X-Men: First Class

X-Men: First Class is an upcoming superhero film based on the comic book superhero team. It is the fifth film of the X-Men film series and a prequel to the first three movies. Matthew Vaughn is directing and Bryan Singer is producing, and the film is scheduled for release on June 3, 2011. It concerns the early years of
Charles Xavier and Erik Lehnsherr, and their dealings with The Hellfire Club.

James McAvoy...Professor Charles Xavier

Michael Fassbender ... Erik Lehnsherr / Magneto
Rose Byrne...Dr. Moira MacTaggert
January Jones...Emma Frost
Kevin Bacon...Sebastian Shaw
Jennifer Lawrence...Raven Darkhölme / Mystique
Nicholas Hoult ...Hank McCoy / Beast
Jason Flemyng... Azazel
Oliver Platt...Man in Black
Lucas Till...Alex Summers / Havok
Caleb Landry Jones...Sean Cassidy / Banshee
Edi Gathegi...Darwin
Álex González...Janos Quested / Riptide
Zoë Kravitz...Angel Salvadore
Ray Wise...Secretary of State


Monday, May 30, 2011

Interview With Jason Flemyng

Nicholas Hoult on Mutants, Makeup, and the Future of Mad Max

Q: When you first auditioned, were you specifically trying out for Beast, or did you just want to be involved in an X-Men movie?

A: This one actually was reading for Beast, specifically. And it came up very late in the game. I actually was down in Australia, where we were beginning to work on Mad Max. But that got delayed, so I called my agents and told them, "I need a job." [Laughs] They sent me to tape for X-Men. I prepared as best I could, auditioned, and was called in to perform a screen test.

Q: Were you aware of these characters from the original Marvel comic books or from the first three X-Men movies?
A: I actually watched an X-Men cartoon when I was little. And while I was aware of Beast from the third X-Men movie, I definitely wasn't trying to play that character. Initially, my big concern before the audition was working on my best American accent. [Laughs] But I really started to research the character once I learned I'd gotten the part. I read as many of the comics as I could get my hands on and watched the films again. We worked from that.

Q: It's true: there are decades of X-Men comics you can use as research. Did you dig deep into those volumes, or did you really just want to focus on what was in the script?

A: Oh, I think it's always important to have notes from outside the script so that if the script changes you can say "This doesn't work" or you can add things. Even if most of it doesn't end up onscreen, it's good to have the knowledge in your head so that you are prepared and you have a sense of the character outside of the scenes that are written in the script.

Q: Beast's alter ego, Hank McCoy, is a brilliant scientist, giving him a Jekyll and Hyde complex. Which side of that coin intrigued you more?

A: [Laughs] Well, the intellectual side is something I can kind of relate to, being tall and lanky, yet not being anywhere near as intellectual as Hank. I did have a lot of fun playing with all of the scientific jargon that comes with the character, but his intellect is just staggering. As for the physical side of the character, it's always fun to be given a physical goal and be told you have to be strict with your body to get in shape.

Q: Can you also talk about the decision to largely avoid using CGI when transforming into a hairy blue beast?

A: Even though I'm wearing a big fat mask and the makeup, and you can't see a single inch of my body, there are still human characteristics and a soul that we show that maybe wouldn't be there with CGI.

Q: What can you tell me about Mad Max?

A: Mad Max, from what I know, is supposed to start in January in Australia. We'll just wait and see. George Miller is simply one of the most intelligent people I've ever been lucky enough to work with, and with Tom Hardy down as Max it's going to be fantastic.


Saturday, May 28, 2011

New Behind-the-Scenes Featurette

Training Montage footage

Kevin Bacon And Zoe Kravitz Answer X-Men: First Class Fan Questions!

How similar is your version of Sebastian Shaw to the comics version?

The main difference between Shaw in the comics and the character I play is the way he looks – he's just physically nothing like me! But the essence of the comics character is there. I based him on directly on all the comic book research I did.

You've tackled many interesting and diverse roles in your career. What made you decide to take on the role of Shaw?

It was a very quick decision. I loved the script, I wanted to work with Matthew Vaughn, it was a great part, and the cast is very strong.

Along with Magneto, Shaw is one of the most interesting villains of the X universe, but until now the character was unexplored in the movies. How have you made this role your own?

Shaw is complex, and his backstory is fascinating. And he is a manipulator. One specific piece of direction from Matthew Vaughn really defined the character for me: Shaw can change who he is depending on who he's dealing with. He has those kinds of personal communication skills. That made him fun to play; in one scene he can be a German; in another, a Russian.

How much research did you do to prepare for the role?

The first thing that happens is that Marvel gives you a stack of everything that's been written through history about your on-screen character. That's a great jumping off point. And then it just kind of expands from there.

What or who was biggest influence for you in playing this role?

I saw Shaw as kind of a combination of Hugh Hefner, Donald Trump, and Ted Turner. Of course, I'm not saying those gentlemen are evil…

Who is your favorite character in X-Men universe?

Wolverine; he's a fascinating kind of anti-hero.

<In the comics, Sebastian is very physical and gets to throw down a lot. Do we get to see Shaw in combat in the movie?

This was actually one of the lightest movies in terms of stunts, I've ever done. Shaw is so powerful he just has to flick his wrist to inflict major damage.

Are you like Shaw, in the way that after you get hit, you get stronger?

Sure, I'll go with that!

Are there romantic ties between Shaw and Emma Frost?

Emma has feelings for Shaw, and he has feelings… for his plans. And to the extent that she's helpful to Shaw, he will be with her.

How politically connected is Shaw in the film?

