Those who are fans of the “X-Men” movie franchise have been through a lot. They had to deal with some great, and even some God awful, films centered on their beloved mutants. It wasn’t until recently that we began seeing what could be a second wave of films worth our time. Just when we thought all hope was lost, “X-Men: First Class” pops up and entertains. Hell, I even thought “The Wolverine” was a vast improvement on the absolutely terrible “X-Men Origins: Wolverine.” Could we potentially have a fantastic film coming out way out of Bryan Singer’s “X-Men: Days of Future Past”? A lot of what we’ve heard and seen so far could lead plenty of fans to believe so.
We’ve got all the actors from the original”X-Men” trilogy and “X-Men: First Class” getting together to make this bad boy. Bryan Singer is back to direct again and he’s armed with what is one of the coolest story arcs that ever appeared in the comics. Okay, so they tweaked it a little bit and are going to send Wolverine back in time rather than Kitty Pryde, but that’s all right. “X-Men: Days of Future Past” has the potential to be either the most insane, entertaining and badass comic book movie to come out, but it all depends on how they finish it up. We got the chance to speak with the cast and crew of “X-Men: Days of Future Past” at this year’s Comic-Con, and from there they gave us a little bit more insight over what we should expect from the latest mutant film. And I’m sorry but there was no Trask-centered questions in here. I would have asked but I didn’t have enough time to squeeze in the question, and yes I am psyched that they have Peter Dinklage cast for the role. Anyways, onto the questions.
What kind of challenges and changes did you go through dealing with such a beloved story arc?
Simon Kinberg:Â It was vital to figuring out the fundamental characters and themes from the original run. And so we were loyal to those characters and themes and a lot of the story telling. The biggest difference is that Kitty is not the one who goes back in time, Kitty is the one who sends someone back in time.
Bryan Singer: Initially the goal was to try and make a film that would bring this cast together in some way with time-travel or time displacement of some kind, it would be a tool that we could use to do that. It seemed exciting to send Hugh [Jackman] basically with the notion of Wolverine of the future, his consciousness is sent into his younger self and it’s nice because Hugh was able to play both parts because the character of Wolverine is ageless, which is extremely unique. It was great being able to place him in both these worlds as a character and for me to reunite this original cast and to get to work with the new cast.
What was it like turning to these characters after so long, and for the new First Class cast, what’s it like for you guys to get to mix with the original cast of actors?
Patrick Stewart: These things have a strange life because you start out and it could just be a movie and that’s it, hello and goodbye. Then it develops it’s own life force… The best part about this movie has been for me knowing that at an earlier time in my life I was James McAvoy.
James McAvoy: If I have to grow up to be somebody, I would love to grow up to be Sir Patrick Stewart on stage and screen. It’s been a big kick getting to work with Patrick, and I got to be in the same room as he’s in and Hugh and Ellen [Page] and everybody. I actually got to act with them all, so it was a real kick. Just dramatically, getting into the whole idea behind First Class, just rebooting but also showing where we were when we were younger. I never thought for a second that I would get to work with Patrick, so that was just quite interesting, showing the two opposite sides of these people at different times in their lives and their personalities.
Ian McKellen: I’m looking forward one day to look as dashing and successful as Michael Fassbender. We can’t really believe our luck, can we? Playing a character for what, four films we’ve been in now? It’s fun to go back to the character and realize that he’s still lurking inside you. These stories are so needed to be told, that’s what I like about X-Men. These aren’t summer vacations, they’re classes. To be allowed to be associated with them is a genuine honor. It doesn’t matter how little I have to do in the next one Bryan, I’ll be ready and waiting.
Halle Berry: And I think it’s nice. We all love the films but what’s nice for me is that in the first movie we all became such good friends, and we really like each other and we like being around each other. To have a chance to do the work that we love but to hang out with the people we really admire, respect and like to be around, for me is the joy of coming back and doing these movies. The beauty is, because we’re all good friends, we pick up as if we just saw each other yesterday. I was really happy to see everybody and hang out with my old friends that I really love a lot.
