‘X-Men:First Class’ Press Conference

Kevin Bacon, Michael Fassbender, James McAvoy, Zoe Kravitz, Jason Flemyng and Jane Goldman attended a press conference in London for X-Men: First Class (in cinemas 2nd June). Below is the Q&A audio along with a transcription of the questions answered by Michael Fassbender. I will be posting the remaining Q & A transcripts over the next week.
Please note that this does contain a few spoilers.

Press Conference Audio

Michael Fassbender Q&A Transcript

 These characters were established in the comic books but also
on-screen by Sir Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart. So, where did you
look to inform your portrayal of them?

I think when I found out I’d got the job I thought
about studying Ian McKellen and getting my hands on anything I could
where he was a young man on screen… you know, just studying his
physicality and voice and what not. But then I sat down with Matthew
[Vaughn] and we discussed it and he decided that that wasn’t the way
that he wanted to go, so at that point I ditched that idea totally and
then just sort of used the comic book material and source material
that was available. I was spoilt really because there is so much

How difficult is it to portray a lot of emotion while trying to
bend metal with your hands?
Well, I’d been trying to work out how I could
physically represent constipation through my hands? [Laughs] But
seriously, I didn’t really know what to do. I mean, there was an
element of me obviously that feels like a bit of an idiot as a grown
man trying to sort of bend metal things with my hands. I wasn’t even
sure whether I should have physicalised it with my hands. But the
safety net really was that Erik at this point in his life was not
really sure how to harness these powers and so it is a little bit
haphazard and random. Of course, it’s only through meeting Charles
that he really sort of unleashes his full potential. I was really
happy when I watched the film because I’d seen some of what Bill had
done with the young Erik, which was amazing, but I hadn’t seen him do
any of the metal stuff, and I was really happy to see in the film that
I was sort of echoing what he had started on. So, I think it worked
There are duelling ideologies in this film – one that works for
Charles and one that works for Erik – so who’s right?

That’s your call. For me, that’s what interests me
as an actor and also as an audience member. When I go the cinema,
unfortunately nowadays, especially with the big commercial films, the
audience is spoon-fed through the entire experience and they don’t
have to do any work. But I believe that if you go and see a film you
should have to sort of invest something yourself and you have to do a
little bit of the work as an audience member, so when you leave the
cinema you should be having those conversations either with yourself –
if you’re crazy like me- or with friends afterwards. It’s like: “Well,
should I be backing Erik or Magneto when he did this because it was
really bad?” But there should be an ambiguity. The grey area is what’s
interesting. I don’t like: “OK, here’s your villain, here’s your
hero…” That makes it just too comfortable and easy for an audience.
Is part of the appeal of appearing in a movie like X-Men also the
complexity of the emotions and the big themes that come with the
stories – perhaps more so than other comic book movies?
I think that idea of alienation, for whatever
reason, is still very prevalent within our society and a lot of people
deal with it – most people deal with it at some point in their life
unless they’re sort of the golden child. I think that’s something that
we all need to address. I think the fact that us as a race still
continues to be very tribal and we haven’t really moved away from that
over hundreds and hundreds of years of experience… that’s quite
How did you feel about such an important historical event such as
the Cuban missile crisis being appropriated for this movie?

Well, I wasn’t around during that period of time
but my parents were and I think there was something very interesting
going on in the world at that time where everybody was unsure and
there was a real sense of anxiety. People were building bunkers
outside their houses and were stocking up on three years’ worth of
canned goods. Nobody really knows the intrigue or how close we
actually got to nuclear war at that point – what happened behind the
scenes? What was going on? So, I think there’s a mystery around that
that’s definitely there to be exploited.
There are some lovely Bond and ‘60s references in the movie, which
Matthew has referred to as being intentional. Are you aware of being a
frontrunner for the next 007 when Daniel Craig steps down? And how
would you feel about taking it on?
Well, it’s very flattering of course and Matthew
had sort of mentioned in some of the earlier meetings that it did
evoke a lot of memories for him of those earlier Bond films. But for
me in terms of approaching the character of Erik I didn’t really go
along that route. I mean, they dressed me up in clothes and bespoke
suits that sort of harked back to those early Bond films. But I really
just sort of approached it through the material that was available
from the comic books. And in terms of sort of what I expect or hope
for the future? I never try and plan anything, I never expect
anything. I think Daniel is doing a fantastic job, so let’s just deal
with this film at the moment and see how that turns out.

How was it possible to act opposite January Jones’s cleavage?

Well, to be honest, you try not to make her feel
uncomfortable. It’s a difficult scenario for her. She’s dressed there
in skimpy clothes and obviously there’s a plethora of fans out there
that get all excited at the prospect of it. So, you’re there working
with her as a professional, so it wouldn’t do well if you brought that
giddiness into the room [laughs].
As a private person, do you worry about how being in X-Men right
increase your fame?

What can you do? Hopefully, it’s not going to
change anything with regard to my everyday life. I don’t think it has
to. I was lucky enough to work with Viggo Mortensen last year in the
summer and we walked all around Vienna. I mean, he was part of one of
the biggest franchises in the world. So, I can’t really answer it
until I’m confronted with it but so far it hasn’t been a problem,
that’s for sure.

Alexis Jayne Defoe.

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