Watch ‘Logan’ Star Dafne Keen’s Impressive X-23 Audition With Hugh Jackman
The role of young mutant Laura (aka X-23) in Logan is a demanding one, to say the least, and it’s not surprising that finding the perfect actor for the part was equally challenging for director James Mangold. He needed to find a 12-year-old actress with acrobatic and martial-arts skills who could speak English and Spanish, and, perhaps most important of all, hold her own opposite Hugh Jackman. That’s a pretty specific list of requirements, but Dafne Keen fit the bill (and then some), and now you can watch one of the incredibly impressive (and profanity-laden, FYI) audition tapes that led to her breakout role.
Entertainment Weekly debuted the above clip, included in the special features for the upcoming Blu-ray release of Logan. In the introduction, Patrick Stewart remarks on his young co-star’s talents and her killer instincts, revealing that Keen actually asked if she could improvise during her audition with Hugh Jackman. “It was one of the most extraordinary bits of audition tape I’d ever seen in my life,” Stewart says before the clip cuts to the audition footage.
In the clip, Keen and Jackman play out a version of the scene in which Laura, feverishly speaking Spanish, tries to get the erstwhile Wolverine to help her by showing him an old X-Men comic book and rattling off a list of names — other kids who survived the mutant cloning experiments. It’s a really compelling audition, and you can see why Mangold was drawn to Keen, who — on top of meeting the physical and lingual requirements — is a truly talented young actor.
The story of how Mangold found Keen is just as interesting, and was previously detailed in a great Vanity Fair article from March, which reveals how the young star was discovered by Mangold’s U.K. casting director, Priscilla John. The article also mentions Keen’s first audition tape, filmed by her father, British actor Will Keen at their home in Madrid and featuring the young Keen showing off her acrobatic skills with the family’s giant bookcase. It’s unclear if that tape will be included with the special features on the Logan Blu-ray, which arrives on May 23 — but we’re keeping our fingers crossed.