X-Men 3 Screenwriter Describes the Lessons Learned for X-Men: First Class
06.03.11 by Ryan
Back in 2000, director Bryan Singer shocked comic book fans by delivering a decent adaptation of X-Men. Singer followed it up by the even more satisfying X2: X-Men United in 2003, and then, in 2006, X-Men: The Last Stand happened.
Directed by Brett Ratner and written by Simon Kinberg and Zak Penn, The Last Stand disappointed fans, which is putting it mildly. 2009's X-Men Origins: Wolverine filled the X-Men void at the box office, but didn't really please fans leaving the disappointment of the The Last Stand in fans' collective memory.
Director Matthew Vaughn's upcoming prequel X-Men: First Class could be the movie that gives fans what they want. Kinberg, who produced First Class, told io9
that "lots of things" were learned from The Last Stand.
Part of it was X-Men 3, as the third of a trilogy, I think in some ways went for a bigger bang, probably less character development than we did in this movie. So we went back to the basics of what Bryan Singer and Chris Nolan had done so well — of making a really character driven, dramatic story.
On top, you have superpowers and massive action. But the underneath is really what the movie is about, which is the interplay between these two characters who are flawed and broken and fundamentally human at the core. And it was something that Matthew [Vaughn] as a filmmaker was attracted to. And if Matthew had directed X-Men: The Last Stand, perhaps that would have been different too. You know he was initially going to direct X-Men 3. The biggest lesson to learn was to sort of scratch all the way back to [the question of], what's the human story? And then build from there.
Set in the 1960s, First Class focuses on the early days between Professor X (James McAvoy) and Magneto (Michael Fassbender), which is in contrast to the comic book series for which the movie is named. Kinberg revealed that it was the studio who decided on making the story more about Professor X and Magneto.
The studio was really excited about doing a prequel about the origin of Erik and Charles' friendship and then enmity. So once you commit to that, then you do the math and it's got to be the 60s or the 70s. And I think the 60s was actually more palatable than the 70s for the studio, as the 70s were a little disco and a little weird. The 60s were dramatic and had big themes and big issues. Very quickly Bryan Singer, who is a producer on the movie, Lauren Shuler Donner, and I came up with the idea of setting it around the Cuban Missile Crisis. And once we had that as an idea, we thought, "There's no better beginning for a movie, this could start World War III."
X-Men: First Class co-stars Caleb Landry Jones as Banshee, January Jones as Emma Frost, Oliver Platt as The Man in Black, Edi Gathegi as Darwin, Jennifer Lawrence as Mystique, Rose Byrne as Moira MacTaggert, Nicholas Hoult as Beast and Kevin Bacon as Sebastian Shaw.