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
Álex González...Janos Quested / Riptide
Zoë Kravitz...Angel Salvadore
Ray Wise...Secretary of State
Monday, February 28, 2011
Friday, February 25, 2011
Jens Altmann reports for Bleeding Cool:
Question: Let’s get the obvious stuff out of the way first: are you a comic book reader?
Nicholas Hoult: I’ve read a couple of them before starting work on this (film). But since then I’ve read a lot, a little bit of X-Men and Avengers and things like that, to get a grasp of the character. I was a fan of the films and grew up watching the cartoons. There is a great lot of history and information in there.
Q: Did Beast become your favourite X-Men, if only by default, or did you prefer another one?
Hoult: (laughs) Someone asked me which power I would like most if I could get any of them. I think that either telepathy ir teleporting would be my favourite powers to have. As a character, I find Beast is fantastic, he is my favourite in a way. There’s this inner tension, because he’s a scientist, and a careful man, and a worldly man, and he has this crazy exterior. He’s scary.
Q: The blue-furred guy.
Hoult: Yeah. I hope the fans will like this version as much (as the original).
Q: I suppose he’ll be pretty much like in the comic books? Upbeat, exuberant, witty, charming…
Hoult: Yeah, well, in this film it’s more, he’s a young scientist. He’s very intelligent, obviously, and creates great inventions. But there’s also this side of him where you have this conflict of wanting to be normal and wanting to fit in. That’s going on. And then there’s also the side, once he becomes the Beast. There’s a Jeckyll and Hyde aspect, where he’s scared of what he’s capable of.
Q: This role is essentially the very opposite of Tony Stonem, isn’t he? As far as I know, Tony Stonem was created to be unlikeable.
Q: Beast, on the other hand, is very likeable. So, did you in part take Beast as a sort of antidote to becoming typecast as a Tony Stonem-type?
Hoult: No, it wasn’t an antidote to that tool. I’ve played a variety of types, and Tony was very interesting, and something you don’t see very often. Anyway, I wouldn’t call it an antidote, but it’s great to play a reckless character. It’s kind of a release, yeah.
Q: Considering that Beast is one of the most visually distinctive characters, to put it mildly, how much effort was put into the make-up, and how much of that was make-up and prosthetics, as opposed to CGI?
Hoult: Before the transformation, when I’m just Hank, that’s me and there’s some CGI on the feet and toes. And then, once the transformation to Beast takes place, that’s four hours of make-up and prosthetics with a full mask and wigs and fur and a big rubber muscle suit. That’s quite a transformation.
Q: How did you prepare to become a mutant superhero and super-genius? How did you prepare and train… You already mentioned that you used comics for research.
Hoult: Yeah, comics, I watched Frasier, I watched the X-Men films. And then training was physically, athletics. I gained a little bit of weight and still managed to fit into my muscle suit (laughs). We lifted weights, did some boxing. It was also in part so that we stayed energized. That worked out pretty well.
Q: You just mentioned Frasier. I think this is the first time that I ever heard Frasier mentioned in a superhero context. You probably meant, because of Kelsey Grammer, who played the role in the third movie, right?
Hoult: Yeah, it was so that I could get Kelsey Grammer’s accent correctly.
Q: And how much did Kelsey Grammer’s depiction of the character influence you?
Hoult: I feel they were very different characters. In the other film, Beast was a politician, and he’s been in this place for a long time. In this one he’s young and he’s a scientist. And when he changes, that comes with quite a bit of anger and embarrassment.
Q: How did things go with the cast? Did you all play well off each other?
Hoult: Yeah, everyone got on very well. There was a great mix of people who got on board and performed. Different age groups, different walks of life. Everyone got along very well, and we had fun.
Q: How was Matthew Vaughn as a director? I suppose he came in knowing what he wanted, considering that he had experience in making superhero movies.
