First Look at X-Men: First Class

This first image of the X-Men: First Class cast came online earlier today and was removed from several sites who said it was a leak and not official. We held off on posting, but now we’re hearing the image will officially debut online in the morning, so here is an early (or late) peek at the pic.

In related news, MSN has posted an interview with Michael Fassbender on playing Magneto in the June 3 release. Here are a few excerpts from the interview:

MSN: What drew you to play this character and take on the challenge of assuming a role established by Ian McKellen?

Michael Fassbender: Hopefully I won’t disappoint the fan base out there, because I know that what Ian McKellen did sort of latched onto a lot of imaginations and was very successful. But what drew me was the script and Matthew Vaughn and the fact that James McAvoy was going to be playing young Xavier. I thought it was a fresh take on the whole story. I’ve never been a big comic book enthusiast, but I thought it was an interesting concept to go back to when they were both friends and initially came together.

As someone coming to this from a sort of open perspective and not really being a fan, what did you learn about this character?

He’s such a complex character, really, and the idea of him being a villain is interesting considering his history (Lehnsherr is a Holocaust survivor who lost his family in the camps, and later lost his wife and daughter) … he’s a very solitary individual, and the pain and grief that’s gone on even before we meet him in this film is an interesting pool of information to draw from, in coming up with this Machiavellian character for whom the ends justified the means. You can see where he’s coming from. Human beings don’t have the greatest track record in what they’ve done throughout history, so his point of view is, "Well, we are the next stage of evolution — (humans) are to us what Neanderthals were to Homo sapiens."

He’s always been a fascinating character because he’s not completely wrong, but thinks that everything he does is right, no matter what the cost.

He’s an extremist, and that’s always a dangerous place to be. By the time we leave him at the end of this movie, he’s become very clear about what he wants and his decisions and his game plan.

Early word on the movie’s story line draws parallels between Xavier and Lehnsherr and Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X in terms of the methods they use to achieve their goals. Did that comparison come out for you while making the film?

You don’t set out to play these things that way, but it’s a good parallel to have in the back of one’s mind, as something to take from real life as a reference. I didn’t study any Malcolm X videos or anything like that. But it clarifies where both these characters are coming from. Hopefully by the end of the film, the audience is like, "Damn, why didn’t these two guys stay together?" They have enough in common and not in common to keep each other in check, and hopefully the audience will feel like they could have worked together for the greater good.

One of the criticisms of "X-Men: The Last Stand" (2006) was that a lot of mutant characters were jammed into the film, introduced and then never developed. There are a lot of mutants in this film as well, but from your perspective are they handled better here?

The cool thing about this movie is that I think it does deal with each individual mutant, and the ones they’ve chosen are all very much individuals and unique personalities with unique gifts. What’s interesting is that we’ve gone back to a period where the mutants don’t know that there are other people out there like them. They just think they’re freaks and outcasts from society … all of these new characters are fearful of their gifts and uncomfortable and misplaced in society, so hopefully when they all sort of come together and realize they’re not alone and feel more comfortable in their own skin, that’s a discovery for all the characters that you experience.

The film is set in the ’60s and Vaughn has said he wanted to capture a certain look — specifically referencing the James Bond films of that era. He has also said that the costumes will be more like the comics’ versions and not the black rubber look of the other "X-Men" films. Can you comment on both of those ideas?

There’s a scene where they just sort of transformed this hall in London into Buenos Aires Airport, and I just looked around this mock airport and said to myself, "My God, I’ve just had a feeling of being in the ’60s." From the colors to the costume designs to the production design itself, there’s a sort of nostalgia in the air when you look around the room. It’s just from my own perception of the ’60s, and all that came with it in terms of the music and the fashions and so forth, but all of that comes across in the visual references that we all have. All of that is there to encapsulate the feeling of that era, for sure.

As for our costumes, we went back and forth on so many things. We added things that worked in the comics, took them away again, and stripped them down again. … When it came to the Magneto suit, you know, there’s various stages of what has been done with it, but you will have something that is traditional to the comics. There is a helmet (laughs), which is of course essential to keep Charlie-boy out of my head, and the colors are also kept traditional to the comics, that sort of red and purple. I don’t know if I’m giving you too much, but I’ll say it anyway (laughs).

You can click here to read the full interview.