Shaw is very connected; he's literally all over the map – he's working the Russians and the Americans to start the Cuban missile crisis and World War III.

What is the one thing you would tell your fans that they should look forward to in the film?

It's an emotional film. Sure, if you like superhero films, big special effects, and **** blowing up, you'll love it. You'll also love it if you like films about strong relationships, love, jealousy and sex!

Angel Salvadore is not a very popular character. Why was she chosen instead of some of the more popular mutants?

It seems to me, like a mutant is a mutant, and no matter where they come from, they will still have similar struggles. So I like that Matthew picked mutants that he thought would fit together to create his vision.

Will Angel be more akin to an insect as in the comics or were some of her more fly-like traits (laying eggs, acid vomit) discarded for a more "realistic" feel?

In all honesty I didn't have to do too much "comic-wise" myself. When I got to London I was provided with every comic she had ever been in.

Ok I have to ask, will we see you lay eggs in this movie? If so, please elaborate on the subject at hand.

There is no egg laying...yet...but she does have her acid vomit in this film!

What was the toughest challenge you had to face in preparing yourself for the role of Angel Salvadore?

Getting into shape to do all of the wire work for the flying around. The rest was quite easy but I found that I identified with Angel very much.

When playing the character, aside from the less than glamorous powers, is there anything about Angel you can somewhat relate to?

I relate to almost everything about it. Being a strong independent woman is a challenge. Especially when there are things about yourself that you don't love, and make you feel insecure. I think it's great to see how Angel comes into her own, and becomes more and more comfortable in her own skin. We all have moments of self-loathing, but when we are able to rise to any occasion despite that, is when we are the strongest.

Do the young characters like yours have their own part in the story? Or are you sacrificed for the Xavier/Magneto story?

Yes we do!

<Are we going to see any of Beak in the film, or at least any love interest for our darling Angel?

No Beak this time, and no real love interest! I think she's still just trying to love herself at this point in her life.

Are you in fight scenes in the movie?

I do have a really great fight scene with Banshee in the film. A lot of fun!!!

Did you do your own stunts for the role?

I did as many as they could allow me to do. There were a few that were a bit too dangerous, but for the most part, yes.

Before you were cast, were you a fan of the X-Men universe?

I was never much of a comic reader and had seen one of the films, but I was very much aware of the X-Men because I had so many friends that were huge fans! Now obviously I know a lot about them and love them!


MTV interview cast

Tags: MTV Shows

Cast on Today

Loads of new footage

New Trailer

HeyUGuys interviews Matthew Vaughn

Q: Is the film about super powered individuals facing off against one another, or about political and social ideas. It’s clearly both, but which first and foremost?

Matthew Vaughn: No idea. It is what it is. I should be able to answer that, but the making of it was such a crazy experience, we were just trying to get it done, and get it finished on time. It’s the first time I’ve made a movie with no time to think. You ask me a question like that normally, I’ll be able to tell you,’ when I set out to make this film I had the following ideas’, but every day we were just making it up; so I think it’s a mixture of both.

I think primarily it’s about the relationship between Magneto and X, but set in a backdrop of political espionage and the Cold War. I always wanted to do a Cold War movie, I’m desperate to do a Bond film, always have been. I got my cake and eat it, managed to do an X-Men movie, and a sort of a Bond thing, and a Frankenheimer political thriller at the same time.

Q: You brought in Jane Goldman to write part of it with you, but there were other writers,…

MV: Not really.

Q: So it was you and Goldman who wrote it then?

MV: WGA don’t think that, but they’re fuckwits. Jane and I wrote the screenplay, threw everything out and started again. Sheldon Turner managed to get a ‘Story By’ credit, he wrote the Magneto script that none of us have ever read. I didn’t even know that. I was like, ‘who the fuck is this guy?’. Hollywood’s got its own way of dealing with things.

Q: How much input did Singer have? It feels to me that it’s got the undercurrent of humour that you and Goldman have brought to Stardust and to Kick-Ass, but it feels much more of an ensemble piece than you’ve done before, and that’s where Singer’s experience is.

MV: You say that, but Stardust had a shitload of characters, so did Kick-Ass, so did Layer Cake, in a weird way. And Snatch and Lock Stock. I’m actually more terrified of doing a movie with one lead character, because the good thing of having lots of characters is if one’s getting boring I can just say, ‘let’s cut to that plot line’. It’s hard to make sure they come across as three-dimensional characters, but at the same time I think it’s more interesting – it’s easier to con an audience that lots of interesting things are happening if I can switch the channel, let’s say, whenever I need to.

The influence of Bryan, Bryan came up with I think, I don’t even know who came up with the original idea, I think it was Bryan’s idea. Once I started, I think we made the film in ten months. We’ve had nine weeks post. I only saw the film for the first time five days ago; I hadn’t even ever seen it working on all these different sections. I got given two weeks for the director’s cut. When I say it was madness, there were times when I thought we wouldn’t get the film finished, and if it is finished, God knows what it’s going to be like to watch. I was taken out of my comfort zone on this film. I come from low budget film making, which is very much about prepping, making sure every dollar goes on screen. Here I hardly got any time to prep, and five DPs on this film, four different ADs. Every day I didn’t know who my crew were, I was like, ‘hey, what do you do?’ It was good for me, because I’d so relied on my AD and DPs, as that triumvirate when you make a film, and here I was sort of on my own, naked, running around. At first it scared the hell out of me, but I got used to it. So as a director I feel much more confident after this one.

Q: Obviously this isn’t the first time you were brought into an X-Men movie, you were originally slated to direct X-Men 3. How would that have differed, and more to the point, looking back are you pleased that it didn’t come to be?

