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
Friday, April 29, 2011
ComicBookMovies: In the past you have done fantastic and fictional characters. What drives you to do this? Why did you make the choice to do this one?
Jason Flemyng: To be honest, it was Matt - whether I'm the Batman or a ballerina, when he calls, I run!
ComicBookMovies: Was it fun to play the role and what challenges where there?
Jason Flemyng: The fun was in the fighting - I knew very little of it would be seen, but we did 8 weeks of sword and fight training. We could have shot a whole 90 mins of Azazel battles!
ComicBookMovies: We all know that Azazel of the comics becomes Nightcrawler's father. Is this touched upon in the film?
Jason Flemyng: Not yet, hope they get them together in the next one, love Alan.
ComicBookMovies: When figuring out your role, did you look at Alan Cumming's performance to thread a DNA to your performance as his father?
Jason Flemyng: Alan is a friend, we were at the RSC together. I think my boy turned out pretty good, mutants should be free to love who they choose, as long as it causes no harm!
ComicBookMovies: How much focus will be put on the romance between Azazel and Mystique?
Jason Flemyng: None. Unfortunately she only had eyes for Beast.
ComicBookMovies: Is your character a mutant or a demon like in the comic books?
Jason Flemyng: He's a mutant - looks like a demon, but he's pure mutant!
ComicBookMovies: What the best bit about your character?
Jason Flemyng: I have never had a tail before, can't beat having a tail. It's not in the movie, but you can smash anyone on the Xbox when you have two hands and a tail. It's also possible to make tea and play chess at the same time.
ComicBookMovies: Having appeared in a good few of Matthew Vaughn movies, would it be fair to say you are his 'good luck charm'? And bearing that in mind, how has this role differed from your experience filming his other movies?
Jason Flemyng: He has a great core of actors and crew, we all watch out for each other, and speak shorthand amongst ourselves. We watch Matt's back, no one f*cks with our governor! I'm not naturally very nomadic, so I love working with my friends.
ComicBookMovies: Now you play Azazel, a character who gets a few negative reviews in the comic book world, I wondered if you maybe read anything to keep to the character or if you brought something entirely new to the role to make him more likeable?
Jason Flemyng: My natural hair color is red, so I'm used to dodgy reviews! It's hard to make a mark in these movies, there are so many characters, but I think the bits I've got come across pretty well!
ComicBookMovies: I'm a big fan of your work, the shots of you in the First Class trailer looked awesome. Did you do any research and training for your character when you got the role of Azazel?
Jason Flemyng: Thanks, mate! Nope, the make-up and fight training kind of took care of the character! Oh, and we made him Russian, just, well...it's the Cold War, and I'm a bit of an old lefty and it drives Matt mad!
ComicBookMovies: How was the look for your character done in the movie? Was it all CGI? Or was it make-up?
Jason Flemyng: Make-up 4 hours on, 30 mins off, tail CGI!!
ComicBookMovies: If you could teleport anywhere... where would it be?
Jason Flemyng: Right..... I seem to travel the world every week, I would LOVE to be able to teleport home to my wife every night and teleport to whatever country I'm in every morning!! I'm sooo lucky to work so much, (real secret is I'm cheap!) but I am kinda over flying long haul weekly!
IGN: Have you always been a fan of the X-Men?
Lucas Till: Well I never read any of the comics but I grew up on the animated series when I was a little kid - I guess it came out in 1992. So I've always been an X-Men fan.
IGN: Can you tell us a little about who you play in the movie?
Till: Alex Summers, and his superhero name I guess is Havok. I'm Cyclops' younger brother so I can shoot plasma beams out of my entire body instead of just optic beams.
IGN: So is Alex in control of his power?
Till: Just like Scott can't control his power without glasses or a visor on, historically Alex has never been able to control his power either, so it's always been outbursts with a lack of control. In the comics he has a suit that absorbs excess energy but it was more like a meter that would tell him how much power he has, whereas in this one I have something that channels it because I can't control it myself. So I have a chest-piece that focuses the ray so I don't blow my team-mates up.
IGN: Does your power preclude you from having to do any fighting?
Till: Exactly, yeah. They gave us a lot of comics for research and there's actually one comic where Alex is talking about being nothing without his power, because once he drains the power, it's gone, that's it.
IGN: So it's finite?
Till: I could give you the statistic, but it takes like half a day to recharge if he drains it all.
IGN: Do you get a uniform?
Till: Yup. I don't know how much I can say about it, but it's cool, a lot of time and effort has been put into making them and testing them. Three months of testing these things out and it's pretty awesome.
IGN: How has it been working on a film of this scale?
Till: It's been incredible - there's so much money in this, but what I like about it is that you can tell that it's expensive. That's sounds wrong as you should appreciate cinema for what it should be, for the art, but screw that dude - I love watching Chris Nolan movies and James Cameron movies, first of all because I like them, and second of all because they look expensive and like they've really put something into it. And this is one of those movies. This looks like one of those movies that I'd want to be in when I was a little kid.
IGN: Does director Matthew Vaughn bring a British sensibility to the project?
Till: He's definitely got a different style. He surrounds himself with people who know exactly what they are doing. And it's awesome to work with a cool team of people who are going to make it look good. And I find myself telling him things that we can't do in the movie with a PG-13-rating, to which he says [adopts English accent] 'Ah that's weird, stupid American films.'
MTV: Have you gotten a sense yet about how passionate people are about comic book properties like "X-Men"?
