From the Set: An Oral Pre-History of ‘Prisoners’

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Everyone on the set of Prisoners looked exhausted. Some of that was makeup, but some of the drain and fatigue was quite real. When I visited the production, it wasn’t working on a constructed set, but in a location. A real hospital, complete with physical dimensions that aren’t all that friendly to wide lenses and large groups of film crew, was the site of the shoot towards the end of the film’s schedule back in March.

The location wasn’t helping the mood, but it wasn’t just cramped quarters that was grinding down the cast and crew. Prisoners, scripted by Aaron Guzikowski and directed by Denis Villeneuve, is not a cheery film. It follows two families whose children are abducted on Thanksgiving, and examines the different coping mechanisms employed by the two adult couples as they wait for any news. Ironically it was quite nice outside on the day of our visit, but Prisoners is the sort of movie that retreats from sunshine. When the weather got good, the crew shot indoors.

The couples are played by Hugh Jackman and Maria Bello, and Viola Davis and Terrence Howard. Garbed in realistic costume and styled like people rather than movie starts, several looked like they’d been put through the wringer. Slightly more energized was Jake Gyllenhaal, playing the detective who takes charge of the missing persons case. In conversation, each outlined their approach to the difficult material, and after the break you’ll find a lightly edited oral pre-history of Prisoners, assembled from their comments.  Read More »

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Mike Alcantara - Venom

Which member of The Avengers doesn’t know who Ultron is? Which superteams are celebrating their 50th birthdays today? Are there Marvel heroes visible in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.? Does Hugh Jackman ever imagine another version of The Wolverine? What happens when The Avengers face Batman and Superman in toy form? Want to see a new trailer for Thor: The Dark World? Read about all this and more in today’s Superhero Bits. Read More »

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In the era of The Avengers, Batman vs. Superman and X-Men: Days of Future Past, comic book movies have begun to look more like comic books. Multiple movies featuring multiple characters all take place in the same universe, making crossovers possible. There are, unfortunately, some crossovers that are currently impossible because various studios own the rights to major characters. Spider-Man, for example, is at Sony, while the X-Men and Fantastic Four are at 20th Century Fox. That makes crossover with the Marvel Studios characters legally difficult.

According to Hugh Jackman, those barriers almost broke down in 2002. A few short years after Bryan Singer’s original X-Men, then lower level Marvel producer Kevin Feige suggested Wolverine cameo in Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man. Jackman even traveled to the city, but something stopped it from happening. Read More »

The Wolverine

Over the past six X-Men movies — seven if you count the upcoming X-Men: Days of Future Past — Hugh Jackman has proved invaluable to the Fox franchise. Indeed, he’s so important to the series that this week’s rumor that he’d been offered $100 million to stick around for four more installments sounded entirely plausible. That’s not something you’d be able to say about most movie stars, no matter how lucrative their franchises.

However, Jackman has now gone on record denying that report. “I would never do that,” he added. Hit the jump to read his comments.

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Which X-Men Hero Almost Made It Into ‘The Wolverine’?

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Aside from a few dreamy appearances by deceased flame Jean Grey, The Wolverine was a solo outing for the grizzled X-Man. He doesn’t don the leather costume or call Westchester to check in, and none of his X-friends are around when the shit hits the fan.

But screenwriter Mark Bomback reveals that wasn’t always the plan. According to him, an earlier draft of the story had Wolverine teaming up with one of his favorite teammates from the original trilogy. Hit the jump to find out who it was, and why that plotline was dropped.

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The Wolverine

Fox’s X-Men universe is a rich one filled with beloved characters of all kinds. But by far the most recognizable figure in it is Wolverine, played by Hugh Jackman in a record seven films: X-Men, X2, X-Men: The Last Stand, X-Men Origins: Wolverine, X-Men: First Class, The Wolverine, and the upcoming X-Men: Days of Future Past.

Which means Jackman’s been brandishing those adamantium claws for well over a decade. At this point, it’d be understandable if he felt the urge to move in. But Fox, not surprisingly, is hoping he’ll stick around, and rumor has it they’re willing to pay him very handsomely to do so. Like, $100 million for four movies handsomely. Hit the jump to get the dirt.

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‘The Wolverine’ – What Did You Think?

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After years of development, the second standalone film featuring Marvel’s favorite claw-wielding mutant is here. The Wolverine had a hell of a development path, but finally came together with Hugh Jackman reprising the title role under the direction of James Mangold. Their inspiration was the mini-series by Chris Claremont and Frank Miller that cemented Wolverine’s popularity in the early ’80s.

The team took quite a few liberties with Claremont/Miller — characters are changed, and with them so are some of the broad strokes of the story — but there’s a definite path that links the films.

Is that link, along with the film’s other positive factors, enough to make this one work? Let us know below — what did you think of The Wolverine? Is this a lot better than the first standalone movie, or just a bit better? (It can’t possibly be worse; on that point I think everyone can agree.) As always with posts of this sort, spoilers are encouraged in the comment thread below.

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Comic Con is too large of an event for celebrities to actually walk the show floor, but that doesn’t stop some of them from trying. Justin Timberlake once walked Comic-Con dressed as a ‘Sesame Street’ character years ago. Many other actors have famously thrown on a Stormtrooper helmet and walked the show floor with just a half-assed cosplay presentation — so if you ever see someone who just threw on a mask and it looks like they didn’t try hard enough, ask yourself which actor might possibly be hiding in plain sight. Michael Cera just threw on a fierce-looking Gorilla mask one year.

This year, Breaking Bad star Bryan Cranston, Doctor Who‘s eleventh doctor Matt Smith and The Wolverine star Hugh Jackman are among the actors we know who donned a disguise and walked the show floor this year. After the jump you can see how they did it.

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