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Opening on May 22nd in the UK and May 23rd in the US, the stellar ensemble cast for ‘X-Men: Days of Future Past’ includes the likes of Hugh Jackman, James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Halle Berry, Anna Paquin, Ellen Page, Nicholas Hoult, Shawn Ashmore, Peter Dinklage, Omar Sy, Adan Canto, Fan Bingbing, Booboo Stewart, Lucas Till, Josh Helman, Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart. In the film, the X-Men send Wolverine to the past in a desperate effort to change history and prevent an event that results in doom for both humans and mutants.

When we meet Wolverine in the future, we see that he’s a lot more at peace with himself. The cranky, stoic loner of the X-Men ensemble, he’s now in a very different place – albeit at horrendous time period….

Hugh Jackman: Yeah, at the beginning of this movie we really find him as a part of this X-Men team – which he hasn’t been for a long time. And he’s almost at peace with being the warrior, at peace with his… awesomeness (laughs), in a way. He’s found a place where he understands that his greatest weapon in a way is his bad attitude and his angry disposition, and he’s OK with that, he’s OK with who he is. Unfortunately he may be alright but the world around him is not, the world around him is cataclysmic for mutants and for many many humans. So for him and all the X-Men, they’re battling the Sentinels – these machine robots that are built for one purpose only, and that is to exterminate mutants.

I can imagine it’s an incredibly unique experience getting to play a character who’s arc has developed over a number of movies? He becomes a sort of diplomat in this film, which is not really his skill set…

Hugh Jackman: Yeah (laughs). It feels great, that was definitely a bonus. The great thing about Wolverine is that he’s always had that tension of wanting to be alone. As an outsider he’s not particularly good with authority or following orders – or being in a team. He’s not necessarily the greatest team member. But, actually, they’re his family now – when we meet him in the future. He’s always going to be a little crotchety and a little bit standoffish, but in a way he feels like he’s in the inner circle of that team. And as an actor, what a joy – I don’t think I’ll ever get to work with a cast like this again. Not only as a reunion with that original cast, but all these wonderful actors playing the younger versions of the characters. It was amazing.

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The Logan of the future, I think he’s softened because he’s learned a few things… he’s a bit softer around the edges. The well of pain and hurt, I think he’s learned how to manage or how to accept. So he’s got a little bit more wisdom and a little more patience. It takes a lot more for him to get into that “berserker” rage – that white rage where he flies of the handle. When he was younger he was filled with a lot of pain and a lot of anger and he was his own man doing his own thing – he didn’t want to be bothered by anybody. But he’s learned to actually trust a little…. but he still has the same hair pretty much (laughs). It was great playing the diplomat, the encourager, the mentor for a change. He has to be the guide, which is not really his skill set – so that was fun to play.

And physically you’ve taken it to the next level again. In particular the scene in the hotel room…

Hugh Jackman: There were a few extra lunges and squats done that morning (laughs). I can tell you the day it was shot was May 21st, because for me it takes a long time to get into shape. For a thing like that it’s like peaking for a marathon. You have to be ready on the day. And I remember being so ready with the eating and the training – and it gets very specific. But the assistant director came up to me and said, “We’re going to move that scene in the hotel till two weeks later.” I said, “Here’s the deal, you can do whatever scene you want on May 21st, but I will be naked (laughs). It could be on the plane or in the White House, I don’t care, I am going to take my clothes off and that is the only day I will have them off.” (Laughs) But I’ve discovered a regiment that gets me into the best shape of my life. The unfortunate part of it is that it’s long hours in the gym – 3 hours a day. During filming I’ll do 2 hours before work and then when I can fit it in another hour. But more importantly is the diet.

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You’ve always talked with so much passion about Wolverine, and after playing him 7 times now you seem as excited as ever. Where do you see him go next? I know there’s plans for a new Wolverine solo movie and ‘X-Men: Apocalypse’….

Hugh Jackman: For an actor to play the same role you love twice, that’s the rarest of gifts. But to play the character for the seventh time, it is incredible. It’s almost beyond belief and I really mean that. And with what’s next, there’s a couple of directions we’re looking at with the character – which I’m really excited about. One is another standalone Wolverine movie, and James Mangold and I and the studio are working on that – I’m very excited about that. Also, there’s… and people will see this if they stay during the credits, there’s a tease for what will be a sequel to ‘X-Men: Days of Future Past,’ ‘X-Men: Apocalypse.’ It feels weird to say sequel because I feel like it’s branching off in so many different directions, it’s hard to say where it’s following on from, but it certainly feels like a fresh beginning.

And now you’ve got someone like Channing Tatum joining the gang as Gambit.

Hugh Jackman: I think it speaks to the quality of the storytelling and the characters, and this film in particular feels like a beginning. The fact that someone of his stature and his talent is coming on board I think speaks highly of the Marvel characters, to the X-Men characters, and I think it just ensures that it will keep going. You know, the thing that makes X-Men work for me is the story, the vulnerability of the characters – not just the superhuman abilities of the characters. And Gambit has always been a fan favorite. So I know there will be pressure on him, and the fans … he will get stopped for the rest of his life by fans telling him what they liked and what they didn’t (laughs), but they are the best fans in the world.

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