Patrick Stewart And Ian McKellen On Originally Landing Their X-MEN Roles, DAYS OF FUTURE PAST, And More
There is no greater bromance than the one going on between Sirs Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen. They’ve been friendly for a while, playing opposite one another during the original X-Men films, but the last year or so has seen that friendship explode into an internet phenomenon. The duo started posting amazingly bromantic pictures of them in New York, like the one you see above, while working on their plays Waiting For Godot and No Man’s Land. The duo recently took time out before a performance of their play to speak with BuzzFeed for their BuzzFeed Brews interview series. The two men were incredibly charming and entertaining for the majority of the 48-minute talk, but they did drop a few bits of information regarding their X-Men roles, what they thought about coming back for Days of Future Past, and whether they would return for the recently announced X-Men: Apocalypse.
Around 23 minutes into the interview, the duo were asked about how they originally landed their roles as Prof. Charles Xavier and Magneto in the first X-Men film. While Stewart was originally hesitant to take on another franchise so soon after finishing the Star Trek movie, he couldn’t deny the uncanny resemblance between himself and the leader of the mutants. McKellen was an easier sale. The actor was willing to commit to the idea because of the look of the character and the message of the film:
Stewart: I was not approached by Bryan, but I was at Warner Bros. one day doing some ADR and I got a note saying would you go and see Lauren Shuler Donner in her office, who was the wife of the man whose film I was doing ADR for, Richard Donner, who directed it. And so I went to see her, and the door was open, and she said, ‘Yes, come on in.’ And as I walked in, she held up what was clearly a Marvel comic book and said nothing. And my reaction was, ‘What am I doing on the front of that comic book?’ And she said, ‘Exactly.’
I met Bryan for lunch and I turned the job down. It was not long after the last Star Trek movie had finished, and I wasn’t sure having a second franchise…the whole, you know, great weight of a franchise, would be, in the long run, good for my career. But Bryan, smooth talking bastard that he is, persuaded me that it would all be very different this time. And indeed it has been
McKellen: They showed me the comics as well. Have you seen Magneto in the comics? My god, that’s a part that you want to play! Thighs like this, codpiece, boots, helmet, scarlet pecks…and they got me. Ridiculous.
But I was sold it by Bryan, who said mutants are like gays. They are cast out by society for no good reason and they, as in all civil rights movements, have to decide are they going to take the Xavier line, which is to somehow assimilate and stand up for yourself, but be proud of what you are, to get on with everybody. Or are you going to take the alternative view which is if necessary use violence to stand up for your own rights. That’s true. I’ve come across that division within the gay rights movement.
And Marvel told me that the demographic for the readership of the comics, I don’t know if it’s true with the movies, is young blacks, young Jews, and young gays. These are all young people who feel a little bit like mutants, and so sympathize with them and want them to thrive and do well. And all this has come to a happy conclusion hasn’t it with Ellen Page, Kitty Pryde, coming out. That gladdened my heart so much.
The two men went on to make those roles iconic and even changed how the characters were portrayed in the comics after the movies ran their course. When First Class brought in younger versions of Magneto and Charles, many thought we had seen the end of McKellen and Stewart‘s time as the world’s greatest frenemies. In fact the two actors thought they were done too. That’s why the were both equally shocked and thrilled to be asked back for Days of Future Past. Around 30-minutes in they expressed their excitement at returning and getting to wear some new costumes:
McKellen- I was delighted! Absolutely delighted, but surprised, because I thought we had been superseded. Taken over.
Stewart- Jean Grey vaporized me and very uncomfortable it was to, but for those of you, and they were not many, who stayed until the end of the credits of that movie, there was a little short scene that dropped a hint that perhaps the good professor was not gone for good. And so I took that as a happy sign that I might be resurrected. Like Ian, thrilled to be back. It was always a great group of people to work with. It was like being in a company. Now, in this movie, it has been even further expanded.
McKellen- And I don’t have to wear a helmet. And if you think about it, why doesn’t Magneto wear a helmet in this movie? That’s a clue to what’s going to go on in the movie.
Stewart- But we do wear…we have superhero costumes.
McKellen- Oh they’re divine.
Stewart- They really are. I spent Monday of this week wearing mine all day. On the set of course, you understand! Not at home. I was so glad to be out of those damp suits, ties and shirts and at long last be a proper, authentic superhero.
Stewart had a nice tease about the costumes, but McKellen was the one to drop a meaty hint and possible spoiler. That gives us something to think about for sure. Why Stewart and McKellen were astounded and surprises to be invited back for another outing as the two powerful mutants, they don’t want it to be their last hurrah. When asked if they would want to return for the recently announced X-Men: Apocalypse, both were quick to answer in the affirmative. In fact McKellen said he would wear the helmet if he got to come back to and face the X-Men‘s greatest foe:
McKellen- I don’t see how they can do it without us really. Do you? I think if enough people start sending messages to Bryan Singer and Laura Shuler Donner, yeah.
Stewart- I mean how can anything be apocalyptic without Magneto and Xavier? Doesn’t make sense.
McKellen- I’d even wear the helmet. I really would. I’d wear the helmet.
Apocalypse is said to be more of a First Class follow-up than anything, so we’ll have to wait and see if there is any room for the older Xavier and Magneto. It’s nice to know they’d be willing to do it though. Stewart and McKellen say a lot more hilarious and interesting things, so I encourage you to watch the full video below. They clearly are best friends on and off screen/stage, and it’s nice to see how they interact with each other in a setting like this. They really cut loose toward the end. What do you think about what the duo had to say about the world of X-Men? Do you hope Days of Future Past isn’t their last appearance in the iconic roles?
Source : BuzzFeed