Zoe Kravitz: Yes, it's crazy! I've never been into comic books, so I was never in that world. When the trailer came out, I looked at it on YouTube and there were pages and pages and pages of comments. People were getting heated. And all the blogs — it's crazy! This is really near and dear to a lot of people, so I hope we don't disappoint them!
MTV: Well, the reaction so far has been very positive, but was there that added pressure on set to get it right, based on how intense the fanbase is?
Kravitz: When we were filming it, we didn't have that sort of energy. We were just focused on what we were doing. We tried to focus on the drama in the material and approach everything as actors. Now that we're done, we're seeing that people are reacting strongly to what they've seen.
MTV: What was your audition process like?
Kravitz: I was actually one of the last people cast. It happened really quickly. They were being really secretive about the script and the characters that were going to be in the film, so I didn't even know who I was auditioning for. I didn't think I had a shot. I didn't even take it seriously. It wasn't with [director] Matthew [Vaughn]. It was with the casting director in New York. I got the call at the last minute and I'd gone out the night before and I was hungover and tired and not the prepared person that I usually am. I was wearing a big hat and totally not being a sexy "X-Men" character. I went in and had a good time with it. They called back and said, "Matthew really responded to your tape, but can you come back and maybe wear something a little more sexy?" I didn't know until later the character was a go-go dancer. I went back in and in the next two weeks, I was on plane to London.
MTV: So you didn't have to strap on the insect wings?
Kravitz: Nope! They flew me out and there was a full month of preproduction of making decisions about the wings — and putting them on — and the different shapes and colors. And there was a lot of training. I did do a lot of wire work, so I had to get pretty strong.
MTV: Angel isn't one of these super well-known characters, but she's got a cool backstory where she runs away from home and discovers her mutation. Do we get any of those origins in the movie?
Kravitz: She has such a cool background, but that is not in the film. You meet her later when they're recruiting these mutants to form the first group of X-Men. But it was really helpful for me to know all that information to form the character. But who knows what will happen in the future. Hopefully, they'll continue with her.
MTV: What's going on with that shot of you, James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender in the trailer? You've got your top off in some kind of red, velvet-covered room.
Kravitz: It's really funny. They come to find me, knowing about my mutation, and I'm working at a go-go club. I don't know what they're there for, so I take them in back for a private dance and then we show each other our powers.
MTV News: Are the wings totally CGI?
Kravitz: Yeah. The tattoos are really there and they make them come out of the tattoos with CGI.
MTV:Was there was one stunt or scene that was particularly difficult or that you're proud of?
Kravitz: I never got hurt, so nothing was too scary. There is this big scene on the beach at the end, and they shot it in Georgia. They had me wired up and really high in the air and zooming around the beach. It was really cold and I was wearing these leather shorts and this backless top. I was up there for a week, zooming around and freezing my ass off. And then there was this one stunt I didn't get to do. They hung my stunt double out of this helicopter over the ocean. I was like, "Why can I do that?" And they were like, "Um, no."
Wednesday, April 20, 2011
Tuesday, April 19, 2011
Comicus Interview with Alex Gonzalez:
Comicus: How did you get the role? And How Long Have You Been taking part to the shootings?
Alex Gonzalez: I did an audition in London, and few days later I had an interview with Matthew Vaughn. Although my character is not one of the protagonists, I spent the whole time in the movie locations, that is four months in London, three weeks in Georgia and a couple of months in LA.
Comicus: Does the movie character of Riptide have something in common with the comics background characters (Marauders, Sinister, etc.) or has he been made over completely?
Alex Gonzalez: We are not going to see Riptide's background in the movie, nevertheless it was very useful for me as an actor. Regarding His Powers, Almost everything like he does in the comic, Basically he can control the wind.
Comicus: What kind of technologies did you use to realize his powers? Were They All digital effects or did you use traditional visual effects too?
Alex Gonzalez: A big part of the powers was made with visual effects, but also with traditional ones. For example, when I create the tornado, you will see myself spinning very fast on some sort of table machine (wich is very dizzy).
Comicus: Can you tell us if the director Matthew Vaughn invited you to make Any reference to Some stories In Particular That Came Out on the "X-Men" series regular?
Alex Gonzalez: Not really. As in the comic, he is a villain and Belongs to the Marauders.
Lucas Till started his acting career in 2003, at the age of 13. His best known role to date is that of Travis Brody in the Hannah Montana movie. In X-Men First Class, he plays Alexander Summers, better known as Havok.
Bleeding Cool: Are you, or have you ever been, a comic book reader?
Lucas Till: Only recently, actually. Here and there, but I never got into any of the series when I was younger. For this movie, Fox gave us, each of us, whole books of all our characters’ comics to read. I’ve loved it, but, you know, the animated series were out there toon I was two years old, so I’ve been watching the animated series like Spider-Man and Batman, all those things, all famous at the time, a little like the comics, only I had the TV series to watch.
BC: And did you have any favourite superhero, or has Havok become your favourite superhero?
Till: I’d say Batman is, but Havok is also somewhat. I didn’t really know the character very well, now that I think about it.
BC: How did you prepare to become a mutant superhero? How did you train?
Till: By playing a lot of video games. (laughs) What I did, actually, I had a trainer, Ed Chow, we worked out every day in the gym, working out.
BC: And how did you prepare for the time period? I mean, the sixties are a period that old fogeys like myself are likely to recognize. We remember the attitudes of the times. How did you prepare for that?
