James Mangold Logan's timeline

Earlier today we saw the first Logan trailer, which is cut to Johnny Cash‘s cover of NIN’s “Hurt.” Perhaps not a terribly subtle song choice, but it’s pretty damn effective. The fun nod to Mangold’s Walk the Line aside, the song choice also hints the filmmaker is bringing audiences a slightly different offering from the superhero genre, and that was the Mangold and 20th Century Fox’s intent with the trailer.

Below, James Mangold discusses Logan’s timeline and his aspirations for the film.

Mangold believes Cash’s music makes the trailer stand apart from the “standard, bombastic, brooding orchestral, swish-bang, doors opening and slamming, explosions kind of methodology of some of these movies.” Another way Mangold wants Logan to stand out from the herd? By making the stakes less global, more personal. Logan isn’t saving the world this time.

In an interview with Empire, Mangold talks about how his film is driven more by character than conventional genre spectacle:

Hugh and I have been talking about what we would do since we were working on the last one, and for both of us it was this requirement that, to be even interested in doing it, we had to free ourselves from some assumptions that had existed in the past, and be able to change the tone a bit. Not merely to change for change’s sake, but also to make something that’s speaking to the culture now, that’s not just the same style — how many times can they save the world in one way or another? How can we construct a story that’s built more on character and character issues, in a way as if it almost wasn’t a superhero movie, yet it features their powers and struggles and themes.

To make the character more vulnerable his healing powers have been slowed down. The Logan we see in the trailer is scarred and battered, a true depiction of Old Man Logan. Mangold explains Jackman and him had the freedom to play with certain rules and traditions from the X-Men series:

One of the things we all thought about as we worked on this film is, well, we don’t want to rebuild everything. We want to have some questions. In order to make a different Logan, and a different tone of a Wolverine movie, we felt like we couldn’t hold on to every tradition established in all the movies religiously, or we’d be trapped by the decisions made before us. So we questioned whether Logan’s healing factor causes him to heal without even a scar. We imagined that it may have when he was younger, but with age, he’s getting older and ailing. Perhaps his healing factor no longer produces baby-soft skin. So we imagined he heals quickly, still, but it leaves a scar. The simple idea was that his body would start to get a little more ravaged with a kind of tattooing of past battles, lacerations that remain of previous conflicts.

Although Mangold wants to dig deeper under Logan’s skin, that doesn’t mean we’re not going to see the character unleash his claws and go berzerk in Logan. Mangold promises visceral, R-rated action, which, based on the trailer, relies far more on practical effects and real environments than CGI:

This represents] to me the kind of aggressive, classical Wolverine action that we want in the movie – more of something that fans have been asking for, for a really long time. We’ve been limited in one way or another from giving it to them, but I think we’ve got the go-ahead to really go for it on this picture. So we’re really trying to deliver what folks have always imagined those kind of battles would look like. There is a lot of high-octane action in the movie. We’re just trying to do it very differently and very viscerally.

Mangold doesn’t have much to say about Laura Kinney (Dafne Keen) or Donald Pierce (Boyd Holbrook). He’d prefer to maintain a little mystery regarding those characters. The director does say Holbrook brings some humor to the villain, though, and that Keen’s character is a part of the film’s family. Mangold tells Empire that Logan, first and foremost, is a movie about family. Based on the trailer, and Jacob’s breakdown, this family is going to get put through the wringer next March.

Logan opens in theaters March 3rd, 2017.

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