25 May 2006

Ian McKellen E-Posts

3 April 2000

Q: I was wondering how it was to work with the other actors?

A: Just dandy.

Q: Have you had a chance to glance at some of the film. How does it look to you? Are the cast etc. all going to get together for a party and preview the movie or does everyone head off their separate ways?

A: To celebrate the millennial break, Bryan Singer showed some rough footage of X-Men for the crew and cast still working in Toronto. I was off the film by then and probably shan't see anything of the sort until I add my voice to the finished soundtrack. Still on location in New Zealand, I shall miss any cast-and-crew screenings, at which partners and families have a chance to see what their beloved ones have been up to at all hours of day and night.

Q: I certainly hope that the movie doesn't go the way of the Batman franchise of campy lines and mocking humor. I wish that the American view of our pulp fiction would be to take it a bit more seriously. I feel that it is our mythology or tall campfire tales if you like.

A: Bryan Singer is well aware of the seriousness of the arguments underlining the action of X-Men. There is nothing I have seen of his film which looks as if the original comic book material is being mocked or "sent up" by the film-makers.

Q: What sort of comment does it make upon the state of today's cinema where we have two fine Shakespearean actors in yourself and Patrick Stewart starring in what is essentially a "comic book" movie?

A: Probably it means nothing more than that actors like me don't want to be labelled or restricted by their past successes. There are many precedents for actors escaping from Shakespeare into popular film: Alec Guinness (Star Wars), Laurence Olivier (Marathon Man etc.), John Gielgud (Arthur).

Q: Would you reprise the role of Erik/Magneto in another X-Men movie?

A: Like other actors in X-Men I have agreed, under certain conditions, to return if a sequel is made.

Q: I recall a series of issues exploring Magneto's trial before the UN for crimes against humanity. The attitude of the man, his arrogant disdain for suffering, was simultaneously juxtaposed with WWII horrors and the necessary means of violence in winning the race war. I find this odd collective of internal strife also present in your interpretation of Richard III. Please let me know your thoughts on the similarities between these characters.

A: As you put it there are obvious similarities, although I trust Magneto's motives more than Richard's. Magneto is never careless with lives, whereas Richard glories in his control over others. That said, Richard's conscience bursts through his nightmare before his last battle at Bosworth.

Shakespeare's influence is pervasive. He created numerous archetypes so insightful that they seem to be precursors not only to other writer's characters but real-life people as well. So every confused youth with the weight of the world on his shoulders, unwittingly re-enacts Hamlet's problems. If Richard III is echoed in Magneto, so too in the motives and actions of Hitler and other actual villainous politicians.

Q: The one question that has been nagging me ever since I saw the first promo pictures of the cast in costumes is about Rogue (Anna Paquin). Does she ever wear an official X-Men uniform, like the others wear in the promos and the teaser?

A: I don't know I'm afraid. I only had scenes with Anna Paquin when it would have been inappropriate for Rogue to be in uniform. Magneto on the other hand was in full hero kit.

Q: I knew X-Men was going to look good, I just didn't know that it would look so...believable. I think the criticism against the costume designs is completely unjustified, particularly Magneto's outfit. It has the feel of the original comic design, but it also looks so much better, more realistic - real "world- conqueror" feel to it.

A: Good. I was always concerned that Magneto should look powerful and stylish and knew that a simple reproduction of the comic's outfits might look too much like fancy dress than a working uniform. The world of X-Men is not a Halloween Ball, after all.

From: Mike Tuffley MTuffley@aol.com

Q: Will your schedule allow you to do very much press for X-Men this summer?

A: I am expecting to be free during a mid-year break from The Lord of the Rings to attend the X-Men premiere around 14 July and, if necessary, meet the media.

From: Joseph Tedescucci TheDeadline@aol.com

Q: What Comic books/magazines did you read as a child?

A: The only comic I read regularly as a kid was UK boys' comic "The Eagle". This featured Dan Dare, whose pre-Star Trek exploits, are shortly to appear in a television-cartoon version.

Q: Are you to be portraying the younger, more brash Magneto from the comics 30 years ago, or the more mature, thoughtful Magneto of more recent years?

A: The movie's Magneto is a thriving man in his 60s.

Q: I was wondering, if in the film Magneto is presented as Professor X's Doppelganger. Do you feel they are different sides of the same coin?

A: Although each is his own man, Magneto and Xavier, like many old friends, share similarities. This is pointed up by casting two British actors of similar age and experience. Patrick Stewart was born in Yorkshire and I in Lancashire making X-Men a rerun of the Wars of the Roses (cf. Shakespeare's history plays).

For more about X-Men be sure to read Magneto's Lair and



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