X2 Interviews: Pt. 2
Up next in our series of X2 interviews are James "Jimmy" Marsden (Cyclops) and Famke Janssen (Jean Grey). The first thing I noticed when they came in was how tall Famke was. Easily 6-foot and with the boots she had on she easily was towering over poor Jimmy. Unfortunately the interview spent a lot of the time in spoiler territory for reasons I can't quite explain here. I tried to omit as many discussions and some entire exchanges that mentioned the ending of the film, but be on the look out below for SPOILER ALERTS to notify you when to hop ahead to the next question. Wouldn't want to ruin X2 for yourself now would you? Here're Jimmy and Famke: Do either of you have any weird encounters with fans? JM: Not really. That's just because I lock myself inside my house and never get outside. No, everyone's been very gracious. I'm just always very pleased because it seems to be the consensus that the fans thought the first film did the comic book justice, so I was happy. No bizarre experiences yet. Jimmy, was it nice to have a chance to emote in this film, rather than just punch, punch, kick? JM: Yeah, very much so. It was very liberating. I actually asked Bryan very early on if there was a way to breathe a little life into this character that adds another dimension. It was great because [Jean Grey's and Cyclops's] relationship takes a big step forward - or backward, whatever you want to call it - and we definitely do get into that love triangle a bit more and explore the emotion a bit more and that's always fun. So yeah and the goggles have always been a bit of a handicap so I've been hungry for more action and emotion. It's nice. [SPOILER ALERT!!] Famke, your character goes in one direction at the end of the film but producer Laura Shuler-Donner said she'd be willing to possibly explore Jean Grey's storyline more in X-MEN 4. Would you be willing to sit out a third film and then return? FJ: Oh my gosh...I think right now, I don't think anybody knows or has any idea. I can't really say cause I guess it would just depend on that time. Whether I was still acting or whoever knows. I have no idea. [END SPOILERS] This consensus is that this film is a big improvement over the original. What are your thoughts on that? FJ: Yeah I think with the first one we had to introduce all the characters to understand what the X-Men were all about. So we had a lot of exposition. But in the second one we didn't focus on any of that any more and the characters could have their own storyline. And we have a lot of different people in the film, which is really what the X-Men is about anyway, having a lot of different characters. And like Jimmy was saying before, Bryan [Singer] really found a way to give everyone their fair share of screen time and character development and stuff. I thought what was great too was that it was more emotional, it was darker...it was a little more violent-- JM: It was also funnier. FJ: Funnier, yeah. It's just a lot more of everything. Famke, for this movie did you like the action stuff more or the character stuff? FJ: To me, I'm always greedy when it comes to acting. And so far I've been grateful in my career to do different things and I get to do all of it. Do an action movie sometimes, play a comedy another time, or a drama or whatever. Drive the X-Jet, save the X-Men or whatever (laughs). Jimmy, you show some balls in this movie. In the first one you kinda back off... JM: Oh yeah, I think he realizes now this guy is actually a threat to his relationship. And a liability to the school. It's weird it's like at the end of this film, I do believe that the characters - like I said before - do clash just by nature. Wolverine is a kind of fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants, go-against-the-rules guy and Cyclops is a boy scout, do everything right...But I do think there is an unspoken respect for each other. We don't really have to bang the audiences head over with. I think that exists now whether they like to hang out with each other in their spare time or not. But yeah I think the first film, Wolverine really got a rise out of him. I think it's a little harder this time around. I was excited about getting a bit more to do in this one as far as emotion and physicality.
How did you guys get into character again when you got the call for the sequel? Was it easy? FJ: Well the first time I think we were all trying to figure out exactly who we were playing and what our roles were and how we were relating to other characters and stuff. In the second one that was sort of taken care of so it was a little bit easier. The only part that made it harder was that there were two or three years in between the first and the second. And we all had to get used to being these characters again. Hugh Jackman talked about his superstitions and rituals for getting into character. Any of that for you guys? FJ: I think that's just a Hugh thing... But Cyclops listens to N*Sync, we know that (laughs). JM: Hey it just happened to be on the radio station, it wasn't a CD. FJ: Jimmy, they're your favorite band you know it. JM: (laughs) No, I didn't really have any rituals. I could hear Hugh getting into character a mile away. [Growls really loudly] We had a trailer and there was a gym inside for any actors who wanted to work out. I never stepped foot in there-- FJ: Me neither... JM: --and if I were running around as naked as Hugh is I would have but these costumes really supress anything that's going on anyway. But the one time the gym trailer was next to mine and it was like [sings hardcore metal music]. He's got Megadeth blasting...[growls again]. "Hmm...that must be Hugh." It would've been funny if they cut together a little piece of me getting ready. Straightening my hair or something. [SInging] "Loooooving you is easy cause you're beautiful..." But they took care of that in the movie with N*Sync didn't they? With that new visor was that easier as an actor? JM: Yes! The first one was so cumbersome and awkward and the Princess Leia earpieces... It was a cool concept but it just would never stay off my face. If I moved my head it would fall off. So this one's a bit more streamlined and a bit more refined and slicker so it just goes over the ears. That was nice. Get to see a little bit more of my face. Also it was more comfortable.
Was that at your request? JM: No I find it really difficult to complain. I love the character and I think it's a great role and I'm kinda fulfilling a childhood fantasy. Not that I was into comic books really, I was just into superheroes and Superman and Batman and all that stuff. It's difficult for me to kind of complain. But sometimes I am maybe suggesting to Bryan being a bit more physical this time around. But I just showed up and the visor has changed. This must've been a really fun movie to work on. FJ: It is fun. JM: Most people come up on the street and say, "That movie must've been fun to make." Sometimes you're like, "Ummm, yeah it was...fun?" And it was hard because the shoot was six months and you're away from your home but what makes it great was this family and the cast and Bryan's really maintained all the same people and a lot of the same crew, so it feels like a big family. Technically sometimes it can be long and boring but... Was it a little bit more relaxed this time after the success of the first one? FJ: Yeah. Definitely. The first one was successful but when we shot the first one we had no idea what it was going to be like; if it was going to be successful; if anyone was going to care. There hadn't been a comic book movie in a long time, especially not one the way that Bryan Singer made his, which is much smarter and different. None of the actors were particularly famous and the studio wasn't banking on any huge stars or anything like that. So when it became a hit we were all very surprised and it was much easier the second time around having that in your pocket. It seems there could've been two ways to approach this movie: going in very relaxed or succumbing to the pressure of a high-profile sequel. How did the feeling on the set get to be so relaxed? JM: It was more the filmmakers. FJ: It's hard for actors to take on that kind of role of pressure or responsibility. We basically just fill in the blanks. JM: Bryan felt more stress than we did. FJ: And the studio I'm sure did too. I have to say the great thing about Bryan is that he is a perfectionist and he will always try to improve everything and make it better. He fought for that the whole movie long and he got it because of him.