While directing “Logan,” James Mangold took black-and-white photographs on set and posted them on Instagram and Twitter. Not only did the monochromatic imagery capture the classic Western feel of Hugh Jackman’s last film as Wolverine, but the positive fan response also inspired Mangold to create “Logan Noir,” a regraded black-and-white version of the film that will be showcased in its DVD/Blu-Ray release.
“[Hugh and I] both knew what we didn’t want,” said Mangold during a Q&A with Jackman following a one-night-only screening of “Logan Noir” at the Alamo Drafthouse in Brooklyn Tuesday night. “We were both coming from a pretty negative place. We [didn’t] want to make another one of those movies – meaning just another one of the assembly line [films]. We wanted to make something more human.”
Although Jackman didn’t know or care if Wolverine would die going in, he did have a strong sense of how he wanted the film to end.
“‘Unforgiven’ was a huge influence for me,” said Jackman. “The film was more devastating for me that he just rides out of town unforgiven and somehow damned in his heroism and I thought it was such beautiful poetic finish, that I said whatever we finish with it has to be earned.”
Jackman liked the ending Mangold wrote when he read it on the page, but admits its power didn’t register until he saw it on the big screen in February. Seated next to co-star Patrick Stewart, the two men openly cried at the image [SPOILER] of the stick cross on his grave being converted to an “X.” Jackman told the audience that Stephen Colbert said he’d watched the film three times in theaters and cried each time at the same moment.
For Mangold, the fact that the film was successful at the box office proved his theory that there is an audience for superhero action movies made for adults. Mangold said the principal reason he wanted to make an R-rated Wolverine movie wasn’t the violence (he called that “value added”) but because he didn’t want to make a PG-13 movie in which he’d be pressured to cater to an underage audience.
“A huge percentage of the comic book world… is adults, not children,” said Mangold. “It cheats grownups of having some part of their fantasy experience, or their comic book experience honored with adult themes and ideas, and I think getting rated R [gave] us a driver’s license [to make] a more sophisticated movie.”
This was also part of Mangold’s motivation for creating “Logan Noir.” Unlike George Miller, who has said he prefers the black-and-white version of “Mad Max: Fury Road” to the original color release, Mangold refuses to say the new version is better. To do so would dishonor the amazing work of his production designer and cinematographer, who would have shot the film differently had they known they were making a black-and-white film.
“One of the biggest reasons to do [a black-and-white version] is because I think there’s something changing out there,” said Mangold. “People are looking for things that connect to the past, things that look different, things that are new, but also old again. I think for a long time studios have had an assumption that you guys need bright colors at all times to stay amused and loud sounds to stay enthused, and I don’t think that’s true. I think audiences are getting more sophisticated and more interested in seeing creativity explored all sorts of different ways. Even if for just one night, seeing this movie this way helps people see that there’s audiences out there for a monochrome movie, for a different kind of movie in other way that’s pretty great.”
“Logan” is now available for download on iTunes. “Logan Noir” will become available on May 23rd when “Logan” is released on DVD and Blu-Ray.