MV: X-Men was a weird process. The reason I pulled out of it was because, I genuinely didn’t think I had enough time to make the film – and they were giving me much more time on that than on this one – and that world was already created. What was far more satisfying about this one was, because of Stardust and Kick-Ass, I was far more comfortable about bigger-budget special effects and all that shit , but I loved the idea I could recast every character, set up a new world, and do my version of an X-Men movie. X3 ultimately, you’re following a trend, and my X3  would have been – you know I storyboarded the whole bloody film, did the script – I think my X3 would have been at least 40 minutes longer, and it would have had  – I think they didn’t let the emotions of those characters – I can remember when I was writing those scenes, when Jean Grey turns round to Wolverine and says ‘kill me’, and the deaths at the end, and Professor X's death, I was writing that shit with them, and I just felt they didn’t let the emotion and the drama play in that film. It  became just wall t-to-wall noise and action –how long was it, like 98 minutes or something, not even that, 89 it might have been – I would have let it breathe, and have far more dramatic elements to it, I think. But then they probably wouldn’t have let me do that. Fox were great on this film. Fox have got this really bad reputation, but they were true allies on this. They really let me get on with it.

Q: You say that you’ve created this world. It’s clearly a prequel, but is it a prequel in the sense that Star Trek is a prequel? If it comes to a point where it’s going to clash with the continuity of the other films are you just going to say, ‘bugger it, let’s just make a good movie’?

MV: Totally. Why would I give a shit about the other ones? We’ve started a whole new – for me I wanted to do my version, and a version where it was more similar to the comics at the beginning, they came out in the 60s. I really enjoyed X1 and X2, I think Bryan did a great job, but I think X3 and then Wolverine, they went off and – The whole superhero genre has been fucked up by a lot of Hollywood trying for big explosions, and lots of glossy and corny costumes and outfit – I was very inspired by what Nolan did with Batman Begins. I’m a big Burton fan, and then you see what happened with, the first two Burton Batmans were great, and then Schumacher took over, and you were just like, ‘what the fuck is going on?’ and they got worse and worse, and they kept making them, and they were getting camper and I just thought – I really enjoyed Batman Begins, a lot more than I thought I would when I first saw it, especially the first half more than the second half, and I just thought, ‘why not try to do the same thing?’ putting a realism, making the characters and genre of X-Men relevant to a modern day audience.
I think superhero films need to change. I’ve said this before, I think superhero films are on the verge of a genre dying anyway if Hollywood – Thor’s done well – that was weird as well, I was meant to direct Thor, so watching that one – but, it’s doing well. No-one’s seen Green Lantern? I don’t know what that’s going to be like. I love superhero films, I want more to be made, but I get nervous. I think they need to be taken seriously as a genre. I think the difference between Iron Man and Iron Man 2 shows, if you don’t really nail it, you can suddenly go, ‘what is this?’

Q: This is the third film you’ve co-written with Jane Goldman…

MV: Fourth actually. We’ve got another one coming out next month.

Q: This is the third we’ve seen. And of course you’re going to be working on Kick-Ass 2 together as well…

MV: Maybe. Everyone says we’re doing that, but I don’t know yet. The weird thing about Kick-Ass 2 is, I enjoyed it so much, but I’m a big believer that if you’re going to do a sequel it’s got to be as good as the first one, if not better. I just don’t know how I can – The business frame of mind is just to do Kick-Ass 2, just shoot it  and get it out there, and it’ll make a lot of money, but I really do love that movie, it was a very special moment to me making that film. I’m not saying it was as good as Pulp Fiction, but I think if Tarantino made Pulp Fiction 2, you’d be like, ‘OK… let’s see what you come up with’ and everything that made Kick-Ass original and fun, I think if you do it again, it could be crass. I’m not saying it won’t happen, but it would have to have something about it which made me feel comfortable that the audience would enjoy it as well.

Q: How do you and Jane work together? Do you actually sit down in a room and write together and bounce ideas off one another, or do you write separately and e-mail scripts back and forth?

MV: I normally bang out a very rough draft on my own, and send it over to her. She normally rewrites it, and then, when she’s rewritten it, we get in a room together and do the final coming together of the script. And then we give it to people.

Q: She’s suggested before that your speciality is very structural, and hers the fine points. Is that a fair distinction to make?

MV: I build the whole universe, the characters and all that…

Q: and that pretty much holds tight?

MV: Yeah, it doesn’t change at all, because I’m anal about structure, so it doesn’t change at all.

Q: I think one of the impressive things about this film was that the structure leads us to something that was inevitable, but it happens in an unexpected way.

MV: The first scene I wrote was the Auschwitz, or the concentration camp, scene with the little kid. I thought, ‘what’s the best way of doing a prequel?’ and I had the idea to start it, shot-for-shot with the beginning of the X-Men world, and then, let’s see what happened after he pulled the gate. That scene, for me, is the crux of the movie. It makes you feel sorry for Magneto, it makes you want to see him kick some fucking Nazi’s arse, and I also thought –the whole thing of Nazism, they were very obsessed with genetic mutation, and the whole blue eye, blonde hair shit, and all the experiments they did – I just thought it was a very natural way of starting, and then flipping to Professor X, you’ve got Magneto in a fucking concentration camp,  and you’ve got Professor X wandering around this huge mansion, and I thought, ‘what a great way of starting it off?’

