Watch the whole thing HERE!
Posts Tagged ‘The X-Men’
CTV’s film Critic Richard Crouse speaks with Evan Solomon about the death of comic book icon Stan Lee. Lee helped to co-create some of the world’s best known superheroes, from Spiderman, to the Incredible Hulk, to Iron Man.
Listen to the whole thing HERE!
Despite laying the foundation for the wildly popular Marvel Universe Stan Lee says he is no superhero specialist.
“I’m not an expert of any sort,” says the ninety-three-year-old on the line from his Los Angeles office. “I really try to think of stories that I myself would like to read. I try and think of characters that I myself would be interested in. In other words, I never try to write for a certain segment of the readership. I write for myself and I hope that I’m not that unusual. If I like it other people might also like it.”
When it came to naming his characters he had an unusual habit of using alliteration—think Peter Parker, Bruce Banner, Matt Murdoch and Reed Richards—for a very practical reason.
“It’s because I have a bad memory,” he says. “If I could remember one of the names like Spider-Man, if I could remember his first name was Peter then I knew his second name began with a P and it was easier for me to think of it. That is really the only reason. I have a terrible memory for names and by making the first and second letter the same if I thought of one name I had a clue as to what the other was.”
These days Lee, who will appear at Fan Expo in Toronto this weekend in what is being billed as his last-ever Canadian appearance, enjoys superstar status but is humble when asked about his legacy. “I didn’t go out of my way to be enduring,” he says.
In fact, when he began writing comic books over seventy years ago, “I was just hoping that somebody would buy them so I could keep my job and be able to pay the rent. In a million years I wouldn’t have thought I’d be travelling around the country, talking to people like you about the comics. It is incredible what has happened.
“I just hope that maybe I brought some enjoyment to people, and they enjoyed reading the stories.”
And they have. Bolstered by passionate fan—or True Believers as Lee calls them—support Lee’s work has endured in the form of movies, videogames, books and on hundreds of comment boards where aficionados pit superhero against superhero in epic make-believe battles and argue over who would emerge victorious. Lee, however, claims he doesn’t have a preferred character.
“People expect me to have a favourite,” he says, “so I always say Spider-Man because that’s what they expect. I’m really not good at favourites. I really love them all.”
So out of Spider-Man, Hulk, Professor X or any of the other three hundred or so characters he created, who does he most relate to?
“Of course I think of myself as being like Tony Stark because he’s glamorous and intelligent and handsome and all that,” he laughs. “But seriously I think there is a little bit of everybody in all these characters. I think that’s why them seem to be popular. I tried to give hem all hang-ups and weaknesses. None of them are really perfect. They are just like regular people, I hope.”
According to his comic book backstory he was born in 19th century Canada—Northern Alberta to be exact—and served in the First Canadian Parachute Battalion before being recruited by Team X, a CIA black ops group. When movie fans first encountered the character, however, little was known about him.
At the beginning of the original X-Men movie he was suffering from memory loss and couldn’t remember how he became a superhero with retractable bone claws, made of the near indestructible metal alloy adamantium bonded to his skeleton and a healing ability that allows him to quickly recover from virtually any wound, disease or toxin.
This weekend The Wolverine continues the story, although star Hugh Jackman is quick to point out that it is not a sequel.
“With an all-new cast and setting it in Japan, it’s going to give us a whole new visual aesthetic,” he told Total Film.
With this film, Hugh Jackman emerges as the first actor to play a comic book hero in more than four consecutive films since Christopher Reeve as Superman.
Jackman has played the character six times now on screen—with another ensemble X-Men movie called Days of Future Past on the way for 2014—bringing with him a mixture of physicality and the character’s trademark visual look.
Firstly, Wolverine wouldn’t be Wolverine without his claws, although it took Jackman some time to get used to having giant metal extensions shooting out of his knuckles.
“I’ve got scars on one leg, punctures straight through the cheek, on my forehead,” he says. “I’m a bit clumsy. I’m lucky I didn’t tell them that when I auditioned.”
Secondly are Wolverine’s trademarked muttonchops and Elvis hair. “Weirdly, it looks okay on film and on that character. But imagine it in real life. It looks ridiculous, so ridiculous. You can wear a baseball cap with it… but really, there’s no way to style it. And then there’s the hair as well, which of course, looks ridiculous both in character and out of character.”
Finally, there’s his muscular, ripped body, the result of hours in the gym and a restricted food regimen, consisting of steamed chicken and vegetables. “It’s called the 16-8 diet. Between ten in the morning and six o’clock at night… I eat 5,000 calories. And then I eat nothing.”