Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Reel Facts & Opinions: The Invincible Wolverine

Earlier this week, it became known that 20th Century Fox has begun talks with director James Mangold for a direct sequel to THE WOLVERINE, which came out this past summer. Mangold, who also has the Oscar-darling WALK THE LINE (2005) on his resume, will presumably be teamed up again with actor Hugh Jackman, who has owned the role of the clawed, self-healing mutant since 2000.
THE WOLVERINE was one of this past summer’s pleasant surprises. The film earned decent reviews from critics, and its worldwide box-office haul of $413 million was enough to earn its money back and get a sequel greenlit. Providing everything stays on schedule, this proposed sequel will be the eighth time Jackman has appeared on the big-screen as Wolverine; X-MEN, X2, X3, X-MEN ORIGINS, a brief cameo in X-MEN FIRST CLASS, this years THE WOLVERINE, next year’s X-MEN DAYS OF FUTURE PAST, and the following years proposed sequel (presumably 2015).

Providing this sequel happens, eight appearances as one character will put Jackman into the history books. Why so many times out as the same character? Well, the box-office numbers show that people love to see him there, and sales of his likeness on posters and action figures take the point further. His take on character has even inspired the comics to re-adapt Wolverine based on Jackman’s likeness. He’s been effective, iconic, and most of all; popular.
And it’s in that popularity where Jackman’s eight appearances makes a little obscure history. Consider that Harrison Ford only played his ever-popular Indiana Jones four times, and Sean Connery, who is widely considered to be the definitive James Bond, appeared as 007 seven times.

Other popular, and repeat performers include:
-Leonard Nimoy as Spock: 8 appearances (only counting movies)
-Robert Englund as Freddy Krueger: 8 appearances
-Roger Moore as James Bond: 7 appearances
-Sylvester Stallone as Rocky Balboa: 6 appearances
-The HARRY POTTER kids (Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint): 8 times as their respective characters.
-Reaching further back in time, Charlie Chaplin played The Tramp in over 30 films, and long-running casts from The Three Stooges and Blondie brought their actors back for tens and dozens of appearances.

It’s an obscure footnote in movie history, but still worth noting. It’s very possible that Jackman could appear a dozen times before he turns 50, which would clearly be the most appearances ever for an actor as one single character. The refreshing sidebar to all this is that Jackman has been spreading his wings (or claws?) enough to avoid being typecast; his turn in LES MISERABLES (2012) earned him an Oscar nomination and a Golden Globe win. Let’s also not forget that he is a talented singer and dancer, and has a Tony Award on his shelf. As he gets older and better at what he does, so will his Wolverine.

What say you?





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