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The Man Behind X2

10.25.2002

Unless the word “GODFATHER” comes before the PART 2, sequels don’t get a lot of respect in Hollywood. Movies based on comic-books aren’t exactly spilling over with critical acclaim either. But whatever you do, don’t tell Bryan Singer that.

The 36-year-old director is fiercely ambitious about his current project X2 and is ready to deliver a film that tops the original on every level. Maybe it’s the mega-success of SPIDER-MAN that has Singer amped or maybe he just realizes how good X2 can (and will?) be.

“I think when people are going to see a sequel they don't want to simply see a continuation of exactly what they have seen before. They want to see a continuation, an evolution, so you want to improve upon it, make it better,” says Singer. “(Y)ou want to make it bigger and more spectacular. Fortunately we have a little more time, a couple more dollars and everybody knows what they're doing a little better, particularly me.”

Part of the “bigger and more spectacular” to which Singer refers is the ever-expanding X Universe. With a history of over 30 years, Singer and his team had a veritable cornucopia of new X-MEN characters to choose from to accentuate the sequel. Amongst the new additions are Alan Cumming as Nightcrawler, Aaron Stanford as Pyro, Kelly Hu as Lady Deathstrike (although her character was renamed Yuriko Oyama) and cameos from Colossus, Gambit and Jubilee.


Kelly Hu stars as Yuriko Oyama

Though many fans were begging for just about every X-MEN character ever created in the original film but Singer explains a sequel is a better platform for a larger team. “A lot of characters are already introduced, so it's a great opportunity to now have fun with them. The few new characters that are going to be introduced in this film, one can do with less exposition and just have more fun with it.”

To get any idea of how much influence Singer has over his cast and crew, just try and figure out some of the details of X2. When asked about their character’s contribution in the film, the actors hesitate, then turn to Singer for approval, who will normally answer in a cryptic one-word answer. Since he knows exactly what he wants to reveal, Singer is the perfect person to describe X2. Just don’t expect too much detail.

“X-MEN introduced a complex universe of characters and a sense of pending conflict,” Singer explains. “The first movie introduced the X-MEN lore to a new audience and established the conflicting philosophies embodied by Professor Xavier and Magneto. Professor Xavier's goal is peaceful co-existence between humans and mutants. While, on the other hand, Magneto believes in mutant supremacy. In X2 the conflict is taken to the next level, where the future of mutant and humankind are in jeopardy.”

Listening to Singer talk X-MEN is like listening to a college professor discuss Milton. He has such a passionate interest and firm understanding of the source material, ten-cent words can’t help but tumble from his mouth when describing his latest film. He even has the courage to compare, albeit humbly, to geek legend – THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK.

“(I)n a little like the way Empire Strikes Back sort of took everything and explored people’s frailties and weaknesses and also the potential weakness of the group in their attempt to try to overcome evil-doers. This film is like that kind of story. So you get to see everybody's weaker side, and then people hopefully try to overcome.”


Bryan Singer on the set of X2

The intellectual approach to a film where men shoot laser beams out of their eyes was a concept revitalized by Singer in the original X-MEN who drew on parallels to the Holocaust and the mutant struggle for acceptance to balance the action-heavy sequences in the film. That approach is not limited to Singer alone as he’s surrounded by a group of individuals who all follow his line of thinking. Writers Dan Harris and Michael Dougherty have been working on the script for this film and Singer says they “have completely comprehended, embraced and executed the history, depth and eloquence, and some of the politics, the tricky politics, of these characters and this universe.”

It certainly sounds like things are well under control up in Vancouver, but if you don’t believe me, why not take Marvel’s word for it. The studio, who is as protective over its characters as a tiger to her cubs, has taken a hands off approach to Singer and X2.

Singer says he “always had a tremendously great, supportive relationship” with Marvel but that this go around “They've been much less involved because I think they are focusing on other first films. We've got our thing going…There's never any mandates or discussions beyond just support, ideas and ‘Wouldn't it be neat if…’ and ‘Hey, we're thinking of doing this. Do you think it's cool?’ ‘We're going to introduce this character.’ ‘Great, cool.’”

Singer, a New Jersey native (further proof that the greatest creative minds originate in the Garden State) and USC graduate, got what he wanted with X2. In a word – more. More money, more time, more latitude. All it took was creating a film that broke box-office records and became one of the highest grossing films of the year. So don’t expect any symptoms of the Sophomore Slump from Singer. He’s a man on a mission. After all, this is the man who brought us THE USUAL SUSPECTS.

Source: JoBlo.com
Tags: Hollywood

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