“Mutation: it is the key to our evolution.”
the XMEN trilogy
Directed by Bryan Singer . 1999
A full decade earlier, when the Rambo company, Carolco, had the rights and the smarts to mount a test-the-market, low-budget version of the Marvel comic book...
Punk rock singer-songwriter Glernn Danzig
had been tagged for Wolverine.
Because he had much the same physique and height (5ft 4ins) as the hero.
Cut ten years and rumours insist that Danzig (who wrote many punk songs about horror movies) was interviewed by Bryan Singer for his version. Obviously not! Danzig's age (50) and lack of acting experience were two strikes against him accepting a role in a franchise designed to span five years..
The fanboy geeks wanted X-Files man David Duchovny as Cyclops The fans only got their wishes granted when Star Trek's Patrick Stewart became the first mutant to be cast (Professor Charles Xavier), and Bruce Davison was the first human (Senator Kelley) after an astonishing 28 drafts of the script.
Wolverine/Logan . The fans voted for Jack Nicholson in the role.Well, he had been a Wolfin 1994... Singer talked with Russell Crowe, Mel Gibson, Edward Norton. Also considered: Aaron Eckhart, and Viggo Mortensen (not yet finished with The Lord of the Rings). Fox, like most studios, could not thinkbeyond Keanu Reeves.(Six years later, Warners wanted him for Singer’s Superman Returns).
Singer first settled upon Dougray Scott, who then to quit when delayed in Australia on Mission: Impossible II … letting in Australian Hugh Jackman. When passing on the role, himself, Russell Crowe had earnestly reccommended Jackman to Singer. By Episode III, Jackman was planning a solo Wolverine movie (witht a pay-cheqeue of $20m). . ”My inspiration is Mike Tyson because Wolverine seems to be tough, wild and without any charm when he fights. Violence distances himself from the humanity he seeks.” Mike Tyson?
Cyclops/Scott Summers . James Caviezel agreed, then preferred being Dennis Quaid's son in Frequency . Nobody's perfect. Edward Burns was considered but...
The last thing a young and opinionated director
like Bryan Singer wanted on his set was
another young and opinionated director.
Edward Norton (again) and Luke Wilson were seen before Scott went to James Marsden. DB Sweeney was such a devoted X-fan that, after losing Scott, he agreed to cameo the police officer stabbed in front of the Statue of Liberty by...
Sabretooth/Victor Creed . US wrestler Kevin Nash had to pass due to his schedules in the ring - a lucky break for Canadian wrassler Tyler Mane.
Storm/Ororo Munroe . Angela Bassett and Jada Pinkett-Smith, passed. In subsequent chapters, Halle Berry dropped the African accent that Storm had in the comicbooks.
Rogue/Marie D’Ancanto . Rachael Leigh Cook passed because of all the GCI costumes and effects. Then, Sarah Michelle Gellar and Natalie Portman left Marie to Anna Paquin (Rachael's co-star in She's All That, 1999).
Mystique/Grace . Jeri Ryan was seen - and indeed, later seen as a similarly statuesque Seven Of Nine in Star Trek: Voyager, TV, in 2001... leaving Rebecca Romijn to suffer a daily five hours of “nude” body make-up.
Jean Grey . Maria Bello had many of the right shades of Grey. Singer decided to go with Famke Janssen.
Magneto & Xavier . Singer met Terence Stamp before choosing Ian McKellan and Patrick Stewart“We really hit it off and spent a couple of hours talking about my favorite films… Superman, Wall Street.. .I almost asked him to give me a ‘Kneel before Zod!’ So that was where for me it began, loving him as an actor, but also knowing that he had a delightful personality...”So he ran back to himto join Tom Cruise in Valkyrie, 2008.
Directed by Bryan Singer . 2002
Nightcrawler/Kurt Wagner . Alan Cumming was Singer’s first and only choice for the role. Whenhe was unavailable, the director saw Ethan Embry - and Neil Patrick Harris, the teen doctor, Doogie Howser, MD, TV, 1989-93, and Broadway’s Rent star. Like Cumming,Harris had also appeared on-stage in Cabaret. He laterbecome thetitular voice of Spider-Man TV animation series.
Finally, Alan Cumming
was going to be available
He had one winning asset - he spoke fluent German.
Deathstrike/Yurko Oyama . Maggie Cheung rapidly refused... “I don’t want half the world, we have 1.3 billion people in China, to know I'm cheating. That matters to me. I have more pride than that.”And anyway, as Kelly Hufound ouit, Deathstrike. only had one line of dialogue in the movie. Maggiewonbetteroffers after Clean, 2004.
Everyone else stayed in situ…
3. X-MEN: THE LAST STAND
Directed by Brett Ratner . 2006
The original director switched franchises to Superman at Warner.
And, stupidly, Fox refused to
wait for Bryan Singer to return.
The new helmer - as flash as his name - was able to keep Halle Berry on the team.She had never got along with Singer. Nor did she appreciate Storm’s lack of development. “Nothing to play, nocharacter development.” So,she was made team leader in X-3, 2005.
Then again, the huge 2004 flop of herCatwoman,had to beburied, so the Oscar-winner stayed put, as the head, this time, of her fellow mutants as per the comicbooks any time Xavier was absent.
Angel/Warren Worthington III . Jed Bernard, Nick Stahl, and Mike Vogel (too busy sinking with the shooting Poseidon) tested. Ben Foster won!
Shadowcat/Kitty Pryde . Summer Glau asked her Firefly and Serenity boss, Joss Whedon, for advice before auditioning - ironically with pages from the Marvel comic book story, The Astonishing X-Men... written byWhedon.
Ravishing Ohio blonde, Maggie Grace,was selected-then foundto betoo young. She was replacedby Ellen Page (aka Juno),the third actress to be Shadowcat, after Katie Stuart (X2, 2003), who succeeded Sumela Kay (X-Men, 2000). Ellen wasn’t keen on replacing anybody, until Ratner talked her into it. Andagreed to hair extensions for her sprouting head -totally shavedfor Mouth To Mouth, 2005.