X-Men: First Class Trivia(Total Trivia Entries: 64)
“We’re the next stage of human evolution.”
The producers hired an X-Men specialist to assist the cast in understanding their roles. To find out more trivia keep on reading.
Casting Screenplay & Production
Michael Fassbender has stated that director, Matthew Vaughn saw him in an audition for one of his other movies and just thought that he would be right for this film. It was then after reading the script and liking it, he tried to convince the producers that he was right for the part.
Fassbender has admitted that he did not know that much about the X-Men and when he read Magneto’s history he said to himself that he thought the story was going to be really interesting work and he saw Erik as a Machiavellian character.
For preparation of his role, Michael Fassbender studied Sir Ian McKellen’s performance as Erik Lensherr/Magneto in the previous X-Men movies to get a flavor of what Magneto was like. He also studied the comics and decided to make his own version of this character and stated; “So I did my homework and preparation and you want to respect what someone else has done, especially because the fan base really liked what Ian has done with it. But while I could have gone and studied him as a young man and brought that to the performance, I don’t think Matthew is very interested in that. So I’m just going my own way and working with whatever is in the comic books and the script.”
The character of Erik Lensherr/Magneto is a Jewish Holocaust survivor. Michael Fassbender had previously played an Allied Forces soldier in Inglorious Basterds (2009). Sir Ian McKellen, who also plays the older Magneto, had earlier played a Nazi in Apt Pupil (1998), ironically going the other way from Fassbender.
James McAvoy has admitted that he did not read comics when he was a kid, but added that he was a fan of the cartoons from the age of 10. He describes the older Charles Xavier as; “A monk…a selfless, ego-less almost sexless force for the betterment of humanity and mortality.” To him the younger Xavier is a very different person, stating; “It’s quite fun because the complete opposite of that is an ego-fueled, sexed up self-serving dude. And not going too far with it, but he’s definitely got an ego and he’s definitely got a sex drive as well.”
To prepare for his role as Charles Xavier, James McAvoy shaved his head, but later learnt that the filmmakers wanted Xavier to have a full head of hair in this movie. Throughout the first month of filming McAvoy had to wear hair extensions.
McAvoy felt that there was a comparison between Professor X/Magneto and Martin Luther King Jr./Malcom X, stating, “A lot of the time…in the comic books, Erik comes and goes; he goes back and forward really in what he believes and how he is going to achieve it. And in this film it’s sort of like meeting them at a point where they are still finding out who they are and you are still seeing some of the events that shaped them, not through their early life, but some of the key events in the sort of equal rights or civil rights struggle that helped shape them.”
Both Michael Fassbender and James McAvoy appeared in Band of Brothers (2001) at the start of their careers. This movie marks their first appearance together since then.
Bryan Cranston was offered the role of Sebastian Shaw but he turned down the role to be in Drive (2011).
The other two actors that were considered for the role of Sebastian Shaw were Kevin Bacon and Colin Firth. Bacon was finally cast in the role as he was American and seemed more menacing looking than Firth. Vaughn later cast Firth in comic-book based film, Kingsman: The Secret Service (2014).
In addition to his comic book persona, the character of Sebastian Shaw takes on qualities of Nazi scientist Josef Mengele. Mengele is noted for his eugenic experimentation and torture often with children, to whom he would offer candy to gain their trust.
Amber Heard was rumored to have been approached for the role of Raven/Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence).
The following actors were considered for the role of Hank McCoy/Beast:
- Benjamin Walker – was initially cast but dropped out of the role to star in the Broadway musical ‘Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson’.
- Tayler Lautner – dropped out due to scheduling conflicts.
Nicholas Hoult prepared for his role as Hank McCoy/Beast by studying Kelsey Grammer’s performance as Beast in X-Men: The Last Stand (2006) and watching Grammer in early series of Frasier (1993). He also trained in athletics, boxing and weight lifting.
Before January Jones was cast for the role of Emma Frost, the following actresses were considered:
- Alice Eve – was initially cast but dropped out as a deal couldn’t be reached
- Sarah Harding – was called back three times
- Tahyna Tozzi – was considered for reprising her role as Emma Frost from X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009)
Rosamund Pike was also considered to for the role of Moira MacTaggert.
Initially Charlie Rowe was cast as the young Charles Xavier but, due to scheduling conflicts with Neverland (2011), he was replaced by Laurence Belcher.
The Man in Black, played by Oliver Platt, is a government agent and is a reference to the S.H.I.E.L.D. agency that has appeared in recent Marvel films. His title is also a tribute to the Men in Black, who are connected with paranormal activity on earth, adapted as a comic by Lowell Cunningham, made into a film by Barry Sonnenfeld.
