‘X-Men: First Class’: January Jones copes with sexed-up, ‘insane’ costumes

Jan. 04, 2011 | 9:53 a.m.

‘Mad Men’s’ prim Betty Draper takes on dangerous curves and expectations as Emma Frost: ‘I’m sure,’ she tells our Rebecca Keegan, ‘I will still disappoint someone.’

januaryjonesemmafrost X Men: First Class: January Jones copes with sexed up, insane costumes

January Jones as Betty Draper on "Mad Men" and Emma Frost from Marvel Comics (AMC / Marvel Comics)

When January Jones was initially cast as mutant telepath Emma Frost in “X-Men: First Class,” she was eager to for the chance to break out of the retro 1960s world of Betty Draper, her character on “Mad Men.” Imagine the actress’ surprise when she learned that prim Betty and the vixen Emma could be partners in time.

“When I heard that this installment of ‘X-Men’ was gonna take place in the ’60s I was like, ‘Oh my God, you must be kidding me!’” Jones said. “But I read the script and familiarized myself with the character of Emma Frost. She’s so, so far from Betty and from ‘Mad Men,’ and it takes place in that time but it doesn’t feel like a period movie.”

emma frost X Men: First Class: January Jones copes with sexed up, insane costumesA Kennedy-era prequel to the three previous X-Men films, “X-Men: First Class” finds Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) and the man who will become known as Magneto (Michael Fassbender) discovering their powers for the first time. The plan is to present them as onetime friends who are pulled down very different paths by life experience and their own worldviews. Some members of the creative team have said that the public-life trajectories of two 1960s icons — the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X — have informed the story arc. Emma Frost, meanwhile,  is a member of the villainous Hellfire Club, and she possesses the mutant power to morph into a diamond form.

Frost’s form is well known to comic book fans — IGN readers once voted her “the hottest comic babe,” picking her ahead of Black WidowPower Girl, Elektra and Catwoman. The reason, no doubt, is Frost’s penchant for especially revealing outfits and the curves beneath those meager threads. “The costumes are insane,” Jones said.

“It’s a lot of very body-conscious stuff. If you look at the comic book, she’s barely dressed. She’s got quite the bod, which is very intimidating.”

Jones, who said she is encouraged to avoid the gym while shooting “Mad Men” to maintain a body typical of the period,  flew to London to start shooting “X-Men: First Class” the day after her show wrapped.

mad men X Men: First Class: January Jones copes with sexed up, insane costumes

January Jones and Jon Hamm of "Mad Men" (AMC)

“I’m thinking, ‘I’m supposed to be doing crunches on the plane,'” she said. “How am I gonna get buff in one day? I’m a petite person, so I didn’t want to go into a strict workout and eating regime. I would have disappeared entirely, and she’s very busty, very voluptuous, so I didn’t want to get rid of any of my curves.”

The workout-averse Jones lifted some weights for the role, but otherwise struck flattering poses and hoped for the best. She did have some advantages over the other actors when it came to costumes. “I don’t have to do all the crazy prosthetics,” Jones said. “When I morph into my diamond form, it’s all done on computer.”

emma frost1 X Men: First Class: January Jones copes with sexed up, insane costumesOne of the first things Jones wanted to understand about her character was the source of Emma’s anger, an answer she found by steeping herself in “X-Men” lore.

“Emma was a bespectacled, mousy child who had this power when she was young that she couldn’t quite harness, the telepathy, the mind-twisting stuff,” Jones said. “She had a falling out with her father and went her own direction.”

It wasn’t just learning Emma’s back-story that was important to Jones, but being able to reach hard-core fans. “Fans of the X-Men comics have a very set idea of these characters in their heads,” Jones said. “I wanted to know as much as I could about her so I wasn’t disappointing anyone. I’m sure I will still disappoint someone.”

The film, which opens in June, has about a month of shooting left. For Jones, it’s a welcome chance to branch out from 1960s housewife to 1960s bad girl. “I’m riding around in helicopters, I’m in a boat one day, I’m in all these fight sequences, we’re all over the English countryside,” she said. “I feel like I’m a kid playing mutant.”