Till: Oh, wow. Man. Say, do you know of this website called Pandora? It’s all this weird sixties music. (laughs) But seriously, that sixties stuff, that was all in the script.
BC: There’s one scene in the trailer that looks fairly awesome. The one where Havok stands there, blasting away with his full power. Looks awesome on the screen.
Till: (laughs) Yeah, right. It’s awesome. I mean, it’s such a cool thing to have, you know. This thing like shooting a laser out of your body. It’s what all the kids dream of, to be a character in one of those movies, and whatever, and I actually get to be one.
BC: How do you get into the mood for something like that? I mean, when you’re shooting that, you’re probably just standing there, striking a pose and counting the seconds for the special effects people.
Till: Yeah. That’s exactly it. (laughs)
BC: I imagine that feels a bit silly, doesn’t it?
Till: Oh yeah, absolutely. It feels ridiculous. You know, you get into your space where you’re, like, oh, everyone’s here, but they’re all doing their jobs, so they are not paying attention to you, you’re doing exactly that on the shoot. But when you’re doing a rehearsal or something? And it’s like, can you do that action for me? And you’re sitting there in a constipated position or something. Oh my god, it feels ridiculous. It’s also a… humbling experience as well. (laughs) It’s not good for the ego if you have to show up and do that every day. (laughs)
BC: This isn’t your first big effects movie, right? After Battle Los Angeles…?
BC: You’re drifting into that type of filmmaking now?
Till: Yeah. It was awesome. We went to boot camp, we’d show up from eight in the morning, and we’d shoot machine guns for four hours. It was really insane. There were explosions all around, it was cool.
BC: How was working with these comic-book-familiar actors? Matthew Vaughn did Kick-Ass, James MacAvoy did Wanted, Michael Fassbender was in 300, so they all had comic book experience. Did it help, having these guys to go to?
Till: I’m not sure that it mattered that they were comic book familiar. You can’t play a movie like that as if you’re in a comic book. But it was awesome to have people who’ve had that much experience in general.
BC: How was Matthew Vaughn as a director? Demanding or easy-going?
Till: He’s sort of easy-going, but… He’ll tell you when you’re doing something wrong. Also, he’s got a funny sense of humor.
BC: Speaking of “funny sense of humor…” If you had to choose – we all know which side Havok is on in the comics – but if you had to choose, which side would you prefer: Charles or Erik?
Till: Ah. Havok is a real good guy. About being on, completely on one side, uhm… I, as a selfish, you know, fanboy, I’d just wanna be on Magneto’s side, ‘cause he gets to do all the fun. As a human being, of course, I’d go with Xavier, because you have a conscience, and Magneto does all that killing. It’s a tough decision, but I’d definitely go with Xavier.
BC: How much of Havok is in you? He’s something of a conflicted but stand-up guy. How much of that is in you? Or the other way around, how much did you influence Havok?
Till: Oh, well, I was probably a little bit homesick and frustrated (heh) for a while there, so you’ll see how I come across as Havok. He’s a character who is frustrated because he has no control over the power that he has. That’s where I find the connection. He’s also someone who wants to help and do something. You know, fight for something, to do good. So it’s like, he feels guilty that he’s doing the things he’s doing, but he also feels guilty that kind of likes the style. That’s what I’m trying to reach for.
BC: How was the interplay between, let’s call you as a group, Xavier’s students? How did you get along with each other?
Till: That went really well. We were all very, very different. And we were, all of us, very fun to work with. I mean, we were the youngest, we were hanging out because we were all we had, especially the Americans. It was all we could do, so we said, let’s spend as much time as we can around each other. We all gelled very well.
BC: Would you return to the role if you were asked?
Till: In a second! Of course!
BC: It’s being said that the movie is trying for less of a superhero feel and more of a James Bond feel. How did that come across to you?
Till: It’s something different than a superhero movie, but still cool. I think that’ll be a welcome thing. You have so many of these things coming out, Captain America and Thor. So you need to separate the superhero movies from the superhero movies. So you need to give it a different feel. I have always loved new things, so… I think that’s a great comparison. It’s not totally accurate, but I think it’s totally fine.
BC: Considering that you’ve been all over the place, role-wise… You’ve done teen comedies, teen romances, with Battle LA you did big effects-action, you’ve been on TV and the big screen… Which do you like better?
Till: It’s probably action movies. Because never mind how good a time you have on anything else… I mean, I can be totally happy on a romantic comedy or absolutely fulfilling stuff as an actor or a romance that obviously plays on my better instincts. But action is perpetually rewarding. There’s always doing something. Even if you don’t say anything, you shoot something or getting blown up, firing guns… It’s an incredible thing. It doesn’t feel like, dude, we gotta work, you stand around doing a scene with somebody. It’s something different. That’s my favourite. Action.
IGN: How did you get involved with an X-Men movie?
Michael Fassbender: [Director] Matthew [Vaughn] saw me in an audition for one of his other films and just thought that I would be right for this. So I spoke to him and he sent over the script, all top secret - somebody comes with it, waits, you read it in a couple of hours or however long it takes and then they go back with the script. So I read it and really liked it and then came over here and did a screen test and tried to convince the producers. Then we sort of went from there.
IGN: What's the appeal of the First Class?
Fassbender: First of all what was attractive to me was Matthew and [screenwriter] Jane Goldman and then when I read the script and got the breakdown of Magneto's history - because I didn't really know anything about the X-Men - I was like 'OK, this is really interesting.' So there were all sorts of combining factors which made me think that this is going to be interesting work.
