As the saying goes - he’s the best at what he does, and what he does isn’t nice. But the actor behind Wolverine has done nothing but the sort since X-Men hit theaters in 2000. American audiences were introduced to Hugh Jackman, an actor from Australia who was making his debut. His casting sort of defied a lot of logic, and nowadays he is synonymous with the character. Jackman’s eight films under his belt as the character edges out every actor’s stints as James Bond.
All three Wolverine solo movies (yes, including the maligned Origins) all sought to do something different with the character. First, introducing him as a boy, culling a classic moment from the Origin comic book. Then his Weapon X days. The saga in Japan in his second solo flick and the cinematic take on the Old Man Logan storyline. No matter how good or bad the movie was, Jackman’s performance was always a standout. He embodies Logan’s soulful side and savage rage, sometimes within the same scene.
Within the making of each movie, there are plenty of good behind-the-scenes storylines as well, between Wolverine discovering who is he, the “contraband” comic books being passed around the set of the first X-Men film, and the issues with Deadpool. All because Bryan Singer supposedly wanted to make a “realistic” superhero film. How far has the genre come, right?
Here are 20 Crazy Details Behind The Making Of The Wolverine Movies.
20 The Claws
It seems trite now, but comic book movies not too long ago would deviate farther from the source material than some fans would like. So thankfully, just about all of Wolvie’s physical traits made it to the big screen. Especially his trademark claws.
In a world where just about everything in superhero movies is CGI’ed, Logan’s claws were real props. They weren’t plastic either. Jackman accidentally stabbed a stunt person or two. Rebecca Romijn’s once exclaimed, “I just got stabbed by Wolverine!”
19 Origins – The Movie Leaked Online Months Before the Release
Movie pirating has been around long before anyone could just head online and find a program to download it. 99.9% of the time, it was after the movie came out. The same was done with Origins when someone leaked the film for public consumption.
The leak did not help the film at all, as plenty of fans had seen it and were already upset at how some of their favorites were getting the perceived shaft. It also didn’t do well for at least one Fox employee; Roger Friedman was let go due to reviewing the pirated copy.
18 The Wolverine – The Rock Got Jackman Jacked
With each passing Wolverine performance, Hugh sought to get huge. He wanted to look as muscular and as badass as possible to play everyone’s favorite Canucklehead. For Logan’s second outing, The Wolverine, Jackman got advice from the Most Electrifying Man In All Of Entertainment, Dwayne Johnson.
According to Great One, if Jackman wanted to get completely jacked for the role, he would need to eat at least 6000 calories a day. Jackman recalled a fond moment during this conversation. “Right as he’s telling me the whole diet, someone knocked on his trailer door...He goes, ‘Hold on a second! I’m talking to Wolverine! You can tell them I said they can wait!”
17 Logan - Blame Jerry Seinfeld
While 17 years is a long time to be playing the same role, Logan was probably Jackman’s best performance in the role. The actor has since vowed to stay retired from playing the X-Man. A vow he took after talking with Jerry Seinfeld.
When Jackman asked the comic how he decided to end the hit series, he said ‘I always believed, you should never spend everything creatively because it’s almost Herculean to start up again. You should always have something in the tank...leave the party before it gets too late kind of theory.”
16 Origins – Getting In Trouble In New Zealand
As we all know, plenty of special effects goes into the making of an action-packed superhero movie. X-Men Origins: Wolverine was no exception. Despite its divisiveness among fans, it too had a lot of practical explosions in the film. The film crew struck a deal with the Queenstown Fun Centre to store their pyro and explosives there while they filmed in New Zealand.
However, the local district council was none too pleased about this deal, which already relocated ice hockey players to go elsewhere. They were asked to move the explosives.
15 Thank Dougray Scott And Russell Crowe
Hugh Jackman is so synonymous with playing Wolverine that is almost impossible to picture anyone other Jackman donning the claws. However, considering the guy hadn’t even started in a worldwide film meant he was nowhere on Bryan Singer’s radar when he was casting the original X-Men movie.
Originally cast for the role was Dougray Scott. Scott was also handpicked by Tom Cruise to star as the villain in Mission Impossible II. That was only because the first choice was Russell Crowe but he turned it down. When filming for MI: II went long, and Scott busted his leg in a motorbike accident, and so Singer had to recast the role. Crowe suggested his friend, Hugh Jackman.