So they were the first things I wrote, and then, I was always imagining, but you have to figure out: how do they become friends? How do they then fall out? How does Professor X get crippled? And how does Magneto become Magneto? Was the end goal, but it was hard, because Fox kept saying, ‘this movies all about the friendship between them’, and I was like, ‘guys, they only get to see each other for three fucking weeks’, I had to somehow make it believable that you care, and Bryan came up with the Cuban Missile Crisis, and I didn’t know much about it. I was English, and we didn’t really learn about that much in school, and when I read about the Cuban Missile Crisis, I thought our version made more sense in history than the real version. The idea that we nearly went to nuclear war, you just go, ‘I cannot believe that happened’, where ultimately, if there’s a bad super villain making all that shit happen, it makes far more sense.

It was Magneto I was obsessed with, Shaw is the villain, but you’re now seeing all those elements of Shaw, going into Magneto, that was, for me, the far more interesting arc. With Professor X, he’s a bit of a pious, sanctimonious, boring character, in that he’s got too much fucking power. It’s very hard writing when you’ve got some guy who can just freeze people, or read everyone’s mind, you’re just going, ‘how do you handle this guy?’ So I did like the idea of James and I going, ‘let’s make him more of a rogue’, ‘let’s make him fun’, and then how he slowly starts realizing there are other mutants out there, and gets slowly more responsible, but for me Magneto is the driving force, that was the character I most related to, and the most fun you can have.

Q: When Xavier is at university, at the beginning of the film, he’s quite cocky. I think his relationship with Erik is what does start to mellow him.

MV: Yep. I think when he realises there are other mutants out there, and because of Shaw, realising that the worst thing that can happen is mutants being hated because Shaw’s trying to kill everyone.

Q: You’ve talked about James Bond in reference to how you could see the character of Erik for Michael’s performance. Did you have a similar archetype for McAvoy as Xavier?

MV: Not really, actually.

Q: How did you direct him then? We’re you referential to Patrick Stewart in the other films?

MV: No we weren’t, in fact it was the opposite. I said, ‘don’t worry about Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart, I think they did a great job, but you’ve got to make these characters your own?’ I think, the way I was saying to James was, lets’ make the character more fun, so that you slowly see him becoming the Professor X of – the professor. When we first meet him, he’s not a professor, and we were trying to show that transition. It’s just not as fun. Seeing Magneto growing into a villain is far more interesting than seeing a guy sadly becoming a cripple, and becoming a teacher, ultimately. It’s not quite the arc you want to see as much, but I think James did a fabulous job, because it’s the hardest character to make interesting.

Q: You talked about gender issues a little bit there, and the way women were treated in the 60s. The film’s also set around the time of the civil rights movement. What thinking did you have about race issues?

MV: We talked about it, because they say X-Men was based on Martin Luther King and Malcolm X, but I think I had enough of a political subplot in this movie. We’ve already discussed, in the next one, does the Civil Rights movement become part of if we do a sequel. That’s a real hot potato, as well, still, so I think we decided to stay clear.

Q: I’d love to see that.

MV: You can only put so much in a film, in the sequel, it could happen. I don’t know yet, I don’t really like talking about sequels because the film could tank, and that’s that for everyone.

Matthew Vaughn Interviewed

Drew McWeeny interviews Matthew Vaughn:

I asked him about his choice to use Sebastien Shaw as the main villain in this one.  The filmmaker reveals, "He was the villain… no, the character, that I was most afraid of.  I kept thinking, 'Are we going to pull Shaw off?' And the comic book version made me nervous, and I would argue with Lauren [Shuler-Donner] about it, and she'd say, 'He must have the ponytail and the cravat.' And I would argue, 'He is going to look like an Austin Powers villain, Lauren.  We cannot do that.  I have to make the movie work, and Kevin Bacon with a ponytail and a cravat dressed as an 18th-century fop will look ridiculous.'"

That's a fine line with the world of the X-Men, though, between what works on film and what looks totally ridiculous.

"Oh, absolutely, but Shaw walks the finest line, even if he did have that look in all the comics," Vaughn says. "Also with him, it's the power. It's such a hard thing to illustrate, the whole absorbing energy and all that shit, and we only really finished his powers up about two weeks ago.  That's when I saw them all for the first time.  Thank god I liked it, because it was pretty damn tough."

The Singer films were obviously a guide for the visual approach to this world, but there are plenty of tweaks that have been brought in by Vaughn and his team. 

When asked how he made those choices, Vaughn replied, "There were two main influences I had.  First, I watched all the early Bond movies again.  'You Only Live Twice,' I watched a couple of times.  I really wanted it to feel like a '60s Bond film, but with a little bit of reality it could be grounded in.  I wanted there to be just a hint of this world of the mutants coming through.  A mutant in this world having powers needed to be the equivalent of you or I sneezing, as normal as possible, at least until the humans start seeing it for the first time.  And creating a look for the movie was crazy, because I ended up having five DPs on this film.  It was very good for me to get out of my comfort zone.  Normally, I feel like the core team on a film is the DP, me, and the ADs, but on this one I had five DPs and four different ADs.  It was a very steep learning curve for me, and I felt a bit naked out there. I had to just sort of bark orders and hope that they were getting through, and I'm thrilled that it seems like the film is working for people."

From when he got hired to when the movie opens, it was ten months.  That's an unbelievable turn-around.  I asked what shape the script was in, and what work he and Jane Goldman did on it. 

