We're on the road to the return of the X-Men, or at least, the previous generation of Professor X's mutants in X-Men: First Class. With the first First Class cast photo releasing last month and the full trailer just last week, the ball is rolling on Fox's attempt at kickstarting a potential new X-Men movie franchise with an entirely new cast.
Michael Fassbender, one of the two main leads in the X-Men prequel, plays the young Erik Lehnsherr before he becomes the villainous Magneto we all know him as. Like cast mates James McAvoy and January Jones, Fassbender has been working the press for other projects and in most interviews, has been subject to lots of questions regarding his biggest role to date as the master of magnetism.
MTV and Metro both had opportunities to speak with the highly sought after Hollywood star and prodded him about his take on Magneto and where he draws his inspiration from. In X-Men: First Class, he clarifies that he doesn't aim to replicate Sir Ian McKellan's performance of Magneto from the main X-Men trilogy and instead uses "the comics as the source material." An answer fans are looking for and an answer most actors joining big comic book adaptations are learning to give.
Fassbender describes his character's relationship with Charles Xavier not just as a friend and certainly not in the role of the leader or teacher, but as a student of sorts.
"I'm not a teacher, I'm a pupil. Charlie boy is the teacher. ... He sees the potential in this new race... and gathers us all together to fulfill our ultimate powers."
Will producer Bryan Singer's story for X-Men: First Class delve in to Erik's history, like we saw in the intro seen in the first X-Men film when his family is hauled away in a Nazi internment camp?
"You will see a little bit of that, yeah, at the beginning but I thought what was interesting was what happened to him after the war – he gets that young gypsy girl out of the concentration camp that he falls in love with. They take off together and have a baby and the mob ends up going crazy and burning down the house and the child dies in the blaze. Magneto goes ape sh*t and kills everybody. She’s freaked out and leaves him. So by the time we get to him in the movie, he’s a bit of a loner, really."
Fassbender continues to explain the differences between the philosophies behind Erik Lehnsherr and Charles Xavier, using real life icons:
"It’s kind of like Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X — Charles [Professor X] being Martin Luther and Erik [Magneto] being Malcolm X — these two ideals, two intelligent guys but with different methods of achieving what they want. Erik doesn’t trust humans and thinks they need to be wiped away and I can kind of see his point. It’s like Homo Sapiens, Neanderthals … it’s like it’s the next stage of evolution. And humans have made a bit of balls of it. We have, haven’t we?"
This is how we know the characters to be, or at least, how they end up as their relationship crumbles and their own ideal separate their paths as mutant leaders. If X-Men: First Class is debuting with the goal of becoming a new trilogy, we can hope Magneto and Professor X don't part ways entirely in this first film.
For the fans, Fassbender also dropped some costume related tidbits, explaining that there are two Magneto helmets in the film and that the X-uniform we see in the X-Men: First Class trailer and in the photo above is only in the film for a short period of time when the characters come together as a team.
X-Men: First Class opens in theaters June 3, 2011.
Sources: MTV, Metro