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