April 26, 2011 | 2:23 p.m.
Here’s an early look at my “X-Men: First Class” preview in the Summer Sneaks issue in the upcoming Los Angeles Times Sunday Calendar issue. How’s this for unexpected territory in a superhero film: “X-Men: First Class” not only uses the Kennedy years, the Civil Rights movement and the Cuban Missile Crisis as a backdrop for its retro tale, the movie’s story of two massively powerful mutants who struggle against bitter prejudice was directly informed by the complicated lives of Malcolm X and the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. “It came up early on in the rehearsal period and that was the path we took,” says Michael Fassbender, who stars as the emotionally scarred Erik Lehnsherr, who will become the militant mutant known as Magneto. “These two brilliant minds coming together and their views aren’t that different on some key things. As you […]
Feb. 23, 2011 | 9:16 a.m.
James McAvoy leads the way to the past in “X-Men: First Class,” which opens June 3 and presents him as a younger Charles Xavier, the mutant master who sees the world in very different ways than his frenemy, Erik, who is destined to become Magneto. Our Geoff Boucher caught up with McAvoy a few weeks ago while the 31-year-old Scottish actor was shooting the Fox film in L.A. GB: It sounds like you had your hands full with the water-tank work here in L.A.? JM: It was me saving Michael Fassbender’s … which is always fun. We worked together before, we met on “Band of Brothers,” which was my first TV job and probably his first or second. We both ride motorbikes, you know, scooters, around London, and every now and again, we’d pass each other and stop and give an old pump […]
Feb. 10, 2011 | 5:39 p.m.
The trailer for “X-Men: First Class” landed today and immediately tilted the landscape of this summer’s slate of superhero films — if this smart, sleek and sinister trailer is representative of Matthew Vaughn’s retro-mutant film as a whole, then it’s suddenly unwise to view “First Class” as a second-class citizen compared with the two big Marvel Studios releases, “Captain America: The First Avenger” and “Thor.” The makers of the Fox film, however, say they never viewed the summer season as a competition against the Marvel films or Warner Bros.’ “Green Lantern.” “You can never think about that,” producer Bryan Singer said. “That’s just something you can torture yourself with or stress out about, but you can’t do that and sit there and think, ‘What are they doing? We need to do that.’ That’s the worst thing you can do. You have to make your own […]
Jan. 19, 2011 | 2:47 p.m.
The movie posters promise that “X-Men: First Class” will be released June 3, but on Tuesday cameras were still rolling on the Fox film’s set and director Matthew Vaughn, making his biggest major studio feature film to date, sounded like a man running out of time. “I’m at that stage where I feel like a boxer against the ropes,” the director said as his crew prepared for the next shot on a location set in Long Beach. “I’m just throwing punches and taking them as they come and making sure I don’t hit the canvas.” In the pages of Marvel Comics, the X-Men have been the ultimate outsiders for decades — even other superheroes view the strange mutant crew with mistrust, prejudice and disdain. So it’s fitting that “First Class,” the fifth Hollywood adventure for the heroes, will arrive in theaters this summer with so […]
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.’ 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 […]
Aug. 06, 2010 | 4:18 p.m.
The clock is ticking on the superhero craze in Hollywood, according to Matthew Vaughn, the director now filming “X-Men: First Class” for Fox in London. “It’s been mined to death and in some cases the quality control is not what it’s supposed to be,” Vaughn said. “People are just going to get bored of it.” Vaughn, who produced, directed and co-wrote “Kick-Ass,” says he pounced on the chance to make a film about the uncanny mutants from Marvel Comics because he expects the current boom in superhero cinema to fizzle out in the near future. “I’ve always wanted to do a big-budget superhero film and I think we’ve kind of crossed the Rubicon with superhero films,” Vaughn said. “I think [the opportunity to do one], it’s only going to be there two or three more times.” “Then,” he added, “the […]
Aug. 03, 2010 | 11:19 p.m.
Even over the phone — and across the Atlantic — you could hear the slump in Matthew Vaughn’s shoulders when he talked about the theatrical run of “Kick-Ass.” “It was disappointing to see that ‘Kick-Ass’ didn’t do the kind of box office we hoped for,” said Vaughn, who was director, producer and co-writer of the April release that pulled in $96 million worldwide, a number that felt like a letdown after so many industry observers had circled the film as a sensation-in-waiting. “Challenge and opportunity always go hand-in-hand, don’t they?” As he spoke, Vaughn was fresh from the set of “X-Men: First Class” in London, where he is immersed in his first big-budget studio production. That gives the 39-year-old filmmaker plenty of reason to look ahead instead of backward, but “Kick-Ass” has just arrived in stores on DVD and Blu-ray and he would love to see the movie become a home-video success story. “Sure, I […]
Aug. 02, 2010 | 9:45 p.m.
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.” 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 […]
July 14, 2010 | 2:59 a.m.
“Kick-Ass” is going the home invasion route. The film hits Blu-ray on Aug. 3 with a two-hour documentary — yes, that’s right, a two-hour documentary — on the making of the film. Above is an exclusive peek at a segment from the epic “A New Kind of Superhero: The Making of Kick-Ass.” It just occurred to me that we should do an edgy/fun midnight screening for next year’s Hero Complex Film Festival. Maybe “Kick-Ass”? Thoughts, requests? — Geoff Boucher RECENT AND RELATED Matthew Vaughn: ‘Kick-Ass’ broke every rule Nic Cage baffled “Kick-Ass” cast with Adam West routine REVIEW: “Kick-Ass” hits the spot ‘Kick-Ass’ cheered in Austin, but one critic wonders why Adam West, back in the Batmobile 24 FRAMES: “Kick-Ass” may be a pop-culture moment VIDEO: “Kick-Ass” cast at Hero Complex screening Bryan Singer discusses his return to ‘X-Men’ Clicking on Green Links […]
May 28, 2010 | 4:18 p.m.
24 Frames, our sister blog, has a big scoop on “X-Men: First Class,” the cinematic return to Marvel mutantkind that is being directed by Matthew Vaughn (“Kick-Ass“) and fast-tracked for summer 2011 release. Here’s an excerpt… The studio is hiring James McAvoy to play the role of Charles Xavier, the professor who organizes the X-Men band of mutants into a group (and force for good). Patrick Stewart played Xavier in the original set of pictures, but of course as an origin story, many of the characters in “First Class” will skew younger. McAvoy, who’s next up in the Robert Redford post-Civil War drama “The Conspirator,” has played in films with superhero themes before, primarily as a lead character in the assassin picture “Wanted.” THERE’S MORE, READ THE REST — Steven Zeitchik RECENT AND RELATED Bryan Singer on “First Class”: […]