"Total rewrite.  Total rewrite," Vaughn says bluntly. "The story was there, but it didn't have what I thought was the fun, and the Bond-style stuff wasn't in there, and I said to Jane, 'Let's start the film off with the exact scene from the first film.'  Jane and I just had a vision that we got out there as quickly as possible.  We really respected Bryan's idea of the Cold War and the Cuban Missile Crisis background.  The main difference between this and anything else I've ever done is that I'm very anal when it comes to prep and storyboarding everything, and on this, we didn't have time for any of that.  I sort of shot this movie on nothing more than pure instinct, making huge decisions every point in the day.  Things that normally would take me weeks of consideration, I'd have to make that choice in seconds on this one, and luckily, it seems to… it was a very different way for me to be making a movie, and there were times I wasn't sure.  Post was an incredible experience, because that's when Fox and I were united as a team, and I can even say about Mr. Rothman that… see, for much of this, I was like a boxer on the ropes, and I became like Rocky being beaten up by Clubber Lang.  And Rothman became my Burgess Meredith character, my Mickey.  He got me up again.  They became my allies on this and got me through it.  It was very rewarding.  I was very shocked, because Mr. Rothman has quite a reputation.  He helped me get through this, and some of his ideas were quite brilliant."

Would Vaughn be willing to do this again with this cast and this world?

"Yeah, definitely.  I really loved working with them, and with Michael [Fassbender] and James [McAvoy], the chemistry was really lovely," Vaughn says.  "I've got some ideas for the opening for the next film.  I thought it would be fun to open with the Kennedy Assassination, and we reveal that the magic bullet was controlled by Magneto.  That would explain the physics of it, and we see that he's pissed off because Kennedy took all the credit for saving the world and mutants weren't even mentioned.  And we could go from there, and I've got some fun ideas about what other mutants to bring in.  I don't want to tempt fate, though.  If the film's a hit, of course I'd be interested.  I really enjoyed making it."

I told him I would be okay with an entire film of young Erik racing around the world to kill Nazis, and I hope that's the official backstory for the character moving forward. 

We also talked about putting together a big ensemble like this and how important it was to give them all something to do.  He noted, "There's no point having a character onscreen if they're don't really add to the equation.  I think it's very important in 'X-Men' movies, with all of these characters, to keep them active and interesting.  It's a juggling act.  I think it's important to give the audience different storylines and characters to cut to in these.  All of my films have been like this, though, so I think I'd be more nervous if I had to make a film that focused on just one character instead of this sort of thing."

Finally, we discussed the fact that Fassbender and McAvoy aren't really doing any sort of callbacks to Patrick Stewart or Ian McKellan, who played the older versions of these characters, and I asked how much those performances informed the choices made by these new younger actors.
"We told them that Ian and Patrick played it so you could see that there was a friendship there once," Vaughn reveals.  "I said, 'That's the only thing to take from it, guys. You are playing your own characters now, and I don't want to hear any impressions in there at all.'  It's like when Daniel Craig played Bond.  People would say, 'Oh, he's like Connery,' but they just mean he's tough, not that he's doing an impression of Connery.  You have to create your own versions, and you have to have room to grow in whatever you're doing, and not just go over ground someone else has already covered."


IGN interviews Edi Gathegi

IGN: You must be used to big movies with Twilight – how has it been to step into the X-Men universe?

Edi Gathegi: Well the two are different and similar in many ways, but in terms of scale, Twilight wasn't really a massive movie before it was released. It ended up making a lot of money and becoming big, and the others had more of a budget but they were still moderately budgeted. We didn't know what to expect on that. But with this one you're stepping into an already existing franchise. This is the fifth instalment of the X-Men franchise. There's a lot of pressure. But I look at it with the perspective that I'm just here to do a job, and I'm going to do the best job I can and everybody has that responsibility. Hopefully we'll put it out there and the audience will enjoy it.

IGN: Who do you play?

Gathegi: My character's name is Armando Muñoz, otherwise known as Darwin, and he gets his nickname from Charles Darwin, the father of the theory of evolution. My character is in a constant state of evolution. It's called reactive adaptation - so whatever environment he's in, in order to survive he will mutate, basically. If he gets thrown in water, all of a sudden he might have gills. The lights go out, he'll have 20-20 vision in the pitch black. He's the coolest one! What I like about my character's powers is that a lot of the X-Men have very cool powers, but with this one you actually see it happening and you see why it's happening. In the right circumstances you see the thought behind the character and the need to create that evolution. There's a logic to it. And the possibilities are endless with good writing.

IGN: How does Darwin react to his powers?

Gathegi: Everybody has their own unique set of circumstances, but I think every mutant probably goes through the phase where they hate themselves because they're different. They're terrified of their own mutant abilities. And then they come to a place where they can see the beauty in it and they accept themselves. I think my character had it really, really tough, because he was constantly in situations where his body would start to mutate and he didn't understand why it was happening. He was suicidal because of it and he couldn't even kill himself, because his body would protect him. He jumped off a building and his bones turned to rubber. So he was stuck in this life of feeling different - sort of indestructible. And I think in this movie, he's finally found a calling. He's finally found people like him. And he finally gets to be the person he was meant to be. He comes out of his shell. He's a good guy.

IGN: It's a whole new world of fans - have you heard from them yet?

Gathegi: You know what, I'm so excited to show this movie to the fans, because I myself am the audience. I remember my experience watching the X-Men films and I think hopefully we're doing something that's exciting and a good addition to the series.

IGN: Are they less intense than the Twilight fans?

Gathegi: It depends. I would say that Twilight fans are more forgiving. They're more opinionated in the beginning, but if things don't go entirely according to their imagination - which they never will - they'll be upset but then they'll forgive that and come back with so much love. I don't know what it is about those fans. But the X-Men fans aren't so forgiving! By the same token, you can't satisfy everybody. We're making this for the fans and I don't necessarily think it'll appeal to the fanatics, because we've drawn from many different elements of the comics to make this work as a movie, because it is a movie and not a 20-page comic book. So it's going to be different. In the attempt to make a movie of the comic, you're pissing off fanatics.

