Hugh Jackman claws deep into 'Wolverine' to expose a softer side

Tue Jul 23, 2013 11:35am EDT
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By Patricia Reaney

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Hugh Jackman battles Ninja warriors, trounces a monster Samurai and rescues a Japanese heiress but still manages to show a softer, vulnerable side of the comic book superhero in "The Wolverine," the newest film in the X-Men series.

The movie, which opens in U.S. theaters on Friday, marks the sixth time the 44-year-old Australian actor, who seems as comfortable singing and dancing on Broadway as defeating bad guys on the big screen, is portraying the silver-clawed, self-healing, century-old mutant.

"I am enjoying playing him more than ever. We are focusing on this character and on his journey," said Jackman, who earned a best actor Oscar nomination for his role in the 2012 historical musical "Les Miserables."

"This is a real, true character story."

The film is the second in the highly profitable X-Men series that focuses solely on Wolverine. It follows 2009's "X-Men Origins: Wolverine," which had mixed reviews but pulled in more than $374 million worldwide.

The first five X-Men movies earned a total of more than $1.89 billion at the global box office, and the series will continue in 2014 with "X-Men: Days of Future Past.

"Wolverine" is expected to open with $70 million in U.S. and Canadian ticket sales, according to the website. That would rank as the eighth biggest debut this year but below the start of its predecessor, "X-Men Origins: Wolverine," which opened with $85 million in May 2009, according to Box Office Mojo.


Actor Hugh Jackman poses as he arrives at the UK Premiere of "The Wolverine" at Leicester Square in London July 16, 2013. REUTERS/Luke MacGregor