Over the weekend, producer Bryan Singer talked to Ain't It Cool News about his and Matthew Vaughn's X-Men: First Class, which is prepping to begin lensing August 31st, and he dropped a ton of juicy details about the upcoming film. I wouldn't consider any of this information to be spoiler-worthy, unless you really don't want to know anything at all about the movie. But it's exciting, so read on!
The first thing we learned is that First Class will take place during the 1960s, and the film will have a real 60s vibe through-and-through: John F. Kennedy is in the White House, Martin Luther King is leading marches in the South, and Malcolm X is in the news - all of which makes sense for a franchise that has always drawn parallels with the Civil Rights Movement. It's a time of intense cultural upheaval and there's a spirit of optimism in the air. That spirit extends to a young Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) and Erik Lensherr/Magneto (Michael Fassbender), who meet in their late 20s and together dream of a future where mutants and humans will coexist. And we'll get to see the moment in which the two friends first come up with the idea for the X-Men and formulate their manifesto.
We also learned that the "feel" of First Class will be a real departure from the other X-Men movies; for the first time, we're going to get a true "Silver Age" 1960s comic adaptation, with more comic-bookish period costumes, 1960s technology inspired by the James Bond films of the era, and the introduction of the Hellfire Club - the Avengers-inspired international society for wealthy elites that functions as a front for the Club's real purpose: to influence world events to fit the villainous agenda of their Inner Circle. Emma Frost (Mad Men's January Jones) and Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon) will be members. The film will begin with Xavier at Oxford University in the 1960s and will be filmed in the United Kingdom as well as the US, with a more Bond-like international vibe throughout. Although Singer hardly revealed all the film's set locations, we do know that parts of the movie will take place in the USSR.
Perhaps most importantly, we now know that James McAvoy's pate will be, despite abundant speculation to the contrary, decidedly hirsute. That's right folks - Xavier wasn't always so iconically bald, nor was he always wheelchair-bound. For the first time, we're going to be looking at Charles Xavier in his prime.
Singer says we should expect the first production pictures (of costumes and the like) from First Class within a month, though the word on the street is that Fox is preparing to release a bunch of images at New York Comic-Con this fall. Hollywood.com is going to be covering the event, so we'll be on site to get you those updates in real time come October. In the meantime, I have to say I'm pretty excited that Singer and Vaughn are taking the X-Men franchise in such a different direction. Just because Christopher Nolan has been hugely successful with his dark and gritty portrayal of Batman, doesn't mean all comic adaptations should follow the Dark Knight formula. By shifting the setting of the First Class prequel to the 1960s, director Matthew Vaughn has given himself room to explore a whole new world of cinematic possibilities that are closed off by adhering to the dark/realistic/modern aesthetic that Nolan is so fond of. Superhero movies can (and should) be fun, not just thrilling. Returning the series to its campy, Silver Age roots with flamboyant villains, sixties-era superhero costumes, and Bond-inspired gadgetry - all set during the era of the Civil Rights Movement and the Cold War - strikes me as the perfect way to reboot and revitalize X-Men for a new generation.
Source: Ain't It Cool News