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X-Men 2: Wolverine & Co. Sound Off

By Heidi Meeley     October 29, 2002


Heidi and James Meeley on the set of X-Men 2 - Click for larger image

In partone of the press X-Men 2 conference, Comics2Film heardfrom half of the panel that attended. Today we explore the comments made by HughJackman (Wolverine), Halle Berry (Storm), Famke Janssen (Dr. Jean Grey), JamesMarsden (Cyclops), Alan Cumming (Nightcrawler), Anna Paquin (Rogue), and ShawnAshmore (Bobby/Iceman).

Jackman attendedthe conference in full Wolverine hair and make up, which was extremely cool tobehold. He had been filming that morning, and was scheduled to recommence laterthat day. Jackman started off the press conference with a bang fielding aquestion about his kissing Jean Grey in the film's trailer. "It's mostlyWolverine trying to keep her at bay, but she's so hot for him all the time.(laughs)"

Janssen cut inwith "Cyclops is sitting right next to me!", but Jackman got the lastword by commenting "the love triangle, I suppose, hots up. And I've gotsomebody kicking me in the shins (Director Bryan Singer) right now, so I can'ttalk about it."

Jackman wasasked about how, after being the first film's "breakout star," hewould portray Wolverine in the sequel. His reply was "With the first film alot of the storyline did in a way focus on Wolverine and Rogue, but it was morea plot choice because they're ideal mutants to take you into the mutant worldand yet to keep as outsider (s). While he was onscreen a lot, you get wellintroduced to the character, who he was, and then he becomes essentially part ofthat world-saving plot we had."

Going furtherinto detail Jackman added "In this film, his personal demons are reallyinvestigated. By the end of this movie, he's going to track down his part, whichis very much what this movie is about. If he doesn't come to a completeresolution, it's pretty damned close. He's sort of, in a way, emotionally andwith the return of nightmares and things like that, at a crisis point. It's moreinternal in a way. You get a more internal look at the character, and that'sbeen really fun to play with."

Jackmanconcluded by saying "As we alluded to before, there's a few relationshipsthat hot up a little, and I'm just loving playing the character again. I reallylove this character. And for all the characters in a movie such as this, if youwant to call it an action movie and a comic book movie, all the characters seemto have a dimension beyond what you would expect."

Oscar winningActress Halle Berry reprises her role as Storm in X-Men 2. When asked about ifshe had brought the Oscar for show and tell, Jackman coyly pointed under thetable, bringing much mirthful laughter to the audience and panel. Asked about ifthe Oscar had changed her perception and approach, Berry said "They're (thecast) just getting sick of the Oscar. Can't you tell how sick of it they are?No, I didn't bring it, and no, nothing has changed. Honestly no, nothing atleast as far as this production goes."

Berry didmention that "one of the good things about coming back to this (thesequel), with Oscar in hand, is that we were sort of like...when you start amovie you spend the first month getting to know everybody and just when you getto know everybody the experience is over, although this wasn't the case with thefirst X-Men, that was six months. But normally when you are just finding thatgroove and you're all starting to gel, then it's time to stop. We got a chanceto reconvene and pick up where we left off. So that's been a really importantpart of the experience for me."

At the pressconference, Berry was sporting her white/platinum Storm wig, but it was ashorter, more layered style then the first movie. I was compelled to ask ifalong with the hair change there what kind of character progression she hadexperienced. Berry replied "I think everybody's happy with the hair change.There was a really big, big discussion about the hair because I know Bryan(Singer) and Lauren Schuler-Donner, our producer, really wanted to get it rightbecause they felt it was something that desperately needed to be changed fromthe first movie. So hopefully everybody will like it better."

Berry added"I think my character this time around you get to know a little betterabout who Storm is. She definitely is allowed to present a point of view thistime that I didn't get to present last time. Sort of what her emotional life islike, you really get a taste of that this time. I think there is moreevolution." As a side note, from comments made on the set by variouspeople, it sounds like Storm's role will expand and like in the comic, she willbe a focus as leader of the X-Men.

Berry was askedabout filming this time in Vancouver versus Toronto, where the first film wasdone, and if it was easier because of the proximity to Los Angeles. Berryreplied "It has for me, because out of the cast members, I think I'm alwaysthe one who is jetting out of here to catch that last flight ... that makes iteasy because it's only a two hour flight. I feel a lot closer to home. I didfeel really far away last time."

She alsorejoined that "I also grew up going to Toronto a lot, living in Cleveland,so that was like no big whoop. This is a big whoop here, I just like it."

Famke Janssen,who portrays Jean Grey in the film, was also sporting a shorter, more layeredhair cut, and try as I might, I couldn't find any red tint in it. When askedwhat was going on with Jean in the sequel, her reply was "She got a haircut(laughs). Very important. I'm sure you saw that in the trailer. It's basicallykind of the things we touched upon in the first movie with the love triangle,and she has some issues with her powers that we kind of explore in the secondone." I am wondering if this hints at a cameo from the Phoenix?