IGN: So who is Erik Lehnsherr?
Fassbender: At the start of the movie we get introduced to him as a boy, who is played by Bill Milner, who is a fantastic actor. I've watched a little bit of what he did and it's great. So you start in the concentration camps with him and then it sort of jump-cuts to 20 years later. It's the early 1960s and Erik is a grown man. And he's on a quest to get Sebastian Shaw.
IGN: Why is he after Shaw?
Fassbender: Shaw had him in these concentration camps and as we know, the Nazis were doing lots of experimentation - all sorts of things, like measuring skull and brain size and running experiments on human beings. So Shaw is trying to unleash this power in him - he's recognized that he can manipulate metal and so we catch up with Erik on a quest to hunt him down.
IGN: Is he a good guy or a bad guy at this point?
Fassbender: I don't really think in those terms to be honest - 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 as very much a Machiavellian character - the ends justify the means. And he is in a situation where he is right, really, you know? It's like homosapiens vs. Neanderthal and the mutants are the new version. Everything he says is right. The history of the human race is that we are pretty much destroying everything, including ourselves. So he is saying that this is an innately destructive and self-destructive race, and mutants are the way forward. So there is sense to what he is saying.
IGN: Did you watch Ian McKellen's performances as Magneto in the previous films and work back from there?
Fassbender: Pretty much. I watched and got a flavour and I liked very much what he did, but I decided to paint a new canvas. So I did my homework and preparation and you want to respect what someone else has done, especially because the fan base really liked what Ian McKellen has done with it. But while I could have gone and studied him as a young man and brought that to the performance, I don't think Matthew is very interested in that. So I'm just going my own way and working with whatever is in the comic books and the script.
IGN: Are you ready to be fully exposed to that rabid fan base?
Fassbender: Yes! I didn't really ever read any comics when I was a kid. Probably Beano and Dandy and stuff like that, but I was never an avid comic book collector. I never spent my pocket money every weekend at the comic book store. So I'm not really aware of that world. But with 300 I went to Comic-Con and I really like the fans because they are enthusiastic about their field, you know? They love it and they are very vocal with their support and their enthusiasm is uninhibited. I love that at Comic-Con everyone is wandering around in their Yoda outfits and you look like the square if you don't go dressed in something. It's quite cool. You get Cannes and all these fantastic film festivals around the world, but they belong to the people of the industry, whereas Comic-Con belongs to the fans. It's their gathering and we are just there as guests, which is cool.
IGN: James McAvoy was talking about Charles and Erik being like Martin Luther King and Malcolm X in their approach to the problem of humans and mutants living side-by-side - would you agree with that?
Fassbender: If that's what he said, then yeah, I like it. That sounds good. It's actually a good way to summarise it. But also, I think that Charles is just horny, and just trying to get laid. Throughout the film. He's like 'human beings are cool, give them a chance' because he just wants to have human being sex. He doesn't want to have mutant sex. Whereas Eric really gets off on mutant sex.
IGN: So is it fun working on a period superhero movie?
Fassbender: Yeah - the way Matthew is shooting, you get a sense of the sixties. And the beautiful way it is being lit has a sixties sort of feel to it. And the clothes of course. It's great to dive into an actual era and to bring that to the superhero world of 2010. Sort of retro superhero.
IGN: Was there a scene when you got the script that you were particularly excited to shoot?
Fassbender: For sure, but I don't want to give too much of the story away. There were two scenes. One's fairly early in the film, when you are introduced to him and he's on this sort of hunt. He's on a trail blaze of Nazi killing. He's trying to tighten the screws to pinpoint where Shaw is.
IGN: So is there any romance for Erik in this film?
Fassbender: You know, there are seeds of something there, but once again, he is so driven. He's blinkered. It's like, there is Shaw in his sights, and that is all he is really going for.
IGN: So what should we expect from Kevin Bacon as Shaw?
Fassbender: You've got an actor who finds the truth in everything he does and has just a wealth of experience. I don't know how many - 70-something films that he's done, you know? It's great to see that sort of person has survived in the business for so long and is really nice and easy to talk to and just wants to get the job done. Trying to find the truth in the scenes. Because that's the thing - it is a fantastical world but you want the illusion, the bubble, to remain intact as much as it can. I don't know if I'm explaining myself very well, but everything in the story is there for a reason. A component is not just there as filler - each thing is there to drive the next thing and interlink to maybe three scenes later. It's just trying to find those things within a scene... we work through each scene and figure out if there are any weak points or things that we really like and need to accentuate. And with the relationship between Charles and Erik - how do you get the best juices out of that relationship?
IGN: Do you have a similar teacher/pupil relationship with the younger mutants as Charles does?
Fassbender: That is mainly Charles's area. He is a real giver, and we toyed around that Charles has maybe quite a big ego to think that he is worthy to do this, with Cerebro [X-Men device which detects other mutants]. Maybe these mutants don't want to be found. It's quite an assumption that they do want to be uncovered and that he has the strength to lead them and teach them.
IGN: What does Erik think of this?
Fassbender: I think he's also very happy to find out that there are other mutants out there. Again, the cogs are working in the back of his head. Like 'I do eventually need to get my army together. There are other mutants that can help me now.' Because I think his idea changes from what starts off as being a mission to get one man into a bigger plan to actually rid the earth of human beings and take over.
