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Ripped, rugged and hard as nails, the claws are out as Hugh Jackman bulks up and returns in The Wolverine in director James Mangold’s (Walk the Line, Knight and Day) exploration of the dark and brutal intensity of Logan/Wolverine’s torment. Tormented, embarking on a quest to find meaning in his life, this is Wolverine’s ultimate journey and one which forces him to unleash that unbridled, animalistic “berserker” rage in all its power and ferocity.
After achieving Mutant Size in Three Months, several weeks shooting in Japan, todays filming is taking place in Sydney’s Chinese gardens, which have been transformed into the elaborate grounds of a Japanese Buddhist temple, with a lakeside pavilion. Mangold and his crew are shooting the funeral of a billionaire industrialist.
Among the mourners is a familiar figure: Jackman in full Logan/Wolverine guise. He is the essence of sartorial sophistication in an Armani suit and tie.
The versatile actor began his career in Aussie TV and film, before taking on Hollywood. He’s also an accomplished stage performer, landing the 2004 Tony Award for Best Actor in a musical for The Boy From Oz and a 2012 special Tony award recognising his accomplishments both as a performer and a humanitarian.
But today is all about the beast with the six claws, and his new sense of style.
“This is a whole new look for me,” says Jackson about his styling in the film. “Let’s start with the hair because the hair has been a three-act play in itself over the years. This time there are two looks. We wanted to make it look and feel fresh. My hair is slightly shorter and it’s not so coiffed as before because this is a more contemporary movie.”
The new look he refers to is more than just some clever layering, at 44 years old Hugh Jackman is in the best shape we’ve ever
seen him. And it’s all thanks to The Wolverine Workout.
“Personally I trained harder and started earlier. They beat me up all day in training!” Jackman explains. “I also ate more boringly and ate more than I have ever done before. Physically I wanted Wolverine to look perfect.”
His long time friend and personal trainer Michael Ryan seems happy with his accomplishments.
“Hugh has more muscle and less body fat than he used to have,” says Ryan, who was also Jackman’s best man at his wedding. “The first thing I should point out is that Hugh never stops training. He always trains, not just when he needs to look a certain way for a specific role. He always begins from a solid base of fitness and strength. He never loses his muscle mass, which means we can build on that foundation very quickly.”
Jackman closely resembles his on-screen character more than just physically, there are many Wolverine personality traits he covets.
“I think what Wolverine represents in a way is all the qualities that I would like to embody more often: real strength and loyalty and the ability to face any foe,” explains Jackman. “If there’s someone you want on your team, it’s Wolverine and if there’s someone you don’t want to annoy, it’s Wolverine. You know there’s something pretty cool about that combination. I think in the comic book history, he didn’t have the strongest powers, but he was the most feared and most fearsome because of his heart. He would never give up, he would never say ‘die’.”
We’re certainly fans of the Wolverine’s indomitable spirit, but Jackman gives us a new admiration when explaining the deeper character layer explored in this film.
“One of the themes of this movie is about having a purpose in life rather just living. I think all of us can fall into a more mechanical way of life on a day-to-day basis. Sometimes you can drive home from work and go ‘I actually don’t even remember driving home.’ You know, we can live day by day without seeing why we’re here, what are we doing or who we are. But sometimes we ask: ‘What are we contributing to the world?’” he continues. “This movie really explores that question and theme. We find Wolverine without a purpose. Finding a reason to live, finding who we are is so elemental to all of us, I’m really proud that we actually get to explore that theme. It’s exciting.”
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