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, March 28, 2011
Interview with The Playlist:
On Whether The Production Of The Movie Was Too Rushed:
"No, on the contrary, [shooting] films [you] have so much time. I come from TV-land, I come from ‘Damages’ where you have no time. You have no preparation. You just get the scene the night before and you hope and pray you do a good job. To me, ‘X-Men’ felt luxurious."
On Whether She Was Familiar With The Comic Books Beforehand:
"I pretty much had to dive in. I knew a little bit, but not much. It’s not my world really. I’m not a comic [fan], I never read comics, I’ve never been hugely into comic book films. It was a whole new genre to discover."
On Moira McTaggert's Role In X-Men: First Class:
"She’s kind of a collaborator. She’s James McAvoy‘s love interest in the film. She’s a doctor in the comics and she’s a CIA agent [in the film]. She’s a real pioneer. It’s in the ‘60s and it’s a time when women did not work in the CIA. She’s very smart, very ambitious, very forthright and really truly believes that humans and mutants can co-exist and in fact help one another."
Wednesday, March 23, 2011
What drew you to the role of Hank McCoy/ Beast?
"The fascinating part of the role for me was the chance to play Hank/Beast before and after his transformation. The combination of his intelligence and wit offset by his animalistic appearance was fun to play."
What did you think of the original Beast?
"I thought Kelsey Grammer did a fantastic job when he portrayed Beast, his charm and eloquence was something I wanted to try and emulate. However, in First Class I play Hank younger before becoming a politician, when he is a scientist and still learning about himself and his abilities. So I didn't want to try and just play a younger Kelsey but also bring something new to the role."
Are you an X-Men fan and if so, did you have a lot of source material to go thru or did you make up your own version of Beast?
"I am an X-Men fan, I grew up watching the cartoons and films. It was fantastic to have so much source material to draw from, I read lots of comics in the build up to filming to try and get the best sense of Hank."
Beast is my favorite comic book character. Did you feel any pressure to show his feral side, while keeping him as lovable as he is in the comics?
"There is pressure when playing a character who is so iconic and loved by fans, so you have to approach it with respect. Hank is urbane whilst being slightly shy of his mutations in this story, but then later on once the transformation to Beast has taken place he should still be charming but have a feral edge."
What type of preparation did you do for the role of Beast?
"In preparation for the role I watched lots of Frasier and listened to people who spoke with a similar accent to Kelsey, my dialect coach and I worked on creating something towards Kelsey's dialect but without being an imitation. I also did lots of fitness training as being in the Beast costume and make up could be very tiring and tough physically."
Will we get to see Beast in more of his iconic lab settings and sporting some Shakespearean quotes?
"Yes, you get to see Hank in his element in the lab. Some of the genius inventions he creates are shown, and also some of the not so successful ones."
How long does it take to get your makeup on?
"The make up took 4 hours to get on, during which time we would listen to music mostly, or if it was a very early call I sometimes fell asleep."
Did they do any CGI on your hands and feet prior to Beast going blue to make him seem more ape-like as in the comics and shows?
"Before the transformation Hank's feet are a CGI effect so I would wear a blue sock and then the larger ape like feet would be added in post production. I did wear shoes a few sizes larger so that in theory they would have fitted in."
Beast is a nasty combination of high intellect and brute strength. Which side is more evident in the movie, and which side do you relate to more?
"You get to see both the brute strength and intellect of Beast in this film. If I had to choose which one I related to most it would have to be the intellect as I certainly don't have anywhere near the strength and speed he possesses. Although, the same could be said for the intellect..."
Charles Xavier: The young Oxford graduate, a powerful telepath who can read and control minds, had long wondered if there were others out there like him. When Charles finally meets some fellow mutants, he recruits them and harnesses their unique abilities to try and stop the greatest threat the world has ever known.
Magneto: As a young man, Lehnsherr discovered, under horrific circumstances, his power to control magnetism. Now, he is determined to exact revenge on the monstrous evil who 'created' him. Erik and Charles form a fast and fateful friendship, which is tested in a battle upon which rests the fate of mankind.
Mystique: A close friend to Charles Xavier, Raven is a metamorph or shape-shifter who can assume the form of any humanoid creature she chooses. The mutant teen works hard to lead a 'normal' life and hide her gifts, but the battle between Xavier's mutants and Shaw's forces leads her on a different path.
Beast: Hank is a brilliant scientist with only a few mutant features until a serum unexpectedly unlocks the superhuman Beast within.
Darwin: Through 'reactive evolution,' Darwin can adapt to any situation or environment. Plunged underwater, he grows gills; in the dead of night, he gains night vision.
