If you still haven’t seen Hugh Jackman‘s Wolverine swan song Logan yet, there will be plenty of SPOILERS below, specifically in regards to the ending. While some were expecting an emotional goodbye for Logan, it’s probably safe to assume that no one was expecting the emotional powerhouse finale that the movie delivered, and as it turns out, cinematographer John Mathieson used a different technique that he hadn’t used in the entire movie, to capture the full emotional weight of this scene. This is your last chance to avoid SPOILERS, so read on at your own risk.
The final moments of Logan were capped by a scene that The Hollywood Reporter believes is one of the most “emotional ever filmed for a superhero movie.” The tender moment features the death of Logan, as he shares his final fleeting seconds with his daughter, X-23 (Dafne Keen). He tells her not to become what the scientists wanted her to be. The young girl calls him “Daddy” for the first time as they both cry. Then Logan slips into the afterlife. The Hollywood Reporter caught up with John Matheison, who revealed that he shot this scene very different from the rest of the movie. He explains why, and how he used two cameras for the scene, one trained on Hugh Jackman and the other on Dafne Keen, going against director James Mangold’s single-camera method of filming. Here’s what the cinematographer had to say about why he chose to go against the filmmaker’s one-camera method for this crucial scene.
“It’s very important to get into the eyes of both of them. The tears are going to come. You don’t just shoot Hugh and go, ‘That was very nice. Now let’s shoot Dafne.’ Because they are giving it their all. They will be drained. Jim is a very much a one-camera man, but I didn’t even look back at him. I’m sure he got cross at me, but I think he’d agree that whatever is going to happen is going to happen. You better make sure you get it on two cameras. If you have a great performance on one side and they are doing marvelous things and you don’t have the other side at the same time, a hand goes here or someone brushes hair out of someone’s face, then it’s very difficult to re-create that. Then you have the script supervisor coming in, ‘Oh you had this in your left hand and your tear came here.’ You just can’t do that to people.”
The scene most certainly made for a memorable finale, bringing an end to Hugh Jackman’s 17-year run as Wolverine that resonated with audiences and critics alike. Logan took in an impressive $88.4 million at the box office in its opening weekend, with a 93% Fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes to boot. John Mathieson also spoke about how patient Hugh Jackman really is, even in such a demanding scene as this one. Here’s what he had to say below, when asked about the mood on the set during this scene.
“Hugh’s got the patience of a saint. He’s great and he’d never complain about anything. He’d do it again, and again and again. But it was still hard for him and it was hard for her. They had to dance together on this one. You’re treading carefully around them and kind of impressing the crew with, ‘Are you ready for this? Because it’s going to happen once and you’ve got to have your focus.’ It’s a real moment, it’s a real piece of emotion. It’s a real performance and it really happened at that time, and you can’t drain people too much to do that again and again. They were great. You knew when you got it. And you knew you could feel it easing off as well. ‘Let’s go again. Let’s go again.’ It was diminishing returns. ‘You know what? Two takes before was the one.'”
While this will be Wolverine’s last movie, director James Mangold hinted that 20th Century Fox might develop a new movie around the popular mutant X-23, but that likely wouldn’t be connected to the current X-Men timeline. Logan is set in the year 2029, five years ahead of the prologue in X-Men: Days of Future Past, so it remains to be seen how a spin-off centering on X-23 would be crafted. Logan squares off against Kong: Skull Island in its second weekend in theaters, which is aiming to be quite the close race at the box office.