Hoult: Yeah, exactly. Matthew’s a big jerk during the film because, well, it has a stellar cast, and he has worked before on Kick-Ass and Layer Cake. Both are great, enjoyable films. He understands what it means, to make a film work. So he gets going, and he’s right. He’s a very clever man. He knows the meaning of every line written. He knows what makes them work. These are just interesting stories, you know, epic in scale and massive backdrops, but at the heart of them they are quite human stories.
Q: This is your first big effects movie, right? You usually do character pieces. How did you like the difference?
Hoult: It’s interesting. I may try to see the end product, because it’s sometimes difficult to imagine what you’re seeing or what’s going on, so once it’s all cut together, there might be the occasional surprise waiting.
Q: One thing that was mentioned in the context of this movie was that Matthew Vaughn was trying to create a James Bond-feel. How did that translate to you?
Hoult: To me, personally, I really wonder why he said that. We were doing a scene of hanking and waving, and Luffy said, do it like James Bond, say the line like James Bond. Well, he actually said, do it like James Bond, and I said, I don’t know if that will come off as cheesy or Bond-like. And he said, do it, and then we’ll decide.
Q: Well, Bond-like is cheesy, so…
Q: This movie is set in the 1960s. How did you prepare for the period? I think it’s probably different from a period that, say, your parents wouldn’t recognize, like a western for example.
Hoult: I’d already done that in A Single Man, which was set in that time. So I already had a sort of feeling for the times and the people. I had an understanding of what was going on, coming into the film.
Q: What was the general feel of X-Men First Class? Is it more grim and gritty, or more fun and cheesy, or…? If you had to compare it to another movie…?
Hoult: Whoof… If I compare it to another film…
Q: Would it be more A-Team or Dirty Harry or James Bond?
Hoult: The Bond thing is a good idea. It’s definitely not A-Team. It’s a film that has its background in the great era of the 1960s. There is drama, and there are thriller aspects. It’s character-driven by Magneto and Xavier, because it’s about their relationship. It’s epic, but told with the characters in mind.
Q: And it’s supposed to be a trilogy if it does well, right?
Hoult: Yes, if it does well.
Q: How difficult was it to get a handle on Hank before and after the transformation? Before, when he was this supersmart scientist and after, when he’s this tragic but still upbeat figure – at least in the comics.
Hoult: Well, in this movie, the end of the world is coming, so there’s not that much to be upbeat about. Maybe, if we make another film, we can get into that contradiction, that someone who looks so scary is such a positive person. That’d be great. You know, the film isn’t out yet, and that’s stuff I’m not comfortable talking about at this time.
Q: That’s spoiler territory, then.
Hoult: Yeah, that’s right, spoilers.
Q: This may be a bit tricky and mean, but considering that Bryan Singer is involved in both X-Men First Class and Jack the Giant Killer, did he snatch you from Jack for Beast, or did he give you Jack because of Beast?
Hoult: Originally, that was because I was going to straight to work on Mad Max, but that got delayed, something to do with the special effects. And originally I was going to do Jack, because Mad Max got delayed again, so I went to audition for Jack, and that worked out.
Q: So you had Jack before Beast?
Hoult: No, no, no. We did X-Men, and finished that before I found out I’d gotten the role in Jack, two days ago.
Q: Can you already tell me anything about Max and Jack?
Hoult: Hopefully, Max will be starting next year. George Miller is a fantastic director, so I’m looking forward to getting started on that. And Jack, yeah, we haven’t really started work on it yet, but we’re shooting pretty soon. It’s a kind of reimagied version of Jack and the Beanstalk.
Q: I’ve read that it’s supposed to be darker than the original.
Hoult: Yeah, yeah, definitely so. But it’s still going to be a family film, not restricted to (age) 18.
Q: Considering that you’ve worked with some considerable talents like Colin Firth and Hugh Grant, how do James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender compare?
Q: And Kevin Bacon.
Hoult: (laughs) It’s always fascinating to see how different they work. Most of the time they’re relaxed and calm, and they help out those around them. They’re just fun to be around, you know. James McAvoy definitely has that, when we gotta work we gotta work, and it’s what we do. And they have fun, and they’re relaxed, and they make you feel part of the team.
Q: So they didn’t try to stay in character all the time.
