Sunday, July 15, 2012

"The Wolverine": Enter Svetlana Khodchenkova

Despite earlier reports, actress Jessica Biel will NOT be involved in director James Mangold's upcoming "The Wolverine" feature, based on the Marvel Comics' superhero. Biel was being considered for the role of 'Viper', but actress Svetlana Khodchenkova ("Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy") will now take over the part.
"Wolverine" is scheduled for an August 2012 start, shooting on location in Japan with stage work to be completed in Australia. A traditional foe of "The X-Men", the female Viper character was created by writer/illustrator Jim Steranko, debuting in Marvel Comics' "Captain America" #110 (February 1969).
According to the origin story, the character was among twelve girls, abducted by the terror organization 'HYDRA, then raised in 'deadly arts' by 'Commander Kraken'. Rising quickly through the ranks, she became the leader of HYDRA using the codename 'Madame Hydra', eventually severing ties with the criminal organization. She then helped the super-villain 'Jordan Stryke', aka 'Viper', escape custody in Virginia, only to kill him and usurp his codename/leadership of the group 'Serpent Squad'. She later employed the assassin 'Silver Samurai' as a chief operative.
Viper has no superhuman abilities but her strength, speed, reflexes, agility, dexterity, coordination, balance and endurance are in line with the skills of an Olympic athlete. She is expert with a sword and most long range weapons, with extensive training in hand-to-hand combat, while employing poisoned weapons with snake-motifs, venomous darts, artificial fangs filled with poison and experimental weaponry, including a ring that enables teleportation. Christopher McQuarrie's original screenplay for "Wolverine", with rewrites by Mark Bomback, is based on writer Chris Claremont and illustrator Frank Miller's Marvel Comics "Wolverine" solo, 4-part 1982 limited series.  That story arc placed 'Logan', the seemingly invulnerable Canadian mutant with 'adamantium' retractable claws, as a 'ronin', or 'masterless', failed samurai, who hides a deep-seated code of honor underneath his rage. 
Logan begins a forbidden romance with a Japanese woman whose hand in marriage is promised to another man, falling into conflict with her father, samurai-sword-wielding brothers and the deadly assassin, 'Silver Samurai'.
"...half of the characters in this movie speak Japanese, like a foreign-language superhero movie," said Mangold.
"Its as much a drama, and a detective story, and a film noir, with high-octane action as it is anything like a conventional tentpole film."
"Its about Logan getting lost in this very unique and insulated world of Japanese culture, gangster culture, and ninja culture. 
"The fighting is going to be unique because it's all influenced by Japanese martial arts.
"I think more than anything 'Wolverine' is a character piece, asking really interesting questions, that are what pulled me in, about what it means to be immortal.
"What is it to live forever, when you lose everyone you've ever loved?
"What is it to feel the burden of saving mankind through all of its mistakes, over and over and over again. 
"What's the toll it takes on you as a living being that is somehow living this Frankensteinian, eternal life?"
Click the images to enlarge and Sneak Peek "X-Men Origins: Wolverine"....