— Rebecca Keegan



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29 Responses to ‘X-Men: First Class’: January Jones copes with sexed-up, ‘insane’ costumes

  1. Brett says:

    I feel a little sorry for Ms. Jones. Outside of the world of adult entertainment, it's highly unlikely you'll ever find a woman whose body closely resembles the body of Emma Frost as depicted in the comics. (Frankly, that's true for the way most women, heroes or villains, as they're drawn in the comic books.) Hopefully fanboys will recognize that and not dismiss her in the part automatically because she lacks the pneumatic figure.

    • Jeremiah says:

      that is completely true. but I really commend her on really making a strong effort to get to know the character's story as well as Emma Frost's state of mind through out the course of what is going to happen I love that. :-) I am an actor and when I see that it makes me very that someone is taking their craft to the next level :-)

  2. David Theiss says:

    I think I need to catch up on my reading.

  3. JG says:

    Well, hopefully they didn’t use the cheesecake covers above as a basis for the movie costumes. Even Emma is usually more covered up than so INSIDE the book :)

    As long as she has the bitch persona down I’m good.

  4. X-ManZilla says:

    @ Brett – Dont feel bad for Ms Jones when she gets her $10 million dollar pay check. She gets paid to play different characters and that involves dressing certain ways.

  5. maduceone says:

    JJ is plenty hot but I agree with Brett. The AE industry probably has more appropriate bodies for this role. They will parody the movie anyway. I f one Googles Emma Frost, there is an image of JJ in costume for the role and she does fill the bill, even before having a "cut" body!

  6. Super90 says:

    @ X-ManZilla
    She won't make anywhere near 10 million. Reese and Angelina make 15 million per picture, as huge, established movie stars. The reason they hired January Jones is she isn't either of those two actresses. My guess is she will pull down around half a million to a million.

  7. geeze says:

    boo-hoo only half a million to a million. What will she do with herself?

    • junkmailgoodness says:

      after taxes, 10-12% for agents, 15% for managers, publicists, attorneys, and everyone else a high profile actor has to have, a million can drop down really fast.

  8. Marlena says:

    HELLO – of course the bods are perfect – they are drawn by guys and the comic books are written for teens to 20 somethings who can't manage to get a real date with a real live female so they just love themselves as they drool over drawings. PATHETIC!

    • Brenno says:

      @Marlena you mad?? I hav a foxy girl and i still go half chub over the comics… you mad Marlena? Yeah you mad

    • August says:

      Umm…the comic industry has women drawing and writing too. Please do some research before you comment on a subject.

      • Meglore says:

        I am a woman and I have a VERY extensive graphic novel collection. Marlena, I think you need a refresher course on comic books, as most of the x-men series deals with very deep and often dark issues including ostrisization, racism, gender disparity, homophobia and others. In fact, one of the graphic novels in Neil Gaiman's Sandman series won the first literary award to a comic book from the World Fantasy Awards.

        While I concur that most of the women's bodies in comic books are not realistically depicted, at least the writers offer an explanation for Emma's body, being that she is telepathic and able to project an illusion of herself into her viewers heads. In our era of reality tv and plastic values, why wouldn't she depict herself as a cut, voluptuous, big breasted woman? I thin that says more about the sad state of our society's beauty norms than it does about perverted male artists.

        Also, I have never had a problem getting a date, nor have any of my ex-boyfriends, who have mostly been avid comic book readers. I turned my hubby on to graphic novels and he reads them voraciously now, and I dare say if we weren't married he would have no problem getting dates either!

      • Jon says:

        I don't know if you have noticed, but the men's bodies in comic books are also idealized. It's the nature of the form. The are super heroes, not schlub heroes. Btw, Emma Frost is sexy but she also looks like she can kick @$$.

    • dude says:

      Emma is an exception. Yes most women are indeed "drawn" that way but Emma actually IS. She purposely had breast enhancement surgery done and got a job at a high profile strip club after college so she could read the minds of all the businessmen while she danced. She then used that knowledge to build her own business empires. She has the body of someone in adult entertainment because she actually WAS in adult entertainment.

