For months now there have been rumblings and rumors about the troubles on the set of "X-Men: First Class." Latino Review at one point went as far as to allege that 2nd unit directors were shooting the film while filmmaker Matthew Vaughn edited it.
Whatever the case is, recent and very candid comments from 'First Class' star January Jones suggest there is at least some truth to these rumors in the sense that film is rushing towards the finish line and major reshoots are taking place.
But backing up a second, we all must have known this was the case. "X-Men: First Class" is the only superhero tentpole coming out this year that was announced just over a year (May 2010) before its projected June release date; its shoot date-to-theater period is tiny by comparison with most tentpoles. The film began shooting in late September 2010 and with a June 3, 2011 release date, some-10-odd months to shoot a massive tentpole is not a lot of time ("Green Lantern," "Thor," Zack Snyder's "Superman" and "The Dark Knight Rises" have all built in over a year schedule; 'Lantern' for example began shooting Feb 2010 with a June 17, 2011 cushion of a release date).
Vaughn himself recently remarked on the madness of his rushed shoot and Jones has only confirmed it to the Canadian press, albeit with a few more details than 20th Century Fox would like to hear publicly from one of its stars (3, 2, 1 ... phone call to Jones' PR reps).
Here's Jones first comment, which frankly is spot on.
“Poor (director) Matthew Vaughn is going to have to edit it in three days,” Jones joked. “That’s been a blast. We’ve all had so much fun making that movie. I think it was unrealistic for them to think they were going to make such a huge movie in whatever we had — two months or something. So of course we went over (schedule). I think I have a couple more days to shoot… We’re almost done. The fact we’ve had to push the wrap date but they haven’t moved the release date is really interesting to me. I guess they must know what they’re doing. I have a lot of faith in Matthew as a director and an editor; I think his movies are great. And I think they’ve been cutting as we’ve been going. We should be fine.”
Films cutting as they've been shooting is not uncommon and what is likely the case is that Vaughn is shooting, 2nd unit is shooting 2nd unit material (as it's their job to do) and editors are toiling away at putting together an assembly cut. At least fanboys will get a visual delight. "She has very skimpy outfits," Jones said of her character Emma Frost aka The White Queen's scantily clad outfits. "So we had a lot of fun with that.”
We've basically said since day one that we wouldn't be surprised if Fox bumps "X-Men: First Class," to a later date, but with the summer as jam packed as it is, they may have no choice but to stick to their guns. While production has been undoubtedly hurried (again, that was apparent from day one), "X-Men: First Class," boasts one distinction above any other superhero film being released in 2011: the best looking superhero trailer of the year so far.
So while it's dripping wet print may come right down to the wire (much like Peter Jackson's "Return Of The King," and "King Kong," recent huge tentpoles that raced to make their dates, the latter of which basically emaciated the once-portly filmmaker), "X-Men: First Class," already looks leagues better then, say, the somewhat silly-looking "Thor" and "Green Lantern" (it might be up to "Captain America" to save Marvel's year).
The irony of all this? Vaughn basically bailed on "X-Men: The Last Stand," for the same issues he's encountering now. On top of fearing creative control, the "Layer Cake" & "Kick-Ass" director worried about being placed in a compromising rushed position. Sometimes there's just no escaping the demands of the studio world.