In practically every way, Logan is no typical X-Men movie. For one thing, it's reportedly Hugh Jackman's last, and it stars the actor as an older, slower, and weaker version of the hero fans have come to know and love. For another, it has a hard R-rating, and there's no F-word left unspoken or gory death left unseen. And then there's the matter of Donald Pierce, the movie's main antagonist. Played by Boyd Holbrook (Narcos), Logan villain Pierce is no typical X-Men Big Bad; instead of being power-hungry or filled with anger, the character is, well, actually pretty fun.
"Donald is very morbidly playful," explains Holbrook, speaking via phone in early February. "He doesn’t give a damn about Logan — he’s very playful with him... what other people hold to be of value, I think Donald’s disregard for that is what makes him fun."
For Holbrook, the most crucial element of bringing Pierce, the head of Transigen security, to life was making him as real as possible, even though he stems from the pages of a Marvel comic. "Hopefully when you see Donald, you don’t see it as oh, here’s the villain, here comes the cliche," Holbrook says. "Everything in this film is very rooted, which I think makes this film more of a character-driven piece. Everything’s established in the relationships and the values that all these people are holding."
And while Pierce may not have a villain's usual motivations, he does have one primary goal: to get Laura (Dafne Keen), a young, intensely powerful mutant, back in his clutches, for reasons certainly neither Holbrook nor I will spoil here. "She’s an asset — she’s an economical partisan of my company, so I need that back," is all the actor will say of Laura. "That’s a very big investment for me."
Laura's connection to the film's other character helps make Logan far more intimate a movie than its X-Men predecessors, or most films in the comic book genre, for that matter. The movie follows a broken and battered Wolverine, who's forced to bring out the claws and get back in action when Laura suddenly arrives in his life. There are plenty of fight scenes and the Marvel easter eggs fans have come to expect, yes, but by and large, Logan is more of a thoughtful thriller than a superhero epic.
That said, it is still an X-Men movie, and Holbrook, for one, was not immune to the franchise's influence in Hollywood. "It was a little overwhelming at first," he admits. A conversation with Jackman on set one day early on, in which the star complimented Holbrook on his audition tape, helped ease his nerves, but even still, joining such a powerhouse series came with some pressure, he says.
Thankfully, Holbrook can relax in knowing that his Pierce is one formidable villain, a worthy foe to Wolverine. The ex-military man may not be your average on-screen enemy, but it's his uniqueness, as driven by Holbrook, that makes him such a compelling part of Logan.