Mutant vs. Samurai
Mangold wanted The Wolverineto feature the most realistic action he has yet been seen in. That's why he brought in 2nd Unit Director and stunt coordinator David M. Leitch and his team from 87Eleven to choreograph the action and train the cast. "One thing that's different about this film is that 90 percent of the action has been done entirely by our actors," notes Mangold. "We wanted to bring a kind of down-to-earth action to this, because I think there is something amazing and visceral about fighting battles on that person-to-person level."
Long before production began, Leitch began training with each cast member, and honing every sword flick, high kick and adamantium slash for the film's ambitious battle sequences.
"One thing we really tried to do in this film was make sure that the Japanese aesthetic of ninjitsuand martial arts comes out, but we also dashed it up with a flavor of fantasy," says Leitch. "There are gymnastics and acrobatics that you wouldn't expect, and at the same time, the clean lines and the minimalism of the Samurai movie comes through in the choreography. We tried to come up with something fun, cool and different."
Leitch was especially excited to reunite with Jackman, with whom he worked on Van Helsing and X-Men Origins: Wolverine. "Hugh is one of the most physically talented actors in the business," he comments. "He learns choreography really easily. You can do long pieces of uncut action because he can pull it off; and you can change things on the day because he can pick it up immediately, and that's all very rare for actors. He's as good as any stunt man that we have in our company in terms of memorizing choreography. What's even better is that he brings the emotional weight of the character to that action, and that's what makes him so compelling."
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