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

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&€™s 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:

  • “We’re going to be going back into Oval Office. We’re 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.”

“There’s gonna be a Danger Room sequence this time. We are actually going to get into the Danger Room, hopefully, in the third movie. We’ve shot all preparatory stuff for that, but we actually haven’t shot the Danger Room bit yet. We’re building that set right now. So that’s hopefully gonna be shot next week. Of course, we’ll also be going back to the ‘blue corridors’ under the mansion. And we’ll be going back to the infirmary and also X-hangar. We’re 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 there’s 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 we’re gonna end up going there as well. And a lot of stuff’s 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 Juggernaut’s also in this movie.”

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

“With this one, in some ways we’ve 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 Singer…they had a Danger Room design then, which they didn’t 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 couldn’t afford it. That’s what it comes down to. This time, the studio said they really wanted to have (it). This is an X-Men thing.”

  • “We don’t see as much of the room as you would’ve 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, you’re more aware of sort of what the room is projecting…you are in this big multi-dimensional holographic media space."

On Magneto’s 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 – it’s a much more sculptural space, it’s very very minimal. As far as trying to design a set that sort of fits a character, that’s 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. It’s not supposed to be gigantic…like 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 I’d show Brett, he’d go, ‘Well, this isn’t really right.’ And so finally I said, ‘Well I’m going to have to do something because this shoots in three weeks. I’m 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, ‘Here’s what I (built). Do you like this?’ He said, ‘Yeah.’ I said, ‘Then this is what we’re going to build.’ And then later on, we have a whole sequence where we’re outside. The Brotherhood of Mutants have all gathered and they have this big forest encampment and Magneto is up on this knoll and he’s 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 that’s the one thing where it would’ve really been nice to have had a lot of this stuff in advance, so instead of reacting, we could’ve been a lot more proactive. But that’s just not the way this movie turned out.”

On Juggernaut:

“There’s a scene where Magneto is going to let him out, and Pyro is reading the manifest, and he says, ‘This is…Cain Marko…prisoner must be restrained completely because once he starts moving he can’t 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, what’s going to look cool? What’s going to contain this guy? It’s gotta really look like this guy can’t be moved.”

On his biggest challenge:

“ Alcatraz – because it’s huge. And the concept, we came up with it quite quickly. In fact, there’s 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, let’s do this sequence at Alcatraz instead because we’re 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 decisions…there was no changing. You really had to make the right decisions the first time. They’ve 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 isn’t warm. It’s as cold as the water in the tap. So now you’re out, it’s almost freezing, and you’re totally soaked. You can’t just go have a cup of coffee. You’ll have hypothermia, just like that. So you just have to think about all this stuff and prepare.”

On Brett Ratner’s approach:

“Brett wants to put his own stamp on it. As far as aspects that he’ll put his stamp on, expect the acting and editing to be more stylized, as opposed to the look. The look can’t be too much changed because it has already been established…He 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 Xavier’s 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 (Iceman’s 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 I’ll 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 [email protected].

Source: JoBlo.com



Latest Entertainment News Headlines