Hoult: No, definitely not.
Q: I remember that back in 1999, Bryan Singer changed the X-Men’s uniforms because he felt that blue and yellow wouldn’t work on screen. But now you’re all wearing those colours, so, does it work?
Hoult: I think they did a great job in designing the costumes. About why the colours are the way they are, you’ll have to see it in the film, but it’s a nice idea of why they are like that. Yeah, I liked the costumes and the reason behind them in this film. And I think they work, yeah.
Q: One last question…
Hoult: Oh, thank you.
Q: Is there anything you wish I had asked? Any soapbox you want to climb on, or anything you want to say to our readers?
Hoult: I think the X-Men characters and their universe is very important to the people, to their fans. We just hope that you know that we’ve been respectful, that we’ve got something new and interesting to see, and hopefully tell a great story. That’s kind of the main thing.
Q: Thank you.
Wednesday, February 23, 2011
In a new interview with La Times' Hero Complex Geoff Boucher speaks to James McAvoy:
GB: It sounds like you had your hands full with the water-tank work here in L.A.?
JM: It was me saving Michael Fassbender’s … which is always fun. We worked together before, we met on “Band of Brothers,” which was my first TV job and probably his first or second. We both ride motorbikes, you know, scooters, around London, and every now and again, we’d pass each other and stop and give an old pump of the hand and slap on the back. He’s a lovely fellow.
GB: You and he each have a challenge — Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen are towering figures in the sci-fi and fantasy sector, and I imagine stepping into their roles must give you pause. Do you think a lot about Stewart’s work in this role, either as a place to begin or a place to avoid?
JM: I don’t think about it too much. This isn’t a reboot, so I’m not replacing anyone, in which case you might want to try to be as different as possible and stay away from what has been done before. This is a prequel, so I’m the same character, just younger, but the challenge for me — and for Michael — is to show the same person in a different place in their life, to show someone before they’re this bad guy, before they’re this saint. Charles wasn’t always a … monk, this selfless, sexless monk that he becomes.
GB: [Producer] Bryan Singer said many months ago that in his mind the story of the Charles and Erik friendship demanded to be the center of any prequel. Can you talk a bit about the physics of that friendship in this film?
JM: It’s kind of a love story, like “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid,” which, really, was a love story between two men. This is the first time in their lives they’ve met someone who is an equal of sorts, someone who understands them and can connect and push them too. Especially Charles, he’s fascinated with Erik and his potential. For Erik, Charles is the first person he’s trusted to really tell about his past and the first person to understand the horrible things he’s been through.
GB: Tell us about your non-monk Charles.
JM: Charles is caught up in himself. He enjoys success and is proud, and he’s not the selfless person that he becomes. You look at the relationship with Raven – who becomes Mystique – and you examine that relationship and the way he treats her like a living experiment. She’s an assistant to him and he cares for her, but there’s his ego and condescending big-brother attitude as well. You see it in the way he treats the others. In the “later” movies, he’s exorcised that from his personality. For me, trying to keep that ego as an underpinning of the character is important.
GB: Matthew Vaughn is quite the firebrand. I’m not sure I’ve ever met anyone who was more candid.
JM: He’s a really good fun, he’s a character. He’s definitely not like anybody else. But that’s the same with all these directors, isn’t it? It’s a strange breed of person, these director types, a bit dodgy aren’t they? But he really is a lot of fun to be around and there’s a lot of energy and he has a very specific thing he’s looking for and when you come in to it he’s got great people around him. It’s just an actor’s coven [on the set] if you know what I mean, there’s a community that he creates that is quite cool.
GB: At the beginning of this project, Vaughn said Hollywood was wringing all the life out the superhero genre. Thoughts?
JM: All fashions go around. At some point, the audience taste and stamina might be less, and then you see the cycle of fashion and it goes away for a while. I look at the Christian Bale movies, the Batman films, and that shows you that superhero movies don’t just have to be about men in tights. I think ‘The Dark Knight’ was really quite interesting, and if you can make movies that are that interesting, it sort of goes beyond fashion. You just try to be as good as you can and try not to get fired. Seriously, that’s a real threat with these superhero movies. People get fired all the time, and I don’t want to lose my job.
