Cannes Q&A: X-Men: The Last Stand
By M&C News May 23, 2006, 0:01 GMT
Hugh Jackman, Diana Ramirez, Brett Ratner and Halle Berry © AFP
Mutants invaded Festival de Cannes upon the occasion of the out-of-competition presentation, of ‘X-Men: The Last Stand’ by director Brett Ratner.
For the ultimate chapter of the X-Men trilogy, they face a historic choice and their greatest combat. A treatment henceforth enables them to escape what they are. For the very first time, Wolverine (Hugh Jackman), Tornado (Halle Berry) and Jean Grey/Phoenix (Famke Janssen) have the choice: keep what makes their character unique but at the price of being rejected by mankind, or abandon their powers and become full-fledged human beings. The opposing viewpoints of Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart) and Magneto (Sir Ian McKellen) prove ever more incompatible and will trigger off the most spectacular war of all time.
"Bryan Singer," [director of the previous two episodes], in the words of Brett Ratner, "represented a kind of basic contract for me. I wanted to absolutely respect the tone and pursue the developments which he and the actors had created. Audiences had become attached to the characters and we had to remain faithful to them. My goal was to pursue what had been brilliantly commenced, and go even farther into our knowledge of the heroes and their emotions."
The press conference for the out of competition screening of ‘X-Men: L'Affrontement Final’ was held May 22nd. Answering questions from the journalists were director Brett Ratner, actors Patrick Stewart, Halle Berry, Famke Janssen, Anna Paquin, Rebecca Romijn, Shawn Ashmore, Ben Foster, Kelsey Grammer, Sir Ian Mckellen and Hugh Jackman.
Hugh Jackman on being in Cannes : "It's amazing for us. First of all I sit up here with these amazing actors who I now consider friends and it's been a 6-year journey and it's such an honour to be here.
It feels a very fitting way to kind of celebrate what we've been through. For me personally this is a dream come true. I'm a kid from the suburbs in rural Australia. The idea of being in the Cannes Festival is amazing and on top of that, my wife is a brilliant actress, she decides to do a movie and low and behold, it's in the Directors' Fortnight, having a premier the night after mine.
I don't think I could have written that script. It really is a true delight!”
Famke Janssen on the rage behind her double personality: "Unfortunately I had to dig deep to get there. I did a little bit of research for the character, because when I got the script, I thought the idea of her going back and forth between Jean Grey and Phoenix, I wanted that sense of unpredictability. Some of the research I did was by watching documentaries about schizophrenia and split personalities. Definitely the unpredictable nature of how quickly those characters would switch is what I was trying to achieve. Mostly I though the important thing was to show that there are so many different sides to human beings, each person is complex and complicated."
Brett Ratner on joining the cast for the third adventure: "I have to say that these actors completely welcomed me and I think it's because a love and passion for this movie and for these characters.
I have to say, they treated me as if I was there from the beginning. I do not feel like an outsider. These actors have a very specific opinion about their characters and they're very foreplay and come forward and say, ‘My character would do this or not do this.' I was very appreciative of their collaboration and which is why I felt so confident and comfortable in directing this film.
I think what a director has to have is a point of view and I'm definitely a director with a point of view and right or wrong, I know what I like and what I don't like. I'm not saying there wasn't a short introduction period, but they truly treated me as a family member and I'm very grateful for that."
Patrick Stewart on the arrival of Brett Ratner: "There was one fear that we all shared; it was that we might be told that's what you did before and you'll have to change it over and make a fresh start, but Brett was honest and smart when he said, ‘I respect everything you all did before. Let's just now take that and develop that and move on from there."
Sir Ian McKellen on theatrical influences in X-Men: "Any theatre actor knows that a company of friends and colleagues who have been together for a long time do their best work as an individual. So it's with enormous relish that I come back to playing this project because aside from playing with friends and having a good time together, I have the feeling of depending upon each other."
Sir Ian McKellen on his inspiration for the character: "As a gay man, some people think that it ought to be cured and made normal again and I find it as offensive as someone saying that they have a cure for the colour of their skin. This particular story was close to my heart; it has an important message to young people who may for one reason or another be disaffected with society because society points at their differences and says that they're inferior to the rest of us."
Shawn Ashmore on the film's message: "I think it's important for all of us to play these characters, because there is an underlying theme in X-Men that inspires us all in being an individual and accepting that. We've all felt like that and we've all gone through it and we can all relate to that."
Hugh Jackman on the ensemble spirit: "When I first arrived on the X-Men set in the year 1999, the film was already a week or two into production. Both Famke and Anna Paquin were shooting that day. Anna finished at 12pm that day and we shot the scene at 10 o'clock at night. But Anna stuck around 10 hours and read lines with me.
We were like friends by the time we went to audition. Famke had been shooting for 14 hours that day and voluntarily offered to shoot the scene with me. For someone who just walked onto the set, first job in Hollywood.
We're all in this together; it's an ensemble."
© Festival de Cannes