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
10 Comments
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Always blunt, Vaughn didn't worry about pleasing the fanboys.
"I didn't give a shit, to be honest," the director said matter-of-factly."I got pitched a story by Fox as being set in the Cold War with the backdrop of the Cuban Missile Crisis. [They said] I could go off and make my 'Bond meets X-Men' movie, and that's really all I cared about."

While the screenwriting credits ultimately went to four people in total -- Ashley Miller, Zack Stentz, Jane Goldman and Vaughn (and six people vied for credits) -- Vaughn suggest he and his writing partner Goldman are responsible for the script you see on the screen.
These writers have all crossed paths before as well on another superhero film that Vaughn almost directed. "[Miller & Stentz] rewrote the '[Thor'] draft that I did with Mark Protosevich, but I thought that draft was better and they shouldn't have rewritten it, and we rewrote their draft [of 'X-Men'] and made it a lot better," Vaughn said. "[We] swapped projects and one was for the best and one wasn't, so yeah, we did a major page one rewrite and Jane and I had to do it bloody quickly."

Vaughn was even more forthcoming in an interview that Obsessed with Film was part of. There were other writers who’d established part of the script, right? "Not really, not that the WGA think that, the fuckwits," he said. "No, but Jane Goldman and I wrote the screenplay, threw everything out and started again. Sheldon Turner managed to get a ‘story by’ credit , he wrote a Magneto script that none of us even read. I didn’t even know that, I mean I was like who the fuck is this guy? Hollywood’s got its own way with dealing with these things."

With 5 cinematographers on the film, only one of them got credit -- John Matheson. Why?
"Welcome to Hollywood," Vaughn said. "How come all these people who did fuck all on the screenplay get these credits? I think John did the most though so that’s why – John Matheson did a great job by the way – 55%? I should know. He came on half way through the shoot. Again it was good for me. Normally I’m far more collaborative with DPs, here I became a bit more of a megalomaniac – as in look someone has to take control, this scene’s about the camera being there now. Normally I’d ask the DP, what do you think etc, so it was good to get out of that zone."

"X-Men: First Class" is already almost 2 hours and 20 minutes long, but according to co-screenwriter Jane Goldman there's a lot more that was cut. Maybe the 3-hour version on DVD?
"There’s such a lot that was shot which isn’t in the film, most of which is the absolutely right decisions," Goldman told Bleeding Cool, noting that a lot of what was cut from the extra character elements that would have likely lent some of the heroes more depth, but would have made the film simply too long and unwieldy.

"The most important thing, and I think the intention always was that the relationship between Charles and Erik to be central," she said. "I think that as the film evolved it became clear how powerful that was. It was important to not trivialize the differences in their ethics and outlooks by not having it to appear to be about one person. Sometimes things go just because of length, but it was also sometimes in service of actually allowing the Charles and Erik relationship."

One of the characters who got short thrift was Rose Byrne's Moira MacTaggert CIA agent and in doing so, the film shifted in its depiction of sexism.
"Moira is a really strong character and her involvement is massively important, but in earlier iterations, before we came along, there was a sort of love triangle thing," Goldman admitted. "We had already very much drawn back from that but it was ultimately a matter of drawing back from that even further.When you write a screenplay, it’s the combination of things you put in that convey what you want the character to be. When it reaches the editing stage it is no longer in your hands so it’s obviously not going to be exactly the way you planned it. In service of the film, these cuts were the correct decision, but in the service of Moira’s character, it doesn’t give a full picture."

"I think there’s definitely an element of '60s sexism, which is supposed to be not-a-good-thing, running through the movie, though unfortunately sometimes, when a film is edited you end up with a thread seeming that you’re not following all elements of all threads. There was much more of story about Moira being oppressed."

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10 Comments

  • 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?

    NO.

  • 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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