The Wolverine hits theaters tomorrow and though it’s marketed as another big, blockbuster, popcorn, super-hero movie, reviews are saying it’s anything but. JoBlo called it a “a moody, low-key thriller, one suited for a director used to focusing on character-driven dramas.” That director is James Mangold.
Mangold’s more character-driven work can be seen in Kate and Leopold, Cop Land and Walk the Line. He filled the role of directing The Wolverine after Darren Aronofsky bowed out. Mangold talked to the Huffington Post on scaling down this super-hero flick and the legacy of Cop Land.
ON THE WOLVERINE NOT HAVING A HUGE CITY-WIDE ACTION DESTRUCTION SEQUENCE (sorry kids)
The reality is that I love to do the action, but I don’t want to do a movie that exists in a crescendo from beginning to end. The problem is, what you find yourself doing when you enter that vortex is you just have to keep making shit faster and louder. Because everyone gets desensitized and you’ve got to at some point pull out. The whole movie just can’t be in a dive. So, you’ve got to pull up the throttle at some point … we actually dare to go quiet. We dare to be intimate…half of it is in Japanese with subtitles.
ON MAKING COP LAND WITH AN ALL-STAR CAST
I’m very proud of the film as a writer as well as a director. It was a startling movie because, when I wrote it, I didn’t expect what was going to happen in terms of the cast.
The Cop Land cast includes Sylvester Stallone, Harvey Keitel, Ray Liotta, Robert De Niro, Peter Berg, Robert Patrick, Janeane Garofalo, Michael Rapaport, John Spencer and Noah Emmerich.
Cop Land was a critical hit and highlighted an unexpected performance from Sly Stallone. Mangold talked to Indiewire about his reservations on casting him initially.
I didn’t want him. When he was first brought up to me, I was like, ‘Please God no!’ My whole perception of Sly at that point was, and he’s a friend and he would understand, but it was like he’d made this series of slightly-less than his best tent-pole movies that weren’t very taxing for him, and he was just kind of an indestructible force in one picture after another. And I was looking to cast a vulnerable guy who was soft, who can’t quite pull the trigger – and I’m getting Judge Dredd?
All I laid out on the table was that I didn’t want to make this movie with him if he was going to take control of it, and I didn’t want to make this movie with him if he was going to change it, and I didn’t want to make this movie with him if he wouldn’t get fat. And Sly in each case was like, look, it’s your movie, it’s your script, so we’ll do exactly what you wrote, and also, I’ll gain weight – I’d love to. And he was an angel about it in a way that a lot of other actors I’d approached before him were not angels about it. They were not happy about playing the unsexy or hesitant hero at the center of the movie, and here was this guy who was really into it. And I decided to take the leap with him, and for many reasons I’m glad I did.
ON DIRECTING A RANGE OF GENRES – FROM ROMANTIC COMEDIES, TO CHARACTER DRAMAS, TO SUPER-HERO FLICKS
I think that one way that people and directors particularly have branded themselves for easier media consumption is to be like, ‘I make New York City stories’ or ‘I make mob stories,’ ‘I make horror films.’ To me, I’m learning all of the time, and the more I can keep jumping around like that, and I actually find that I’m carrying the lessons from my last movie into the next.