'X-Men': Original Sabretooth on Hugh Jackman's Legacy and Why He Didn't Return to the Franchise

Actor Tyler Mane also recalls his memorable audition for director Bryan Singer: "He jumped up on the coffee table and asked me to choke him."
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Sabretooth and Wolverine battle in 'X-Men'.

It appears Hugh Jackman has fought his final battle as Wolverine in the recently released Logan, and what a run he had of kicking butt. 

Logan has earned more than $460 million worldwide so far, and to celebrate Jackman's retirement of the character, Heat Vision caught up with the first villain Wolverine did battle with, who just so happened to be the character's arch-nemeses, Sabretooth (Tyler Mane). Mane discuses fighting with Jackman's Wolverine, why he didn't reprise his role in 2009's X-Men Origins: Wolverine and the unique way he made an impression during his audition. 

How did you land the part of Sabretooth in X-Men?

I got the call to come in and meet the director [Bryan Singer] for the film. I had seen the cartoon previously, and knew the character in that capacity. I wanted to do my research for the role and walked into a comic book store in the Valley and asked if they had any X-Men comics. The guy looked at me like, "newbie” and pointed with disdain to four full rows, all X-Men titles. I proceeded to ask if he had any with Sabretooth in them, and he pointed to two rows. Clearly, I needed help, so I said I was looking to buy some for my nephew. I marched out of there with my arms full comics. Then I bought fangs and Polydent and got into character. Very method of me, right? I walked into my meeting with the fangs in place and met a very young-looking Bryan Singer. As auditions go, it was probably the easiest one I’ve had. He jumped up on the coffee table and asked me to choke him. I snarled with my plastic fangs, and that’s how movies get started, I guess.

Was that your favorite villain/character by chance? 

Sabretooth was by far my favorite character of them all!  

Bryan Singer is said to have screamed at Hugh Jackman to try and get him to be a meaner Wolverine. What was his direction to you as Sabretooth?

I can honestly say I never had any situations like that with Bryan. But then, I’m only 6-foot-7!

What was your first impression of Hugh Jackman (as a person and his version of Wolverine)?

At the time, Hugh and I were both completely unknown, and he is the most genuine guy around. Very down to Earth. I’m very happy to watch him through the years. He’s definitely gone above and beyond in doing Wolverine justice! Funny thing, Wolverine is supposed to be short. And Hugh is actually pretty tall. I’ve never had to wear lifts in my life other than to make me tall enough to match his Wolverine!

Favorite fight scene with Wolverine to film (snow or Statue of Liberty)? 

We were already into fight training when I first met Hugh. He jumped right in and we created some very memorable, intense fight scenes. My favorite fight would have to be on the top of the Statue of Liberty. We filmed the snow scene on the coldest day of the year in Canada, and I was too numb to be able to remember most of it!

What exactly happened between X-Men and X-Men Origins: Wolverine that you did not reprise your role?

That was the producers’ decision. The storyline was them rising as brothers, and Liev [Schreiber] and Hugh look a lot closer in that respect, so I understand. I can’t say I wasn’t disappointed. I’d love to get my claws back into that role. But that’s Hollywood.

Do you have a favorite film among the X-Men franchise?

Would you say I was biased if I said the original? But it is definitely my favorite. I have great memories from the filming of it. Then again, I haven’t seen Logan yet. It’s definitely on my watch list, though. It’s a darker turn for the character, so I can’t wait to see what Patrick and Hugh did!

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