Wolvie DVD and sequel
The X-MEN ORIGINS: WOLVERINE DVD and Blu-ray comes out September 15th (today!). In honor of that Marvel-ous event, I recently got to head over to the Fox lot for a presentation by director Gavin Hood and producer Laura Shuler Donner. Both formats are packed with extras, but the main focus of the presentation was the Blu-ray, which includes an truly impressive list of visual goodies. During the event, we were shown a bit of ďThe Roots of Wolverine: A Conversation with X-Men Creators Stan Lee and Len WeinĒ and a featurette detailing Hugh Jackmanís extensive physical preparation for the role. In addition to the hours of work to pump up those guns, he ate a pretty hardcore protein diet. They would have to pause filming so he could wolf down enough food to maintain his physique. Seven meals a day! We also got a peek at a deleted scene where Stryker (Danny Huston) gives Wolverine a chance to make all his problems disappear by erasing his memory.
With the adoption of the Blu-ray format came scores of useless features. Most of the time, I have little to no interest in them. But WOLVERINE is debuting a feature that I guarantee will be in constant use in my house. If you guys are anything like me, your movie viewing involves constant pausing to check IMDB. ďLive LookupĒ lets you access that siteís info on the cast, crew and the movie itself while watching the film. (And no laptop burning your thighs.) I know I sound like a commercial here, but Iím seriously digging this. The interface is pretty non-invasive, and you can either have it up over the film, or shrink the picture. The info updates every time you sign on.
After the presentation, Hood and Shuler Donner did a brief Q&A, answering questions about the Blu-ray format, choosing which of the many Wolverine storylines to base the film on, and the sequel.
Do you think the fans are starting to get more excited about adopting Blu-ray?
Gavin Hood: Certainly from my side, yes, but then weíre here in L.A. and weíre folks who love movies of a certain quality. I think itís the same with all new stuff, whether itís the iPhone or Blu-ray. The fact is, itís not going to go away, itís only going to replace. Itís a better technology, just as we lost VHS at a certain point. I think itís a wonderful new medium and I was as surprised as anyone when they told me that it could actually do stuff like a live feed. Thatís incredible. The next step is, what, I donít know, if we decided we really want to add a deleted scene we could [upload] it to you on your Blu-rayÖ
Does the success of the first film give you greater liberty to take an original approach or does it put more pressure on you to maintain truth to the source material?
Lauren Schuler Donner: I think itís our responsibility to remain true to the source material. There are other influences and other factors that make us deviate from it, the first of which being transcribing it to the screen. We certainly are fully aware of the fan base and try in every way possible to stay close to the source material. I think in WOLVERINE it was a little bit different because there was a lot of different source material, a lot of different legends in Victor Creedís relationship to Logan and Loganís background. There were some choices we had to make. Certainly in WOLVERINE 2,í in the Japanese saga, we will stay very close to the source material. I think itís just best that way.
Hood: The truth is, what freaked me out a little when I was doing my research was that I was looking for the definitive origin story of WOLVERINE. And, of course, any of you who know the comics know that doesnít entirely exist because this guyís been written about for 40 years by many different writers, different illustrators. Wolverineís been drawn wearing a yellow spandex suit and heís been drawn about wearing jeans and a jacket. The truth is, all of these versions are from source material. The origin story of him as a kid and the bone claws happening and the hint that Victor Creed may be his half brother. In the original draft, when we looked at it without him being a half brother, there wasnít as much emotional connection between the hero and the villain. So we had to make the choices that were right for this movie. That doesnít mean there arenít other options that other writers have written. I just prefer to do a movie with him in jeans and a leather jacket rather than yellow spandex. (Laughs)
One of the deleted scenes shows a young version of Storm. Did any other characters appear that got cut?
Hood: Other than Storm, I donít think so. Stormís the only one that didnít make the movie because thereís only so many characters you can put in without it feeling a little cluttered. Lauren made the point, I think rightly, that none of the other movies have Storm giving any hint of having met Logan.
Given that this is part of a franchise and there are alternate endings where heís drinking to remember, did you give thought to what a potential sequel might be?
Hood: I knew everyone was excited by the story in Japan, which I then read and I absolutely do think is a wonderful story and they should do it. But it didnít affect 99 percent of the film we were making. He moves to another land, so no, I think we were focused on the film we were making because we didnít know if there would or wouldnít be a sequel.
Gavin, youíve talked about pouring through the 40 years of material when you came into this. Aside from the Japan storyline, were there other stories besides what you used that you thought you might put aside for a sequel if you got that chance?
Hood: I just think that the Japanese story is so iconic and beautiful and could be so visual. Thatís the one and Iím reluctant to talk about others because I know Len [Wein]ís writing others now. And honestly, hereís the truth: if the Japanese story works, there might be another sequel. And if it doesnít, there wonít be. You can get ahead of yourselves by sort of stirring up rumors of what might be. Iím not going to even go there.
I donít even know if I would be involved. Right now Iím not attached. Nobodyís attached. Theyíre developing a script and weíll see where everybody is. Iím hoping to be shooting something next year and I donít think that ĎWolverineí will be ready for next year. I havenít been approached one way or another. The studio is obviously very cautious. They want to see how Wolverine does on DVD. Let them develop the script, letís see what the script looks like, letís see how the studio feels about the script, how Hugh feels about it and then weíll take it from there.