'X-Men: First Class' Actors Talk Magneto, Sebastian Shaw & White Queen

X-Men First Class Mutants Costumes

With the first pictures of the mutants in X-Men: First Class hitting the web (check out our post on those), buzz about this X-Men prequel/reboot film is sure to be hitting the mainstream right about now. Fans have been talking for months about the speculative pros (Matthew Vaughn directing a stellar cast) and cons (the muddled continuity of the film) of First Class, and now the stars of the film are adding their two cents in.

Today we hear from young Magneto (Michael Fassbender),  Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon) and Emma Frost (January Jones) on the versions of these iconic villains we'll be seeing in X-Men: First Class.

Fassbender talked to MSN about his role as Magneto, and had the following insight to offer about his character:

"He's such a complex character, really, and the idea of him being a villain is interesting considering his history... he's a very solitary individual, and the pain and grief that's gone on even before we meet him in this film is an interesting pool of information to draw from, in coming up with this Machiavellian character for whom the ends justified the means. You can see where he's coming from. Human beings don't have the greatest track record in what they've done throughout history, so his point of view is, "Well, we are the next stage of evolution -- (humans) are to us what Neanderthals were to Homo sapiens.

He's an extremist, and that's always a dangerous place to be. By the time we leave him at the end of this movie, he's become very clear about what he wants and his decisions and his game plan."

xmen first class magneto michael fassbender

Of course, now that people have gotten looks at the costumes being used for the mighty mutants of First Class (they're very reminiscent of the colorful Jack Kirby designs of the 1960s), there's going to be a lot of fan debate over whether or not the X-Men's new look is a good one. Fassbender addressed the issue in the interview:

"As for our costumes, we went back and forth on so many things. We added things that worked in the comics, took them away again, and stripped them down again. ... When it came to the Magneto suit, you know, there's various stages of what has been done with it, but you will have something that is traditional to the comics. There is a helmet (laughs), which is of course essential to keep Charlie-boy out of my head, and the colors are also kept traditional to the comics, that sort of red and purple. I don't know if I'm giving you too much, but I'll say it anyway (laughs)."

From what we've seen of this first poster, it safe to assume that Magneto will be going through several wardrobe changes throughout the film, starting with the yellow-themed classic X-Men look, ending with the more traditional Magneto color scheme described above once he and Prof Xavier (James McAvoy) have their inevitable falling out.

For more on what Fassbender had to say about stepping into Ian McKellen's shoes, researching Magneto and overcoming the stigmas of X-Men: The Last Stand and Wolverine, be sure to head over to MSN.


Kevin Bacon Talks Sebastian Shaw

Kevin Becon is Sebastian Shaw in X-Men: First Class

We've already heard Kevin Bacon talk about playing Sebastian Shaw Lord of  The Hellfire Club, an upper-crust haven for mutants where a small cabal known as the Inner Circle (led by Shaw) plots to tighten their hold on the reigns of wealth and power. However, Moviefone caught up with the center of the known (acting) universe and probed deep, unearthing a few gems about what we can expect from Shaw in this new film:

"You don't see much [of his backstory] in the movie, but he's kind of a self-made man. He lost his father as a young man, made his first million by the time he was 30 and first billion by time he was 40. He's a very powerful billionaire and also, as it turns out, a mutant. He's the leader of the Hellfire Club, which is a nightclub for the rich and extremely powerful. And he has a plot to take over the world, so that's really fun. He's incredibly good at manipulating people and at taking whatever kind of energy or ability they have and using it to his advantage, like if he's talking to a German, he's fluent in German. He's very charming and able to get whatever he wants."

Like Fassbender, Bacon addressed the all-important (sarcasm alert!) question of costumes in this new film, and how the Sebastian Shaw we see will be different from the comic book version:

"My look is very different from the guy in the comic books. We decided pretty early on that that was not going to translate to film. But there's a certain kind of style to the suits that I wear, but I don't have anything extreme in the makeup department. When you first meet me -- I don't want to spoil it -- but when you first meet me, I look a little different."

Finally, Bacon talks about what it's like to take on an iconic comic book role in the era where other actors are gaining a lot of acclaim (Robert Downey Jr.) or even winning awards (Heath Ledger) for what used to be viewed as frivolous creations aimed at a niche audience:

"I have a really newfound appreciation for those actors, Heath Ledger, Johnny Depp, Robert Downey Jr., and Hugh Jackman, that are able to work within this kind of genre with all the green screen and create great, memorable performances. It's very difficult; for me the most fun is always connecting on a scene and working with another actor to try to make that scene work. There was a scene near the end of the film between me and Michael Fassbender (Magneto) and the scene was okay, but I don't think either one of us was figuring it out. So Matthew let us spend a weekend up at his house and really figured it out from an acting standpoint, what this moment really means between these two. And that's the fun stuff. Hanging from a crane is fun too, but not as fun as actually connecting with another actor."

Isn't that nice? Sounds like Fassbender and Bacon really connected!

For more on what Kevin Bacon had to say about the look of the film, the historical events that serve as the backdrop for the story and that Inception-style room of mirrors sequence we heard about awhile back, head over to Moviefone.


January Jones Talks White Queen

Finally, actress January Jones talked to IGN about what it was like playing the White Queen, Emma Frost, starting with the version of her character who appears in the film:

"We don't go into too much of the backstory. Not really. it's more of a mystery about the relationship she has with Shaw and her past and why she reacts certain ways to certain things. I think the fans of the comic who know her history will understand why she does certain things because they know her, but I don't think it'll be confusing to audiences who don't know her backstory either...She's on the side of the mutants. I have hard time defining who is good guy-bad guy in this because everyone's pro-mutant. It's just whether you trust the humans or you don't. So I can't say whether she's a bad guy or a good guy."

Of course, the subject of Frost's vivacious costumes MUST be addressed  - if only out of scientific curiosity, of course ;-) - specifically what went through Jones' mind when she saw the outfits:

"It was a little bit of both, '"Let's go for it!" and "You've gotta be kidding me?" No actual woman looks like that. She's very blessed, shall we say. So coming straight from Mad Men, literally the day before, there was no way I could get physically cut like that. Also, for a woman to get that physically cut and not lose the curvy areas was a bit of a challenge for me, so I just did some weight training and body sculpting. I had a lot of fun with that, too. All the stunt training and the physical aspects of the role that I didn't know I'd be doing were a lot of fun. Because her powers are very strong on both the mental and physical sides, so it was a lot of fun for me to go to different places than I've had to do as an actor before."

For more about the White Queen/Sebastian Shaw relationship and Emma Frost's diamond form (!) be sure to read the full interview on IGN.


As of now, X-Men: First Class is a big question mark for me. I have a LOT of faith in Matthew Vaughn and actors like McAvoy, Fassbender and Bacon, but not as much faith in some of these younger actors who have been cast. I also have concerns with the studio and how the project is seemingly being rushed, especially after the last two franchise installments...

Having the Cuban Missile Crisis serve as the backdrop (all three actors mentioned this in their interviews) is interesting, and sets up a great Mutants vs. Humans' Nuclear Weapons analogy, so there is potential for this film, storywise. But will the vision be executed in the proper way?

The first images from X-Men: First Class have been... interesting, but the first trailer will undoubtedly be the make or break selling point for me. (For an early description of that trailer, go HERE.) This one could go either way, as far as I'm concerned.

X-Men: First Class opens in theaters June 3, 2011.

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