Fans of the character Wolverine were perplexed when Hugh Jackman was cast as the character in 2000’s X-Men film. After all, he’s about a foot too tall, and way too handsome to be the scrappy, furry rage-filled beast. Luckily, Fox didn’t listen to the backlash, and Jackman has played the character more times than any other actor has played one comic book character. What’s more, the story that started it all, Wolverine by Chris Claremont and Frank Miller, is coming to theaters as The Wolverine later this week.
Of course, as film and comics are different mediums, some changes are being made. One of the biggest is the addition of multiple antagonists for Logan, including actor Brian Tee’s Noburo Mori. The character, a high-level politician, is billed as Mariko Yashida’s husband-to-be, and thus the rival of Logan for her affections. We caught up with Tee on the red carpet of the Walking Dead 10th Anniversary party at Comic-Con International: San Diego to find out a bit more about his character, and why he’s so thrilled to be in an X-Men movie.
Newsarama: Brian, you’re playing Mariko’s initial love interest – that doesn’t sound like your survival rate is going to be very high, when you’re Logan’s rival for a love interest…
Brian Tee: Um, yeah! You could say that. (laughs) There is a bit of a love triangle putting me between what Logan wants and Wolverine. To be a part of that whole struggle, as a character you don’t want to get in The Wolverine’s way. I guess that’s about all I can say about that…
But he’s Noburo Mori, he’s a politician, he rides the line between the good and bad, like most politicians do, and it was a really fun character to play.
Nrama: Were you familiar with the comic story this movie was based off?
Tee: Totally, totally. I grew up on comic books. X-Men was my favorite team, Wolverine was my guy. At 8-years old, I dressed up as Wolverine with Adamantium claws that I made out of aluminum!
So I knew the story, the stuff he goes to Japan for. Now that they’re making a movie out of it, it’s pretty awesome.
Nrama: Yeah, it’s wild to be seeing the seminal Wolverine story and giving it a film treatment. Being a character added into that story, what do you do with that character to make sure he fits in with the original style and feel of the story?
Tee: What I try to do in this character and all characters is try to ground it in truth. I think that’s what this Wolverine does better amongst the other Wolverine, X-Men movies. What we really tried to do with this film is bring Wolverine to a much more grounded state, he’s much more vulnerable, and we try to bring out that vulnerability.
What I do with my character, is try to find that realness and trueness to it, too. I think fans, all around, are getting much more knowledgeable about characters and film. They don’t want just Hugh Jackman – which they will have – but also more all-around, that depth of character and relatability – I think that’s what audiences nowadays are really going for, that best of both worlds.
Nrama: Can you give us one scene, one particular moment from The Wolverine that you’re really excited to see?
Tee: Well, personally, I’ll say, my final scene in the movie. I’m so excited for fans to see that. I think there’ll be a little shock and awe to see that.
The Wolverine premieres in theaters July 26, 2013.