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X3: Ben Foster, Anna Paquin and Shawn Ashmore

By Chris Brown     May 23, 2006

WARNING: Portions of this Q&A contain significant spoilers. However, those portions are "whited out" for readers who wish to avoid them.

Throughout the week, we have been presenting the X-Men: The Last Stand round table discussions with the cast. Comics2Film's thechrisbrown had a chance to talk to Anna Paquin (Rogue), Shawn Ashmore (Iceman), and the newest addition to the X-franchise, Ben Foster (Angel).

This was definitely one of the more interesting round tables as Ben Foster might be one of the most energetic beings on the planet. He enters the room with Shawn Ashmore and declares that he has to pee. He takes a moment to use the restroom, as does Ashmore and they both begin telling a string of pee pee jokes. Anna Paquin arrives in the middle of it and is a bit perplexed by the sophomoric humor, but we get on track pretty quickly, talking about X3, acting with effects, and what else? Action figures.

SPOILER WARNING: The interview begins with the revelation of a major plot point. This section has been "whited out". If you wish to read it, please swipe the text with your mouse cursor to highlight it.

Q: Anna, how do you feel about Rogue's decision?

AP: How do I feel about Rogue's decision? Well, having never been placed in that, you know, similar situation, I think it's very hard to know what I personally would do, and ... I don't know, I don't like to make that call.

Q: (referring to Shawn Ashmore, Iceman) Was this guy worth it? Worth giving up your powers for?

(The room laughs)

SA: When you put it like that ...

AP: This stuff doesn't run before the movie comes out, right? Are we allowed to talk about that?

AP: Um, well, I mean, the thing is it's not just a decision about her being the most frustrated person on the planet ...

(This incites laughter from everyone. Anna is laughing.)

AP: Bobby's running a close second ...

(This strikes up even more laughter from everyone.)

SA: A very close second ...

Q: Just pack it in ice.

(The laughter about reaches its peak)

AP: If he really wanted to, Kitty Pryde's willing. I saw the little, little ... little, you know, soon-to-be hussy there. She's got her sass on.

(The mood in the room is extremely light, lots of laughter).

AP: But, um, I think it's a more complicated, you know, decision, as far as, you know, just how, just how badly does she really want to be able to have an or ...

(Anna trails off as this whole discussion is going in rather unexpected places. We all laugh at what she nearly suggests.)

AP: You know, because we've made jokes about full-body latex, but I don't know if that would really serve as the appropriate kind of protection for Rogue's powers. No ... I think it's a really huge thing to have to live with, that literally, not ever be able to, uh, you know, physically fit into normal life, you know, to have to be careful if you're sitting too close to someone, you might, oops, actually kill them. That's a pretty hard, uh, hard burden to put on one very young person. And, ultimately, it's what she can live with.

END SPOILER

Q: What was the coolest thing about being a mutant for each of you?

SA: Um, I think the idea of just being a superhero, having ... I think what's really cool about the X-Men, is the idea of, you know, the things that make you different also empower you. You know what I mean, so that whole idea, and just being a part of, I was an X-Men fan growing up, so that was kind of exciting as well.

Q: Who was your favorite X-Men character growing up?

SA: Wolverine. No question.

Q: (To Anna Paquin) And you, coolest thing about being a mutant?

AP: Well, honestly, I was just so psyched that I didn't have any goddamn blue paint all over my body. I was like, I'm so glad my mutation is non-visible. In the first movie, I didn't even have the white strip, I just had the big old cloak.

SA: Anna and I lucked out with that stuff, our powers ...

AP: They're pretty internal. So, you know, I just feel intensely, you know, isolated, I don't have to look intensely isolated, because, honest to God if anyone made me sit still for four to nine hours to put blue anything, like ... I have zero sit still ...

Q: (To Ben Foster) How were the wings? How did it feel to have wings.

BF: It felt really good, actually. It's a drag getting up early to get feathers glued to you by strangers.

Q: How long did it take?

BF: About four hours, the whole thing ... so, but following that as the best example that I can think of is, even non-actors, you know, you go home and you put on your pajamas and walk around the house and if anyone comes around you put on a dress ... Not me, I gave that up ...

