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Set Visit: X-Men 3 Part (4/5)

Mar. 2, 2006by: JoBlo


Intro & Int. w/ Kelsey Grammer
Press Conference Part 1/2 / Press Conference Part 2/2

I wanted to give you folks a few more highlights of my epic X-MEN: THE LAST STAND set visit. In addition to the Q&As with the director and the cast of the film, we got to chat with other crewmembers, who gave us a greater glimpse into the X-universe.

Production Designer Ed Verreaux first showed the art department, where the walls were covered with detailed designs of various locations and set pieces. While pointing to different pieces of artwork (all of which were remarkable in their color and detail), he talked at length about the film. Here are some excerpts.

On some of the key locations:

  • Were going to be going back into Oval Office. Were also going to be the situation room with the President. The President is going to be very much involved in this because there is now a Department of Mutant Affairs. Beast is in this movie this time. Hank (McCoy) is the Secretary of Mutant Affairs, so he has a lot of meetings in here with the president.

Theres gonna be a Danger Room sequence this time. We are actually going to get into the Danger Room, hopefully, in the third movie. Weve shot all preparatory stuff for that, but we actually havent shot the Danger Room bit yet. Were building that set right now. So thats hopefully gonna be shot next week. Of course, well also be going back to the blue corridors under the mansion. And well be going back to the infirmary and also X-hangar. Were gonna get back into the X-Jet and fly around a little bit.

  • Angel is going to appear in the movie this time and his father is Mr. Worthington, who owns Worthington Industries. And theres a sequence that take place in there. Also, later on Worthington industries now has bought Alcatraz , the island, and they have a genetics laboratory there. At some point were gonna end up going there as well. And a lot of stuffs gonna happens there, in and around that.

A young character in the movie is being kept in Worthington labs because of he has a very specific power, which become sort of the crux of the movie.

  • We also have a mutant prison convoy where some of the Brotherhood have been captured, and we have a whole convoy sequence where at some point it gets overtaken by Magneto and some of the Brotherhood and he breaks out several people, among which is Juggernaut. So Juggernauts also in this movie.

On the tone of this film as it compares with the others:

With this one, in some ways weve tried to pull back a bit and tried to make things a little bit more realistic and let fantastic things happen in a real world, as opposed to pushing the world and making the world sort of much more comic book-like. Some of these things, like the X-Jet and the underground blue corridors and all that, those are established characters in the X-Men movies, so those things just get brought back.

On the Danger Room sequence:

I worked on the first film for about five months with Bryan Singerthey had a Danger Room design then, which they didnt build at all. On the second movie, they had a Danger Room sequence designed and built part of the Danger Room, and then decided that they just couldnt afford it. Thats what it comes down to. This time, the studio said they really wanted to have (it). This is an X-Men thing.

  • We dont see as much of the room as you wouldve seen in other films. I know that when I was working with Brian on the first one, you were doing a bunch of stuff and you were actually in this space and you were really aware of it. And in this movie, youre more aware of sort of what the room is projectingyou are in this big multi-dimensional holographic media space."

On Magnetos lair:

We did a Magneto bunker this time. We did an like an underground bunker another hideout. So I did it like it was all made out of metal its a much more sculptural space, its very very minimal. As far as trying to design a set that sort of fits a character, thats the one I got to do the most work on, as far as saying ok, we can make it anything. What are we gonna do with it. Its not supposed to be giganticlike in the first movie he had the huge, sort of nebulous underground bunker, like it was designed by Specter or somebody. So I was trying to bring it back a little bit.

On the time crunch (director Brett Ratner joined the film about six weeks before the shoot):

This is where the script really drove us crazy because we had this script, and we were going around trying to find locations to fit the description in the script. And every time Id show Brett, hed go, Well, this isnt really right. And so finally I said, Well Im going to have to do something because this shoots in three weeks. Im just going to make something up right now. And I did a design, built a little model, took it down to the set, showed him, and said, Heres what I (built). Do you like this? He said, Yeah. I said, Then this is what were going to build. And then later on, we have a whole sequence where were outside. The Brotherhood of Mutants have all gathered and they have this big forest encampment and Magneto is up on this knoll and hes talking to them, one of his speeches. And behind him Brett said, I have to have a trap door leading into his secret hideout. So some of it was sort retrofitting stuff as ideas came up. I think thats the one thing where it wouldve really been nice to have had a lot of this stuff in advance, so instead of reacting, we couldve been a lot more proactive. But thats just not the way this movie turned out.

