X-Men Origins: Wolverine Movie

X-Men Origins Up Close: Liev Schreiber

Sabretooth is ready for his closeup—thanks to superstar actor, Liev Schreiber!

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Ready for "X-Men Origins: Wolverine" this Friday, May 1? Well, before you head out to your favorite theater, we here at Marvel.com wanted to get you close enough to the film to feel the berserker rage! Our "'X-Men Origins: Wolverine' Up Close" series of articles lets you hear from the film's top stars—today it's Sabretooth himself, Liev Schreiber! Don't miss our "Up Close" interviews with Gambit/Taylor Kitsch and, of course, Wolverine/Hugh Jackman coming Friday, May 1! Enjoy!
By Zack Zeigler There are certain pressures that come with portraying any character from the Marvel Universe in a feature film. To Marvelites, every role matters a ton. Liev Schreiber came to understand this after accepting the role of Victor Creed/Sabretooth in "X-Men Origins: Wolverine," and decided he would do whatever was necessary to give justice to the part. Prior to the movie's nationwide May 1 opening, Schreiber spoke with Marvel.com about the ways he both physically and mentally transformed himself into one of the most murderous savages of all time. Marvel.com: Last year's "Iron Man," "The Incredible Hulk" and "Dark Knight" raised the bar for super hero films. Were you cognizant of this when you signed on? Meaning, did you know your performance as Sabretooth would be scrutinized more than, perhaps, previous movies in the same genre? Liev Schreiber: I didn't really realize it until I got the role, that's when I went onto [the Internet] and checked out…what people thought of me in the role. Then I realized that's why these movies are as big as they are—because of this loyal following that's massive. Marvel.com: Did you feel any pressure when you signed on for the part of Victor Creed? What was your approach to the role? Liev Schreiber: I wasn't worried in the beginning because, for me, it was like any other role—respect the material and give it the best you can. But after going on [the Internet] and thinking about it, I realized it was really important to everyone that Victor's big. Now, I'm a big dude but I'm not that big of a dude, and looking at Hugh Jackman, who is a mountain of a man…and Ryan [Reynolds] and all the other bastards, I realized I had to get big. [The studio] told me it wasn't a big deal and that they had these suits to put on, but it didn't feel right. Going through the process of the martial arts training and weightlifting would give me a better insight into Victor's intense appetite for violence. I never really had a weight training regimen, so it was a big deal for me. Luckily I had Hugh there, and we're old friends, so he helped me. He put me on a high protein diet and we did weight training together six days a week. On top of that, what we had to do for the film was grueling in of itself. Everyday training with the stunt guys, the MMA training and the choreography…I really didn't have an excuse, I was going to get in shape whether I liked it or not. Marvel.com: Will you stick with the workout program? Liev Schreiber: I don't know. I think for me, as an actor, I like the neutral state a little bit better. Literally the minute we wrapped shooting I was in the fish 'n' chips shop. Marvel.com: Would you consider this your most physical role to date? Liev Schreiber: Absolutely. No question about it. I've never done anything like this. I've never put on weight like that, about 25-30 pounds of muscle. The fly work, the fighting, it was a complete revelation for me. I don't see how Hugh has been doing it for this long and remained as disciplined as he has. He works so hard for [the role of Wolverine]. Marvel.com: Hugh Jackman told Marvel.com (in an interview coming Friday, May 1) that he considers you one of the best actors of his generation and that you two had incredible chemistry and a strong relationship. How did that relationship help shape what people will see on screen in "X-Men Origins: Wolverine?" Liev Schreiber: The strongest thread in the story for me was the relationship between the two brothers. Of course I feel this way because I'm playing one of the brothers. The idea that [Victor and Logan] represented two sides of the same coin, that old yin yang philosophy—and I remember this from the comics, too—that was one of the things I loved so much about Wolverine. He was constantly going through this internal battle. I felt Victor was the personification, the embodiment of his darker nature, his animalistic side. It was something he was trying to separate himself from but never could. To me, that felt very evocative of the comic because there was always an implication of their intimacy, but it was never clearly stated. The idea that Victor was something he could never escape from, and that Victor was, one way or another, blood, part of him. I really love that and it was fun to execute that relationship with Hugh Marvel.com: Do you prefer to play the villain? Liev Schreiber: I think at the core of drama is conflict. So the more conflict, the more conflicted a character is, the more interesting they are to play for me. So, yeah, I guess you could say that. Marvel.com: What will a comic fan get out of this film when it's all over, and what will an everyday moviegoer enjoy about this movie? Liev Schreiber: It's the same reason they love [an] epic, broad, timeless story. Brother vs. brother. It's Cain and Able. It's Shakespeare. I was addicted to Wolverine when I was 13 because it was taboo. It was like, before Wolverine everything was men in tights, tall buildings. He was the introduction of the anti-hero. It was riveted in my brain, and I can't remember the exact dialog, but how noire-y it was, like a Mickey Spillane book. You had super heroes in tights before Wolverine, then you had this runty guy lying on the floor covered in blood, the room had been decimated and his inner monologue was something like: "So much blood. I think my spine is broken. Can't remember what happened last night. Must have been the beer." I mean, come on! That's so good. There was nothing like that. The idea of mutants, kids that felt like pariahs or who were ostracized, were now the heroes, the superstars. Obviously, because of the success of the franchise and comic book, a lot of people identified with that. And I think those basic elements are an intrinsic part of what this film is about and what the origin of the X-Men is about. Marvel.com: What specific source material did you refer to? Liev Schreiber: I went back and I looked at the Weapon X series. I couldn't use everything I found because it's a PG-13 film, but it's all there in the movie. Victor is so ferocious, [such a] bloodthirsty character. Marvel.com: How does this role add luster to your filmography? What do you think people will remember about "X-Men Origins: Wolverine" and about Liev Schreiber's performance? Liev Schreiber: I hope they remember that driving force that is Victor Creed… the intensity and passion and drive that is Sabretooth, [and] that [Wolverine and Sabretooth] are inseparable and always will be. I hope it clarifies a little bit, the mystique of the relationship between him and his brother.
For more Wolverine, check out Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited and our "Wolverine: Required Reading" list. Like gaming? The official "X-Men Origins: Wolverine" video game hits stores May 1! And remember: "X-Men Origins: Wolverine" comes to a theater near you on May 1 visit the official "X-Men Origins: Wolverine" movie site!Check out the official Marvel Shop for everything X-Men!Download episodes of X-Men: Evolutionicon now on iTunes!
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3 comments
AvengerfanMA12
AvengerfanMA12

Schreiber really looks like he is sabertooth :grin:

SPNWareZ
SPNWareZ

I think that Marvel should have used Schreiber in the X-Men 1 movie as well. There's nothing I hate than when a hero or villian is all of a sudden protrayed by some one else, and in X-Men 1 Sabretooth couldn't even talk, all he could do was growl and snare at Wolverine. And in their 1st scene together by the car accident they had no clue who each other was. I mean just for the sake of the storyline KEEP IT THE SAME in all the MOVIES. For the fans