X2 Interviews: Pt. 1
Starting off our week long coverage of X2 (you'll see later this week why I leave X-MEN UNITED off the title...) is the first interview in a series of talks with the cast and crew of the film. A few weeks ago, the X2 junket rolled into Pasadena and yours truly was there. Some participants weren't too excited to be around (who will remain nameless) but that certainly wasn't the case with Alan Cumming and Rebecca Romijn-Stamos (talent was often grouped together to save time). The two had an obvious affection for each other and that played well through the course of the interview. They were a great pair as Alan was the cracking jokes right and left and Rebecca couldn't stop laughing. It's hard to tell from the transcription below but in between almost every sentence is a fit of laughter. Often the two would get themselves going and start talking to each other leaving a roundtable of reporters wondering what they were talking about. So enjoy the first X2 interview with Alan Cumming (Nightcrawler) and Rebecca Romijn-Stamos (Mystique).
So you guys are together obviously because of your shared makeup experience?AC: Yeah it was grueling. Getting up that early and having people in your space, in your face for like, I was four hours Rebecca was-- RRS: Five and a half hours. AC: And cumulatively as the shoot goes on you get tireder and tireder... RRS: And the maintenance of it. For me the maintenance of it was the worst cause they never leave you alone. You have an hour off and it's like, "Do I wanna take a nap and go through another 45 minutes of touch ups, or do I just want to sit?" AC: You learn the art of sleeping standing up. But em...you do something like this and you end up looking so extraordinary and that's the downside. Having an extraordinary amount of time in makeup. RRS: The thing is though, those costumes are really a work of art. (To Alan) Yours and mine, for me, as grueling as it was, everytime I'd look at it in a full-length mirror, I'd go, "This is just a beautiful piece of work." AC: Yeah, it's amazing. RRS: A lot of work went into it. And they're artists the people who put them together. AC: Yeah, they're really talented. You know in films and things you get close to people? On X-MEN I had six - three makeup people, a contact lens person, a hair person - so five or six people-- RRS: I had six people working on me all the time. AC: So you have this little family and you're always there at two in the morning before anyone else. RRS: Right. You get to know one another's innermost personal secrets...bodily funcitons... AC: Yeah like I need to fart now. It's really nice to get that bonded with people. RRS: They know what my crack looks like. AC: We all do. RRS: Yeah at this point the secret's out!
When you go to the bathroom you must get blue everywhere.RRS: Ugh, blue toilet seats...
Were the contacts the most uncomfortable part?RRS: I didn't have to wear contacts this time. I had to wear them the first one and I didn't have to on this one. They digitally put them in. AC: I DID have to wear contacts. RRS: It's a rite of passage. He's the new one. AC: Maybe next time I won't have to. In fact I'll demand. RRS: Make someone else wear em. AC: Yeah! "Oh hi new boy! Me, my eyes feel so nice..." I've worn em for a couple of films, like you know when you get old and they put those kinda grey ones in your eyes? I've done those kinda things but this was constant and cause they're yellow they're sorta opaque practically. So you can't see very well. RRS: Yeah. AC: I was like a blind, blue superhero. RRS: And it's really hard to kick butt when you can't see what you're kicking. Cause that's what I found on the first one. I only had about 5% vision, I couldn't see anything. It's hard to be evil. AC: It's hard to open up a can of whoop-ass.
Is that you when Nightcrawler's teleporting all over the place?RRS: He knows how to teleport...
Well my question is, doing these stunts, how does it affect your costume?RRS: My costume was VERY fragile. Just one kick required ten minutes of touching up. There were stunt doubles and also because my character has that fighting style that required an acrobat to do all the flipping around. It's hard to find an actress as tall as I am so they found one, the same one that doubled me on the first one, who's great. They bring us in for the close up. [Alan does his impersonation of being really close to the camera, then disappearing while someone else kicks ass.] AC: In the opening sequence, I did some flying. I did the flips. Did a bit of quadrapeddling. Worked with this guy named Teddy who taught me stuff about the language of physical movements. Then he had to teach the stuntmen the same sort of thing so... And with all the different types of flips I had a gymnast double, a stunt double and a photo double. Picture four of us all dressed identically. RSS: Yeah I have a couple pictures of Vicki (her stuntwoman) and me dressed up, dancing, doing disco kicks and stuff.
