‘Inception’ wake-up call — ‘X-Men: First Class’ director jettisons similar dream-time scenes

Aug. 02, 2010 | 9:45 p.m.
X-Men First Class

Director Matthew Vaughn is hard at work on “X-Men: First Class” in London but he took some time out Sunday to catch a screening of “Inception.” He enjoyed the Christopher Nolan epic immensely — even though it prompted him to scrap a dozen pages of the “First Class” script.

“I saw ‘Inception,’ which I loved,” Vaughn said Monday. “But my heart sank when I saw that a few of the ideas we had were up [on the screen]. So it’s either leave it in and look as if you’re copying or change things. We completely ripped out about 12 pages of the script and the storyboards.”

X-Men projections

The jettisoned sequence was a sort of dream-space combat, according to Vaughn; that reminded me of “psi war” scenes like the one here on the right from “The Uncanny X-Men” No. 117 way back in 1979, but the filmmaker said for the film the fight involving Professor X (James McAvoy) and some other mutants was to going to be presented with spinning rooms and other physics-bending imagery — visions that he felt drifted too close to signature moments in “Inception,” which has now piled up $363 million in worldwide box office and garnered some of the strongest reviews of any 2010 release.

The scramble to change the script adds to the flurry of activity on “First Class,” which has gone through numerous revisions (there are six people with writing or story credits listed on IMDB, although that may change by the time it reaches the screen) and Vaughn only just inked the deal to direct in early May.

Vaughn is coming off of Kick-Ass (which hits DVD and Blu-ray this week, check back Tuesday for more on that) and says he is still adjusting to the idea of working for a major studio, Twentieth Century Fox, on the reboot of a huge special-effects franchise that has pulled in $1.5 billion in worldwide box office with three films and one spin-off in X-Men Origins: Wolverine.” “I’m an employee now,” Vaughn said with a wry chuckle. “I’m not used to that.”

“X-Men: First Class” is a prequel and franchise revival that goes back to the younger days of Charles Xavier, a.k.a. Professor X, and Erik Lehnsherr, better known as Magneto and portrayed in this film by Michael Fassbender. The movie marks the return of Bryan Singer to the mutant saga; the director of the first two “X-Men” films is back as a producer on this project and he has a “story by” credit on the screenplay. The film is scheduled for a June 3, 2011 release in the U.S.

— Geoff Boucher


Christopher Nolan Inception premiere Alberto E Rodriguez Getty Images

Christopher Nolan’s dim view of 3-D

‘Inception’ questions? Here’s the most in-depth article on the film

REVIEW: ‘Inception’ dreams darkly with film noir soul

Bryan Singer on “First Class”: It’s got to be about Xavier and Magneto

James McAvoy will think big as Professor X

Was it real? Ryan Reynolds and the cute kid at Comic-Con

Ian McKellen surrounded by evil mutants on “The View”

Hugh Jackman says there’s a lot of Mike Tyson in Wolverine

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13 Responses to ‘Inception’ wake-up call — ‘X-Men: First Class’ director jettisons similar dream-time scenes

  1. Jesse says:

    Umm…. Did you see Layer Cake? Completely different tone as the movie was very serious compared to Ritchie's whimsical early films. If he wasn't a producer on Ritchie's films the comparison would never be made.

  2. Brett says:

    Yeah, but "Layer Cake" was a blip on the radar screen compared to the number of people who've seen "Inception."

  3. Film Fan says:

    Might just be me — it's been a while since I've seen it — but I didn't equate Layer Cake to Guy Ritchie's filmography when I watched it. Honestly, it felt pretty fresh at the time.
    Without reading it, his action of striking portions of the script because he thinks they're too similar to Inception seems strange and inartistic. It's not like he's making a heist movie with a dream mechanic. Or even a movie with a dream mechanic in general (I hope). We're talking about 12 pages here. He's making an X-Men movie where some of the characters probably dream and might move along the astral plan or something — all guesswork, I know.
    But I say, if it works, use it. Don't worry too much about "ripping off" another movie. It's cliche at this point to mention this, but here it is again: Nolan certainly isn't the first filmmaker to tackle dreams/faux reality, and it's arguable that his take, while original, was the most interesting. So go ahead, Mr. Vaughn. Dream bigger. :)
    This is an interesting example of the spell that Mr. Nolan has cast on the world of cinema. So fearful are some of stepping on the toes of this newly appointed (mostly by Dark Knight fans, seemingly) King of the Dark Auteurs (and all of movies, apparently) that they're willing to gut their own work. Seems kind of sad for those wanting to watch it and the fractured product that it might create. And for the record, I'm as big of a fan of Mr. Nolan as anyone, but I don't want that to take away from the vision/work of others. Sometimes multiple artists "share a dream" at once as a reflection of the times we live in.
    One last point, sorry for the ramble — isn't this movie not coming out until 2011 at the earliest? Seems kind of strange to be so worried about a movie that, let's face it, most of America will have forgotten by that point.

