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Hugh Jackman will begin filming the next installment of his “X-Men” spinoff movies, “The Wolverine,” in Sydney, Australia, next week, even though the female lead has yet to be confirmed.

“I am so happy to be home. To be shooting a movie of this magnitude here at home to me is one of the great privileges I’ve had in my career,” Mr. Jackman told reporters on the set of the film.

Director James Mangold rejected reports that Jessica Biel had pulled out as the female lead at the last minute, but refused to comment on who would be playing the role of the villainous mutant Viper.

Mr. Jackman, who admitted struggling to get into shape for the film after packing on the pounds to play Jean Valjean in “Les Miserables,” said his role as Wolverine, which he first played 12 years ago, was “the backbone of my career.”

“I love the character. I still love the character,” he said. “I had no choice at the time, I was going to take anything that came along, but I happened to have walked into probably the most interesting and complex of the superhero characters.

“I’ve always loved playing it, and when I stop loving it I’ll stop doing it,” he added.

Compiled from Web and wire reports