I had such plans for Hugh Jackman, but our interview got cut short before we could discuss the big ending of X-Men: Days of Future Past in detail. The latest X-Men movie stars Hugh Jackman once again as the tortured mutant Wolverine, who goes back in time to prevent a disaster that leads to the near-extinction of mutantkind at the hands of high-tech robots called The Sentinels. The film ends with a scene that's bound to get fans talking, so I wanted to talk to Jackman himself about it in detail. But we'd barely scratched the surface by the time he had to take off to the big premiere, but we did get to talk about a few observations you may have had about the film's conclusion, and his desire to come back to the character in 20 years – even after he passes the character off to another actor – to star in an adaptation of the comic book story Old Man Logan.
In any case, HERE THERE BE SPOILERS about Wolverine's claws, how much time has passed between The Wolverine and this new movie, and what the finale of X-Men: Days of Future Past could mean for the future of the franchise.
CraveOnline: I think this is one of the best X-Men movies so far, man. I think this movie kicks ass.
Hugh Jackman: I think I’m with you!
Well, I would hope so.
No, I really do. I really like it. I think it’s one of the best.
It’s nice to see you back in the time travel genre. I always thought Kate & Leopold ruled.
[Laughs.] Thank you, man. I had forgotten about that actually. Someone had mentioned it to me the other day, and you know the interesting thing about doing this movie is that Simon Kinberg and director Bryan [Singer] were both as ambitious with the time travel element of this movie, because they’re huge fans of the genre as well as the comic book genre. So they took it very seriously.
One thing I was sort of curious about, I don’t think they ever explicitly say how far into the future the “future” part of the movie is. Do you know how much time has passed after The Wolverine?
Yeah, not that long. So after The Wolverine it’s a matter of a short number of years, kind of thing.
Damn. Things escalated quickly.
Yeah. That’s what I’ve got in my head. Maybe I’ve got it wrong. [Laughs.] But I think I heard that. It’s not that long after that, but who knows how long after… that little bit we saw after the end of The Wolverine? Sorry, I’m talking about the little scene at the end of The Wolverine, in the credits. About two years after that.
Did they ever mention how you got your adamantium claws back after The Wolverine?
No, but that’s really interesting you mentioned that, because someone just mentioned to me, without giving spoilers away… does he get them back? You know what I mean?
Not really, because he has them in the future, right?
Yes, but then at the very end of the movie, the future’s new, you know what I mean? So what if at the end of the past, where Stryker says, “I’ll take him now,” what if it doesn’t follow through, and the new version of the future is he doesn’t have it? So I don’t know. That has yet to be worked out, or maybe they have and the haven’t told me.
One thing that’s always interesting to me that Wolverine is one of the few heroes in our movies who is still allowed to smoke. Was there ever any talk about cutting the cigar out?
[Laughs.] Yeah, no. I mean there was one movie where it was very particular, I can’t remember, I think it was X3, where I was allowed to have a cigar but I wasn’t allowed to light it. It was a really hot topic. I just think it’s so particular to that character, and I also just think I like the fact that he does it when no one else is allowed to do it. He feels like the old rebel, by the way.
Hey, I’m not promoting smoking by the way. [Laughs.]
Of course, but it doesn’t matter to Wolverine. He’s got a healing actor. It’ll never be a problem to him.
And he’s just inconsiderate about secondhand smoke.
Well, he’s just stuck in the 70s, when no one really knew anything. I feel that’s very important about this character.
I remember hearing that back in X-Men 1 you were the guy shoving as many “bubs” in as possible.
Do you still have to fight for those little details, or is everyone like, “Let Hugh do whatever he wants?”
No, what I do now… I’ll be honest with you, what I do with the director is I throw them in way more than I know they’re going to be used. I don’t think you should overuse it, and so in most scenes I’ll do something where I’ll throw a “bub” in. I’ll say, “Bryan, you use it where you think it’s best.” Seriously, that’s sort of how it comes. So I throw it out more than is in the movie, which is the way it should be.
You’ve been looking really ripped over the last couple of X-Men movies. I have to ask what your secret is.
Yeah, time. The movie kept delaying for The Wolverine, so I had longer, and I also just got more specific [advice] from Dwayne Johnson. I asked him what I should do diet-wise and what I should training-wise, but the main difference is time because I’m 45. It just doesn’t happen as quickly anymore, and I think all those other times I was doing the movies I was coming off the back of another movie, if you know what I mean, where I didn’t need to be like that. So this is one where I said, okay, I need a minimum of six months to get ready. So it’s just time more than anything. And also these go back-to-back, these movies.
Which makes me wonder, after Apocalypse – and I don’t know if you plan on doing the next Wolverine or not – do you just planning on eating a whole cake in one sitting?
[Laughs.] Right now I’m not on the diet, so I’m enjoying my life. And I still train because I don’t want to be more than two or three months away from being ready. I know how to do it now. Most importantly, this is going to sound strange, but me, training is a little bit out of laziness. Because I know that it’s much harder to get into shape than to stay in shape, you know? So I keep training even though I’m not strict on the diet right now.
And in terms of what’s next, interesting question. I don’t know what it will be. Sometimes the idea of doing back-to-back is a great idea. It feels great because it’s easier. As I said, stay in shape [as opposed to] getting into shape. That’s certainly effectively what I did on the last one.
Even seven movies into this franchise it still feels like we’ve barely scratched the surface of the comics.
That’s true, yeah. You’re right.
Is there anything in particular that we’ve never been able to get to or show that you’ve always wanted to throw in the movies?
Yes, and I’m probably working on it right now with Jim Mangold. [Laughs.] You know, I’ve always loved the Old Man Logan story. That’s a beauty. And by the way, some mornings at five o’clock in the morning I feel that’s rapidly approaching.
I should probably be careful [not] to say never. Even when I’m ready to give the part to someone else, I should probably never say never because maybe in 20 years time I’ll just pop up and do that one.
That would be a cool one to tell. But the thing with that story is that really steeped in the rest of the Marvel Universe so you’d have to change some things around a bit.
Like we can’t have you fight The Hulk, although I wonder who would win in a fight… your Wolverine or Mark Ruffalo’s Hulk.
You never know, in 20 years time who knows? All these big companies might be owned by the same person. [Laughs.] The way things are going.
Let me ask you a quick question about the ending: you seem to be stuck in a Back to the Future quandary at the end of this. Xavier seems happy to see you again, but what happened to the other Logan? Do you think Xavier is sad about that? How do you think that ending worked?
Oh, that’s interesting. [Thinks.] Hang on, do you mean that guy in the past, on the boat?
Well, Xavier has been living with this Wolverine for decades, I imagine, and now he’s gone and you’re back and he’s like, “Oh, it’s good to see you again!” But the other one is gone forever.
Yes, but maybe we get a chance to fill in those 50-60 years, do you know what I mean? Who knows what happened in there. I’m actually, I know I’m not answering you right, but I’m probably confused by your question… which probably means there’s endless ways we can go with this! [Laughs.] But it’s still the same guy, but he gets to a point where he’s a history teacher at the school which is very different, obviously. So who knows how we’ll fill that in, fill the dots in?