Banshee: Banshee's unique sonic blasts carry him into flight. Like other young mutants, Banshee's powers reach their full potential only under Charles Xavier's patient tutelage, and in a battle that will have global consequences.
Azazel: A demonic figure, Azazel can teleport by opening a portal into another dimension. He is a key player in Sebastian Shaw's plans to make sure that mutants inherit the planet.
Riptide: Never far from the side of his leader, Sebastian Shaw, Riptide creates powerful whirlwinds that can demolish buildings and challenge even the most powerful mutants.
Havok: Alex can emit concentric rings of super-heated energy waves, causing his targets to burst into flame. The handsome, athletic mutant has difficulty with his impressive powers, until Charles Xavier teaches him how to harness them.
Angel Salvadore: The beautiful ex-dancer possesses a stunning tattoo of insect-like wings, which become actual wings growing from her back, giving her the gift of flight. Her arsenal is a deadly acid, which she projectile vomits in combat.
The Man In Black: The Man in Black, as his mysterious moniker suggests, works for a covert government agency whose mission is to guard, and when appropriate, exploit our most explosive secrets. He enlists the assistance of mutants - and finds himself at the vortex of a battle that will determine the fate of humankind.
Moira MacTaggert: A female CIA agent in the 1960s - a time when female operatives were very few in number. After Moira becomes among the first humans to witness the powers of mutants, she tracks down Charles Xavier, who helps Moira convince her superiors of the existence of mutants and the notion of working with them for the greater good.
Sebastian Shaw: Shaw, a force of incalculable evil, was a Nazi collaborator whose early research forever altered the life of a young Erik Lensherr. Shaw can absorb energy and re-channel it, and he will stop at nothing to start a war to ensure that mutants inherit the earth.
Emma Frost: Emma, a platinum haired beauty and close ally of Sebastian Shaw, is a telepath who possess a diamond-like skin that is indestructible. Like Charles Xavier, she can project her thoughts and will into another's mind.
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
Could you talk about the character of Darwin, from a dispositional angle?
My character’s mutant ability is reactive adaptation. For instance if I fall from a building my bones turn to rubber. Or if the lights go out I have perfect vision in the pitch black. Or if I happen to get catapulted into outer space, my body no longer requires oxygen. That sort of thing. And the list is as extensive as the need to survive.
You passed from a "franchise" as Twilight to another one, even more famous, as X-Men. What's your impression about it?http://comicbookmovie.com/fansites/Dustin03Comics/news/?a=32418
Well those who know me know that I was a major X-Men fan as a youth. I'd wake up every Saturday morning with my bowl of cereal glued to the tv screen enjoying my favorite comic brought to life as a cartoon. So you can imagine my sense of joy when I was asked to be apart of the live action version. Really it’s just living out a childhood dream. Not to mention it’s a super cool movie.
Is there any difference between the movie character of Darwin and that one we knew in the comics?
You'll just have to wait and see.
Did you make massive use of visual effects and CGI as far as Darwin's powers?
And what about his make-up? Is it on the same level as the make-up of characters like Mystique and the Beast or pretty less?
Darwin is more or less a regular guy. And by that I mean he isn't painted blue or anything. So visual effects are specifically relegated to my use of powers not for my overall look. Makeup was virtually non-existent.
Which are the main differences for you about the story's tone, the characters portrait, etc., by comparing this movie to the previous X-Men trilogy and the other prequel about Wolverine?
You trying to get me killed? Let's just say I think the fans have been waiting for this film even if they don't know it yet. It’s being handled well by the creative powers that be. For instance it’s a dope script. And Vaughn is not a joke - he got game. And McAvoy ... He's on some next level acting. He's a beast. No pun intended.
How has been working with director Matthew Vaughn? What was your impression during the production?
Up against the ropes time wise Vaughn had his work cut out for him. But he knows what he wants. He has a good eye. And he's got a very interesting competitive spirit. I don't think he would even allow himself to not make a great movie. And personally, he is a hilarious guy. I like him.
What can you say about the other members of the cast?
Great cast all the way around. Lucinda, Zoe, Roger and Jeremy did a fantastic job casting this project. Kudos to them. And I'm probably the most excited to see Kevin Bacon in action. He's really cool in this film. Really cool.
Wednesday, March 16, 2011
Bryan Singer Answers Questions on Facebook.
Q: If you were a mutant what kind of power would u want to have and why?
A: I would like the power of Nightcrawler or Azazel; the ability to teleport anywhere.
Q: Who is your favorite x-men character and why?
A: Professor X because he is both powerful and vulnerable.
Q: Was there a character from the old comics you would love to have seen in this movie that hasn't been in previous movies, and was not able to be put into this movie?