Director Matthew Vaughn, instructed the main cast to do away with copying any accents from the original X-Men movies in their performances. James McAvoy had planned to copy Patrick Stewart’s voice, but Vaughn dismissed the idea. Vaughn also told Rose Byrne that Moira MacTaggert would not have her trademark Scottish accent in the film.
Rose Byrne was cast as Moira MacTaggert late in production, which had already begun by the time she was picked for the role.
Apparently, Sirs Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen were considered to appear in this film as the elder Professor X and Magneto, but the idea was discarded as the filmmakers wanted to start a new X-Men trilogy, without any connection to the previous movies.
In the comics Alex Summers/Havok, played by Lucas Till, was the brother of Scott Summers/Cyclops. In this movie, Alex’s relationship with Scott is unknown.
Jason Flemyng spent eight weeks fight training, particularly with swords, and had to undergo a four-hour make-up process, which like Mystique was designed by Spectral Motion-but did not include Azazel’s tail, which was computer-generated.
Edi Gathegi apparently read for the role of Banshee before being cast as Darwin.
The producers hired an X-Men specialist to assist the cast in understanding their roles.
Hugh Jackman’s brief cameo in this movie as Logan/Wolverine now becomes the first actor to play the same superhero comic book character in five movies.
Hugh Jackman accepted the opportunity to cameo as Logan/Wolverine when he learned he would be the only character in the film to use the word ‘fuck’. He improvised the line, “Go fuck yourself,” after using seven other takes to say, “Fuck off”. The reaction from McAvoy and Fassbender to the different line was authentic.
This is only the second time in a Marvel film since X2 (2003) where Stan Lee has not had a cameo appearance. He cited he was unable to participate because “they shot it too far away”.
Matthew Vaughn considered his friend, actor Dexter Fletcher for the part of the Man in Black, but the studio felt the cast had too many British actors. This role was eventually given to Oliver Platt.
Rebecca Romijn has a cameo appearance as the “age-progressed” Mystique in Erik’s bed. Romijn played Mystique in the earlier X-Men films.
Rebecca Romijn admitted that she wanted to say Hugh Jackman’s one line in the film.
Actors Ludger Pistor and Wilfried Hochholdinger portray the Nazi soldiers which Michael Fassbender’s character confronts in the bar scene. Pistor and Hochholdinger also played Nazis in Inglorious Basterds (2009) with Fassbender who played an Allied soldier.
The following actors screen-tested for several characters in the movie:
- Jason Behr
- Boyd Holbrook
- Jonas Armstrong
- Patrick J. Adams
- Jamie Dornan
- Tom Parker
Screenplay & Production Casting
The story of the movie is based on combination of X-Men comics; Uncanny X-Men (1963) and X-Men: First Class (2006).
Originally this movie was to be a prequel about Magneto and screenwriter, Sheldon Turner had written a story which focused the story on Magneto’s early years as a prisoner in a Nazi concentration camp where he is then liberated by a squad of Allied of Forces being led by Charles Xavier. They later meet after the war and become friends and then finally rivals. However, the studio decided to change the direction of the movie to focus on the early years of the X-Men but still incorporated some of Turner’s original storyline into the movie.
In April 2006, one month before the release of X-Men: The Last Stand (2006), Zak Penn was hired to write and direct a spin-off. He explained that; “The original idea was to have me do a young X-Men spin-off, a spin-off of the young X-Men characters. But someone came up with a pretty interesting idea, it was this guy who worked with me named Mike Chamoy, he worked a lot with me on X3. He came up with how to do a young X-Men movie which is not what you’d expect.” As Penn found Chamoy’s idea more interesting he decided to drop out from directing.
In May 2008 an early version of the script was written by Josh Schwartz and his assignment also included the possibility of directing X-Men: First Class. But in October 2009 Fox approached Bryan Singer, director of X-Men (2000) and X2 (2003) and Schwartz’s script was dropped as Singer wanted to take the story to a different direction.
The original idea was to green-light the movie depending on the success of X-Men Origins: Magneto, but Singer added elements of the Magneto spin-off merged into a new script written by Jamie Moss. In addition to Jamie Moss, Ashley Edward Miller and Zack Stentz were hired to re-write the script.
In May 2010 Matthew Vaughn signed on as Singer’s replacement to direct and with his signing Fox hired Jane Goldman for another re-write of the script. Vaughn wanted to model X-Men: First Class after Star Trek (2009) by taking the franchise in a new direction with a fresh, young cast.
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