Alan how did they approach you to do this film?AC: Well they phoned and said they were interested in me for this part so I went and met Bryan just for a chat. One of those meetings where you talk about everything BUT the movie. Which would have been wise cause I didn't know anything about it. But the script was top-secret so... And I had my dog with me. It was a really hot day and I didn't want to leave her in the car. She was so bored. She was just like [dog whine].
Rebecca, was your part in the movie, as the prostitute, written for you as an actress out of makeup?RRS: No, they wrote it for me to do. Those were my favorite two days. I remember those days, woo! It was so nice.
Alan, for research what did you do to learn more about the character who you knew little about?
AC: Well they showed me drawings of him as they were starting to develop the character. Then they - the Marvel people - sent me gazillions of old comics and stuff. Especially the one where...
"God Loves, Men Kills"?AC: Yeah that's it. Then I would go to Vancouver to start doing tests. And the tattoo parts, one time someone else had done a test and I showed them the photograph and said, "Oh my God, this is amazing." And they were like, "Mmmm, it's not really in the comic..." So I really pitched to have these tattoos cause I thought they'd be so cool and then it became a thing in the script as well. The mention of this thing he does to himself. After that though I rued the day cause it meant an extra two hours to get all these things drawn on. So it was my own fault really.
What would each of you do if you had your superpowers for a day.[Both crack up laughing.]
Have you answered this already today?RRS: Yeah... AC: We have a routine. RRS: We have a little bit we do when this comes up. Which we're not going to recreate at this moment... Toad's tongue! AC: If I could teleport, I'd be...not here obviously. And if I could morph...no no, my favorite thing would be to clone myself and be here and somewhere else too. RRS: I'd like to be able to make myself invisible upon command. And be a voyeur. Alan if you had a tail, what would you do with it? AC: I'd pleasure myself.
Was the tail all CGI in this?AC: No there's a whole miniseries about the tails... There's a different consistency of boinginess and the worst one was very heavy and had this big harness and there was this metal inside to keep it boingy. And I'd be running and I'd go [whips body around] and THWAP! it'd hit somebody in the head or start knocking stuff off a table. Then there was this flaccid one... Then the best thing was sometimes I'd just wear a little stump. It looked like a black dildo attached to me. That had little dots attached to it for the computer. That was the one that, when I was doing all the scenes with Halle, I'd rub up against her. RRS: And sometimes Gord, the head of special effects, would lay on the ground. We'd be doing our scene and he'd be laying on the ground waving the tail. We'd have to do take after take after take cause the tail wasn't in the frame at the right time. AC: I know it. It was all about the tail actually. I sometimes hurt myself with it. I trained with it but it's sometimes harder to do on command. A lot of the time I didn't have it. One time I had to fly and kick this bloke and stand beside this FBI man and go [whips body around]. In the film my tail goes [whips hand around quickly] like a whip but all I had to do was [shakes his ass to the side].
How many more of these movies do you guys thing you could handle?RRS: We're both signed on for [X3]. AC: Contractually yeah. But let's see how our mental state is after that.
What do you think Bryan brings to these films?AC: He's so completely avid about it. RRS: He's such a brilliant filmmaker. What was really smart about the way he approached it was that he brought such a reality to all the characters. He made them all, not only total bad-asses, but they're all real people that the audience can emotionally invest in. They've all got problems normal people have.
How did you guys get your aggression out since you had the five hours in paint?AC: I find masturbation a huge help. RRS: We would hide out in Alan's trailer and watch WAITING FOR GUFFMAN. We would practice the stool song and work on that during downtime. We were like an old bitter, blue married couple.
What's up next for both of you guys?RRS: I have a movie coming out called GODSEND with Greg Kinnear and Robert De Niro this fall. It's about a family who loses their son and he gets cloned by a strange, evil doctor...played by De Niro. Directed by a guy named Nick Hamm. AC: Oh yeah? I know Nick. I did a film with him decades ago. RRS: Really? He did not tell me. AC: He's a nice boy. RRS: A really nice boy.
What about you Alan?AC: What am I doing? Just stuff... Oh I'm making my book into a screenplay. Then I'm going to do this PHANTOM OF THE OPERA movie.
Is Antonio Banderas playing The Phantom?AC: No, right now the hunt is on.
So who are you playing?AC: I play one of those blokes who owns the theater. Joel Schumacher is directing that.
When does that start?AC: In September I think.
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