Exclusive: James Mangold and Dafne Keen talk Logan!

Logan movie review Hugh Jackman Patrick Stewart Dafne Keen Wolverine

We've known for years that James Mangold is quite a capable director, but I don't know if anyone knew he had LOGAN in him. Well, perhaps aside from Mangold himself. One of the creative forces behind the stunningly adult final act of Hugh Jackman's Wolverine career, Mangold has made what will be widely acknowledged as one of the greatest superhero movies of all time. And he has a lot to say about it.

Just recently, I sat down with Mangold for a lengthy chat about the decisions made to ensure LOGAN was as different from the pack as possible. Along for the ride was Dafne Keen, the girl who makes an indelible impression in the film as Laura, aka X-23, the mutant who spurs Logan and Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart) into action as they attempt to protect her from an army of vicious mercenaries. Keen, it turns out, is a little more shy than her on-screen counterpart, but she was game to talk a little about building her instant-classic of a character.

And if you missed them, check out our video interviews with the cast and Mangold right HERE.

Logan interview James Mangold Dafne Keen

James, I know this was a passion project for, not only the guys at Fox and Hugh, but yourself as well. What was it about telling this story that made it such an important project for you?

Mangold: Well to me, anytime you can change the way something is going down, change the method of the storytelling, do something differently, not the same... that becomes really inspiring and exciting. As a filmmaker, I think it's so different then as an actor or actress. You're always looking for something that allows you to put a piece of yourself into what you're doing. The idea of self expression happening in these giant movies, is kind of contradictory in nature. And yet, our favorite large scale movies - our favorite movies period, large or small scale - are the ones in which the people working on it put themselves in the movie. I think the reason it's gotten so difficult with these, not just comic book movies, but big summer movies in general, they've stopped being movies, in general. They're more platforms for selling toys and the next movie... We're all part of this machine. Even the clamor for the extra scene or the end credit scene is actually a clamor for the scene that just hooks us to buy the next ticket for the next movie. For me it was about making a movie that stood for itself and the humanity of all the people in it. Making sure there was enough space in the film that the personality of all the people involved could shine.

Dafne, when you joined the project did Jim or anybody else want you to kind of read up the comics and know who the character was or was it just basically what was in the screenplay?

Keen: They didn't ask for anything.

Mangold: I didn't see particular value. Mainly because it all just creates more pressure on someone. When you want someone to enter a role, the biggest thing you want them to do is somehow find their own way in. Also, a lot of the X-23 comics, most of them, are about a character who is much older than Dafne.

Keen: What he did say we could do is go to the zoo and see, like, animals.

Mangold: What was the assignment, like figure out which animal you were?

Keen: Yeah it was that, what you said, right.

What was the animal that most sort of made it into your performance?

Keen: I remember that we saw this bear that was trapped in this cage.

You used that for the movie?

Keen: Yeah. I thought of the bear.

Logan interview James Mangold Dafne Keen

What was your experience like working with Hugh on the set? Did he have any advice for you?

Keen: It was really fun, that he helped a lot. The scene would like build up. No direct advice, just in the scene.

So what were the scenes like when you were fighting all these guys and being just as tough as could be? Was it fun to those kinds of action scenes?

Keen: Stunts are so fun. I love the stunts guys, really, really nice.

Did you have a favorite sequence to shoot? What's the one memory that really stands out?

Keen: I love the wire work. The end of the film there's this shot when I'm on wires and it was so fun to film.

Is it a character that you'd like to play again? Could you see yourself playing this character in the future?

Keen: I don't know but it would be fun.

Is it a story you'd like to tell? Would you like to continue the X-23 story line?

Mangold: To me, directing movies and writing movies, the alchemy is always story, meeting kind of the human beings that are going to make that story come to life. What's most intriguing and it is, about doing another X-23 movie would be just the fact that I would be working with Daf again. I think she is a phenomenally talented, sensitive person... My number one interest if I'm making movies, when you're making movies about bigger than life characters, is meeting people who make them feel like life. And don't just play the idea, but put themselves, or the bear in the zoo, in the role.

Are you kind of are ready to step away from this character and this world and move on to other things?

Mangold: Oh definitely, the next movie will not be an X-men movie for me. I need a little break. I had thought I was making a film, a Travis McGee movie between the last Wolverine and this one and Christian Bale tore the ACL in his knee so we missed out on that.

Is that still in the works or is it...?

The movie may be in the works, I'm not sure if it is anymore with Christian, but the movie may still happen, maybe next, we'll see.

Logan interview James Mangold Dafne Keen

I was talking to Simon and Hutch about this, about like how with Deadpool and Logan, feels like we can't kind of go back to sort of the old ways of, not just the X-men movies but superhero movies in general, showing us that these movies can be different and edgy.

I think as filmmakers we can never go back to the old ways, period. Meaning that, and it's not some new idea, I think John Ford was trying to make a different kind of Western and then Sydney Pollock was trying to make a different kind of Western than John Ford made. Every step of the way I think, film is such a beautiful medium because it never goes away. So there really is no reason to make the same movie over again. Except I guess it would be in Dolby Atmos now or in color. The reality is you need to have a new idea and how you're going to attack a movie with something fresh. I think that should be always upon us or else we're just selling people yesterday's fish.

That has been the thought process for some many production companies, which is, if it's not broke don't fix it, so you just kind of make a carbon copy of the last one. But I think with Logan and Deadpool, you're saying no, these can completely different types of movies.

Well I also think it's up to you guys a little, you've been part of the problem, which is that, I don't mean your site in particular. But I think that the fan base has become kind of echo chamber of adoration for the same thing over and over again and even sometimes freaking out when anyone leaves the hymnal by even 10%. I think that, that's caused a certain amount of timidness on the part. Also, I think when really bad large movies come out everyone hesitates to say it because the thing cost so much and everyone's access to the stars and the movie and the next movie are so wired in that it's the truth that no one dareith speak. You watch it happen with these movies because you see one come out and everyone kind of congratulates everyone and says it's good and then a year later everyone talks about how bad it was. It's like oh what happened, did the statute of limitations of bologna wear off?

Was there every any push back against just how intense this movie got? Some of the sequences, I'm thinking the home invasion sequence in particular, was there-

I expected there to be to but there never was.

That's incredible though.

It is. I expected there to be more discomfort with the kind of very tight turns the movie takes into very dark places. One of the things I was committed also that Dafne's character be 10 or 11 years old. I didn't want a movie about Dad and his unruly superhero teenager... I wanted it to be a real father daughter movie about a young girl who is going to need some help. There were some questions at the studio about that but I think that Dafne's audition and general awesomeness won over the day.

Extra Tidbit: Would you want to see a solo X-23 movie starring Dafne Keen?
Source: JoBlo.com



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