IGN: How are you finding Matthew Vaughn as a director?

Gathegi: This is my first time on a movie this big, but from my perspective I think Matthew's doing a bang-up job. I know he's a very capable director. Kick-Ass was an experience, a good time. I think all the elements are in place for this type of movie: there's a bit of fantasy, sci-fi, action and comic-book retelling that I would like to see. I'm actually very excited to be a part of this cast, the director, the subject matter, the script - I think all the elements are in place for it to be a good film.

IGN: If X-Men: First Class is a hit, would you return for sequels?

Gathegi: You know, the honest answer is I guess it depends on what's going on in my life at that time and who comes back and who's involved in it. But the stock answer is I'm an X-Men fan, so absolutely. Bring me back, I'll put on the suit.  


Farmers Insurance/X-Men: First Class -- X-Change Student: University of Farmers

Nicholas Hoult talks Beast role

On why he took the role:
I was a fan of the X-Men films, comics and cartoons when I was growing up. That was an appeal and obviously working with Matthew. The whole cast he assembled was fantastic. Beast is an interesting character that counterbalances his exterior with his interior - and struggles to deal with who he becomes.

On his character's journey in the film:
I have massively oversized shoes. You do get to see my feet - I have a flexible big toe for hanging and grabbing. He's a young scientist, he's very talented and comes up with great inventions. Then he gets picked up by Xavier and Erik and later on an experiment goes horribly wrong and his whole world crumbles around him. For this film it's an unintentional transformation. The way I see it, he's not too pleased with the way it's gone. He's slightly embarrassed and a little bit grumpy about the whole situation.


Jason Flemyng reveals more on Azazel role

On the director:
He's developed so much with each of his films. He's amazing. His vernacular is a lot more polished and his understanding of the language of films is so much more sophisticated. That's a director gaining confidence, I guess. I promised after Clash of the Titans that I would never do make-up again. But I hate being left out of Matt's stuff. On this, he said the only [available] part was Azazel, a red devil. But I welcomed it with open arms and dived in.

On his character:
He's the badass, knife-throwing, sword-wielding member of the Hellfire Club and it means I get to slice up loads of CIA agents. I'm an old lefty and I wanted to turn him into a Comrade because it's the Cold War, I love that I have these two swords and the idea of slicing and dicing agents, I wanted to push the idea that he's a Russian baddie.

On how the Hellfire Club fits into the story:
It was basically that the Russians were way ahead at harnessing the power of mutants for war. The Americans realise this is something they've got to get a grip on, then you get the battle between what was the Eastern bloc mutants versus the Western world mutants, who want to save the world.

On the future for his character:
He's the father of the teleporting Nightcrawler. Mystique and Azazel have a ding-dong and their kid is Alan Cumming, which I'd be happy with. I can see a resemblance there. In the next film, hopefully I get to kiss Jennifer Lawrence.

And on nearly being in X-Men: The Last Stand when Vaughn was attached to direct:
I was all ramped up and ready to play Beast originally [before Kelsey Grammar got the role]. I went over and did my camera tests and stuff.


X-Men Photocall


Five New Images from Marvel.com


New TV Spot

Behind-the-Scenes Featurette

More Character Posters

Jennifer Lawrence Says Taking 'X-Men: First Class' Role Wasn't Exactly A Simple Decision

Jennifer Lawrence speaks to MTV News

Friday, May 27, 2011

IGN interviews Zoe Kravitz

IGN: Could you tell us a little about who you play?

Zoe Kravitz: I play Angel Salvador, and I'm a go-go dancer who can fly. I have a pair of tattooed wings on my back, which turn into insect wings, and I projectile vomit acid. 

IGN: Does that happen often in the movie?

Kravitz: Yeah, I get to do it a few times. Three times, I think. It's a power, I can do it at will.

IGN: Is it CGI?

Kravitz: The tattoos are real, they put them on with make-up, and then they make the wings with CGI after.

IGN: How familiar were you with X-Men before you got the role?

Kravitz: I'd seen one of the films but I hadn't really read the comics. I knew of X-Men and I knew what it was, but I wasn't an expert.

IGN: What kind of journey does your character go on?

Kravitz: She starts out on the good side with Professor X and Magneto - they recruit her to be an X-Man, and then she switches to Sebastian Shaw's side to be in Hellfire. I think it's just a different approach to fighting for human equality. Someone compared the two different sides. In this film it's Hellfire and the X-Men, but later it's Xavier and Magneto and someone compared it to Martin Luther King and Malcolm X. They're really fighting for the same thing, but it's different approaches for how to get there. I think she just believes that the aggressive side is the right side. 

IGN: Do you enjoy playing the transformation of going from one to the other?

Kravitz: Yeah, I don't think of it as going to the bad side, really. I know it's an X-Men film, so that's the side that is thought of as the bad side, but I really think they're both trying for the same thing in different ways.

IGN: What has it been like making a movie of this scale?

Kravitz: It's been great. I've never spent so much time in London, and I really love it. Pinewood's great and the crew is fantastic. It's nice to be away. It's different when you're out of your environment and you don't go home every day. It's nerve-wracking to be on a production this big, in a way. Sometimes you'll have these moments of realisation, where you're doing a crazy stunt or, you know, Kevin Bacon's walking by. But the cool thing is that everyone's really nice. You could be a bit freaked out but everyone's so wonderful and different, so now it's like home away from home.

IGN: Do you get action scenes?

Kravitz: Yeah, at the end there's a big fight scene and I get to soar through the air and projectile vomit and attack the X-Men. They had us work out a lot to strengthen the core. There's a lot of stress on that area. I'm trying to get my stomach area really strong so I can work with the wires. And they had us practice quite a bit on the wires and the harness. You just have to get used to it.