IGN: So would you like to continue to tell Erik's story in future films?
Fassbender: At the moment I am just aware that there could be number two and three. I guess it depends on how much money number one makes. But if that does happen, I definitely would like to get in at the ground level to discuss things and get together with the writers. I really enjoy that.
IGN: So what will set this film apart from all the other superhero movies hitting this summer?
Fassbender: It's going to be the best. What else is out there?
IGN: Well you've got Captain America and Green Lantern.
Fassbender: Yeah, forget both of them... I'm just kidding. I mean, I don't really know either of those worlds. But like you said, it's got the Civil Rights element. The idea of mutants and humans and this element of fear, realising 'Sh*t, we'd better wipe them out before they wipe us out.' There is a lot of interesting things about the human condition and human behaviour to be explored with X-Men, and I don't know if you can find that in either of those two other films.
Matthew Vaughn speaking to Total Film says:
“First Class is similar to Batman Begins, where you have the fun of introducing the characters and getting to know them, but that takes time. But with the second one you can just get on with it and have a rollicking good time. That’s the main difference between Begins and The Dark Knight.”While First Class takes place in 1962, Vaughn tells TotalFilm to expect a more 50s-aesthetic since it takes about five years for a decade to find its own style. So where would Vaughn like a sequel to pick up?
“The fun thing about this for me would be doing [a sequel] in the latter part of the decade, where you’ve got The Stones, The Beatles, Flower Power…”
Colin Firth was very nearly cast as the big bad in the upcoming X-Men: First Class.
That’s according to director Matthew Vaughn, who says the King’s Speech Oscar winner was on an exceedingly short shortlist to play megalomaniac Sebastian Shaw.
“There were only two people I wanted for Shaw,” reveals the Kick-Ass auteur, talking exclusively to Total Film. “It was between Colin Firth and Kevin Bacon.
“The reason I thought Firth would be interesting was purely because you’ve never seen him play a villain and I think he would’ve done something really special with it.
“So I said [to the studio] if you’re willing to go with a European actor, I want Firth – and if it has to be American, I want Bacon because I think both those guys are such great actors.”
In the end, of course, the role went to Bacon, who co-starred with Firth in showbiz thriller Where The Truth Lies.
“Kevin Bacon is one of this film’s greatest assets,” says James McAvoy (aka the young Professor X) “There’s a Bond villain aspect to his performance, all the trappings are there, but he doesn’t camp it up.”
Saturday, April 9, 2011
Edi Gathegi And Caleb Landry Jones on Facebook:
Jones admitted that he thought his audition was “absolutely terrible,” though others must not have thought so.
When asked what makes Banshee such a cool character, he replied, “His naively destructive personality sprinkled with wit.”
Over in his interview, Gathegi was asked if he had more freedom to portray his character because Darwin is relatively new. “I think everyone in the cast has a certain responsibility to maintain the integrity of the characters they are portraying as seen in the comics,” he answered. “With that said, we are actors, human beings, portraying these characters, so inevitably we have to make the characters our own. Bring them to life in our own unique way. Hopefully we strike a happy medium of what's expected, and a surprise unique personal take to really make our characters come to life on the screen as live action.”
Gathegi also joked about wanting to date Mystique and have “blue reactive adaptive rug rats.” Asked if he was a fan of Darwin since a young age, Gathegi said, “D-money wasn't around when I was a young buck. But if he were you better believe he would have been my favorite. It was all about Wolverine when I was younger. I'm totally on the Darwin bandwagon now. His possibilities are literally endless. Limitless.”
Jennifer Lawrence talks to TotalFilm:
“The Mystique we know from the original X-Men is a confident, strong, powerful woman", she told us.
“But in this film she’s a kind of insecure girl, who’s discovering herself, her sexuality and her opinion of things.”
We’ll also see Mystique stray from Charles Xavier’s flock to join forces with Magneto: “It starts as a little crush [on Magneto] but then I start to like his view of the world.”
Lawrence has also been familiarising herself with Mystique by getting immersed in the character’s comic-book backstory (“I’m still reading it…”) and studying Rebecca Romijn’s performance in the previous X-movies to get the physicality down: “She has a very specific walk!”
Lawrence also trained for two hours a day for five months, before learning that her stunt double would be handling a lot of the rough stuff: “I was like, ‘Grrr!’ But I guess it meant less time wearing the make-up, so I wasn’t too disappointed.”
Tuesday, April 5, 2011
Oliver Platt and Rose Byrne interviewed on Facebook:
*SPOILERS* *SPOILERS* *SPOILERS* *SPOILERS* *SPOILERS* *SPOILERS*
*SPOILERS* *SPOILERS* *SPOILERS* *SPOILERS* *SPOILERS* *SPOILERS*
*SPOILERS* *SPOILERS* *SPOILERS* *SPOILERS* *SPOILERS* *SPOILERS*
*SPOILERS* *SPOILERS* *SPOILERS* *SPOILERS* *SPOILERS* *SPOILERS*
*SPOILERS* *SPOILERS* *SPOILERS* *SPOILERS* *SPOILERS* *SPOILERS*
Oliver Platt said: "The Man In Black runs a super-secret division of the CIA devoted to investigating the application of mental telepathy and paranormal power in military defense. He has long been a laughing stock of the Agency because of this. His department is known as Division X."
"When Charles and Mystique become ensnared with the Agency, the Man in Black diverts them to his division with a deft bureaucratic sleight of hand. Erik soon joins them and The X-Men flourish under MIB's protection."
