Sunday, 9 September 2012

X-Production Diary: The Wolverine movie (news & filming updates)

Well X-fans, The Wolverine film has FINALLY gotten off the ground! Let's hope it's gonna be WAY better than the disappointing X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Thankfully they are sticking more to the comics this time round- Chris Claremont & Frank Miller's Japanese comic saga to be precise.
An early concept poster created for the film that may not be used for the final promotion.>

In X-Production Diary, I'll be posting news for X-movies once they officially get into production. This will include final casting news, set photos, etc. I won't include concept art as I'll be posting that in a separate post after the movie's release & once I've managed to collect all the possible art from various sources. Production on The Wolverine will wrap up by mid-November, with shoots mostly taking place around Sydney & a few weeks in Japan. You can read my previous coverage on this film's development here. And continue to watch this space for more updates...
UPDATE (14/09/2012): The rumor of the Jean Grey school inclusion has been debunked! Scroll down to find out how...
UPDATE (25/09/2012): The first official photo from The Wolverine is released! Scroll down for a new "gallery" of official images that will be updated as when new ones are released.

Based on the celebrated comic book arc, THE WOLVERINE finds Logan, the eternal warrior and outsider, in Japan. There, samurai steel will clash with adamantium claw as Logan confronts a mysterious figure from his past in an epic battle that will leave him forever changed.

ComingSoon FINALLY put us out of our misery & revealed the Japanese cast set to star alongside Hugh in the film:
Hiroyuki Sanada (Rush Hour 3, Sunshine) will play Yakuza crime boss, Shingen. You may also recognize him from The Last Samurai so he is pretty much used to donning heavy samurai gear. Shingen, a Yakuza crime boss will be one of the many thorns in Logan's side as he also happens to be the step-brother of Logan's lady love Mariko.

Hal Yamanouchi (The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, Push) will be seen as Yashida, who might be playing the head of the Yashida clan that Shingen was a part of.

And the ladies? Two debutantes will be seen filling the roles of Mariko & Yukio- models Tao Okamoto (left) & Rila Fukushima (right) respectively.

Both ladies were love interests for Wolverine- Mariko brought out the more human side of Logan, for which he loved her immensely & in fact they end up getting engaged as well! Yukio, one of Shingen's deadliest assassins, is actually sent on a mission to kill the feral mutant, but only ends up falling in love with him as she identifies with his violent persona.

Then Variety reported that Will Yun Lee (Total Recall [remake], Die Another Day) will be playing the main villain in the film, Kenuichio Harada aka Silver Samurai. Lee is no stranger to comic book fare, having also been seen in the Witchblade TV series & TV movie as well as the (disappointing) Elektra. Besides he's also done minor voice work for The Amazing Spider-Man video game.Let's see how he fares against Jackman's Logan as the main baddie...

And finally- Viper. Previously I had told you guys that Israeli model Sarai Givaty may have auditioned for the part but that was way back then. Most recently Jessica Biel was approached to essay the role of the villainous vixen but had to turn it down due to scheduling conflicts. Currently Russian actress Svetlana Khodchenkova (Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy) is said to be chosen to play the part, but there's been no official word from Fox. Guess we'll have to wait for some more set photos to confirm it. :P

Frankly I'm pretty happy things didn't work out with Biel- I don't think she'd be perfect for the part. She doesn't have that menacing, intimidating quality required. Now, I haven't seen Svetlana's work in TTSS, but she definitely looks the part AND her Russian accent would be very helpful here as well cos Viper (aka Madame Hydra) hails from Eastern Europe.



^Hobo Logan- Hugh was spotted in Picton sporting this hairy look.
Last photo is from the Surry Hills, New South Wales (NSW) set.

Hugh Jackman spoke to Total Film via Coventry Telegraph-
On how this movie is not connected with X-Men Origins: Wolverine in any way:
We've deliberately not called it Wolverine 2 because we want it to be placed & feel like a standalone picture. With an all-new cast & setting it in Japan, it's going to give us a whole new visual aesthetic.
The approach to character means we won't be overloaded with mutants & teams & the like, so it'll be more character-based. I think in many ways it will feel like a completely different X-Men film.

^Hugh shooting at the POW set built at Kurnell, NSW.

On not taking the franchise for granted & making the best film they possibly can:
I talked to Jeffrey Katzenberg (Dreamworks Animation CEO) about Wolverine & that franchise. He was relating to his experiences on Shrek & said it's really got to do with the strength of the idea- the concept of why that film exists must be strong, you can't assume that the brand will bring people along.
So we went to Christopher McQuarrie, who was involved in X-Men & The Usual Suspects. He's a brilliant writer & he came up with a concept that was just phenomenal. I rang Jeffrey & he went 'Great, now you have a good idea, just go for it.' I think it's the best idea we've had, the strongest script we've had and that now we really have an opportunity to make something really great.

Filming is currently underway in Japan. The set photos below are  from the Zojoji temple in Tokyo, where a funeral scene was being shot. In the last image Hugh is joined by Rila Fukushima:
I think the main topic of discussion has been about how Yukio is a long-haired red-head. Also note that it may be because it's a funeral scene that she's in a Japanese costume rather than her customary sexy catsuit. We may see her in those duds during some action scenes...

While the crew was filming at the Fukuyama Station in Japan, we got our first look at Tao Okamoto as Mariko, & what we see is good! :D

The first set photos that appeared on the Net were actually these spy captures taken at Fox Studios itself:
Rumors are now surfacing that there might be a connection in the movie made to the Jean Grey School for Higher Learning, thanks to the emblem (right>) you see in the center of that blue circular symbol in image #1 above.
UPDATE (14/11/2012): This rumor is now debunked by runningman3000 in the SuperheroHype Forum. Turns out the set in image #1 was previously used in The Great Gatsby! Watch the trailer & you'll spot the blue design at 1:13. So the "JG" stood for "Jay Gatsby" after all! *forehead slap*

An impressive World War II Prisoner of War camp set was constructed at the Bonna Point Reserve in Kurnell (NSW, Australia). Check out the revealing video below:

The residents of Picton (NSW, Australia) were pleased to find out that their small town was being used as a shooting location for The Wolverine. Parts of the town were covered in artificial snow as it was standing in for northern Canada’s Yukon region:

In Surry Hills, shooting mainly took place at the Hopetoun Hotel:

The movie crew filming at the Zojoji temple in Tokyo:

And finally to end this post, here's what director James Mangold tweeted about the movies that inspire him while making The Wolverine:

Fox Studios set photos- XMenFilms
Picton set photos- SuperHeroHype ForumsJasmin Gardener
Kurnell (& Picton) photos- Daily Telegraph
Surry Hills set photos- Daily Pedestrian
Zojoji temple photos- Model PressSHH Forums
Fukuyama Station photos- Togetter

Synopsis- JoBlo


  1. Hmmm. I guess it's happening after all. I'll have to do an updated post. Your posts are always so well researched Neil. Thanks for the info.

    1. pleasure! I try :)

      Oh so you thought it might not happen? Well I always knew it would, cos Wolverine & Hugh have become a major cash cow for Fox. It's also the reason why Wolvie is seen EVERYWHERE in comics & cartoons after the movies were released.

  2. Estetik Confounded by the various news reports about the aesthetic
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