Warning: This article contains major spoilers for Logan.
Logan cinematographer John Mathieson has opened up about the film’s most emotional scene. Over the weekend, audiences were moved to tears as they watched Wolverine die as he discovered pure family love for the first time in his life.
Hugh Jackman delivered one of the greatest performances of his career in his final outing at Wolverine after 17 years of playing the iconic clawed mutant. His final scene, in particular, was devastatingly beautiful as Logan allowed himself to love while he told Laura (Dafne Keen) to not let herself become what the scientists at Transigen had created her to be. Laura cried out, calling him Daddy for the first time as he slipped away, succumbing to the wounds caused by his clone, X-24.
Mathieson recently spoke with Heat Vision on the importance of capturing both Jackman and Keen simultaneously as they shot the scene, rather than using one camera at a time — Mangolds preferred way of shooting:
“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.”
Mathieson also described what the mood was like on set during the tragic scene which he describes as a real moment between Jackman and Keen:
“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.”
As we now know, Logan isn’t just a goodbye to Jackman as Wolverine, it’s also the end for Sir Patrick Stewart as Charles Xavier as the film sees Professor X die at the hands (or claws) of X-24. What followed was a heartbreaking funeral for Charles in a serene setting but Mathieson revealed he wasn’t satisfied with the setting for the film’s goodbye to Xavier:
“It’s one of those locations I was a bit disappointed with, because we had to find it near New Orleans. Jim kept laughing, “Oh yes, and here we have another manmade lake.” The thing was to try to arrive there early enough. They’d driven all night to escape the farm and the nasty X-24. We had actually found this other place, and at the last minute we were kind of wandering around and I hadn’t actually seen this place. “OK, what about that place over there?” Because it felt a bit more wild. It was quite difficult to find the right sort of woods, with the pine trees and enough space. And burying Charles by the water, which he wants to do, because obviously he didn’t get him the Sunseeker to escape to the seas, which Logan was promising they would do.”
What did you think of the powerful sendoffs for Logan and Xavier? Were you satisfied with Jackman’s last performance as Wolverine? Do you want to see X-23’s story continue in a future X-Men film? Sound off in the comments below.
Logan is now playing.