'The Wolverine' To Shoot Next Week
Standing either side of our Prime Minister, Hugh Jackman and director James Mangold announce the commencement of production on the 'Wolverine' reboot.
With sets being constructed in the background and the odd couple of Prime Minister Julia Gillard and US director James Mangold by his side, Hugh Jackman quickly assumed control of proceedings at Sydney's Fox Studios press conference earlier this morning. Sporting a burst blood vessel in his right eye from a "very energetic game of tag with my kids", Jackman was every bit the charmer, joking about offering the PM a role as his stunt double while also proudly promoting local film crews.
"Aussies punch above our weight not only as actors but as crew," declared Jackman. "I think in the last twenty years, five cinematographers have won Oscars. Editors, costume designers, production designers - we really have a great reputation. This movie will bring over $80 million into the country. Movies of this scale really help to keep the crews working and keep the skills high at a world class level."
The announcement that The Wolverine would film in Australia certainly came as a boost for the Australian economy, and was the key reason for the presence of Prime Minister Gillard. "We were able to support this movie with $12.8 million of government funds," explained the PM. "I spoke to Hugh about that earlier in the year and he explained to me that without government assistance it would be very hard to see this feature take place in Australia. A lot of these Australian jobs, a lot of the injection into the Australian economy - I wanted the skills that it would mean for the future and I'm very very satisfied that this movie is going to accomplish all of that as well as being a great film."
Shooting is set to begin next week, a relief for fans buzzing over rumours of production being thrown into disarray following the departure of Jessica Biel from the cast. Mangold is quick to dismiss the internet gossip. "The story couldn't be more of a fantasy frankly," sighs the director. "It kinda was nothing more than a list of people we were considering and still are."
Having completed filming on the musical drama Les Misérables in June, Jackman immediately went into training for the Wolverine role, something he admits is never easy. "It gets harder every year," he laughs. "That was a particular challenge because for Les Misérables I had to start at 83kgs and finish at about 97kgs by the end of the movie. We did have a holiday recently, but it was more like boot camp for me. But the kids and Deb were happy."
The role is clearly one Jackman still cherishes. "It's definitely been the backbone of my career. I still love the character. I had no choices at the time, I was gonna take anything that came along, but I happened to have walked into possibly the most interesting and complex of the superhero characters and I love it and have always loved playing it. When I stop loving it, I'll stop doing it. So I feel very blessed."
Picture caption (L-R): Jackman, Julia Gillard and James Mangold.