Gavin Hood on X-Men Origins: Wolverine
By Fred Topel | Image property of 20th Century Fox
X-Men Origins: Wolverine
If you downloaded the pirated copy of X-Men Origins: Wolverine online, you really hurt Gavin Hood’s feelings. The director worked really hard on the movie and now you’re judging the work before it’s even done. For those of you waiting to see the finished film in theaters, Gavin Hood gives you a high five.
Gavin Hood on X-Men Origins: Wolverine
“The reaction seems to be positive,” Hood said. “It was a huge shock, for all of us, when someone stole the movie. It would be like me reaching out to you guys and grabbing your notebooks right now and saying, ‘You know, I’m just going to publish whatever you’ve written, right now. I know you’re not done yet, but we’ll just shove it out there and see what people think of your work.’ Any piece of work is molded and shaped and, finally, you feel ready to offer it to the public, knowing that you will be judged on that piece of work. So, I’m thrilled that it’s finally out there in the form that we wanted it to be, on a big screen, and thank you for coming to see it on a big screen.”
Origins is the first devoted Wolverine film, but Hood had to follow three hugely successful X-Men. “Coming into a franchise that’s done as well as this franchise has done is obviously, at some level, a little intimidating. I think I was lucky that this is a prequel and not a sequel because, in that sense, if you’ve never seen any of the other X-Men movies, you can still go to this movie and enjoy it because this is the beginning and, hopefully, then you’ll go and see the others. At the same time, I don’t think a director consciously says, ‘I want to do something stylistically different.’ By and large, directors don’t really know how to do something other than the way it comes to us.”
Hood’s way was twofold. “It seemed to me that there was an opportunity here to do two things. There was the opportunity to deliver the expected spectacle: the action, the energy and all of that wonderful eye-candy, great stuff. But also, there was an opportunity to do something that was really character driven and work with, ironically, very human emotion, in what is an otherwise great big, mythic, comic book story. Really, what I wanted to be sure we did, and Hugh very much wanted this too, when he first spoke to me, was to make sure that people really attached to the character. I think it would be very easy, and there certainly was a moment for me, to be caught up in the visual effects and the action and let that overwhelm you, and forget that the most important thing, at the end of the day, for me, when making a film, is still that moment when I’ve got a long lens on an actor’s close-up, with any one of the actors. That’s when I’m at my most focused because, if you don’t crack that moment behind the eyes, where those reactions are just not melodramatic or goofy, and they just somehow attack that moment perfectly, all of the special effects in the world aren’t going to save you. So, I’m very proud of the performances by the actors, and I thank Hugh for getting me involved in this. I had a great time.”
Jackman didn’t need much direction in his fourth go-round as Wolverine, but one scene did require special signals. “For me, it was trying to figure out how to direct Hugh Jackman when he couldn’t listen to a single thing I said. Hugh was submerged in that tank and he goes through a range of emotions. He enters the tank fairly nervous, but calm. He sees spinning needles coming down into his body and he goes through this period of escalation where his heart rate goes crazy and he freaks out. Then, he dies. There was a lot he had to remember, as we were going along. Then, he hears someone saying he might erase his memory, and he starts to come around and then he snaps out of the tank, roars up and he is the Wolverine that everybody has been wanting to see. It’s the best shot in the movie. So, I had to figure out how we were going to do it because he couldn’t hear a thing I was saying. We experimented with this underwater speaker that they assured me was going to work, but Hugh was hearing nothing. It was a total disaster. He couldn’t just do it by himself, unfortunately, even though we’d figured out these steps, because the cameras were moving. So, we had a very advance technique for that particular scene, where I rolled up my sleeves, stuck my hand in the tank, held onto his big toe and explained to him that one grab of the toe is the moment when the procedure begins. By the time I get down to the baby toe, I’m going to yank that thing and that’s when you come roaring out of the tank. We had this whole system worked out and then he screwed it up. I’d be on toe three and he’d think it was toe two, and he’d come roaring out. I’d be like, ‘How long do you want to stay under the water for?’”
X-Men Origins: Wolverine opens to theaters on April 29th.
For the trailers, stills, posters and more movie info, go to the X-Men Origins: Wolverine Movie Page.
Sources: Image property of 20th Century Fox
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