Jennifer Lawrence: [knocks mic into face] This tastes really good. [laughs] We became so close on First Class and after I got the movie, I went and watched all of them recent. I’m a huge fan and I never thought I would ever be able to meet some of the original cast. I’m really grateful.
Bryan Singer: She happened to do a fitting the day we were in the old hall. I built the old hallways from X-Men 1, 2 and 3. It was the fourth time they built these old blue hallways. They’re kind of iconic in a way in the X-Men films now. It was really fun when they [“First Class” cast] walked on the set because they’ve been in an X-Men movie but not in those hallways and with Hugh [Jackman] as Wolverine. You were standing in hallway, we were working on one of your costumes and you were like “Can I see Cerebro?” Sure, I’ll show you Cerebro.
James McAvoy: That’s not a euphemism by the way. [laughs]
Ellen Page: It’s funny because when I did the third one I was 18 and it feels like awhile ago. I just did a movie called “Hard Candy” and was on the set and had never been involved in anything remotely of that scale. It just felt so welcomed by obviously not just an incredible group of people but the loveliest, sweetest people who were just so kind. Never did I think I’d be back playing Kitty Pryde again but I’m just so thrilled to be back with everyone and exploring something new and something very different and just had a great time everyday with everybody.
Nicolas Hoult: What Bryan was saying, when I walked into those old corridors for the first time when I was doing a scene, doing a take, looking over and there’s Hugh Jackman, Wolverine and I panicked. I was like ah! Freaked out a little bit because those were the films that I grew up watching. So it was fascinating because “First Class,” because even though it was an X-Men movie, it didn’t feel like the X-Men movies like I knew. It’s nice to be back with everyone and making some new friends.
Hugh Jackman: Don’t look at me. [laughs]
Are you going to play with the continuity of the series with X-Men: Days of Future Past?
Bryan Singer: Of the universe as established in the movies? Yes, there’s some of that. Whenever you go back in time, and this is every bit a time-travel movie as it is an X-Men movie, there are those risks. So some of that is going to happen, and yet there are some things that, if you believe in certain physics and multi-verses, things like that, and you also have a respect for the continuity as we have. Again, I’m not the audience, I’m just the filmmaker, but I do believe in certain continuity that we’ll maintain but some things we’ll change. It’s the nature of time-travel. You go ahead and mess about and things happen. So that’s something that some of those rumors are probably some-what true.
Will there be much acting with the younger versions of the characters in the same scene as the older versions?
Bryan Singer: Primarily since Wolverine is the journeymen, his interaction with the younger cast is primary. There is a younger moment with, which you’ll see a beat of in this reel that I’m going to show, where these two characters come face-to-face, the younger self and the older self. My first opportunity to make a time-travel movie, I really, really wanted to do my very best to create a set of rules, respect them and stay within the continuity of those rules. But there’s a bit of interaction with them.
Hugh, besides Wolverine, who is your favorite characters in the X-Men?
Hugh Jackman: There’s no pressure here. It’s a very [Storm] difficult thing [Storm]. It’s a very very difficult to [Storm] thing to say who is my favorite. It’s also [Storm] too complicated to pick between actors but [Storm] my general rule is to do as many [Storm] movies with Halle Berry as possible.
Going back to the first question, I’m in a perhaps unique position on this panel because the very first film I did in America was given to me by this man and of course that was “X-Men.” Of course that was 14 years ago when I got cast. It’s almost impossible to believe that everyone on this side, incredible unique, rare, lucky and blessed we are to be able to 14 years later, come back together. We all knew each other. You knew me before I had kids. My son was born just as we were making the first one. So much has changed that we’ve gone through together and if you were lucky enough in your life to be in a film with just these actors, you would count yourself as lucky as you can be as an actor. If you look to the right of Bryan… You realize this is what you get paid for, to work with them. This movie is two great movies in one. I can’t believe the embarrassment of riches I have that I get to work with them all here and so the truth of the matter is, you will never get me to say who my favorite is. Storm.
“X-Men: Days of Future Past” will be out in theaters on May 23, 2014.