Q: What made you choose Emma Frost to play a part in "X-Men: First Class"? Overall, what do you think of her character in the movie?
A: You can't have the Hellfire Club without Emma Frost. She is sexy and scary.
Q: Does this movie fall in the category of prequel, reboot or bit of both? Nevertheless, I'm very open-minded for this movie! =)
Q: What are your plans for the X-Men franchise after First Class?
A: I am just focusing on this one at the moment.
Q: Is there less pressure producing this film as opposed to directing it (like X-Men 1 and 2), or are the pressures just different - with different things expected from you?
A: I can absolutely say from my standpoint that there is less pressure. There is no position with more pressure than directing. Hats off to Matthew.
Q: What was the deciding factor on changing the origin story of the X-Men instead of going with the comic book?
A: I felt that to earn the First Class title, it was important to go back to the formation of the X-Men and the beginnings of Xavier and Magneto's relationship.
Q: What about this period in history intrigued you?
A: It is a time of socio-political upheaval in the world. The height of the cold war period. The birth of the civil rights movement. And the birth time of the X-Men comic book.
Q: Was it a conscious decision by the team to pick and choose which parts of previous movies would be canon to this movie? (White Queen already appearing in other movies, etc.)
A: We did our best to maintain continuity with the other films. But as sometimes happens for the sake of telling the most compelling story possible, we made a few concessions.
Rose Byrne spoke MTV News.
"She works for the CIA in this prequel and gets involved in the whole mutant community as it were,"
"I'm on [the mutants'] side, so that's the main thing," she explained. "She kind of joins forces with [Charles Xavier and Erik Lehnsherr] to use mutants for good rather than evil."
"She really believes in them being able to coexist with humans," she added.
Wednesday, March 9, 2011
At the tail-end of November IGN headed to Pinewood Studios on the outskirts of London to meet the brand-new X-Men on the set of 2011's most eagerly anticipated blockbusters.
A reboot of sorts, X-Men: First Class is set in 1962 - against the back-drop of the Cold War - and introduces the world to Charles Xavier before he became Professor X, Erik Lehnsherr before he became Magneto, and a huge cast of mutant characters.
Produced by Bryan Singer and directed by Kick-Ass helmer Matthew Vaughn, First Class is an attempt to kick-start the franchise following the critical and commercial disappointment of X-Men: The Last Stand, and while there will certainly be nods to the recent trilogy, the plan is to launch First Class as very much a standalone film.
"This is going to be very different", explains Vaughn during a break between shots. "What I'm doing no one has done in superhero films. It's James Bond, it's a political thriller and it's an X-Men movie. It's not like the other X-Men movies which I think is important. I think they need to sort of take on a new... you know, what Batman Begins did for all those Batman movies? We bloody well need it. I'm not saying it's going to be as good as Batman Begins, but it's the same sort of attitude."
James McAvoy - best known for his work in Wanted and The Last King of Scotland - plays Charles Xavier, although his will be a very different take on the character to Patrick Stewart's previous incarnation.
"It's set in a completely different time and you are also taking these people to a much earlier point in their personal development as well as their physical and super development", explains McAvoy as he sips on a cup of tea in his trailer.
"What's fun is you get to figure out who they were. For me Charles is a monk. He's like a selfless, egoless, almost sexless force for the betterment of humanity and mortality. And getting to kind of go 'Well, he's got to be different from that' is quite fun because the complete opposite is an ego-fuelled, sexed-up, self-serving dude. And we've not gone too far from that... he's definitely got an ego and he's definitely got a sex drive as well."
Indeed, throughout the day there were hints regarding Xavier's luck on the lady front, both with a young mutant and with Rose Byrne's character - geneticist Dr. Moira MacTaggert.
On the other side of the fence, playing Charles' soon-to-be-nemesis, is 300 and Inglourious Basterds star Michael Fassbender.
Yet while Erik Lehnsherr could be seen as the villain of the piece, the actor says he was attracted by the part's ambiguity. "I don't really think in terms of good and evil. I think about what he wants to get and how motivated he is and what sort of morals he has got in place. It's like I see him very much as a Machiavellian character. The end justifies the means. And you know, he is in a situation where he is really right!"
And what of the relationship between the two characters, the most complex within the X-Men universe and the beating heart of First Class?
"Charles has this sort of empathy for everybody", continues McAvoy. "He has this connection to everybody because he can feel and see their experiences; their memories are his memories. But he wasn't looking for Erik; he didn't know he was there and he suddenly felt Erik and perhaps he has never connected to anybody quite the same way that he connected to Erik, you know? Maybe because of the nature of the horrible things that happened to him and the level of anger that he carries. That makes a big impression on him, not just because he feels empathy for him, but also because it's a big challenge to fix someone and to try to help someone like that."