Rose Byrne plays Dr Moira MacTaggert and says we won't be hearing MacTaggert's Scottish accent either: "No, [director] Matthew Vaughn was adamant she be American - despite James McAvoy's slight disappointment as he is Scottish."
But she did do her homework on the character's comic backstory and also on the period in which the film's story takes place: "I researched the Cold War, the Cuban Missile Crisis and the CIA in 1962 as this is when the film is set. Production organised a brilliant X-Men expert to come and talk to us when we wanted. He came with a folder 20 pounds heavy with every comic and known fact on Moira McTaggert collated so I devoured that as well."
In a separate chat, Byrne told The Playlist a little more about her character: "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."
IGN interviews James McAvoy:
*SPOILERS* *SPOILERS* *SPOILERS* *SPOILERS* *SPOILERS*
*SPOILERS* *SPOILERS* *SPOILERS* *SPOILERS* *SPOILERS*
*SPOILERS* *SPOILERS* *SPOILERS* *SPOILERS* *SPOILERS*
*SPOILERS* *SPOILERS* *SPOILERS* *SPOILERS* *SPOILERS*
*SPOILERS* *SPOILERS* *SPOILERS* *SPOILERS* *SPOILERS*
IGN: So James, were you into the X-Men comics as a kid?
James McAvoy: To be honest with you, I wasn't. Only because we didn't really have comic books when I was growing up. I don't know if it was just my little life that didn't have comic books, but none of my mates were into them, you know? I never even thought to seek them out or anything. But, I was a huge fan of the cartoon from the age of 10 upwards which we got on Saturday mornings on Going Live. My favourite character was Gambit. So it's quite nice to be involved in X-Men actually, and then also being a fan of the first movies as well, it's great. But also just the best thing really is going back in time.
It's not really a reboot this; it is a prequel really so we don't get that thing where you go, 'Right, we're just going to make it really dark and deep and we're going to really reapproach and redefine the way we approach a film.' But, you have set it 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. What's fun is you get to figure out who were they in the other films. For me, Charles Xavier 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, 'Alright, well he's got to be different from that.' It's quite fun because the complete opposite of that is an ego-fuelled, sexed up self-serving dude. And not going too far with it, but he's definitely got an ego and he's definitely got a sex drive as well.
IGN: Would you say he's a cad?
McAvoy: Yeah, he's a little bit of a cad. It's quite nice to play that because throughout the course of this movie the characters are actually... it's quite interesting, but if we do a two and a three -- if this one makes any money and we do get to do more -- then you've got a really nice start. Not only is he newly having to deal with the fact he no longer can walk, but whether he's to challenge Magneto or not is a big deal.
IGN: So does that scene with his legs happen in the film?
McAvoy: Yeah, it does. We see why he can no longer walk and why he is in a wheelchair. And hopefully we'll find out why he lost his hair as well. In the comics he loses his hair when he sort of gains or discovers his powers. But obviously that is not the way they wanted to go in this case.
IGN: Were you wondering what you would look like with a shaved head?
McAvoy: Yeah, I shaved it not that long ago, so when I started this my hair was particularly short and they wanted me with long hair. It was one of the only studio notes I got, they wanted me to have hair. So we had a lot of extensions for the first month. But yeah, I was kind of up for shaving my head. The only thing with shaving your head, there is just so much make-up that has to go onto it and so much CG-ing ultimately and dialling down with lighting tones and stuff, because basically if you shave your head you just look like a guy who shaved his head; you don't look like a guy who is actually bald.
IGN: So did you plough through the comics when you got the part?
McAvoy: It was honestly based on the script because we do mess with a lot of the chronology. There is a lot of -- even with the other movies -- there are inconsistencies. So where I took it from was the script but also First Class, the comic as well. But again, it is utterly different from the comic. So you have to go on the script. And we started working on the script when we came on board. We didn't have much prep time on this because it was a quick sort of, 'Let's get it going and get it out there quick.' But Matthew is very keen to, if we have two minutes, to use that two minutes to make it better. And also there's a lot of character development in this film, it's not just a kind of superhero action movie.
It's what you want from all your decent character-driven superhero movies or action movies these days; you want to get character development and real investigation. We've got a lot of that and a lot of it comes from the fact that all these guys have no idea that there is such a thing as the mutant race and that it's happened to anybody else other than themselves. I've met Raven when I was 12 in this film, but other than that we could be the only two freaks out there, you know? I think there is a lot of isolation. So a lot of the character development comes out of realizing that you are not alone and communicating with people for the first time about what you are going through because they have a shared experience.
IGN: Bryan Singer's X-Men films are very much about prejudice and the mutants being an underclass. Does this film pre-date that?
McAvoy: Yes. Anybody who has any kind of mutant power in them is leading a very secretive and sometimes messed up life. I don't think there is the sense yet that they are appreciated as the underclass or feared yet, but we do get to that stage where we all start to realize that: OK, there is a group of us, and we go through our sort of period of fraternity time where we are all having a great time because we realize we are not alone and suddenly we are making connections for the first time in our lives. Then things get serious and ultimately we realize that it is not just going to be a case of, 'We've got these great powers, aren't we a great addition to the Planet Earth?' There is a lot of fear attached to it and that ultimately sort of explains the split between Erik and Charles, because one is an optimistic and one is sort of a fatalist really, or a realist maybe you could argue.
