One of Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige‘s first gig in the entertainment industry was working as an assistant to Richard Donner‘s wife Shuler Donner. Through this job, he made his way into the world of Marvel movies.
Donner was a producer on Bryan Singer‘s 2000 film X-Men, and that’s where he started to interject his fandom into the comic book films that were being made. If it wasn’t for Feige, Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine would have never had that epic hairdo that came right out of the comics. Here’s the story of how that all went down from Vanity Fair:
One day on set, Shuler Donner and Avi Arad, then head of Marvel Studios, watched as an exasperated stylist, at Feige’s insistence, sprayed and teased actor Hugh Jackman’s hair higher and higher to create the hairstyle that would become the signature look of the character Wolverine. The stylist “eventually went ‘Fine!’ and did a ridiculous version,” Feige recalls. “If you go back and look at it,” he admits, “he’s got big-ass hair in that first movie. But that’s Wolverine!” The experience stuck with Feige. “I never liked the idea that people weren’t attempting things because of the potential for them to look silly,” he says. “Anything in a comic book has the potential to look silly. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to make it look cool.”
He has obviously taken this love of Marvel characters throughout his career and it’s paid off! All the risks that he’s been taking with the films of Marvel have been gloriously working. The guy is smart about this stuff and he knows exactly what he’s doing.
After working for Donner, Arad liked what he saw in him with his geeky passion and hired him to work on the Marvel films that he was developing at the various studios. Apparently Arad “sent his new employee to studios that licensed Marvel characters to monitor the company’s intellectual property, offer helpful notes, and generally serve as a Marvel ambassador.” The report goes on to say:
Feige watched directors like Sam Raimi with fascination and others, occasionally, Favreau noted, in “frustration” in the era of films such as Daredevil, Ang Lee’s Hulk, and The Punisher. Feige’s advice was sometimes ignored, and many of those films became notorious flops. “The answers,” Feige still says, explaining why comic-book adaptations go wrong, “are always in the books.”
All of this led to the development of Iron Man and the big gamble they made paid off! Now there are going to be 22 Marvel films in this first overreaching story arc and there are 20 more ready to go into development!
To think… it all started with Kevin Feige making sure Wolverine’s hair looked like it did in the comics.