After 17 years of portraying the regenerative adamantium-clawed mutant superhero Wolverine, Hugh Jackman cements his ninth and final incarnation of the character that propelled him into Hollywood superstardom with last weekend’s release of "Logan."
The film, directed by James Mangold, is set in 2029 where an aging Logan is seen supporting a weak Professor Xavier, who's being reprised by Patrick Stewart. When a young mysterious mutant with great similarities to Wolverine emerges, bringing trouble, the beloved characters go on one final journey.
Following the film’s opening weekend, "Logan" grossed $85 million in the domestic box office, while profiting $237.8 million in the global box office. It currently sits with a 92% on Rotten Tomatoes.
And UNC students are getting in on the lights, camera, action.
"I think it's a great movie regardless, but it's even more special because it's a farewell to this character that a lot of people grew up watching," said Garrett Pearce.
"I love Hugh Jackman as Wolverine, so I'll really miss that," said sophomore Tyler Ventura said. "I really liked Patrick Stewart at Professor X as always, so I hope he continues being in movies, especially more X-Men movies, if possible."
David Luckenbach, a camera operator whose credits include the likes of "Suicide Squad," "The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 1", "The Amazing Spider-Man" and the four installments of "The Pirates of the Caribbean" franchise, gives an exclusive insider perspective from the set of "Logan".
With "Logan", Luckenbach said Mangold and Jackman were looking to create a Wolverine solo film that would be an emotional, powerful and appropriate swan song for the character.
“There is way more emotion in this film,” Luckenbach said. “The characters are fading, they are dying, they are at the end of their lives. They are living at the edge of obscurity.”
Luckenbach believes that in recent years, the superhero genre has been changing to add more of an emotional presence in its films, and "Logan" continues that trend.
“It is an interesting progression for these superhero movies that they can have these superhero traits, characteristics or powers, but then also (remain) rooted in being human," he said.
Another unique aspect of Logan is the fact that it has an R-rating, unlike any other X-Men film that Jackman has appeared in thus far.
“This movie pushes the boundaries of superhero movies,” Luckenbach said. “Jim (Mangold) and Hugh (Jackman) had this idea for this movie with the R-rating — the roots in reality, the rawness of it and the emotion of it — and I think they had to convince a lot of people that this was the way to go with this movie.”
In terms of work ethic and professionalism, Luckenbach has nothing but compliments for Jackman.
“I would stack him 10 times higher than anybody else in the stack," he said. "He just works really, really hard at being an actor. He’s really a professional and just the nicest human being you could ever meet.”
After working on such an unusually personal blockbuster like "Logan", Luckenbach expresses his admiration for all aspects of the filming process and explains that the idea of working as a team is what made him love working in the film industry in the first place.
“All of these people come together and for three and a half months, you become a family and make this movie. It is an intense family relationship," he said.
"It can be exhausting, but that is what I enjoy most about it, which makes it really fun. It is really rewarding.”
To get the day's news and headlines in your inbox each morning, sign up for our email newsletters.