IGN: How much of the history and the politics of the time is touched upon in this film? Are you involved in world events or are they happening in the background?
McAvoy: Yeah, they're huge. I mean the Cold War plays a big part in it and the manipulation of history is quite a nice thing. So we sort of attach ourselves to history really closely in quite a strong way, but then we also mess with history quite a lot and re-write it a little bit. We don't change the outcome of any world events, but the explanation and the kind of machine behind those world events we kind of play off the mutants, which is great. And I think that's kind of fun. A lot of kids who are watching these films don't know much about 1962, but people my age and people in their 20s, you hope they will have some inkling of the kind of paranoia of the Cold War and the touch-and-go nature of the stability of the world. That for me helps ground it a little bit. You know, we can talk about people who can fly, people who can do this and do that and shoot energy out of their chest or spit acid or change into other people or whatever. That's all fantastical, but to base it in something that actually happened then makes a big difference.
IGN: Is there any kind of comparison to be made between Charles/Erik and Martin Luther King/Malcolm X in terms of a peaceful approach versus the more violent approach?
McAvoy: I think so. I think that is something that is really strong in the X-Men dynamic between these two men who both want the same thing really. Well, they don't both want the same thing actually. A lot of the time... in the comic books, Erik comes and goes; he goes back and forward really in what he believes and how he is going to achieve it. And in this film it's sort of like meeting them at a point where they are still finding out who they are and you are still seeing some of the events that shaped them, not through their early life, but some of the key events in the sort of equal rights or civil rights struggle that helped shape them. But that is something that Michael [Fassbender, who plays Erik] and I have talked about a hell of a lot -- that dynamic. And you know, you can't go for it too much because you don't want to... in no way would you ever want to sort of trivialize the civil rights movement, but it is just sort of abundantly transferrable really. You know? You've got to try and look at how the rest of the world reacted to that and it really informs how the rest of the world reacts to the mutant struggle in this film.
IGN: At a certain point in the previous films, Xavier and Magneto are basically the good guy and the bad guy; it's pretty black and white. Is there more of a grey area here?
McAvoy: Yes, I think so. Erik definitely is not a force for bad. What he is doing is a good thing. That's arguable. You can argue that killing people is never a good thing, but he's killing some pretty bad people that did some terrible things to him. He is definitely a lot more sympathetic anyway, whether he's doing bad things or good things. You know, the first time we see him as an adult he is chasing Nazis. You know why he's doing it and I don't think even if you are a pacifist, even if you don't believe in carrying guns, you can understand and empathize with exactly what he's going through. Where that takes him in the film is something that hopefully we would all fear because he takes quite an extreme approach. Whether he has been harbouring that for the entire story or not or whether that is something that is growing from a particular event or particular moment in the film is something that I'm unclear on actually.
But, I think that Professor X senses that and being the optimist that he is, believes that he can be helped, that he can be sort of manipulated and manoeuvred away from the dark side of human nature, you know? And that plays into Charles' ego as well. I think he wants to be the leader; he wants to be in charge of all these people. He wants it to be a family and he wants to be the figurehead of it and he thinks he can fix everyone because he has this huge, amazing superpower, but basically it's just amplified empathy. I think he thinks he can understand and fix everybody, which is ultimately wrong and proves the undoing for him and Erik.
IGN: Does that give him a little bit of a God complex?
McAvoy: I think so, definitely. Again, there is something that hopefully we can have a lot of fun with in sequels; on the route to becoming Patrick Stewart.
IGN: So how do you approach playing a young Patrick Stewart? Are you mimicking his voice?
McAvoy: No. At one point in very early rehearsals Matthew spoke to Michael and I about doing a voice and we did for about two minutes and he just kind of scotched that straight away.
IGN: So you are just going your own way with that aspect of the character?
McAvoy: It's definitely hard because you've got to see where they come from. There is almost no point in doing the film if its two lead characters or the recurring characters from the other movies are just exactly the same as they were. One of my biggest notes on the script to begin with was Charles was too much about mutants and humanity getting along and all that. As much as he would believe that, it wasn't something he quite arrived at yet; there was no fear that they wouldn't. It just all kind of echoed too strongly the kind of dialogue that Patrick had in the other movies, so we changed that. So we have really not been trying to mimic too much, except for the fact that Patrick... not Patrick, sorry, I keep calling him bloody Patrick... except for the fact that Charles I think is a bit more... as much as he's a bit of a cad he's a bit of a drinker and he's got a bit more of an ego, he is a bit less dangerous than Erik just in his nature. So he might still be a different person, he still might go many different ways from the person in the other films, but he is ultimately not a bad guy. He's not as messed up, he's not as screwed up as Erik. He's not had the sh*t happen to him that Erik's had happen to him, you know?
IGN: Have you enjoyed that interaction between Charles and Erik as it sounds like we're at an interesting point in both of their lives?
McAvoy: I think they have a little bit of a… not struggle but there is a little bit of vying for who is in charge... that tension carries on through the movie, as well as 'did Magneto listen to that or did he not,' you know? Has he taken on this sort of therapy that Charles is trying to give him? This pseudo psychology. And that's the thing, it is pseudo psychology but at the same time I see inside his mind and I know everything about him and I feel everything he has gone through. One of the things we wanted to get in the relationship between Erik and Charles that isn't necessarily touched on -- I don't know about all the other stuff -- but Charles has this empathy for everybody; he has this connection to everybody because he can feel their experiences and see their experiences. Their memories are his memories. But, he wasn't looking for Erik; he didn't know Erik was there and he suddenly felt Erik and perhaps he has never connected to anybody quite the same way that he connected to Erik. Maybe because of the nature of the horrible things that happened to him and the level of anger that he carries. And 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 try to help someone like that. So that is something that we are trying to get in quite a lot.
