Bryan Singer har gjort det igen; skabt endnu et fantastisk kapitel til den nu syv film lange franchise om de fantastiske mutanter i X-Men, og den modstand de møder på deres vej. Her i den nyeste film må Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) rejse tilbage til fortiden, for at redde mutanternes liv i fremtiden. Lyder det forvirrende? Det er det måske en smule, men det bliver opvejet af et fantastisk karaktergalleri, der bringer skuespillerne tilbage fra både de ældre X-Men film og de nyere.
På Cinemaonline.dk har vi været så heldig at have fået tilsendt et generisk interview med ingen ringere end Magneto selv (Sir Ian McKellen):
Did you enjoy putting on the Magneto helmet again after an eight-year gap?
I know you mean that as a metaphor, but if we’re being literal I don’t wear a helmet in this film. He wears a helmet to protect his thoughts from Charles [Xavier]. Charles can read minds, but he can’t read Magneto’s, because Magneto has got the helmet on. In this movie Magneto doesn’t wear a helmet because he is working in cahoots with the X-Men, so I didn’t have to put the helmet on. Nor did I have to put the old costume on because it was a new one! Anyway, it was like going back, in a good way, to old friends — Halle [Berry] and Patrick [Stewart] and Hugh [Jackman], Bryan Singer, the original director, there were lots of old friends so that was very nice; it doesn’t happen very often. Except it happens to me on The Lord of The Rings. I am lucky. I don’t think of them as franchises; I think of them as a continuing story.
Is going back to X-Men akin to doing one long movie?
As in the comics, each film is the same story, retold — which is the argument between Professor X and Magneto as to what you do when you are a mutant. You are a mutant because of your powers and you are a mutant in the eyes of society because of their view. What do you do about that view? Do you aggressively counter it, which would be Magneto’s idea, or would you placate and look for understanding, which is what Professor X advocates. That’s less part of the story in the new film because they are working together. It is interesting that the two of them come together and you realize that both are interdependent.
The story involves time travel. If you could travel back in time would you change anything in your life?
In my career, no. That has all gone, not according to plan, although I had a sort of plan. But I didn’t expect it to be so enjoyable and fulfilling. I have done two plays out of 250 that I didn’t enjoy. I am a very happy actor. Personally, I wish I’d known when I was young that I was quite attractive. What advantage I would have taken of it, who knows? I was not as outgoing as I could have been. I think all my regrets in that area are primarily to do with being gay and it being the time when it was illegal to be gay. It has been so ridiculous but it feels very constricting and difficult. I would not want to rob myself of the joy of coming out and being honest and enjoying the company of other people who had been on their own journey. And to have been through that journey, as hard as it was and cruel as it was and as unnecessary as it was, has been wonderful. I feel although I was rejected by society, I have helped to change it.
Has there ever been a moment in our life that was so celebratory that you were compelled to open champagne?
The flippant answer is that I don’t like champagne so that wouldn’t be the first thing I’d do! But often when the day comes and gay marriage is on the statute books and you see the photos in the paper and you see your friends are getting married, the day that happens, it is almost anti-climactic. It is the looking forward to that day which is the exciting moment. I can remember the contrary to that, the reverse, when we were trying to change things [about gay marriage] in Parliament. You are in the House of Commons and you are watching the vote and your life will change for the better if enough people go through that lobby. That’s heart-stopping stuff and the despair when it doesn’t happen is huge. You have to gear yourself up in the hope that it does happen. It’s like if you are up for an Oscar, you have to believe that you are going to win it so that you give a decent speech if you do. So when you don’t, which you normally don’t, you have manufactured a situation that you then have to dismantle. And that’s very difficult. I am just trying to think of an absolute thrill in my life. I suppose if you got down on your knees and said, ‘Will you marry me?’ and they said, ‘Yes,’ then I’d crack open the champagne.
How enjoyable was it to reunite with Bryan Singer as director on this movie?