    • Rocks u says:

      The males have perfect bodies, why shouldn't the females? These are superior human specimens…homo superior…not mere homo sapians…what the hell? Should they be average looking so "normal" types like yourself don't feel bad and resentful towards them? I can only imagine what you look like and what type of males you have went with. You are commenting on a page dedicated to superheroes, yet at the same time you seem jealous of them. Why are you here? You're the bane and curse of all that's above average, I should know, I grew up among the slaves and no matter how kind I was towards them, I received nothing but venom in return. One thing I learned about them, many of the males are closeted homophobes, their girlfriends are hysterical and insanely jealous, and if you say no thanks they get a bit homicidal.

    • Blakeneyd@yahoo.com says:

      Comics have been aimed at teen boys for a long time now. Once that meant voluptuous (and mostly helpless) females. In the last two decades, graphic depictions of women have slipped even further down the slope. Impossible bodies. Painted-on clothing. Stripper poses. Depictions (both graphic and in print) of bondage and sexual assault.

      I’m female – was a rabid X-Men/Marvel fan for years – until I could no longer ignore the misogyny that was going on in the books. Marvel alone is not to blame. DC and other comics are just as bad.

      Sexism is one of the last acceptable forms of prejudice. The only thing sadder than the male writers and artists depicting women this way, are the female ones.

  9. jay says:

    i would pay my own money to be in a x men film.

  10. Sharif Youssef says:

    What a disappointing interpretation of the character. Emma was never about "anger" until recently. She was a far more interesting character who wanted to use education as a tool to accumulate power.

  11. Jerms says:

    I want to know why Frost is now depicted as having the diamond form as her primary power. That is a fairly recent development. Most of her history is as a telepath, and would offer opportunities to have some nice mind-bending sequences in the movie. Think Inception, but as a form of warfare. Makes me a sad panda

    • Erik says:

      I remember reading an interview with a director and he said he was really bummed while watching Inception because he was planning very similar scenes (assuming with Emma or Xavier's powers) but felt like he would get called out on copying Inception which he didn't want to deal with :/

  12. Kay says:

    I'm sure Emma's telepathy will be a significant part of her character, but her in diamond form, for movie sakes, is important. The developers would want to explore an array of powers and young Charles will most likely take the spotlight on that ability. These movies are not just for the faithful comic book fans ,but also a new filtered experience for new audiences. The X-world is a lot to digest, and more to interpret in a 2hr time frame. Xmen is so vast and complex it would be impossible to explore each character properly. It's not like the 'one man' shows, like Spider-man/ Superman, where they only have to focus on one or a few characters.

  13. Fez says:

    She is hot and i like her. *heart* At times, from a distance and at certain angle, January looks like a younger version of Natasha 'Species' Hensridge.

  14. Jake says:

    Emma's diamond power was a mutation later in her live. Her telepathy according the marvel site is said to rival that of Professor X. There is also belief that she may have a subdued Telekentic power as well…I find Emma fascinating and manipulative…Cannot wait to see this movie.

  15. Niki Q says:

    Emma Frost does not get her diamond form until talking to Cassandra Nova shortly before the whole Genosha debacle. It is a secondary mutation, not her primary mutation. Her telepathic abilities are supposed to be up there with Xavier's and the movie industry has just gone with her diamond form because of the abilities that CGI can accomplish nowadays. It's upsetting.

    • Stephen says:

      “Emma was a bespectacled, mousy child who had this power when she was young that she couldn’t quite harness, the telepathy, the mind-twisting stuff,” Jones said. “She had a falling out with her father and went her own direction.”

      I'm pretty sure she's gonna have telepathy in the movie. It's just that a diamond form is more visually interesting. Also, Emma never actually talked to Cassandra Nova before Genosha. That was a telepathic suggestion implanted in Emma's mind by Cassandra Nova in order to play on her survivor's guilt and make her succeptable to helping Nova break out of the box.

  16. Billy Joe Bob says:

    So kinda like Emma Frost before the breast implants? hmmm January Jones should do.

  17. A Guy says:

    A bad girl with a hot body and revealing costumes? Am I the only one not seeing a downside here?

    But I think JJ was bad casting. Just my opinion, time will tell.

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