James Marsdenreturns as Cyclops in the sequel. He was asked about how it was to re-explorethe character, and his response was "I think a lot of the first one wasdevoted to explaining to the audience, the cinema-goers, who the X-Men were,what they were capable of, and what their story was. A good percentage of themovie was exposition, explaining the characters."

"I thinkwe've gotten that out of the way now. So we can see these characters kind ofspring into action and not have to worry about if we're going to know who theyare and what the situation is. Now that we've established that in the firstfilm, I think we can have some fun" Marsden added.

Alan Cumming isone of the newcomers to the X-Men franchise, making his debut in the sequel asNightcrawler. When asked if he had done any research, Cumming answered"I've read some comics. It's quite impressive, actually because not only amI playing sort of a blue mutant with all these odd physical things, but alsoeveryone in the world apart from me seems to have some idea about how thecharacter should look or read, so there's been a little pressure. So yeah, Iread some comics and listened to some people. It's kind of hard because halfwaythrough the film, I realized that Mystique is my mother. It's an ongoinglearning curve."

Cumming was alsoasked how he gets prepared to be Nightcrawler. His reply was "Mentally it'svery difficult. I have to get up very early and I have some lovely, lovelymakeup people that do it. You just have to get into a zone where you don't mindgrown (people) poking at your face for four hours and spraying you with stuff.Sometimes I watch films in the mirror, which is quite hard if they're subtitled(laughs)."

He also felt hehad made the job harder in a way. "I have these tattoos and I rue the daythat I was the one who actually said 'Yeah, let's go with the tattoos. They'rereally great.' They take a lot more time to get stuck on. I'm hoping that maybeif there's a sequel there will be some sort of mutant accident that's takenplace and Nightcrawler will have no tattoos and be white. The technology in thisfilm is quite incredible with the effects and I thought maybe the next time Icould do the film as me and they could put the makeup on afterwards."

Cumming had somethoughts about contact lens after filming as well. His comment was "There'sthis thing with people who (wore) contact lenses in the first film. There's sortof a thing where you pay your dues. Halle and Rebecca don't wear contacts anymore. I noticed afterwards that I am wearing contact lenses. It must be kind ofrites of passage that you go through. Maybe next time I'll have no contactlenses."

When asked aboutfilming the tail, Cumming had this revealing tidbit to share. "SometimesI'm wearing it and sometimes I'm not, because sometimes it's done afterwards.There's tails of various consistencies of boinginess. If I don't have the fulltail, I have this stub thing with dots on it for special effects people to dothings with afterwards. And that's quite popular with the ladies (laughs) andgentleman as well. And myself."

Returning aftera small role as Bobby Drake/Iceman in the first into an increased presence inX-Men 2 is Shawn Ashmore. Last season on Smallville, Ashmore had a breakthroughguest appearance as a fellow student and nemesis of Clark's. When asked aboutwhat is in store for Bobby in the sequel, Ashmore said "Obviously, I can'tget into too much detail, but basically, Bobby gets brought into the fold alittle bit. Obviously, he's still a student at the school, but I think mainlyhis role in the film is to kind of be brought in and join the group and kind ofbecome a more important part of the whole adventure that happens."

Rounding out thepanel was returning cast member Anna Paquin, who plays the character Rogue.Paquin was asked if she was able to "kick some ass" in this film andher reply was a bit tentative, as Director Bryan Singer was only a few seatsaway. She did reveal that "clearly my character has to go from being sortof frightened of everyone she encounters and has to evolve in some way. So,yeah, in a lot of ways I do get to do a lot more stuff then I did in the lastmovie, but I'm not really sure how much I can say about that without gettinginto trouble."

Paquin, who wassporting the trademark Rogue white stripe in her hair, really looked the part atthe press conference. She was asked to explain the evolution of the characterfor this film, and she was less tentative the second time around. "I thinkwhat's nice and interesting about the second movie that Rogue is in is thatshe's left behind a lot of the shy, timid sort of shutting everyone else outbecause she's been accepted into a group where she is not an outsider or goingto be treated differently or poorly because of her mutant abilities, and so sheis allowed to grow more and just get to do more stuff and be more part of theaction."

Paquin added aninteresting point saying Rogue "doesn't need to be rescued. She's not thedamsel in distress anymore, so it's kind of fun and there's a lot more actionykind of stuff that I get to do-or stunts-which is fun. It's really great,actually, not having to be rescued for the whole movie."

After answeringquestions for an hour, the cast made their way out of the press area to resumefilming. Some answers given were revealing, some less so, but we left feeling wehad gleaned a few kernels of information, probably just enough to make the filmeven more mysterious.

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