What I Learned Working On The Set of ‘X-Men Origins: Wolverine’

This disaster taught me a lot, like don’t make Wolverine’s claws CGI, and don’t cast one of the Black Eyed Peas.
X Men Origins Wolverine
By  · Published on June 11th, 2019

I know it seems unbelievable in 2019, with the Avengers dominating every part of the box office and cultural landscape, but superhero movies used to often, well, suck. They sucked so much. They sucked almost as much as they didn’t suck, and they were even better at sucking than regular sucky movies. Maybe it was the childhood nostalgia setting up a bigger disappointment, or the material being handled by committee instead of by people who actually care about these stories, or maybe it was just big studios using character rights like they were toy ads, but they pumped out crap like it was going out of style. Marvel Studios and its vast universe of interconnected films were still in their infancy when one of the most notorious disasters of this era was attempted: X-Men Origins: Wolverine.

I know everyone thinks this movie is garbage, and I guess it is. They managed to completely fuck up everything about a Wolverine movie that might have been good, wrapped it all in shaky CGI and muddled direction, and ended a run of X-Men universe movies before they even began. I have a special place in my heart for this train wreck of a film, though, because I spent a week of frigid overnights on a college campus in Vancouver as a Production Assistant on Wolverine. I spent it watching the superheroes of my childhood run and fight, climb tall buildings and dodge bullets. I was cold all the time, yelled at constantly, and rained and snowed on with no escape. It was truly wretched work. It was also amazing. Here are some of the things I remember:

I had moved to Vancouver to become an actor, and that hadn’t worked out at all. I had been unemployed, in debt, briefly homeless, and had begged my way onto film sets as crew just so I could get closer to what I wanted to do, only to see what a cynical mess most of these things are. It was depressing, honestly. But something about the experience on this particular set stuck with me, and with other people too. Ryan Reynolds was so angry about how badly they had fucked up Deadpool that he campaigned for almost a decade to make the movie his way. Jackman was so pissed off he pushed for the Wolverine movies to move in a direction more in line with the character, which eventually led to Logan. This film became shorthand for studio greed failing to see the forest for the trees, and lead to studios like Marvel seeking out filmmakers who actually had a passion for these characters. And, though it took me another ten years hacking away and a few films and tv shows that I was actually in, I realized that making movies kind of sucks. Some people enjoy it or can do it well enough to ignore how much it sucks, but I can’t. So I have a begrudging respect for anyone who makes a film, even if it turns into a complete disaster as this one did. I mean, I got to watch Liev Schreiber climb a building, Will.I.Am was there for some reason, and I smoked too many cigarettes while watching things blow up. And if anyone asks I have no idea what happened to that set of claws, I think Hugh Jackman took them home, he was looking shifty.


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Actor of little renown, writer of none, jack of exactly three trades