(Laughter)

BF: But, you know, you put on a suit and you're like, hey I'm in a suit. And then you have wings on and it's amazing. You walk onto set and you have this great corner office looking at downtown city and you think (he whispers his excitement), I have wings! It's a really cool, wonderful feeling, very hard to describe.

Q: They're talking about spinning off, maybe the younger X-Men taking over, and it looks like the cure might wear off. If they call you back and said you guys would be the lead. Would you want to come back?

AP: Hell yeah!

Q: Has their been talk already about it?

SA: Honestly, no ...

AP: No ... nothing other than rumor on the internet ...

Q: Do you have scripts?

BF: We don't get scripts ...

Q: You almost didn't have a director ...

SA: I'd love to come back, whether it's in X-Men 4, or a spin-off movie or whatever, it's fun to play these characters and to work with, you know, within this, sort of, huge, you know, universe. It's a fun job.

BF: And an amazing cast ... just an outstanding cast of people.

Q: So, Ben, have you seen your action figure yet?

BF: Do I have one?

Q: Yeah ...

BF: NO SHIT?!?

(Ben is extremely excited. Everyone starts laughing.)

BF: I'm hoping. I didn't get into this to watch my ass fly. I want a toy.

AP: I have toys. From the first one, though. Except they made them pigeon-toed and knock kneed.

(Everyone laughs.)

SA: Knock kneed, what does that mean?

AP: It means your fuckin' knees turn. I (inaudible) one of my knees kind of slightly points each other. I don't need that level of realism.

(Everyone laughs.)

AP: Please, please, make fun of me a little more. Actually, the prototype just has the knees that go in, but that's the picture they use on the box, so Rogue is standing with her knees going in on the picture ...

Q: So, you haven't actually played with one?

AP: I have a bunch of them, a whole box of them, and when my career dries up, I'm going to sell them on eBay.

Q: So, if you guys could have any super power, what would it be?

BF: Not to have a power would be good for you ...

SA: I think that I'm ... and this is something that when I say it people are sort of surprised by it. I would love the ability to read people's minds. Um, probably not all the time, and I'd probably regret it a lot. But, um ... yeah, just ... the ability to cut through everyone's bullshit would be ideal, like, in our industry that might be ... well, any life I guess. I wouldn't, obviously, want to use it on people I already know, or existing family members or anything like that, but, you know, there are a lot of times when your just second-guessing people's motives and you're not really sure. I just think that would be a really great tool ...

AP: Seriously, a super power? I mean, you know, I have a laundry list of ones that would be actually, legitimately cool: flying, teleportation, you know, being all of those, that telekinesis sort of shit thing ...

SA: Teleportation is good ...

AP: There's lots of fun stuff. Swimming, breathing under water, you know, that kind of stuff would be fun. That multiple thing would be cool as well. Because I'm really busy, and would actually like to be in two places at once.

BF: Gosh, she just did it. I think swimming, being under water and flying are probably equal equivalents. Getting the, the rapture of this job is being allowed to have the time, a window of time, to give great consideration to different potential. Be that for violence, for love, in this particular film, the ability of flight was a really great thing to, like ...

Q: Have you seen the film?

BF: Yeah.

Q: Now, how do you feel about being such a cool character, and you're hardly in it.?

BF: Ohhhhh well, I'd say that I'm new. I'm the new addition to this film. And there's such a huge, amazing cast that to take away from any of these great performers. Yeah, it'd be cool to show me flying around with my shirt off ... like, you see it. What's there is stirring to me. Just going to the movies and watching a guy with wings is really exciting. It's something, the audience ... it's, it's in our blood. There is not an older icon in mankind. It's one of the most ancient icons to have wings. So, yeah, would I like to have more, and sit around a table and talk about it ... sure ... this is X-Men.

Q: Were there scenes that were shot and cut? Was there more story?

BF: There's a lot of information to get out, but they're not missing scenes ...

SA: I think we can all say that there are scenes that we shot that, sort of different, or pieces of, there's not a lot of fat on this film, they just drive through the story.

Q: So, the DVD's gonna rock ...