Neither McAvoy nor Fassbender were shooting the day we visited, but they very kindly stopped by the set for lengthy interviews - to be published at a later date - in which they discussed Nazi-hunting, hair-loss, Murderball, superhero love triangles and Erik's hatred for Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon); Hellfire Club member and the real villain of the piece.
We did however get to witness Vaughn shooting an action-packed set-piece involving an assault on the MIB HQ.
The sequence in question revolved around a group of Shaw's men - led by the devlish Azael (Jason Flemyng) - laying waste to a team of security guards before attacking the compound's recreation room.
Inside, a clearly terrified group of young mutants panic, with their number including Raven (Jennifer Lawrence), Hank (Nicholas Hoult), Angel (Zoe Kravitz), Darwin (Edi Gathegi), Alex (Lucas Till) and Cassidy (Caleb Landry Jones). We grabbed face time with each and every one of them in between shots, which will form our forthcoming 'Mutants of X-Men: First Class' piece.
So with that being saved for a later date, what can we tell you now? Well it looks like X-Men: First Class will be an utterly original take on the superhero genre, setting it apart in a summer chock-full of masked men.
The 1960s setting will ensure that the movie is smothered in cool, from the soundtrack to the costumes to the locations, while a multitude of Bond-like gadgets, vehicles and villainous lairs will doubtless be a welcome addition to the franchise.
In setting the story against the back-drop of real-life historical events - most notably the Cuban Missile Crisis and the Civil Rights movement - First Class is grounded in reality, meaning that the stakes will be higher than in previous movies.
And with a cast that combines the cream of Hollywood's young acting talent with established stars like McAvoy, Fassbender and Bacon, Vaughn may just have assembled the most exciting ensemble of 2011.
Will that be enough to defeat the likes of Thor, Captain America and the Green Lantern at the global box office? Only time will tell, but in the meantime we'll be posting interviews with everyone involved in X-Men: First Class - including an exclusive one-on-one with the film's producer Bryan Singer - right up until the film's release at the end of May.
Tuesday, March 8, 2011
Michael Fassbender interviewed with the A.V. Club.
AVC: You were also in 300, and now you’re playing Magneto in X-Men: First Class, which has to require a high degree of stylization. You have to create a character who can wear that costume.
MF: You have to go for it. If you’re caught in a middle ground, you’re lost. Like you say, if you put on a helmet, you kind of have to go for it. [Laughs.] That’s just part of those sort of fantasy things. If you’re not going to go for it, then you can’t expect the audience to go along with you. So you just have to commit to it.
AVC: It seems like one reason British actors so often get cast in those sorts of roles is that they tend to come from a more technically oriented background. Thinking about what Magneto’s motivation is in a given scene might not get you that far.
MF: Well, no, the nuts and bolts remain the same. Otherwise, you are just doing a cardboard cutout. Definitely the character has got to be coming from somewhere and has to want to go somewhere, and all the characters have an objective, and then it just depends on how determined they are to get that objective, and what sort of moral things they’re willing to bend, and within that, that’s where you get the interesting things. With Magneto, there is a very specific history that’s happened to him in the comic books, which is pretty heavy. So you use all of that, and then their moral standpoint is formed from their history and their environment. That’s the interesting thing about Magneto. The way we were looking at it was that Charles [Xavier, a.k.a. Professor X] is like Martin Luther King and Magneto is more Malcolm X.
AVC: As far as the characters in X-Men go, Magneto has the most compelling backstory by far. He’s a Holocaust survivor, which makes his fear of persecution perfectly justifiable.
MF: Human beings, he hasn’t had a very good relationship with them, and doesn’t have a lot of faith or any trust in them. That’s the difference between him and Charles. Charles has hope in human beings, and Magneto thinks they’re just standing in the way of evolution. They’re going to wipe us out if we don’t wipe them out.
AVC: On a set like that, where there’s so much more going on technically, in terms of green-screen and CG, do you concern yourselves with those aspects, or let that be the director’s business, and try and concentrate on what you’re doing on the set?
MF: Yeah, that’s it, really. Everybody’s got their department to look after, and hopefully everybody’s doing that. I’ll be more, in terms of the script, trying to work out the different beats of the relationship with Charles, so James [McAvoy] and I sat down a lot with Matthew [Vaughn, director] and made sure that was tight. In terms of green-screen, it’s always great to learn new stuff, and to get technically more proficient as well. I had a lot of experience with the green screen, or blue screen, on 300 as well, so that was a good learning experience.