The Wolverine writer on his inspirations, what he didn't like about the X-Men spinoff

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Sep 16, 2014, 2:37 PM EDT (Updated)

Aside from one misstep, Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine has been the glue that holds the X-Men franchise together. Turns out what is arguably his best performance was written by a guy who really doesn’t like superhero movies.

Writer Scott Frank, who handled screenplay duties for 2013’s The Wolverine, recently opened up to Screen Crush about the experience and what inspired him. Before signing on for the X-Men spinoff, Frank said he’d often “railed” against the genre. So when he found himself with the keys to the adamantium kingdom, he knew he wanted to do something very different with the well-known character.

According to Frank, he took inspirations from classic westerns (and it shows), and his first order of business was to make the X-Men’s most un-killable character vulnerable — exploring the man underneath the muttonchops and insanely awesome healing abilities. His only qualm about the final product? Those last five minutes, which featured the epic climax one might find in just about any other superhero flick:

“The first thing I said to [director] James Mangold was, ‘If you want me to do this with you,’ and we were friends, “I don’t know this world very much.” I read a comic, ‘Old Man Wolverine’ – I thought about it more in terms of ‘Outlaw Josey Wales’ or ‘Unforgiven’ than traditional ways you think about him. I just thought of this guy as very isolated. But the biggest thing I said to him is, ‘If I’m going to write this movie, the first thing I would do is take away his superpowers.’ Because it’s cheating; it makes it uninteresting from a narrative standpoint. If you have a guy who is immortal, who all he ever wanted to be is mortal, he gets that wish and now he doesn’t have his powers. And he has to hide out in the middle of the countryside in Japan and recover – I think that becomes really interesting and why don’t we explore that? And, for the most part, until the last five minutes of that movie, they did.

[The last five minutes] are a lot different than the rest of the movie. And I think that’s a lot of studio influence. But, I think the movie, I thought that Jim was really brave to go in a different direction and it was actually kind of great – it felt different, the tone was different and it was really fun to work on. I had a ball working on it because you could explore the character. First of all, I would say this: I love stories. All stories. Early on, when I wrote ‘Little Man Tate,’ I got pigeonholed. Somebody said to me, “You’re not very dark,” and I had trouble getting certain kinds of jobs … and I learned very early that I didn’t want to get pigeonholed as anything. And my next script was ‘Dead Again.’”

Though some fans were mixed on The Wolverine, it was an ambitious story for a popcorn superhero movie, and we loved the exploration of what makes Logan tick. What do you think? Do you agree with Frank?

(Via Screen Crush)