Caleb Landry Jones and Rose Byrne Talk X-Men: First Class Romance
05.14.11 by Ryan
Director Matthew Vaughn's upcoming prequel to the X-Men trilogy, X-Men: First Class, will see several actors playing younger versions of previously seen characters, such as James McAvoy playing Charles Xavier, a.k.a. Professor X (previously played by Patrick Stewart) and Michael Fassbender playing Erik Lensherr, a.k.a. Magneto (previously played by Ian McKellen). While those two roles are more iconic and were instrumental to the X-Men, the character of Dr. Moira MacTaggert, despite first appearing in the 1975 Marvel comic Uncanny X-Men #96 and eventually becoming Professor X's fiancée, only appeared in the final installment of the X-Men trilogy of movies, 2006's X-Men: The Last Stand (played by Olivia Williams).
Rose Byrne takes over the role of MacTaggert in First Class and has previously explained that the character won't be the geneticist she is in the comic books, but rather "works for the CIA" and "gets involved in the whole mutant community." In a recent interview with Movieline, Byrne described MacTaggert as "very feisty and ambitious."
You know, she’s got a toughness about her which I liked. But she’s very progressive and believes that humans and mutants can co-exist peacefully and they can help one another, and she hatches a plan with James McAvoy’s character Xavier to get the mutants to assist the government in this huge conspiracy, which is set against the backdrop of the Cuban Missile Crisis. She’s very impassioned and has a lot of tension between her and Michael Fassbender’s character, and then there’s also sort of a romance between her and Xavier.
Byrne says that the "romance" between MacTaggert and Xavier is "more of a hint than a full painting" and exists more as "a flirtation and an affection." "They’re allies, so from the start they’re there for each other," Byrne added.
While the X-Men comics initially see MacTaggert become romantically involved with Xavier, she eventually begins an on-and-off relationship with Sean Cassidy, a.k.a. Banshee, which is the character Caleb Landry Jones plays in First Class. While Byrne has previously revealed that there's no relationship between Moira and Banshee in First Class — "At least not yet!" Byrne explained — Jones told IGN that he tried to use the history of that relationship and the rest of the character's comic book existence into his performance.
I know there's a love connection in the comics with Moira, so I try to look at her just a little bit differently, you know, when I can. I know Mystique [played by Jennifer Lawrence in the movie] cuts my vocal chords later on — I don't know if they're going to do that in the movies, but therefore I make it a little bit so that if that does happen later on, for any of the fans watching, they can notice that. There's so much to take from the comics.
There's so much history to Banshee (who first appeared in the 1967 issue of Uncanny X-Men #28), in fact, that Jones found the comic book history of the character "scary."
In the comics it seems like they reinvent him over and over again. The question was, which one to do. He always has an Irish accent, but in the movie he doesn't. How much to take from each reinvention, how much to put in, that was the question.
He's always pretty smart, it seems like. He's mostly good. The script definitely defines him more so than the comics do, because I've got to do what the script says. I try to add as much as possible.