Wednesday, April 16, 2003
X2 CHAT: JAMES MARSDEN (CYCLOPS)
QUESTION: What was the biggest difference between making this film and the first film?
MARSDEN: I don't care what anybody says, it's really nice going into the second one with a success under your belt. I was very happy to see how well received the first film was and that created a much more relaxed atmosphere the second time around.
It was also interesting to take the love triangle to the next level in this piece. That kind of banter and dissidence between Cyclops and Wolverine is still very much there. And also I get to take the emotional aspect of the character to a much greater degree in this film, which is fun.
It's all bigger. It's all better. I get to do a lovely hand-to-hand combat fight scene with Kelly Hu, which is a lot of fun.
MARSDEN: I would have to go back to my childhood on this one and choose the ability to fly. I think it's really difficult nowadays getting from point A to point B and it would sure be nice to open your front door and leap up into the sky and go wherever you want to go. That would be nice.
I think Superman's got the goods because he's got three (powers). He can fly and he's got X-ray vision, which could come in handy. And he's the Man of Steel; he's got that super-human strength.
But I'd have to stick with flying.
QUESTION: Cyclops has a bit of a different look.
MARSDEN: Yeah, if you want to talk about the physical things. They took the visor that we had from the first film - which was a great concept but it was a bit cumbersome and awkward with the Princess Leia earpiece. We wanted to make everything a bit more streamlined and a bit more refined, so Guy Dyas came up with a much more slicker version of the visor, which was more comfortable for me and I think it looks a lot cooler than the first one.
QUESTION: The first film was shot in Toronto and the second in Vancouver. Compare the cities.
MARSDEN: It's really unfair to choose between the two cities because they're both wonderful cities. I think it was unfair for Toronto because we were shooting in the winter in Toronto, which was difficult, as opposed to the summer in Vancouver. Naturally, the summer in Vancouver, I prefer.
They were both great cities, but Vancouver was a little closer to home for me. The nature of an X-Men shoot is that the cast is so large, and there's plenty that you're not in. And if there's a scene that you're not in and you have a week or two off, you can just hop on a plane and go back in Los Angeles and chill your family, and in my case, your kid as well.
QUESTION: You saw the film for the first time with an audience, which was largely press. What were your feelings?
MARSDEN: I've got to be honest, when you shoot for six months on this movie, the nature of an X-Men film is half of the movie is made in post production with special effects and editing and the score. And also, that we had such a large cast, that you're not always on the set seeing what the other actors are doing.
So it was great the other night to see the film for the first time because it was almost like seeing a film you were never involved with because there's so much stuff that was created after principal photography.
So it was very thrilling and when the crowd started cheering, I think that was probably my favorite part. You like to have that reassurance in knowing that the audience has really taken to the movie.
And it was also great to see the cast reunited again.
QUESTION: Where would you like to see Cyclops go in future installments?
MARSDEN: I think the great thing about the X-Men Universe is that you have 40 years of backstory and characters that you can draw from. So we really left the doors wide open to go anywhere. I would like to see Cyclops mix it up with some of the bad guys a bit more. It would be nice to see him a little more liberal with that optic blast.
I think that's because I really enjoy the action aspect of the film. I enjoy getting in there and getting bruised up. It would be nice to see a little more action, a little more fighting sequences for Cyclops.
And, also, on the other end of that, to see where he goes emotionally now that Jean is evolving, to see where that takes him and what kind of road he chooses to go down with his relationship.
QUESTION: Did you do any special training for Cyclops?
MARSDEN: Well, I'm certainly not as naked as Hugh Jackman is in the movie. I do stay pretty fit. I run and play sports, basketball, football, things like that. But I've never been much of a gym rat, one to hang out in a gym and lift weights.
But, fortunately, the costumes in this movie had a bit of an anatomy built into them, which was nice. So even if you were as ripped as Hugh Jackman, the suit kind of suppresses any sort of muscularity you have anyway. I think that's maybe the way I justify it, of not having to go to the gym.
I think the most demanding stuff physically was the wirework that I had to do with the fight with Jean. That's an entirely different muscle because you're suspended in mid-air and you have no leverage. That was tricky, and I had to do a lot of rehearsals with that.
QUESTION: What was the audition process like?
MARSDEN: I came in and met with Bryan (Singer, director). He had me put on a pair of sunglasses and turn to my left and turn to my right. And kind of a "thank you very much" and "we'll give you a call." And then a couple of weeks later I got a call to come in and meet with Bryan and read a scene that was in the movie. He said, "Thank you very much."
And I believe I came in for a third time and they paired me up with Famke (Janssen, who plays Jean Grey), who had already been cast in the film. They just wanted to see how we played off each other and how we looked together. And again, I put the sunglasses on and turned to the left and turned to the right. And then I got that lovely phone call saying "that we'd like for you to play Cyclops." And I was very excited to get that.
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