IGN: Is it fun?

Kravitz: It's so fun. The only thing is that it kind of hurts after a while because it's straining you, pretty much. But it's really fun, and you're zooming around the room. It's the closest I'll ever get to flying, so it's pretty cool. 

IGN: Have you been enjoying the period setting?

Kravitz: It's really cool. The '60s is one of my favourite eras in general. I love '60s music and I've always wanted to do a period film. It's really cool, the combination of the action and the CGI stuff. I have the least lines out of all those guys but probably the best costumes! All my costumes are backless because of the wings and they made me this really cool metal dress. I have a pretty cool leather cat suit too. That's kind of my signature look.

IGN: How's it been to work with Kevin Bacon?

Kravitz: I have a bunch of scenes with him. He's great. He is wonderful. He's freakishly wonderful - it's crazy. He's just chill and lovely and really normal. We all freak out when he's around - even in front of him. 'Kevin Bacon's here? What's Kevin Bacon doing here?'

IGN: What about Matthew Vaughn?

Kravitz: He's amazing and a really cool guy - I really like him. He gives us room to do what we want and we always have a conversation about the scenes beforehand. It's definitely a collaborative effort, which makes all the difference.

IGN: Was that a surprise?

Kravitz: Yeah, a little bit. A lot of it is very technical, so some of it is pretty set, but when it comes to the acting part of it, he's very open, because he really does want the best performances.


More Character Posts


InStyle Magazine Interviews Rose Byrne

InStyle Magazine Interviews Rose Byrne: 

InStyle: How familiar were you with the X-Men universe?

Rose Byrne: Not really at all. I knew what a juggernaut of a film it was, but no, I’m not that savvy with my comic books. I’m not a comic book reader. It’s been really an education to learn all about it; I think I had seen the first one and that was it.

InStyle: How did the part come to you?

Rose Byrne: It came to me late. I think they approached me early on and I was working on another film at the time, so I came in really late in the process and it was all last minute. I didn’t really know how it would unfold. And I didn’t even read for Matthew – he wasn’t even down. Then I got the offer and then I was allowed to read the script. It was one of those jobs that was sorted within a week, which for something like this is pretty unusual. But I think Matthew works on instinct like that and makes up his mind quite quickly.

InStyle: How did you brush up on Moira MacTaggart?

Rose Byrne: We had an incredible expert who came in with a whole truckload of Moira stuff. It was awesome. And obviously when I got the role I did research online and stuff like that. This guy came in and gave me this whole binder of comics. It was actually quite exciting, reading it and seeing her, and I felt affection for her because I could see her on the page. I felt I had to really honour what was in the comic and I could see how exciting it is to bring her to screen. It’s like a character from a novel, bringing that person to life. You have a lot of responsibility in a way.

InStyle: Do you have to figure out how much of your own stamp to put on it?

Rose Byrne: Absolutely. We talked about that early on with Matthew too, in terms of how much the comics would be referenced, and it’s pretty loose. The backstories and the plots that the characters go through in the comic are mental and epic. But it was fun to have a read.

InStyle: How have you been finding this big beast of a comic book movie to experience?

Rose Byrne: I did a film called Troy, which was a similar big, huge tent-pole film for the studio, and it’s like organising an army – masses of people and schedules and money and timing. It’s a huge, huge undertaking. It had been years since I’d been on a film like this though. But it’s fine – at the end of the day it’s just you, the actor, and the camera. It’s the same thing. But it’s just the process of getting there is a bit different.

InStyle: How does the period come across?

Rose Byrne: I think there’ll be a few set pieces that are overtly 60s. We’re throwing in a few ideas. I don’t think they want to alienate the audience by making it too kitschy. It’s a fine balance, but Matthew Vaughn is very well aware of that. We’ve been in situations where, until we get sets or costumes right, we abandon it. He’s very aware of not making it too distracting as a period piece. But I think it adds a new element to it, and gives a new take on superheroes, which I personally would be interested in. It sets it in a different context.

InStyle: Do the politics of the time play a part?

Rose Byrne: Absolutely, that’s the really clever thing, the backdrop of the Cold War and JFK and really it’s a hotbed of history, that time. They’ve been really clever making it end up being about mutants! And it’s not confusing or anything, it’s pretty straightforward, but I don’t think I’ve seen anything like it before.

InStyle: How has the experience of working with Matthew Vaughn been?

Rose Byrne: What I love about Matthew is that he’s got this huge studio movie and so much pressure, and yet he couldn’t seem more ambivalent about how much pressure he’s under. I think you have to have that attitude when you have so many people conducting things. It’s like watching Wolfgang Petersen on TROY – they just keep a very level head. You need that. You need to have a certain amount of assertiveness and opinions and I think he picks his battles really well. I just admire that. I see that from afar. And he’s really kind to the actors and he’s sensitive to us. He has a huge task on his plate, but he just carries himself with a real confidence, which I think is very good.

InStyle: Matthew and Jane Goldman have always sought to bring something new to the projects they’ve done – is there a lot of that in this?

Rose Byrne: There is. It’s really clever what they’ve done, and they were really open, once we all got in and started rehearsing, to really developing ideas and fleshing things out. With a script like this, the plot is the star and it’s a big action movie, so it’s really up to us to make certain character choices and really try to imbue things with a little bit of heart. They were really open to all of that stuff. It was pretty collaborative, especially for a studio movie. That’s kind of a radical thing. That’s usually not the case.

InStyle: Are you signed up for sequels?