The Irish release date for the X-Men prequel FIRST CLASS has been brought forward to Monday - May 30th 2011. The film will now take the unusual step of opening on a Monday, something which worked very well for the Simon Pegg/Nick Frost film last week. Their movie PAUL made £5.5 million on its opening week at Irish and UK cinemas thanks to its valentines day head start.
Thursday, February 17, 2011
Marvelous News, the studio managed to get a few minimate toys down to this year's annual Toy Fair, somewhat revealing the mutants in full costume:
More Minimates at:
Wednesday, February 16, 2011
"Well, I'm telepathic too. So James [McAvoy] and I just had a lot of staring at each other, trying to out-think each other. If someone has footage of that, the outtakes need to be released somewhere because it's retarded. Not in a bad way."
"Hopefully they'll show something where it's the physical aspect of what we're trying to do mentally, because it's just kind of us staring at each other for a really long time. He at least has this [places her index and middle finger against her temple in iconic Professor X pose], where I don't have anything. So maybe my powers are more honed. I don't need a thing."
Sunday, February 13, 2011
"I haven't based [Magneto] on [Ian McKellen] at all actually, and I hope the fans aren't going to be disappointed by that, because I know he's rated as #1 comic villain, well he's up there anyway, I just tried to steep myself in the source material, the comic books, and there's so much. He's such a fascinating guy, and how he becomes Magneto is a really interesting journey. The fact that he has been let down so many times by human beings and this distrust that he has. You can see where it's coming from. Obviously, what was happening in the concentration camps and then he escaped from there with Magda, fell in love with her, then their child got burned and he ended up killing the whole town and she's like 'Whoa, this is too heavy for me, I gotta leave.' So the love of his life left him."
"We see the stuff that's happening in the concentration camp, you see that, but you don't see that relationship [with Magda]. I've just held that for my own personal use [in developing] the character, so when we meet him at the beginning of this film, he's definitely a lone wolf. He's on a mission and he's uncompromising and then he bumps into Charles, literally collides into him, and then it's the development of their relationship and really exploring that during the '60s and the Civil Rights Movement, Martin Luther King an Malcolm X."
"That was a big draw when I heard that [James McAvoy] was going to be playing Charles Xavier. I thought, 'That's really interesting," being a big fan of his and we briefly worked together ten years ago on 'Band of Brothers.' I like him a lot. He's really easy to work with, he's just a normal practical worker, and we sat down and made sure that the relationship had all the elements that we wanted and that the progression was a good one, that there's no filler scenes and every scene is there for a reason. We did a lot of writing together with Matthew, each day we'd sit down and make sure the scene was tight and that it was dealing with everything we wanted to deal with, the fact that they're unsure of each other, sniffing each other, almost like dogs, and then there's a real respect and liking for each other, and then the relationship fractures."
Saturday, February 12, 2011
On the relatively short shooting schedule and release of the film..
"Poor (director) Matthew Vaughn is going to have to edit it in three days.That's been a blast. We've all had so much fun making that movie."
"I think it was unrealistic for them to think they were going to make such a huge movie in whatever we had -- two months or something. So of course we went over (schedule). I think I have a couple more days to shoot."
"We're almost done. The fact we've had to push the wrap date but they haven't moved the release date is really interesting to me. I guess they must know what they're doing. I have a lot of faith in Matthew as a director and an editor; I think his movies are great. And I think they've been cutting as we've been going. We should be fine."
On Emma's costume and powers..
"Everybody wants to know about the costume. I didn't really know much about her beforehand, but when I did my research, she's a very -- specifically visually -- iconic character. Nobody talks about the fact she's got the most bad-ass powers. "
Friday, February 11, 2011
"It started off with the fact that we were going to shave my hair and the studio said, 'Don't shave your hair,' so immediately I said, 'Well f**k it, I'm liberated then.' So, I mean, that's a pretty big marker, so right away you're going a different path. Also, I always felt there's no point doing a film set in the past as a prequel that just shows them being the same people, especially Magneto and Professor X. They're the big two that we really, really get to know well in the other movies that are in our movie."
