Shooting X-MEN ORIGINS: WOLVERINE Was “A Political Minefield”

Hugh Jackman and director Gavin Hood on the set of X-MEN ORIGINS: WOLVERINE.
Hugh Jackman and director Gavin Hood on the set of X-MEN ORIGINS: WOLVERINE.

It has been no secret that former 20th Century Fox honcho Tom Rothman liked to put his two cents into the production of various comic book adaptations put out by his studio. But filmmakers have been rather loathe to discuss it probably out of concern about working at the studio again. And audiences were left with the results – films like The Fantastic Four and X-Men Origins: Wolverine that didn’t live up to their expectations and weren’t particularly liked by critics.

Perhaps spurred on by Rothman’s retirement at the end of last year, cinematographer Don McAlpine, who shot X-Men Origins: Wolverine for director Gavin Hood, has come out in a recent interview with the Australian Cinematographer’s Society’s AU Magazine, and described the shooting of the film as a “political minefield.”

I think basically one of my main functions on that film was to help Gavin through the political minefield that he’d found himself in the midst of. You know, a first time director at any of the major studios is just considered “game”! [laughs]

And so we had an endless struggle to try and make the film that he wanted. I mean they actually asked him to do this Wolverine as more of an adult drama. And of course after the first week they realised they didn’t want that, and they wanted it to be just the classic kiddies’ action movie. So to still make a presentable movie and stay employed by the studios was quite an interesting battle.

It will be interesting to see if any other filmmakers come forward with their own stories of working with the studio and how that affected the final product. It should also be interesting to see if that with Rothman’s departure there will be a change in how management deals with its talent who are making the films.

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About Rich Drees 6698 Articles
A film fan since he first saw that Rebel Blockade Runner fleeing the massive Imperial Star Destroyer at the tender age of 8 and a veteran freelance journalist with twenty years experience writing about film and pop culture.
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Erin Astolfi Blank
March 20, 2013 8:16 am

Tell me the truth, though – didn’t you enjoy watching TMI go down in adamantine claws? lol.

Joe Nazzaro
March 20, 2013 8:22 am

It’s funny, people are always asking why the major studios entrust their big tentpole films to largely untried directors. The answer, as we saw with Wolverine, is that it allows studio brass like Rothman to run roughshod over the poor director, who doesn’t have enough status in the industry to stand up for himself. Because of course there is always the threat, implied or overt that ‘You’ll never work in this town again!’