14 The Wolverine – Was Supposed To Be Rated R
When it was announced that James Mangold was taking over the reins of The Wolverine, fans were hopeful at the chance at a very violent film. After all, why not; with Jackman’s continued focus on getting more and more like the comics and Mangold’s Western sensibilities, the film was bound to be bloody.
For the most part, The Wolverine delivered, but Mangold really wanted to get away from the constraints of PG-13. As good the second film was, Mangold wanted to make an even more adult film with adult themes, and adult activities. “I wanted to finally see Wolverine jam a claw through someone’s skull.”
13 Origins – Liev Schreiber Almost Had To Wear Muscles
Liev Schreiber and Hugh Jackman became friends on the set of Kate And Leopold. That friendship would pay off when Jackman asked his buddy to play Sabretooth in Origins. Like Jackman, Schreiber was a bright spot in the abyssal flick.
However, producers felt that Schreiber wouldn’t have been able to pull off the kind of physique needed to play Victor Creed. They had him in a muscle suit that he felt humiliated by. Instead, he demanded to be allowed to get into shape and worked out with Jackman combined with an intense diet that allowed Schreiber to look as menacing as he needed to be.
12 X-Men First Class: Wolvie’s Cameo
Logan isn’t a part of the proceedings in First Class. However, even without Jackman having a credited role, he steals the fricking show. The writers had him do a cameo, sitting at a bar when Xavier and Magneto show up to try and recruit him.
Thanks to his star power, Jackman gave Fox two conditions in which he would show up, both for selfish reasons – albeit one more altruistic than the other. He wanted Fox to donate a charitable contribution to his kid’s school for one. However, for the other, he wanted to not only be able to curse, but he wanted to be the only character to heave epithets toward the main characters.
11 Origins – Ryan Reynolds Wrote His Lines
X-Men Origins: Wolverine was anticipated by everyone, but it was, unfortunately, a let down for many people. It was a product of the Writer’s Strike, so the script wasn’t really up to snuff. However, one thing that people complained about was Wade Wilson’s dialogue.
That’s because they let Ryan Reynolds write his own lines. Because of the strike, when he came onto set the direction was ‘Wade Wilson shows up, talks really fast.’ Reynolds wrote every line of dialogue for himself in that movie and every subsequent Deadpool movie after.
10 The Wolverine – Based On Seminole Mini-Series
Take acclaimed and revered X-Writer, Chris Claremont, pair him up with artist Frank Miller (when Miller cared about his artwork) and what do you get? The 1982 four-part Marvel miniseries. In the saga, they took the Canuck out of the X-Men and sent him to Japan as a quasi–samurai seeking redemption.
For fans of Wolvie’s second cinematic adventure, you owe it yourselves to find these four issues that set up so much of what would shape the character throughout the years. The Wolverine pulls so much from this series, including just about every character.
9 Origins – Reynolds Knew It Was Bad
It’s not a state secret to know that Ryan Reynolds long sought to play Deadpool. Even years before he was cast in Origins. When he finally got his wish, he also knew it was the equivalent of a cinematic turkey.
“I remember saying, ‘You know, there are more Deadpool fans out there than you realize, and they’re not gonna be happy with this.’ I was met with a plausible reason, which was: ‘We don’t have enough time to develop a proper Deadpool suit and make him the fully realized version of the comic, so we’re going to go with this.’ But I was like, ‘Then don’t do it at all!’”
8 The Wolverine – Takes Places After The X-Men Films
Logan murdered his beloved Jean Grey in order to save the world from the Phoenix Force that had possessed her. He has been living in exile and having nightmares or her ever since. This is where Logan is at the beginning of The Wolverine.
From a writing standpoint, James Mangold wanted the film to take place definitively after the previous X-Men movies. That way as they explored the curse of Wolverine’s immortality, they wouldn’t be beholden to the rules of a prequel or have to incorporate things to fit some other story.
7 Origins – Director Gavin Hood Knew Deadpool Was Wrong
When Hugh Jackman has tapped Gavin Hood to direct Origins, it was clear he wanted a unique feel to the proceedings. He did direct the award-winning Tsotsi. His vision definitely did feel unique at some points in the film. But then the studio came in and did their studio thing.