  4. Film Fan says:

    To my last comment, make that *wasn't most interesting. Apologies.
    And yes, since it's based on an X-Men story, isn't Nolan ripping him off?
    Ohhh, mind blown. :)

  5. Anon says:

    All I could think was he had no problem ripping off guy ritchie with layercake.

  6. Liam Gallagher says:

    FilmFan: If Nolan has been annointed "King of the Dark Auteurs" by mostly "Dark Knight fans," doesn't that include almost everyone?

  7. Zacc Reyes says:

    I say Vaughn should leave the effects in the movie. Its a computer graphic or CGI effect that is now "in". So another movie used it..big deal. Look at Avatar, another movie had already thought of the same story line/plot (Star Trek:Insurreccion) but they still did the movie and look how big of a hit that was!! Inception is just another movie; X-men is an entity, a franchise (if you will), a childhood show, to say the least…I'm excited to go see it and its going to be another year until it comes out!!!!!

  8. Film Fan says:

    @Liam: In the general, perhaps. But I refer specifically to the select group that saw TDK, then discovered his previous films, and then went on to blast anyone (including critics with years of experience) who dared question a decision Mr. Nolan made in one of his films. I think you know the type.
    I'd argue that a portion of the good Mr. Nolan has done for cinema is erased by the rabid fanboy mentality that thinks his work to be completely original and untouchable, particularly if that extends to bad mouthing or not supporting the efforts of up and comers, a sentiment that can spread like wildfire thanks to the internet.

  9. Lord Pendragon says:

    From the article, I get the impression that Vaughn isn't talking about the concept of dreams, but rather the cinematography relating to Nolan's amazing zero-g combat and the revolving corridor scene. That scene in particular is one of the few things that most critics seem to agree is outstanding, regardless of whether the critic falls on the "love it" or "hate it" side of the Inception divide.
    Whether or not the movie itself will be forgotten by next year (I do not believe it will, any more than folks have forgotten "Memento" or "The Usual Suspects" or "Sixth Sense" etc. etc.) that scene has the potential to stand out for some time, much like the Matrix's "bullet time."

  10. Cyber-X says:

    what,s wrong with the page of xmenfilms.net

  11. IrritatingLittleShit says:

    Never mind the dream-time scenes, i had to scrap an entire two-part movie epic script 'Love Bomb' & 'Bomb Queen' i laboured over, because it was basically exactly the same story and love story & plot & themes ideas, internal-external ideological 'heist/caper', only not set in a dream world exactly. I don't care if i sound like an ego manical crazed delusional arse, i adore Nolan & Inception, but this eats away at me everytime i remember because after all my mind & heart was poured into that to deal with pain & try to finally formalise some ideas it felt like someone ripped it from my brain, i could only ever be seen as ripping of his work if i carried on, and what? i'm gonna raise the bar Nolans set? Yeah gutting, ego maniacal, wank brained of me perhaps, but completely true…back to the drawing board…

    • Barry says:

      Sorry that happened. My brother finished up a clever, original screenplay he'd worked on for years about Ants and butterflies fighting amongst themselves and then "Ants" and "A Bug's Life" came out. What to do now? He scrapped it, and no longer dreams of the movie business, and he is bitter for it.

      On a larger scale, it's the same with many fields: philosophy, folks working on the same inventions and theories in different parts of the world. I think, thanks to the immediacy of the Internet, we as a human race are just now starting to understand this.

      So… do you alter the painting you were working on because another artist premiered the same idea first? Or do you roll it out anyway, basking in the unknown coolness fibers that tie us together?

      I empathize with Vaughn's decision—Inception is a bright point of light—but I would have kept the X-Men dream stuff in.

  12. IrritatingLittleShit says:

    Closer to subject, i hope Vaughn knocks this out the park

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