Wednesday, April 16, 2003
X2 CHAT: REBECCA ROMIJN-STAMOS (MYSTIQUE)
QUESTION: What's it like playing Mystique? You've done it twice now.
ROMIJN-STAMOS: Well, she's a great character. I do like her a lot. I have to say the makeup is grueling. I was such a baby complaining about it the first time around that I don't want to do that this time because the end result, the movie, is so great that it kind of makes up for all the hours in the makeup chair.
I was happy that I got a little more to do this time as Mystique. The character has a little more dimension than she had the first time around. Certain things were established about her character in the first movie, and I think that we got to do a lot more fun stuff this time, so that was nice.
QUESTION: Speaking of fun stuff, was it fun being without makeup for one scene?
ROMIJN-STAMOS: Otherwise known as my favorite two days during the movie. Yes, that was great. Why couldn't there have been more like that?
Yeah, I do without the blue makeup for a scene - two scenes actually.
QUESTION: The makeup process was cut down by a third.
ROMIJN-STAMOS: Right, the first movie was like eight or nine hours everyday. I had some call times that were like midnight or 1 a.m. And this time we got it down to five or six hours, which was a lot better. It's still difficult, but a lot better. It mean that I had some more 2 a.m. call times.
I didn't have to wear my contact lenses this time which I wore on the first one. They did that digitally in post-production.
And the other really nice thing was that Alan Cumming plays Nightcrawler, is the other blue person. So it was really nice to have somebody to commiserate with. Because, really, it's such an emotional day. It's really difficult going through all those hours of makeup. And it was so nice to have somebody who really understood how hard it was.
QUESTION: If they keep shaving time, maybe down the road they'll get it down to an hour.
ROMIJN-STAMOS: I'm just sure that by X3 they can do it digitally. (Laughs). I don't even have to be there, I'm just sure of it. No, I'm sure that won't happen.
QUESTION: Was it like wearing your costume, or lack of a costume?
ROMIJN-STAMOS: Costume? You mean the things around it? It's very liberating. It's comfortable. There's nothing restricting or binding about it. It actually, believe it or not, I don't feel nude at all. I feel very, very covered up. I've been in denial about the nudity thing - since Day 1. It's like I have to play tricks with my mind on myself so that I don't realize exactly what's going on. It can be pretty daunting.
It's messy, the costume, the paint gets off on everything. It's very fragile, so it requires a lot of touching up and maintenance. And I had these four really nice ladies that did my makeup and they were just constantly in your face, touching you up. It's crazy-making, having somebody in your space that many hours a day.
QUESTION: You were in sub-zero temperatures in Alberta?
ROMIJN-STAMOS: You know, it's funny, the days when I didn't have to wear the blue makeup were my first two days on the movie - my easy days. And they always save, by contrast, the very toughest days to the very end of the movie, which is when I had to go and be in the snow up in Alberta. And I think we had like 90 mph winds, snow flurries and I had to be outside in the snow in this costume, walking barefoot in the snow.
It was awful. Ian McKellen kept going, "Darling, this is your life. Can you believe it?" And I was like, "Am I really doing this right now?" I couldn't even believe it.
To try and save my feet from getting frostbite, they put down potato flakes on top of the real snow, which is what they used in movies for fake snow. When it gets wet, it turns to glue. So I was walking in these potato flakes, and they were caking up around my feet. They kept a helicopter that would allow me to warm up in between (shots), and I end up with these giant gobs of glue stuck to the bottoms of my feet. And there's Ian McKellen picking glue off the bottoms of my feet between each take. Horrible!
QUESTION: What was the development of Mystique between X-Men and X2?
ROMIJN-STAMOS: She's got a little more of a sense of humor. She's a little more of a sexual predator. I'd like to think of Mystique as a lover and a fighter, with no romantic inclinations at all. Which means she' would do 'em as fast as she'd fight 'em.
So you sort of see that side of her in this movie. She likes to have fun and she's really good at what she does.
QUESTION: She has a little thing for Wolverine?
ROMIJN-STAMOS: For a moment. We sort of established that in the first movie with the Mystique/Wolverine fight, a little bit of sexual tension between Mystique and Wolverine. We expand on that a little bit in this one.
QUESTION: Were there any surprises when you saw the film for the first time a few nights ago?
ROMIJN-STAMOS: Oh, my God! It's just tremendous compared to the first one. The first one was really good, but this one is just huge. Of course, we had more time and we had more money and we had a better idea of what we were doing. Beside that, we all had a lot more confidence going into it this time because the first one was so successful and we were so happy with the outcome. We all knew each other, so that was really nice. It was a great cast and we all really like each other. We were really happy to get together and we had a lot more confidence.
QUESTION: Is it strange watching that blue creature on screen?
ROMIJN-STAMOS: No, not really because I remember going and sitting in that makeup chair for that many hours. There's no doubt that it was definitely me. I feel very connected to it.
But it is strange, I take that back. Sometimes it's difficult to watch yourself in a movie and be objective about your performance. And in a movie like this, it's so over the top and you're seeing this amazing blue person up there and there's so many great characters and the effects are so tremendous, it was easy to sit back and enjoy it for the first time.
QUESTION: What was it like to work with Ian McKellen?
ROMIJN-STAMOS: Fantastic. He's just so much fun. So much fun. He's hilarious. We had a lot of fun.
QUESTION: Has the dynamic changed much?
ROMIJN-STAMOS: He was always so sweet to me because he, more than any of the cast members except for maybe Alan, knew what I was going through with all the makeup. He would always say very sweet things to me like, "You are my heroine. You, darling, are my heroine." And I would say, "Or your chump." For sitting through all this.
He was very good at pep talks. And he would talk about my butt a lot. He commented on my butt a lot. I think he ruined a few takes because of commenting on my butt.
QUESTION: Why did you take on this role if we don't get to see your face?
ROMIJN-STAMOS: Because I think that part of the fun of being an actor is taking on a new persona and getting to play a fantasy and imaging to be somebody else. That's part of the fun of making movies is taking on an entirely new character, even if it's unrecognizable.
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