Hood knew that at least one aspect of his flick was doomed from day one. He too, wasn’t a fan of Deadpool. When speaking about the first Deadpool, Hood complimented the filmmakers. “Credit to the filmmakers and to Ryan, that they took control of their character and got on and let Ryan do the film. Deadpool is a motor mouth, foul mouth character, and it’s very difficult with these big movies to... When you have to work within certain parameters that are set by…(Studio Heads),” Hood told in an interview for Independent UK.
6 The Wolverine – Bringing Jackman Back
While not having officially hung up the claws after the receipts of Origins came in, Hugh Jackman was supremely disappointed with how everything turned out. He had no interest in returning to the character unless drastic changes were made. Considering The Wolverine was the movie he told producer Laura Schuler Donner he wanted to make if they ever got the chance.
Jackman once told Collider, “I think one of the keys to me in signing on to this movie was that we had a very strong idea and we had a strong approach to the story...This is a stand-alone movie...we’re in a different location with James Mangold...I think it’s going to feel very fresh.”
5 Logan - Jackman Passed Out Filming One Scene
The final Wolverine film was a vastly different take on just about every comic book character, let alone Wolverine. Hugh Jackman wanted the most berserker rage-filled take on Wolverine that he had ever done. Naturally, that meant while filming Logan, Jackman went harder than he ever did before.
However, the actor doesn’t have the character’s ability to fight forever and keep healing. He actually passed out while filming, as he was running up a hill. “And that was difficult. We were also doing it at 9,000 feet and I did pass out,” Jackman admitted.
4 Logan - Dafne Keen Yelled At Jackman To Get The Role
One of the brighter spots of the grim and grimy Logan was the relationship Logan had with his clone/daughter, Laura. He wasn’t willing at first, but it’s Logan, there’s no way he’d welcome anyone with open claws. Especially while on the run, protecting a mentally deteriorating Xavier in tow.
Played by Dafne Keen, their father-daughter dynamic had to be vastly different than other father-daughter road trip movies. She was wowing series stars Jackman and Patrick Stewart right from her audition. Specifically, her ability to improvise her own version of a scene between Logan and Laura.
3 The Wolverine - The Suit
In 2000, the X-Men finally made the big screen. They ditched their iconic and colorful gear for more stealthy looking black leather. Wolverine even made a quip about “yellow spandex.” As comic book movies evolved, studios realized that fans actually want to see their favorite heroes look like their favorite heroes.
The Wolverine tried to bring Wolvie’s iconic brown garb into the flick. Sadly, the scene got left on the cutting room floor. He was given a case by Yukio which contained the brown and yellow suit. But Jackman and company never found a moment for him to wear it that would fit the tone of the film.
2 Logan - A Tale Of Two Calibans
While Xavier and Wolverine appearing in Logan obviously makes a lot of sense, Caliban wondering around the film might seem like a bit of a head-scratcher. Was it all part of a grandiose plan to officially connect the Wolverine movies to the official X-Men film series? Nope, just a quirky coincidence.
According to Mangold, “It’s a funny, messy story of how so often these things are not as coordinated as everyone thinks,” he told Nerdist. “I actually had written him into our movie, and they didn’t know (he was) in Apocalypse, and then they kind of wrote it in their movie, and they cast someone in their movie and I had not seen it and was working away on mine.”
1 Happy Birthday Logan
Throughout the making of the Wolverine movies, there were plenty of aspects of the character that Jackman and company got right. Plenty was left out for future storytellers to use. His son that he had with Mariko, Dakken. Outlandish villains like Omega Red, meeting Alpha Flight. Giving Cyclops the only weapon that could stop him.
However, there was one creepy element that Jackman wanted but no one could ever figure out how to incorporate an annual birthday beating from Sabretooth. “I just thought that was such a cool very fun idea and very in keeping to those characters. His birthday present was just a beating and that’s the only time he sees him. I kept saying, ‘Jim, can we put that in?’ And he goes ‘Eh this is not that movie.’
Which of these details about the Wolverine movies surprise you the most? Let us know in the comments!