time”.
      The first movie was not great but that was not wolverines nor hugh jackmans fault, the whole project lost its way. The material is there they just have to use it the way it was ment to be used, adult and violent.

  3. Hey if this guy can do what M. Vaughn did for X-men Im all for it.

  4. I hope it works out .
    Right now,
    I am cautiously optimistic.

  5. Would rather have Omega Red as a villian then the Silver Samuri any day… But its in Japan, so maybe next time…

    • YES. I’m with you Omega Red would be an EPIC villain.

  6. The Wolverine = Japan and Silver Samurai/the hand

    Wolvy’s Revenge (wolvy 3) = Omega Red or THE REAVERS!!! and x-23

  7. All I can say is make it right this time seriously I mean come on the film is about a guy with an indistructable skeleton & claws with the ability to heal any wound so show us the Wolverine we’ve all been waiting to see since origins!!

    • Hey buddy, we have been waiting for this since they announced the first X-MEN movie.

  8. Put Daken in a film. EPIC!!

  9. “….I saw was some really promising material”

    Translation: “The script is a mess, there’s only a couple decent ideas we’ll keep and toss the rest.”

    • this flick will probably be better than superman~balls of steel…i hope.

  10. Sorry but whose faith was restored by First Class?

    • The whole chronology is still pretty messed up (even more than it was in the first place), but First Class was a pretty good movie…
      If the rights were to revert back to Marvel, we would have some truly awesome films IMO.

    • Obviously not your faith. But it said many, not all. Check any ratings site, most people enjoyed First Class and alot of people are hoping for a sequel.

      • I have no clue about the comic books, but I really enjoyed the movie.

  11. Not mine.
    But , Logan’s cameo was funny.

  12. after this they should make an “old man logan” film that would be EPIC !!!!

  13. Hope this movie works out well: I’ve been waiting for a (good) Wolverine movie for a LONG time.

    I would still like to see a Deadpool movie (in the near future) though…

  14. Movie will be lame and will be PG-13
    No way it will have an R rating except for a special ed Blu

    First class was terrific. Should just wipe out the Lame X-men era and build on the First Class era.

    • Ah, First Class was highly overrated by the paid critics. It did not do so well among the fans/unpaid critics, judging by its intake.

  15. first off, you don’t get the guy who wrote unstoppable to rewrite anything christopher mcquarrie wrote( usual suspects, the underrated way of the gun, which he also directed). josey wales and chinatown!?!?! don’t insult such great films by comparing comic book garbage to them. this will be epic marvel trash.

  16. Wolverine first and foremost in most of his comics is a detective

    If what they say in this article is true, i cannot wait for this film

    • Wolverine is a detective? Disagreed.

      • if you read the older solo books it is more about Logan helping people and solving mysteries. The tank top logan in jeans is the Logan I enjoy. I am not a fan of Logan in tights and doing the whole team lame thing. Save the world concept is boring, because the character development is usually bad when the focus is saving the whole world. The solo stories work better with Logan, because he is usually helping specific people or doing specific things. Stopping a bomb is not personal to a fan. It’s great that the disaster is prevented, but it is more interesting to me when they build up the story and then he has to figure out who is screwing with him. I hate it when people write Wolverine as a simpleton, because he has more potential than that.

  17. The Joesy Wales comparison is apt, and to take it further the old Zatoichi wandering ronin concept, fits into the tone of the Wolverine stories set in Japan. The inclusion of even the Silver Samurai is not altogether necessary, but the character was written into the story later as part of the clan Logan’s fiance belonged to, so I guess it’s not a stretch.

    The fact that Mangold is acknowledging the need to get away from the usual, we have to save the whole entire world from doomsday device A-Z, sounds encouraging. The history of the X-Men movies gives me a wait and see attitude about what the finished product will look like, whenever they actually get it off the ground.

    I just really hope they have finally realized that just because Wolverine is closely associated with the X-Men that it doesn’t mean they have to stick anyone who ever was in an issue of comic into the film. Most of Wolverines side and back story had little or nothing to do with the team at all.

  18. As long as we get a hard hitting, violent, well written, and shot movie, I’ll be happy. Just don’t do what Last Stand and Origins did (dumb it down).

  19. “The Wolverine” has had more news ‘describing’ the movie, than some movies that have actually been made and released. Hopefully the next ‘news’ about it will be about some progress concerning the filming of the movie.

    • Exactly! I mean, are they really going to do this movie, or just effing talk about it?

  20. Well it will be something to see as far as, which other characters that Fox can use in support of this film. Disney/Marvel Studios have made it plain and simple..the bleeding is over…
    So when you say “this one or that one…hold on little Buckaroo! The Silver Sammy…yeah maybe..But to give up the entire organization of the Hand, knowing Feige wants to do a Shang Chi, Master of Kung Fu flick, and also the introduction of Iron Fist to the MCU…Ain’t gonna happen Brother…

    I mean the whole nonesense about the “Original Human Torch” being left out of Captain America…we only saw Him on that Glass container at the Worlds Fair..cause Fox could have aurgued about the rights to the ‘monicker and delayed CATFA in court for years to await a ruling…
    The Bleeding has stopped.


    • Fox already has the Hand via the Daredevil property, and it is more linked to Wolverine and Daredevil then anything else so they might be safe there. The whole idea of Viper being in it makes no sense though.

  21. i like the last block of quote, how he refers to wolverine as a frankenstienesque character, that part of the quote really drew me in and has me confident that this guy will do a decent job with the character/universe.

  22. Fool me once, shame on — shame on you. Fool me — you can’t get fooled again. -George W. Bush

  23. A lot of people forget that Origins was produced and released during the Writers strike.
    There was no chance to polish the script
    That made a difference .
    This one SHOULD be better.
    I am hoping for the best.

  24. I’m wondering if the people who boycotted “First Class” will do the same with this flick?

    • If it follows the same pattern as the last X-Men films, it’s possible. The drop-off in ticket sales for the series probably is a combination of die-hard fans not going to see the films and that in turn affecting the people they might tell or drag to the movie.

      The pre-production chatter on this film seems to indicate the studio and producers have finally given in to the concept of actually using a story arc from the comics. If they end up doing what they usually do, and go off in ten different directions, making yet another uneven and unsatisfying movie then it’s probably going to fare worse then the last two.

    • I waited for xfc on video, and very likely will wait for all future xmen\wolverine movies as long as fox\hugh jackman are involved.

  25. I refused to see first class because I heard of all the parts that were epically off from the actual x-men story, but I will give this a shot. I expect they will do pg-13, but an R rated directors cut on DVD would be worth the extra money to me if it was as messy as some of the comics from the 90s were.

    • I’m done with the Xverse until the rights go back to Marvel. I’ll wait to see these flicks when they show on cable. That’s the only way i’m parting with my cash. The first Wolverine left such a taste of ash in my mouth that I’ll never support Fox again.
      By the way, I (actually my mom did, but I learned to hate them too) had a bad exp with Chrysler products in the 70/80’s that I won’t buy anything from them either.. LOL.

  26. We need a wolverine who is not afraid to rush in there, and kill everyone, and come out with half his skin missing or in tatters, and him look the rest in the face while it all starts to heal, and say just two little words: “Who’s next?”