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Matthew Vaughn Was A Yeller, Already Thinking Sequels & 18 Things Learned About 'X-Men First Class'

by Edward Davis
June 3, 2011 6:47 AM
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"X" marks the spot! (Sorry, had to go there.) After a long wait, at least quality-wise, the mutants are back and "X-Men: First Class" has arrived and opens in theaters nationwide today. This super hero film also lands with a rather huge sigh of relief to three distinctly different groups of people. 1) The fans: after having to endure two mediocre to abysmal installments of the 'X-Men' series ("X-Men: The Last Stand" and "X-Men Origins: Wolverine"), the Matthew Vaughn-directed "X-Men: First Class," is a nice return to form and almost on-par with Bryan Singer's much beloved "X2" (read our positive review) 2) The non-disastrous quality of the film is also a huge sigh of relief to the cast who were expecting something else. 'First Class' was shot, edited and finished in a lightning-fast 10-month period and actors have already publicly admitted that the uber-rushed-production of the film made them worry they were putting their efforts into polishing a turd. So a remarkably steady picture -- also considering the myriad story threads -- is not only a major comfort, it's a major surprise. 3) The studio: Trying to get their blockbuster brand back to health, 20th Century Fox gambled big time with the rushed schedule of "X-Men: First Class," but thanks to Vaughn they rolled snake eyes. This should be precipitating whoops and cheers from the execs, frankly.The film wasn't cheap to make, the actual production was one huge question mark, but now their franchise is back in good standing with critics (and soon to be fans) and sequels will surely be on their way (and yes, everyone in the cast is signed up for a trilogy, as is de rigueur these days). The film's arrival is good news to everyone.

But it wasn't at all easy. In fact, maybe one day a "X-Men: First Class" tell-all will come out with all the dirty details. Though one could say half those nasty deets have already hit. “He’s not gentle in the way he directs, to say the least,” Kevin Bacon told the L.A. Times describing of Vaughn's abrasive style on set. “Matthew would sit by the monitor and shout something that’s borderline insulting. But every time he said something — or screamed something — it was right on the mark.”

Vaughn has admitted that on certain days of shooting, he didn't even know who his crew was (he apparently had to work with five different directors of photography during the shoot which is highly unusual, and borderline chaos). From everything the candid filmmaker has said so far, it seems like he had to take control by any means necessary and make the film by hook or by crook -- in fact he may have borrowed a page from Magneto's Machiavellian the-end justifies-the-means aphorisms to get the job done. It was the only option available.

Suffice to say there's lots of good stories about the making of this film. So without further ado, almost 20 nuggets we learned from the cast, crew and writers of "X-Men: First Class."

Jennifer Lawrence who plays Mystique in the film was initially reluctant to sign up because she didn't want to be stuck in sequels that would eat up her acting life.
"When you don’t have a script, there’s nothing to really go by," she said of her initial hesitation. "Then there’s the fact that the 'X-Men' movies are so huge and there are sequels, and it’s hard to talk about doing a movie when there are sequels and you haven’t even read the script for the first one. What if I hated it? And then I have to make it three times! So I think the sequels were the biggest issues for me, because I was thinking I have no idea where I’m going to be in my life when these new movies come out; don’t know what kind of things I’m going to be doing. Am I going to regret this decision I made impulsively when I was 20? So I wanted to really think it through. And then, reading the script and — and really picturing James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender and the fact that they were really different — I loved it. I loved where it was coming from, I loved the idea of it, I love the idea of an origin story. So became an easy decision to make.”

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  • Thomas | June 6, 2011 10:09 AMReply

    Also in the ratings or ranking I am not referring to the money it made, I am referring to actually how good people have said the movie is.

    X-Men First Class 8.3
    X2 7.7
    X-men 7.4
    X3 6.9
    Wolverine 6.7

  • Thomas | June 6, 2011 10:05 AMReply

    I don't know if the makers look at these comments or not but if they do I am hoping they read this.

    I have tickets to see the movie sometime between now and July 11th. It will happen.

    IMDB ranks this higher than any of the other xmen films with x2 being second, xmen being third, xmen last stand being 4th and wolverine being last.

    If this is the case. Don't worry about the low opening. You also have to realize that the previous two films had a lot of people lose their faith in the franchise.

    I have to say your trailer looks really good. As much I was disappointed you didn't go with the initial first class of x-men, I understand why you didn't. As it would make Cyclops, Iceman, Jean Grey portrayed in xmen 2000 to be way too old if they were portrayed as children in 1960 when that movie and the two following it are supposed to be set in the "not too distant future" so really sometime after the year 2000. I have a feeling depending on how many years are supposed to pass between this movie and the following movies, each of the young versions of the mutants would make their appearance in the sequel to this or the next one. The only one that wouldn't probably would be Angel as he was displayed in the third movie as a kid.

    Bringing back Taylor Kitsch as Gambit wouldn't be bad and giving him a more of a major role than he was in Wolverine. If Taylor could get that Cajun down pat he would be perfect. Everything else he hit with Gambit perfectly. Taylor had expressed interest in reprising the role when Wolverine came out.
    I also think an origin story for him would be better than Wolverine's anyway because his story is actually darker than Wolverine's.

    Ok I am done rambling, but all I am saying is don't be too discouraged by the low ticket sales. People just need to give the movie a chance. From what I have heard and reviews I have read, they have all been positive. So please if this movie is as good as the reviews say, please keep the series going.

  • Captain Midnight | June 5, 2011 4:43 AMReply

    I don't think that rolling snakeseyes means what you think it means.

  • Gabe Toro | June 4, 2011 2:47 AMReply

    Stephen Lang as Cable?


  • Niuhll | June 3, 2011 9:55 AMReply

    I don't think it is a return to form at all, i have X-Men 1 on now, and though i don't hate it, or the second one i believe that this eclipses the series so far, if only this had come first and Vaughn had helmed all of them. It will be a hit with X-Men fans world round because it enjoys showing off the characters, explaining them and have a laugh with them at moments.

  • Edward Davis | June 3, 2011 8:07 AMReply

    Don't judge them.

  • jonathan | June 3, 2011 8:06 AMReply

    There's a sentence in there where it really seems you're saying Michael Fassbender is Nicholaus Hoult's boyfriend.

  • Edward Davis | June 3, 2011 7:29 AMReply

    That wasn't me. :)
    It's been fixed.

  • Piotr | June 3, 2011 7:11 AMReply

    An absurd misprint of comic proportions:

    Nicolas Hoult can thank the delays on fourth season of “Mad Men” for getting the Beast role.
    “I actually was down in Australia, where we were beginning to work on Mad Max. But that got delayed, so I called my agents and told them, ‘I need a job,’ he told FilmCritic. “They sent me to tape for X-Men. I prepared as best I could, auditioned, and was called in to perform a screen test.”

  • Jay | June 3, 2011 6:56 AMReply

    "....after having to endure two mediocre to abysmal installments of the “X-Men” series (”X-Men: The Last Stand” and “X-Men Origins: First Class”), the Matthew Vaughn-directed “X-Men: First Class,” is a nice return to form...."

    Huh? What???

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