Ah The Wolverine … if ever there were a film to file under the heading “Development Hell”, the long-awaited sequel to X-Men Origins would surely be it. However, things do appear to be moving again, with Walk The Line director James Mangold having discussed his vision for the project. And whilst we’re loathe to get too excited about this just yet, we have to admit, his ideas sound great.
“The fact that half of the characters in this movie speak Japanese,” explained Mangold to The Playlist, “[ means ] 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,” he continues, “[ is ] 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."
“I actually think it has more in common with The Outlaw Josey Wales and Chinatown , than the conventional, ‘will Wolverine and his compatriots save the world from this thermonuclear device’ question," explains the director. "This movie is much more an intense psychological and action-packed character piece, that’s much more about Logan getting lost in this very unique and insulated world of Japanese culture, gangster culture, and ninja culture.
“The fighting is going to be unique because it’s all influenced by Japanese martial arts.”
Not that Mangold didn’t initially have reservations about attaching himself to what has been a thoroughly fraught production.
“I spoke to Darren a bit about it before I ended up taking it on,” he admits. “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 for the very reasons you’re talking about… I could hear all of the media swirl about it.”
“Several months went by and I hadn’t even really read it, [ but ] I kind of took it in [ when ] a lot of that hand-wringing had kind of died down,” he says. “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.”
Since then, Mangold has been hard at work re-writing Chris McQuarrie’s original script, collaborating with Die Hard 4 scribbler Mark Bomback to tell the story he wants to tell.
“Mark Bomback and myself have done a tremendous amount of writing on the movie,” says Mangold. “There’s not a page that hasn’t been worked and reworked and rethought and story-boarded.”
Much as we hate to admit it, Mangold’s got us excited about this one for what must be the umpteenth time. Let’s just hope the studio don’t pull the rug out this time around… get it made Fox!