LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – “I know Aussies are not known for leaving the party at the right time but (after) 17 years, it’s time to leave the party,” Hugh Jackman quipped as he discussed his last time playing X-Men superhero Wolverine in this year’s gritty action hit “Logan.”
The Australian actor made his breakthrough as the gruff, clawed mutant Wolverine in 2000’s “X-Men” film and has since played the character eight times on screen. But with this year’s “Logan,” Jackman said he and the filmmakers took the biggest risk for his final performance as the mutant hero.
“This was not a given moneymaker,” Jackman said in an interview.
“People considered this to be the biggest risk, the most foolish risk ever taken, and I think people assume you’re just doing a sequel because it’s a moneymaker, but my experience from being within it is that it’s always felt like a risk and I think that’s to be embraced.”
“Logan” was the first time Jackman, 49, played his character in an R-rated film, where he was allowed to embrace the darker, more tormented side of Wolverine.
In the film, an older, wearier Logan struggles with alcoholism as he rescues a young mutant girl and unwillingly aids her in her journey to get to safety, the two forging an unlikely friendship despite both their explosive tempers.
“This is a man whose life is centered on violence,” Jackman said. “It seemed very difficult thematically, not just in terms of graphic violence but the consequences of violence, it seemed impossible to make that as a PG-13 movie and really get into the thematic of that and on a serious level.”
The film received strong praise from critics when it was released in March, grossing more than $600 million worldwide according to BoxOfficeMojo.com. Film studio 20th Century Fox is hoping Jackman’s new take on the character will give “Logan” a competitive edge in the upcoming awards season, which does not usually favor big-budget comic book films.
“It’s a great time for us as actors or creators of stories,” Jackman said. “I‘m thrilled that the Academy (of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, voters of the Oscars) is seeing that there are less boundaries in a way of what makes a really good film, and the genre shouldn’t dictate that.”
Reporting by Rollo Ross for Reuters TV; Editing by Piya Sinha-Roy and Jonathan Oatis