On Juggernaut:

Theres a scene where Magneto is going to let him out, and Pyro is reading the manifest, and he says, This isCain Markoprisoner must be restrained completely because once he starts moving he cant be stopped. So we did this whole thing where his arms and his legs were in this sort of carbonite-fused force field. What happens is Magneto just sort of rips it open and this stuff all pops off. So it was like saying, whats going to look cool? Whats going to contain this guy? Its gotta really look like this guy cant be moved.

On his biggest challenge:

Alcatraz because its huge. And the concept, we came up with it quite quickly. In fact, theres a little model I built. [points to model] I built that on a Saturday based on talking with Brett on a Thursday. This whole concept changed, because this whole sequence was actually going to take place in Washington D.C. and it was really problematic. And so we came up with this idea, lets do this sequence at Alcatraz instead because were going to see it later on. And so we very, very quickly did it, and we began to build it in Maya and found a location for it. It just all kind of came together quite quickly. It was, like, getting it done in 11 weeks, getting it ready to shoot and all that, so it was a very short timeframe and we had to make a lot of quick decisionsthere was no changing. You really had to make the right decisions the first time. Theyve been shooting for about three weeks, four weeks on the Alcatraz set. Both first and second unit have done quit a bit of work down there.

On the effects of cold Canada weather on the shoot:

We had a sequence where Storm is fighting a bunch of these guys and she causes a big tidal wave whoosh so the special effects guys had a bunch of really huge dump tanks down there set up. This is second-unit. So all these stunt guys are running toward these things and, literally, this giant wave, like, ten feet tall, comes blasting out and knocks these guys back. Well, they had to rent a bunch of hot tubs or showers for that night so that these guys could get warm. Of course, the water in the dump tank isnt warm. Its as cold as the water in the tap. So now youre out, its almost freezing, and youre totally soaked. You cant just go have a cup of coffee. Youll have hypothermia, just like that. So you just have to think about all this stuff and prepare.

On Brett Ratners approach:

Brett wants to put his own stamp on it. As far as aspects that hell put his stamp on, expect the acting and editing to be more stylized, as opposed to the look. The look cant be too much changed because it has already been establishedHe would have liked to have changed a whole lot more but it was just a financial thing.

We were then given a tour of the soundstage where interior portions of Xaviers mansion are housed. Stylistically, the mansion looked a little more traditional in tone than the first two films. Verreaux remarked that Ratner it to look like an old English school. We also got to check out a few of the characters rooms. All were furnished with little touches that reflected the personalities of the characters (Icemans room has pictures of snow-capped mountains, etc.).

Verreaux then escorted us to another soundstage, filled with trees and dirt in an effort to mimic a forest-like setting. In the middle sat the X-Jet. Or at least a portion of the X-Jet. Of course, budgetary and space constraints precluded them from building the entire jet, so only the bottom portion (the part where the X-Men disembark from the plane) was built, with a ramp protruding from it. The rest of the X-Jet, as we hear so often these days, will be added digitally.

After that he showed us the blue corridors that we saw so much of in the first two films. The set featured one long hallway, which they shoot from different angles, depending on which direction the X-Men are supposed to be walking. We also saw the infirmary (you may remember it from the first film, where a tasty bit of sexual tension arose between Wolverine and Jean Grey). The door to Cerebro, incidentally, cost around $200,000 to make. The entire budget of the movie SWINGERS, incidentally, was around the same price. Ahh, the wonders of big-budget Hollywood filmmaking.

Then we got to see the prison truck featured in the Juggernaut escape sequence. Inside were the containment cells that, according to Verreaux, held Multiple Man, Juggernaut and others. The initials SMC were painted all over the interior and exterior of the vehicle. The doors of the truck were made a foam core which made them much lighter and more amenable to being ripped off (by Magneto, of course).

Next up Ill report on the first and second unit photography we witnessed, as well as lengthy chats with associate producer David Gorder and visual effects supervisor John Bruno.

Questions? Comments? Manifestos? Send them to me at thomasleupp@joblo.com.

Source: JoBlo.com

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1:55PM on 03/02/2006
"All were furnished with little touches that reflected the personalities of the characters (Icemans room has pictures of snow-capped mountains, etc.)."
...And Cyclops' room has poster of laser cannons, and Storm has a few wall-to-walls of the Hurricane Katrina sattelite images...
"All were furnished with little touches that reflected the personalities of the characters (Icemans room has pictures of snow-capped mountains, etc.)."
...And Cyclops' room has poster of laser cannons, and Storm has a few wall-to-walls of the Hurricane Katrina sattelite images...
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