I am a huge admirer of Bryan’s and a bit of a fan and have done more films with him than any other actor — my first was Apt Pupil. And then we did two X-Men and then I did a little contribution to Jack the Giant Slayer, and I have just done my fifth. He has matured beautifully but is eternally young inside and always enthusiastic, always interested, always opinionated and he is very good company, very generous and a great host. He took me down to the Washington Correspondent’s dinner. The president lets his hair down and gives a funny speech. It was wonderful. You are sitting in this room with all these journalists, very high powered, and just there on a dais behind a little red rope is the president of the United States. You can’t help but gawp. When he saw me he said, ‘Great actor.’ I practically curtsied!
It must be quite rare for you to be star-struck?
You can’t be interested in politics and not be interested in Barack Obama, can you? I went to his inauguration and was very happy to do that. I don’t think you ever get used to meeting a famous person who you admire. When people are waiting outside the stage door to see me, these days they want a ‘selfie’, and you just put your arm round them and you discover they are shaking. You must not take this personally because you may get the wrong idea about yourself but it is a huge moment for people when they see made flesh an image that they are familiar with and that they like. Well, I am just the same. I would be exactly the same if I were to meet Brad Pitt or somebody. George Clooney, I would love to meet and I am sure I would be like a little groupie.
Can you easily relate to the character of Magneto?
You try and relate to every character that you play. How do you relate to somebody who can control metal? Well, you use your child’s imagination, which is still there somewhere and you play the game. The urgency of his emotions — that I can relate to by thinking that he is unfairly ostracized. With the story of Magneto in the first film you see an example of discrimination that many people can relate to, because he is in Auschwitz. You see him separated from his parents and that’s the first time that he bends metal, bending the gates. That sort of thing is what makes these stories wonderful fantasy; Magneto discovers his powers when he is distressed by the ill treatment of his parents by authority. That is what brings it out of him. Bryan was always clear about that when he asked me to do the very first X-Men. It is a gay metaphor. It is not just a fantasy story, not just putting on fancy costumes. It is about something.
You seem to be embracing social media these days?
I was just telling the 20th Century Fox people that when they put something on their website and I put it on my website, more people read it on my website, because I have two and a half million followers now.
Do you actually enjoy social media?
I am interested in publicity, why people go and see a movie, a play, why do they read a book or watch a particular TV programme. Can you alter that? Can you make people do something that they otherwise wouldn’t have done? The one thing that sells a book, play, or movie is word of mouth. With social media that’s what you are doing. It is word of mouth and not strictly publicity. You don’t get in the way. I can talk directly to whom I want to. That seems to me to make more sense; it’s a bit more honest. There is no confusion. I say something to them and they hear it; the word from the horse’s mouth. But as an individual I am not on social media at all. I can’t text. I took my mobile phone to America where I have been doing a couple of plays on Broadway for nine months and my phone didn’t ring once. I did not make a call on it. I am a dinosaur.
So you’re not great with technology?
There is some positive nostalgia about a time when you wanted to turn on the television and you went towards it and you turned it on and the picture came up. You go into a situation that’s not your own, where you are in someone else’s house, can you get the television to work? I don’t know what to press! Yesterday, when I moved back to my house, my assistant came round with Ruby, who is seven, and I said, ‘Just before you go, Ruby, can you show me how to turn the television on?’ And she just picked up the remote and turned it on.
Does that mean you don’t play those video games that you voice-over, like The Lord of The Rings, The Lego Movie, The Hobbit?
Well, the first The Lord of The Rings, yes, we were asked to put our voices onto a game which involved me going in for two or three days saying, ‘This way, Legolas.’ ‘This Way, Frodo.’ ‘This way, everybody.’ ‘Come here, Legolas’. ‘Come here, Frodo.’ And we got paid for doing that. Now Warner Bros. have bought up those games and it is part of your initial contract — that you would do it for nothing, or for very little, or not do it at all. But it was made quite clear that if you did not do it someone else would do it and everyone would think it’s you. So you are in a bit of bind!
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