It's a good time to be a comic book fan, particularly if you're a movie fan as well. Movies based on comic books continue to dominate at the box office and as a result there's a full roster of superhero movies to look forward to, including two different versions of Pietro Maximoff AKA Quicksilver, a mutant gifted with superhuman speed.
It was only recently confirmed that Aaron Taylor-Johnson (Kick-Ass 2) will be taking on the role in The Avengers: Age of Ultron, but Evan Peters (American Horror Story) has already finished filming his version of Quicksilver for director Bryan Singer in X-Men: Days of Future Past. Despite being a direct sequel to X-Men: First Class, the movie will also tie into the original X-Men trilogy, and will also introduce a new threat in the form of Bolivar Trask (Peter Dinklage) and his mutant-hunting robots, The Sentinels.
Over the summer, Singer tweeted a picture from the set of Days of Future Past showing just how brightly lit the set needed to be when filming Peters' scenes at 3600 fps. When shooting at such a high frame rate, there is only a tiny fraction of a second during which light can pass through the camera's aperture for each frame, so in order to actually be able to see anything on the footage, the set needed to be absolutely flooded with light. Speaking in an interview with i09, Peters said that this was the toughest part of filming:
"It was incredibly bright. A lot of the crew and Bryan, himself, got to wear sunglasses. And the actors had to keep their eyes open for a long, long time, with that bright light just blaring at you. It's like the sun. It's brighter than the sun. It's right there in your eyes. But the end result is so worth it. You just power through it.
"It does kind of hurt. I don't know how safe that is? Keeping your eyes open for more than 20 seconds in that light. But yeah it does hurt. It's really difficult to keep your eyes open... It's super, super, super, super slomo. You can see raindrops frozen in the air. Stuff like that. It's amazing how that camera works."
The effects that can be achieved by shooting at such high frame rates are very impressive (check out the Slow Mo Guys channel for some good examples), and it's particularly suitable for showing how the world appears to Quicksilver. Peters went on to say that the idea of playing a character who is constantly left waiting for everyone to catch up was pretty interesting for him:
"I read one of the comics where he says that it's like waiting at an ATM, when the people in front of you don't know how to use it. That's how his whole life is, everybody is so slow to him. And he has the ability to go so fast, he's just waiting for everybody to catch up. It's pretty cool, that character trait."
Peters was understandably cagey about certain details, but he did let a few things slip. With regards to his appearance, he will definitely be sporting silver hair as well as 70's jeans and what he describes as "a pretty sweet jacket." It would be pretty cool to see some kind of outfit that works in the light blue tone and silver lightning bolt of his costume in the comics.
The actor also dodged a question about what it was like to work with Ian McKellen by saying, "No, I worked with Michael Fassbender." He may have just been playing coy, but it's also possible that he simply had no scenes with McKellen. Given the time travel aspects of the plot, it's still unclear exactly which characters will end up running into each other, and when such interactions will take place - not to mention, Quicksilver's relationship with Magneto, in general.
The cinematography being used to capture Peters' performance sounds exciting, and the actor sounds like he's done his research, but does this newcomer have what it takes to knock the Quicksilver role out of the park, or will he be outpaced by his Kick-Ass co-star Aaron Johnson when The Avengers: Age of Ultron is released?
X-Men: Days of Future Past is out in theaters on May 23rd, 2014.