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
Tuesday, April 19, 2011
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.