James Mangold talks The Wolverine

With the July release date on the horizon, we can expect a trailer for Wolverine’s second solo X-Men outing very soon. But before that, director James Mangold talked to MTV about The Wolverine and what we can expect from it.

“The wonderful opportunity for me with this film is that 90 percent of it takes place in Japan,” he said. “And even though other elements remain constant from the other pictures, namely Hugh Jackman, we kind of got our chance to reboot the tone and go a little darker and a little deeper than they’ve gone before with this character. That was exciting for me.”

As one would expect with 90% of the movie set in Japan, there are a lot of Japanese elements to the movie, which Mangold also discusses: “There is a significant amount of Japanese spoken in the movie, and the cast is almost entirely Japanese. So there is this wonderful sense of cross-pollination between a very Western character and a far Eastern culture, and I think it’s very cool and something we haven’t seen so far.” It also lets Mangold add a few elements from traditional Eastern films, like storytelling, levels of mystery, fighting, combat techniques and shooting style. “I think there is a lot of ways that Japanese film, Japanese fighting, Japanese martial arts have had an effect on this movie. And certainly the movie is dripping with Japanese tradition both cinematically, fighting-wise and philosophically as well.”

One of the contentions from fans with the X-Men movies has been a distinct lack of ‘berserker rage’, something that Mangold is well aware of. “The whole point is not about violence or rating; it’s about intensity” he continues. “I wanted to make a film that in a way captures the intensity of his character. One of the things that has always been a feature of Wolverine in the comics is that he has a berserker rage, that he has anger and some of his abilities are driven by something more primal… Honestly, to get really pissed off — not cute pissed off, not quippy pissed off, not funny pissed off or cigar-chomping pissed off, just pissed off — that can then help drive the fighting, drive the combat. That is interesting for me and then for the character, some of the jet fuel underneath some of the combat in the film.”

The Wolverine opens on July 26th and will feature Hugh Jackman (X-Men), Will Yun Lee (Die Another Day), Svetlana Khodchenkova (Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy), Hiroyuki Sanada (The Twilight Samurai), Hal Yamanouchi (Push), Tao Okamoto, Rila Fukushima (Karma: A Very Twisted Love Story) and Brian Tee (The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift).

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