IGN: You get a love interest in this film in the shape of Rose Byrne's Dr. Moira MacTaggart. Is it fun injecting that into Charles' life because he's so serious in the other films.
IGN: And is there any kind of a love triangle element involving Erik or is it just a bit of romance between you and Rose?
McAvoy: Between me and Rose... it's just me and Rose. There is a love triangle between me, Fassbender and Jennifer Lawrence who plays Raven. It's not a love triangle... basically she's my assistant in this film, and obviously by the other films she is not my assistant anymore; she is very much not my assistant. Actually that's quite good fun to see how that relationship disintegrates as well and why she ultimately goes over to the dark side as well. But yeah, it's fun to inject a bit of romance into Charles' life and not always to see him welcomed with it as well. He's a little bit forlorn and he doesn't really take 'no' for an answer. He's not forceful in any way, but I think he's used to using his powers to get what he wants as well. I think he has abused his powers a fair few times to get ladies into bed. I don't think he's mind-f**ked anybody into bed, but he just goes, 'Ah, she likes a Tia Maria and coke. Hey, buy you a Tia Maria and coke? How did you know? Lucky guess. Hey, you've got a nice ass.' Yeah, all that kind of stuff, which is quite good fun.
IGN: This is moviemaking on a huge scale. Does it help your performance to work on these huge sets and in these massive man-made environments?
McAvoy: Yeah, walking around Cerebro [Xavier's device for detecting other mutants] for the first time, it's quite good fun. Did you get to see Cerebro?
IGN: No, just a model.
McAvoy: Yeah, that is pretty cool and as much as its massive and big and all that, it was still dead-60s, so it's almost quite low-tech. Low-tech in the way that they didn't have a microchip so the computers have to be massive and hanging off the walls everywhere. There are lots of flashy lights and spools of films. That was fun. It is quite nice but the weird thing is in all these films you've got to try to get it; you've got to try and bring yourself down in the moment between the two and three and four actors that are there and try and make it as vital and real and from moment-to-moment as possible, otherwise it does just become a bit set.
IGN: So what's it like working with the younger members of the cast?
McAvoy: It's fantastic. They're all really good. It's quite tough, too, because it's such a big ensemble cast. There is so much talent, and quite often people are sitting around. I kind of wish there was more movie to get everybody in because they are really, really special. Jennifer is fantastic, man, really, really terrifyingly good. And the other younger guys who play smaller parts, they don't get to show off as much. I think they are going to be great as well. Caleb Landry Jones and Lucas Till. Nicholas Hoult is just brilliant, man. What a lovely story to see a child actor come out and become a good adult actor. That doesn't always happen, does it? And be such a nice guy with it, too. Lovely, lovely fellow which doesn't really make a difference to anybody but it does help. It's quite nice too... because I know when Michael and I got cast there was that feeling of right, everybody else should be 19-years-old or something like that. I can't really speak for Michael but I was going, 'Oh, not everybody. Come on, don't make me the oldie.' So I think there was a feeling that there would be groups, do you know what I mean? There would be pockets of sort of generations.
IGN: Does that make the dynamic work quite well given the fact that you and Michael are a little bit older and dealing with youngsters, as in the movie?
McAvoy: Yeah, I think so. There is a scene which you guys were meant to come to...
IGN: The one where they are messing about with their powers?
McAvoy: Yeah, it's basically like the first night of their new mutant existence and they all get a bit drunk and show their powers off to each other, wreck the fucking joint and then CIA come in and go, 'Oi, for God's sake, you're on Presidential money here at the moment. We've got some work to do.' And I never liked the scene, but I realized the reason I didn't like the scene is because I shouldn't be in it and neither should Michael. They ultimately at the last minute wrote both him and I out of it, which I am really grateful for because it was a scene for the younger element. And I think it does help that we are a bit older than... there is a real teacher/pupil dynamic going on in Charles' eyes anyway; not so much from Erik but in Charles' eyes anyway I think he quite likes that dynamic, I think he wants to cultivate that.
IGN: So is Charles going through a similar experience to the kids, discovering this whole wider world of mutants?
McAvoy: Yeah, I think so. I don't feel like he's a scientist. And you know he's been studying genetic mutation theory for the last 12 or 13 years. Now he gets to study it in practice and he's got a bunch of guinea pigs there. I think that is another part of it. But I also think there is a sense at the end of this film of the approaching storm and all that kind of stuff. There is a storm coming and you need to set up your keep, you know what I mean? Ready your castle and create your place in the world.
IGN: Finally, this summer season is quite a crowded marketplace for superhero movies, so what in your opinion is going to set X-Men: First Class?
McAvoy: I think the fact that it's a period film is quite a different thing for superhero movies and action movies. Well not action movies, you see a lot of war movies, but hopefully the setting will help to elevate it. You've already got the franchise there, it's not just a sequel, and it's not just what happened next. It's, 'We know you like these movies to a certain extent. Here is why they happened.' I think there is always an interest in seeing how we got to a point -- we have already taken the story on board and we've already processed it and already decided we like it enough to see how those things came about and how those people came about. Hopefully that will kind of assist. If not, we're screwed.