"You look at the kind of main, defining characteristics of Professor X, of Charlie Boy, and you go, 'Alright, he's selfless. He's a saint. He's sexless, it seems. He's egoless. He's all about other people. He's all about bettering the world and mutantkind and humankind.' And so you kind of try and flip that on its head."
"You don't make him an evil person, or anything like that, but you make him ego-driven, women-chasing, he likes a good drink. He's not the reluctant leader that you kind of want all heroes to be. He actually kind of wants to be in charge, you know what I mean? And all of those things, just to kind of show a journey."
When Bryan Singer was sked about the new cast — or the “old” cast, given the film’s 1960s setting — he got specific about his favorites. “We have younger versions of Mystique and Beast, so I’m very excited about them and what they bring to the film. Jennifer Lawrence’s work [as Mystique] and Nicholas Hoult’s portrayal of Beast — these are characters that we’ve seen in the earlier films, but then these are very different portrayals and you have to bring a lot of attention to those.”
“I’m also excited about Jason Flemyng as Azazel, which is a really cool character. It’s like this sinister alter ego of Nightcrawler in a way, which again brings some of the things that we like about that character but at the same time has a different quality."
When asked about the specific relation between Havok and Cyclops:
“Yes, the timeline is different,” Singer said. “It wouldn’t physically fit for him to be the brother of Cyclops. We take some liberties on that. There are notions, but, um, I don’t want to give away certain interrelations, but let’s just say there are some things that do adhere to the comic books and do so in a way the fans will get a kick out of. And those things can, perhaps, move forward into the future…. That’s one reason we wanted to call the film ‘First Class’ even though it isn’t the [Jeff Parker-penned story arc called] ‘First Class’ in the comics as fans know it. You couldn’t really tell that story without going even earlier and explaining how they got there and how it came to be. I liked the title, so we kept it, but this is a prelude in a way that will eventually lead to the [scenarios] that fit in more clearly with the ‘First Class’ comics and situations.”
Thursday, February 10, 2011
Wednesday, February 9, 2011
"The trailer for X-Men: First Class will be released on Thursday (February 10)! Starting tomorrow, fans of the franchise should visit Facebook.com/XMenMovies to check out the film’s trailer and share the video with friends to unlock special content - the X-App lets X-Men fans customize their profile pictures and their Facebook experience!"
Sunday, February 6, 2011
On Caleb landry Jones as Banshee/Sean Cassidy..
An Irishman with a sonic scream in the comics, Jones' Cassidy is a young American here, the big lungs remain intact"
Jennifer Lawrence as Mystique..
Magneto's future accomplice starts off as Charles' BFF, shapeshifting into human form. "This is before her Rebecca Romijn mutant and proud days" laughs Lawrence
Rose Byrne as Dr Moira MacTaggert..
The only human in the group, Moira is the team's link with the CIA. "I love the idea of it being in the 60s" says Byrne. "It gives it a twinkle in the eye"
Nicholas Hoult as Beast/Hank McCoy..
The team's resident boffin, before his mutation later in the film as the big, blue bouncing Beast."He's very urbane and witty" says Hoult
James McAvoy as Charles Xavier..
"He's not a monk" says McAvoy, "He enjoys a drink, he's a sex pest! But you start to see his ego break down"
Thursday, February 3, 2011
"I've always wanted to do a movie set in the '60s. The difference is that now I have experience. On X3 [which he was at one point set to direct] it was cast and I just had to tell the story. Here we have to recast every role, recreate the '60s - which is not easy - and redesign everything. We've been playing catch-up, but it's working."
"I wasn't trying to cast the young Patrick [Stewart] or Ian [McKellen]. I was trying to cast the young Professor X and Magneto; what those characters are in my mind. For me, I'm trying to make a movie that stands on its own two feet. Hopefully there'll be a lot more of this version of the franchise. "