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Hugh Jackman and Patrick Stewart on ‘Logan,’ Trump and Violence

Hugh Jackman and Patrick Stewart wowed the crowd at the Berlinale on Friday following the out-of-competition screening of their latest, and perhaps final, X-Men installment, “Logan.”

In the film, set in a near, somewhat dystopian future, a weary Logan is caring for an ailing Charles Xavier across the border in Mexico when he comes across a mysterious young mutant pursued by dark forces. While “Logan” isn’t an overtly political film, Jackman and Stewart noted some stark parallels with today’s Trump-inspired headlines.

“Before the whole debate about the wall, the border scenes were there in the film,” Jackman said, adding that the writers caught something of the Zeitgeist.

Stewart added: “We are affected by the changing times. You present your part as a person influenced by the times. We did not set out to make a political movie, yet there are echoes in the film that exist today – that is serendipity. If people want to take messages from this film, then we have done a good job.”

Stewart also took the opportunity to express his anger, disappointment and sorrow at Britain’s vote to leave the European Union.

“Sitting in front of you here at a European film festival, I am ashamed of being from a country that has decided to leave Europe. The vote only went the way it did because people were lied to and misled. It is a calamitous mistake, and for those of you who wanted to remain, I apologize.”

On the R-rated violence in the film and the role of children in the movie, director James Mangold said that “Logan” was “not a movie for kids – it’s that simple….We cannot explore questions of violence and children and fatherhood without making [adult-oriented] movies.” The movie shows “Wolverine’s potential for violence,” Mangold said, which fans “have longed to see.”

Mangold said it was his goal in making a film that referenced “pop culture to use the platform to do something other than sell Happy Meals or action figures and instead ask interesting questions … I wanted to show violence but also its consequences – blood, violence, yes, but lives end and they don’t come back.”

The director added that he and Jackman had talked about “Unforgiven,” Clint Eastwood’s film about an aging gunslinger coming to terms with his brutal life, when discussing the story of “Logan.” In terms of comic book influences for the film, Mangold cited Mark Millar’s “Old Man Logan” and Craig Kyle’s “X-23: Innocence Lost.”

On his final outing as the character he’s played for nearly two decades, Jackman said it was particularly rewarding to present the film at the Berlin Film Festival, “knowing it’s the last time I would play the role. This is a film that is not defined by genre, by rating or by any of the other films in the franchise.

“This is a dream for us and we thank [Berilnale director] Dieter [Kosslick].”

Jackman added: “I love this character and it will remain part of me always – the fans will remind me of that every day. It’s part of who I am. … This character has been within me for 17 years, but this is the film that really defines him.”

Producer Hutch Parker said the Berlinale represented “one of the most important events in cinema annually, and we’re hoping the reaction will be positive. We felt a great deal of pride about the film and this is one of the most unique ways to present the film.”

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