Rose Byrne: We are, but I’m in the same boat as you in the sense that I’ve no idea what the future films might hold. But that’s common practice to sign on for a bunch. From what I’ve heard of these things, sequels are a massive undertaking to come together, so we’ll see.

Do you ever worry that signing up to sequels might limit your options in the future?

Rose Byrne: I do and I don’t. I do a TV show called Damages, and there was a point where I had to sign on, before the pilot was even made, for seven years of my life. I remember I had a massive question of wondering what that would mean. You do think about it, but it’s so philosophical in the sense that you do the pilot and maybe it’ll get picked up and maybe it’ll go for a second season. The odds are always against you working, rather than for you. And I’m getting older. You think about it, but I’m just much more philosophical about the whole thing.


New Clip: Beast

IGN interviews Nicholas Hoult

IGN interviews Nicholas Hoult:

IGN: Can you tell us about Beast?

Nicholas Hoult: I play Dr. Hank McCoy and he later on becomes Beast. He's a young scientist - a very clever guy - but a little bit shy and awkward around the girls and just socially awkward around the group. He's a good guy, but it's hard work. He's a great scientist though and he comes up with all of these inventions that sometimes work and sometimes don't, and then he tries out a serum from Mystique's DNA to try and stop his feet from appearing apelike and massive, so he can fit in because he's very self-conscious about it, and unfortunately that goes wrong and he becomes the Beast that we know from the other films and cartoons and comics. He's very urbane and witty and a shrewd guy. It's fascinating to see the difference, when he becomes the Beast, from this very animalistic and scary-looking character. The Beast we've got is very different to Kelsey Grammar's Beast. People are quite intimidated by it, and it's great to have that with the contradiction of the character with somebody who's not that comfortable with himself. 

 IGN: What goes into the Beast make-up?

Hoult: The costume is four hours. It's a mask, which is stuck onto my face with a headpiece, and that takes the majority of the time, getting it to look right with the teeth and contact lenses. They've done a fantastic job creating this face that moves with my expressions. I have to make the performance bigger underneath it, but it moves a lot. They give me a muscle suit, obviously, and that's pretty much the gist of it. Lots of fur, which I eat a lot of by accident.

IGN: How do you feel in the muscle suit?

Hoult: I feel like such a tart when I take it off! At the end of the day the muscle suit comes off and I look at myself in the mirror and say, 'You're pathetic.' It's really quite horrible.

IGN: How did you get the role?

Hoult: It was very last minute. I was over in Australia starting work on Mad Max, and then heard that that got delayed and so rang the agent and said, 'Quick, I need a job.' They said, 'X-Men's going - get on tape tomorrow.' I went and auditioned in Australia the next day, and in the middle of the night - about three o'clock in the morning Australian time - I got a phone-call saying, 'You've got to get on a plane and come back and screen-test - they're moving really quickly.' So I flew back and auditioned with Matthew [Vaughn, the director] and Jennifer Lawrence who plays Mystique, and I thought it went terribly. Got on a plane back to Australia majorly depressed, but found out a couple of days later that I'd got the role and then it was getting lots of scans and casting of my body to fit all the makeup.  

IGN: How much did you know about Beast? Are you an X-Men fan?

Hoult: A fair bit. Obviously I was a fan of the films, but I was a big fan of the cartoons growing up. I saw a lot of those and read some of the comics. I knew a fair bit about Beast. He's a lot of people's favourite character and he's just a very cool character. When I found out that I got the role I texted a mate saying I was going to be playing him and the message back was, 'Don't f**k this up or I'll attach blades to my hands like Wolverine and kill you.' You kind of realise how much these characters mean to people - well, and to me. You want to do right by everyone if you can.

IGN: Did you start going through back issues of the comics to learn more or was it all in the script?

Hoult: There was a lot in the script for the scenes Hank's in, but you can never do enough preparation. So I read a lot of the comics again and went over and tried to pick out words that he used a lot to try and build into the performance. The more you learn, the more you could say, 'No, I don't think he'd say this,' and just have more to play with, rather than making it up as you go along. Obviously, this character's not the same as in some of the comics, where he's a football player/athlete character and a bit of a jock. He's different in that sense.  

IGN: Are you ready to be an action figure?

Hoult: Yeah, that is something that's very cool, and that's something that when I'm in the Beast costume, and I'm boiling hot, and hungry and dehydrated and we've been sitting in it for 11 hours, someone says, 'Nick, it's alright, you're going to be an action figure.' You have to kind of go, 'Yeah, actually, this is very cool.' It's very exciting and next year I'll have Christmas presents for people!

IGN: It's a crowded marketplace for superhero movies this summer - what's going to set this movie apart from the competition?

Hoult: Obviously Matthew Vaughn's directing style - with films like Kick-Ass and Layer Cake - is going to bring a nice twist to the X-Men realm. And it's a really great story they've come up with. It's not necessarily true to the word to the comics, but it's a great tale about how the X-Men came about, and Magneto and Xavier's relationship. I think, hopefully, all the X-Men fans will really enjoy it. I don't know what the other films coming out that summer are going to be like, so I can't tell what will set this apart particularly, but from what I've seen there'll be lots of great action.

IGN: Does Beast get any of that action?

Hoult: I get some very cool action. Azazel and I have a great fight at one point. So far the stunts that I've done I've been rubbish at. I took a big hit on my head, and a big hit on my foot so far. Spinning around on wires and stuff. There's definitely some very cool action. I'm in the Beast suit for the final fight, which we're about to shoot in Georgia, and that's going to be very tricky negotiating the suit and the heat and everything. 


Over 40 new Images from Comibookmovie.com