Of all of the X-Men who have appeared in the live-action films to date and will do so again in X-Men: Apocalypse, perhaps the most frequently seen, albeit potentially overshadowed one, is Henry Philip "Hank" McCoy, otherwise known as Beast, whose supreme intellect and simian-like exterior make him an obvious character to revisit from the original team in Marvel Comics, time and time again. After Kelsey Grammer's take on the character in Brett Ratner's X-Men: The Last Stand from 2006, Nicholas Hoult took over the role in X-Men: First Class from 2011, and has since built something of the original X-Man to rival his mutant brethren on film.
Coming with the release of director Bryan Singer's latest film in the X-Men franchise, Beast will be joined once again by yet another cast of characters possessed of their own mutant powers and personas. That includes a few familiar faces for readers of the comics and moviegoers alike, a facet of X-Men: Apocalypse that Hoult had more than a passing interest in exploring with his character respectively.
When we interviewed Hoult on the Apocalypse set, the actor was forthcoming about his feelings regarding the film's young cast members, citing in particular his investment in getting to see the origin stories for Jean Grey (Sophie Turner) and Scott Summers (Tye Sheridan) in way that were passed over in previous X-Men films. When asked to expound upon his feelings towards his underclassmen, Hoult remarked:
"I’ve watched a lot of their work, so it’s kind of intimidating in a way having them coming in with such a catalogue of great films. They’re great actors and already carrying themselves with such poise and knowledge of what they’re doing, I don’t remember being like that. So it’s cool, it’s fun. It’s always nice to have new people on set and new energy, I suppose, as well. It’s also, for me, nice to see...I grew up watching the first X-Men, I was eleven I think when that came out, and it’s fun to see the new version of Jean Grey and Cyclops and them, and their backstory, because you didn’t get to see much of that, so to see that developing as a fan, I really enjoy watching them do that."
When asked about his own character's development going into the new film, Hoult was quick to respond to a comment made by fellow cast-member Kodi Smit-McPhee, who will portray a young Nightcrawler, when he jokingly referred to Beast as the cranky grandpa of the X-Men movie universe. Regarding the former description of his performance in the role, Hoult replied:
"It’s that fine line because I think there’s a sweetness to the character. There’s always those two natures of him whenever you play him. I think Beast is certainly less nonsense, but I think Hank still has a more paternal sweet nature with everyone. But maybe I’ll up the crankiness a little bit. Maybe I just become cranky because I’m in the makeup those days, I don’t know."
Speaking of Nightcrawler, Hoult was also fast to discuss the special bond held between himself and newcomer Smit-McPhee, as the two performers are among the few cast members forced to undergo extensive stints in make-up to outwardly manifest their blue-toned and fuzzy mutant protagonists. Hoult offered the following anecdote on that matter:
"Kodi anyway, he’s a great kid; I’ve worked with him before. This is his first experience being blue, so we can relate a lot. I see him sometimes at three or four in the morning, and I walk in and I can just see he’s not feeling it, and I’m like, 'Dude, I know. But honestly you just zone out and we’ll get there.' So there’s quite a few blue characters...well, they’re all kind of different tones of blue, I guess. There’s Nightcrawler, me, and Mystique. So we’ll see what ends up in the cut, but there’s some acknowledgement there."
Come time of the May 2016 theatrical release of X-Men: Apocalypse, viewers can decide for themselves just how crankily paternal Beast appears, and whether or not Hoult proves to be as indispensable an elder statesman as his character has in the Marvel comics for decades. For the time being, viewers can look forward to seeing more blue mutants, fuzzy or otherwise, on the big screen in the near future when the X-Men series returns to theaters.
For more quotes and reveals from our X-Men: Apocalypse set visit, check out the links below:
Deadpool hits theaters February 12, 2016; X-Men: Apocalypse on May 27, 2016; Gambit sometime in 2017; Wolverine 3 on March 3, 2017; and an unannounced X-Men film on July 13, 2018. The New Mutants is also in development.