SA: I assume so, I think so, again ... you know, the one thing, there are certain action pieces that I shot that aren't necessarily there, so hopefully they do make it into the DVD ...

Q: So, there wass more stuff with you fully iced up?

SA: I don't know about that, I didn't even know exactly the moment where that was going to happen to tell you the truth. There were, in that whole sequence, not just the Pyro stuff, as we're fighting through, there were other sort of pieces and stuff like that that I didn't get to see, but also, I've only seen it once and it happens so quickly that maybe they were and I, you know ... I was telling my parents ... did you see that?

AP: I can't see a movie that I'm in, more than like, once really ... the first time almost kills me.

SA: It's not fun. You know exactly what's going to happen, you're not objective at all. You know what I mean, it's just, oh, I know exactly what happened. I know the story.

AP: I find it so embarrassing watching myself talk ...

SA: I just got excited, I read the script, I know exactly what's going to happen. There's no surprises.

BF: I saw it and I went apeshit. I saw it in the movie theatre and I thought, this is the greatest thing I've ever seen. This is so exciting, stuff's blowing up, people are saying cool stuff, people are flying ... I saw it with Ellen, we were alone in the theatre, it was the greatest thing I've ever ... I was cheering in the theatre. I'm such a sucker for this stuff ...

AP: Oh, it's exciting watching it. And with these movies there are a lot of parts you're not in, like damn, that's hard.

Q: What were the coolest effects you got to do?

SA: Well, mine pale in comparison to Ben's just because he jumped out of a ...

AP: ... building ...

SA: ... a building, with wings on.

BF: Naked ... naked falling ...

SA: There's a sequence where Kitty Pryde and I come out of the X-Jet that was really cool. Because, basically it was like jumping 40 feet, 50 feet with, on a chord. We were, literally, strapped together, she wasn't just holding on, we were together so we wouldn't fall. And that was cool, I mean, it's one thing to look up and they throw a sandbag that's approximately your weight off so they show you're not going to get hurt. And then you're like, oh that's not so high, that's cool. Then you get up there and they strap you on and they're like, all right, whatever you do, you know ... And another thing is like, you think you'd be able to jump and do it, but really you just stand there, it's like a wratchet system that pulls you, so any movement you make will throw off the movement. There's like a computerized, programmed movement and if you make any motion, it will effect the trajectory and all of that ...

BF: Think Sandbag ...

SA: Think sandbag, exactly, did they tell you that? That's what they say, sandbags, don't move, before every take. And then you start getting worried, why do they have tell you every single time. How bad could this be?

AP: How many times did you have to do that scene?

SA: About 8 times ... and it was great. So much fun. So, that was a cool thing. And then a lot of the stuff, the stuff that's visually amazing to me is the ice stuff and the Pyro fight and stuff like that, but really, Aaron and I are just standing there going (he makes the Iceman motion with his hands) ... you know, that's it.

Q: Talk about the differences between Bryan and Brett ...

SA: Yeah, I mean, I think, personality wise, and I think that informs a lot of who a director is, I think they're really different in a sense that Bryan is slightly more laidback, and Brett, I don't know if Brett's come in yet, or who you guys have met, but he's super high energy, um, bouncing off the walls almost. And that creates a different environment on set. When he comes in you guys will see ... Brett was very focused, and he came in and really knew what he wanted to do with the movie, and I think he also respected the actors and the story and the existing films and the people that had gone and seen them ...

AP: And we had a lot of freedom to try stuff ... try and shoot things a certain way ...

SA: So, it was good, honestly, it was a good experience ...

Q: Did you have a favorite moment in this film as Rogue?

AP: A favorite moment? That I was in or other people's?

Q: Other people ... what's your favorite moment in the film?

AP: Um ... I thought some of those fights with Dania and Halle were pretty awesome. I don't know who I should put my money on. That's a pretty awesome fight, there's like 2 or 3 of them. Yeah, that's pretty cool. I'd kind of like to see, like, the girls not kicking ass, but, like, really brutalizing each other.

SA: I love that.

AP: It's awesome. What's not to love? Beautiful women, fighting ... thanks guys.

BF : Thanks ...

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