It's The Chinatown Josey Wales!
Source: The Playlist
When Darren Aronofsky left the project, many feared we might have lost the fascinating left-field new Wolverine film we'd been tacitly promised after the X-Men: Origins instalment. Talking to The Playlist however, new director James Mangold has just demonstrated that his plans for The Wolverine are equally ambitious.
"It really was a simple choice," Mangold says, "to jump on board and take this thing on... at this moment when they actually want to explore the character."
To that end, Mangold believes, the fact that The Wolverine is a franchise sequel is actually a benefit rather than a hindrance to the film he envisions: "You can actually just tell a story about this amazing character from the start, just the way they do when you read a comic. 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; it has more in common with The Outlaw Josey Wales and Chinatown. We’re not crowded with cutting to nine other action heroes. We can really make a movie about this dude.”
The plan remains to adapt the classic 1982 Wolverine mini-series by Chris Claremont and Frank Miller, which sees Logan heading to Japan, and juggles samurai action against supernatural gangsters The Hand, with a quite surprising romantic thread involving the daughter of a Yakuza family. The screenplay's first iteration was by Christopher McQuarrie, but while we're still talking about the same project, it seems that, understandably, Mangold doesn't quite intend to make that same film.
"Mark Bomback and myself have done a tremendous amount of writing on the movie,” he explains. “There’s not a page that hasn’t been re-worked and re-thought and story-boarded. Part of connecting to the movie [for me] was developing the scenes and finding the locations and devising the action." For a director used to working on personal projects (Walk The Line, Cop Land, Kate And Leopold), "it's all about making it your own.”
"This movie is an intense psychological and action-packed character piece," Mangold promises. "It's much more about Logan getting lost in these very insulated worlds of Japanese culture, gangster culture, and ninja culture. The fighting is all influenced by Japanese martial arts, and half of the characters in this movie speak Japanese. This is like a foreign-language superhero movie; it's as much a drama and a detective story and a film noir as it is anything like a conventional tentpole film.”
We really hope that studio Fox are fully on board with those notions, and that this isn't reduced to Wolverine-by-numbers in the cutting room. This is the story that star Hugh Jackman has wanted to make since the beginning (see Empire issue 268, where Jackman also namechecks Clint Eastwood's classic '70s western) so hopefully he has enough adamantium-clawed clout within the franchise to keep The Wolverine on track.
Shooting is currently cheduled for spring next year, for a 2013 release.