25 May 2006

Ian McKellen E-Posts

16 June 2000

From Kevin P. Stephens kevinsp@osu-com.okstate.edu

Q: What kind of accent you use to portray Magneto?

A: Magneto's family is imprisoned in a Polish concentration camp by the Nazis. Since then he has travelled much and become an international citizen of the world. Bryan Singer therefore decided that my own British "received speech" flavoured with a slight American accent would be appropriate.

From Mari bels4u@prodigy.net

Q: Could you give a round figure for what the budget was.

A: The announced shooting budget of US$75M does not include the undeclared (but considerable) sums to spent on advertising etc. by the distributing companies worldwide.

Q: I can always remember the specific time during preparatory work when a character reaches out and grabs my attention by the throat. With Magneto, when did this happen for you, if it did?

A: I agree about that defining moment when the character imposes himself - in the case of Magneto it was when I was being fitted for the costume and caught sight of his power and ambition as I strutted in front of the mirror.

From Afterburner aburner@rcn.com

Q: Did you, by chance, ever talk to Chris Claremont, the man most single-handedly responsible for turning the X-Men from a 3rd-rate comic to Marvel's most popular comic franchise?

A: I admire Chris Claremont but haven't met him. But then I've never met Shakespeare or Tolkien.

Q: Obviously there's no real-life equivalent to being able to control the powers of magnetism by sheer force of will. How do you, as an actor, go about portraying these fantastic aspects of the character in a way that can seem "real" to the audience?

A: Tucked away in the middle of the teaser trailer for "X-Men" is a splendid example of Magneto's mutant capabilities. With Toad and Sabretooth on either side, he stands, helmetted, ready for action. A warning challenge rings out and the master of magnetism responds with violence. As he raises his arms in front of him, the police vehicles which threaten him are lifted clear of the ground. As he lowers them, so they fall.

This sort of effect is not at all in the actor's control. Shooting in Hamilton, Ontario last October, it involved slender cables suspending the cars from two gigantic offscreen cranes. Ray Park, Tyler Mane and I were happy to be well out of range on the steps of the railroad station. For many an hour the effect was organised. It was in two parts: the raising and the dropping. All I had to do was arm movements in accord with the cranes.

Q: Will there be any reference to Israel in the X-Men movie? As I understand it some very important part of the Magneto-Xavier relations took place in Israel, I believe their first meeting too.

A: There is no direct reference to the meeting in Israel between Magneto and Xavier.

Click to Enlarge
Reading "X-Men the Movie Prequel" comic
Los Angeles, June 2000
Photo by Keith Stern


Q: I don't know if your break from "Lord of The Rings" will allow you to do the X-junket as it's been shifted to LA.

A: The junket - a round of meetings with the media - is an exhausting process. Publicity representatives for the movie steer the cast one-by-one before the television cameras and groups of print journalists. In a couple of days, the actors might do nearly a hundred interviews, answering very similar questions ad infinitum.

While the rest of the "X-Men" do their stuff in Los Angeles over the 24-26 June week-end, I shall be involved with "Lord of the Rings" across the world. But I am planning to be in New York for the official opening on 12 July. There I shall be free to do some national press interviews before a brief hiatus in London where I live.

In the meantime I expect some lively media folk may discover and plunder Magneto's Lair and these "X-Men" E-posts. If so, remember you read it here first!

[Webmaster's note: The LA media junkets have been moved to NYC and will take place in July, making it easier for the actors to participate.]


Q: Is the movie based on the comics or just a complete different storyline of its own?

A: The story of the movie is original but refers to the basic plotline of the comics.

To Kill or Not to Kill

Q: Will the X-men kill somebody (like comics) or this is a non-kill movie?

A: Magneto is prepared to kill to achieve his ends. His destructive powers are potentially lethal. How far he goes in the movie you will have to wait and see.


Q: How well do you think the X-Men movie will do?

A: "X-Men" has every chance of doing very well indeed. It is a summer movie with no other strong competitor sharing its opening weekend. The anticipation of fans of the comic, encouraged by the marketing of action figures and other images of the characters, should ensure full audiences for the first screenings.

As I haven't yet seen the completed film, which Bryan Singer will "lock off" in its final version this week, I can do no more than wait and hope along with all the others who wish "X-Men" a huge success onscreen.

Click to Enlarge
Ian McKellen and Magneto
Los Angeles
June 2000
Photo by Keith Stern

Magneto's Age

From IK madureira@mixmail.com

Q: Don´t you think you´re a bit old for the role? Magneto in the comics is a young person and you are 60 years old.

A: The movie takes place in the present day. Magneto as a child was imprisoned in a nazi concentration camp. So he is about my age.

Q: A lot of my friends have said that a someone in their 60's playing Magneto was silly, but in the comic book Magneto is in his 60's.

A: If I had any doubts about playing Magneto, they didn't concern his age. He is a Holocaust survivor and at 61, I am roughly his age. Indeed his advancing years are built into the plot. Perhaps your friends are remembering the comic stories, some of which flashback to Magneto as a younger man.

Costume Colour

Q: In various picture of the costume you wear in the movie I noticed the color seems to change ? Can you please verify the color of the costume?

A: Magneto wears a number of different outfits in the movie. We first see him in regular street clothes, which are dark in colour. In his Lair, he favours dark pants with hints of purple. His fighting uniform is grey and purple again - by now you will have seen his helmet in deep-red.

In the last scene of the film, Magneto wears a outfit altogether contrasting in style and colour.


Q: I have read that you have agreed to do a sequel if there ever is one. Would you be offended if they made a sequel but decided to feature another villain and not ask you to come back?

A: Dammit yes, I would be offended. But maybe I could play the replacement villain as well . . . .

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