Director Matthew Vaughn Talks X-Men: First Class' Production, Script Process, and Possible Sequel Ideas
05.25.11 by Ryan
Director Matthew Vaughn was a surprising choice to helm the upcoming X-Men prequel X-Men: First Class — Vaughn certainly had comic book movie experience, but was the original director for X-Men: First Stand before dropping out.
First Class originally had X-Men and X2: X-Men United director Bryan Singer on board to direct, but his commitment to another movie (Jack the Giant Killer) eventually forced Singer to step down as director (though he stayed on as producer), opening the door for Vaughn.
Vaughn inherited Singer's story and screenplay for First Class, but Vaughn's first order of business was to bring frequent collaborator Jane Goldman (Kick-Ass, Stardust) in to re-write the script. Despite the legal wrangling from previous screenwriters to get credit for the screenplay — Goldman, along with Thor screenwriters Zack Stentz and Ashley Edward Miller got scripting credit, and Singer and Sheldon Turner got story credit, while Singer's screenwriter Jamie Moss got left out entirely — Vaughn told HitFix that he and Goldman took the previous drafts and did a "total rewrite."
The story was there, but it didn't have what I thought was the fun, and the Bond-style stuff wasn't in there, and I said to Jane, "Let's start the film off with the exact scene from the first film." Jane and I just had a vision that we got out there as quickly as possible. We really respected Bryan's idea of the Cold War and the Cuban Missile Crisis background.
Vaughn admitted that to Bleeding Cool that he wasn't sure how Turner got credit for the movie ("I was like 'Who the f**k is this guy??' but Hollywood has got it's own way of dealing with things," said the director) since it was Singer also came up with all of the characters that appear in First Class, with Vaughn and Goldman only eliminating one.
The X-Men we used were already chosen by Bryan and Fox. In the draft they gave me all of the characters were in there. We cut [the character of] Sunspot because we didn't have enough time or money. They couldn't make him work, he was a pain the ass.
Vaughn had just over a year to cast, shoot and edit his movie for next month's release date, which the director admitted his made shooting First Class a different experience from his previous movies, forcing Vaughn to be more of a "megalomaniac" that had to "take control" of the production's revolving door crew.
I got hardly any time to prep, had 5 DPs [directors of photography] on this film, four different ADs [assistant directors]. Every day I didn't know who my crew was. I was, "Hey, what do you do? Are you the DP??" It was good for me, because I'd so relied on my AD and DP, that little triumvirate when you make a film, but here I was sort of on my own, naked. At first it scared the hell out of me but I got used to it. I was, as a director, I feel far more confident after this one.
But is Vaughn confident enough to return for a possible First Class sequel? The early reviews, so far, have been excellent, and, should First Class become a success, Vaughn told HitFix that he would "definitely" come back for more, and already has an idea for the first scene of a potential sequel [SPOILER WARNING: the rest of Vaughn's responses may include details from the upcoming movie].
I've got some ideas for the opening for the next film. I thought it would be fun to open with the Kennedy Assassination, and we reveal that the magic bullet was controlled by Magneto. That would explain the physics of it, and we see that he's pissed off because Kennedy took all the credit for saving the world and mutants weren't even mentioned. And we could go from there, and I've got some fun ideas about what other mutants to bring in. I don't want to tempt fate, though. If the film's a hit, of course I'd be interested. I really enjoyed making it.
While Vaughn says he has some "fun ideas" for more mutants to include in a possible sequel, the director told MovieWeb that there wouldn't be too many characters added. In fact, Vaughn says there's really only one.
We will only have one more new character. I won't say who he...I won't say who he or she is! But we will only be bringing one more new character in. Because, I think, as Professor X is in a wheelchair, Magneto needs to have a nemesis he can fight with. Someone that will be his equal. I know who it is. It would be nice if I could say something, but I can't, mate!
Fans can find out what Vaughn has in mind for a sequel if First Class becomes a huge success next month.