Almost 15 years ago, X-Men helped bring the superhero genre to life with a blockbuster adventure that showed comic book characters could bring in big crowds at the box office. After hit sequels X2: X-Men United and X-Men: The Last Stand, 20th Century Fox returned to the past with 2011's X-Men: First Class, which took the action back to the 1960s. While many thought the original trilogy characters' time was over, those many were quite wrong, with both the past and present coming together in the summer blockbuster X-Men: Days of Future Past, now available on Deluxe Edition Blu-ray, Blu-ray and DVD.
I recently had the chance to speak with one of the original trilogy cast members Shawn Ashmore, who returns as Bobby "Iceman" Drake in director Bryan Singer's hit superhero adventure, which took in nearly $750 million worldwide during its theatrical run this summer. Take a look at our conversation below, where he discusses working with Bryan Singer once again, offering hints about the deleted scenes with Anna Paquin, and much more.
There was a five-year gap between X-Men: The Last Stand and X-Men: First Class. Was there ever any development of a continuation of the original trilogy, that you heard about before they went with First Class?
Shawn Ashmore: No, actually. When I originally heard about First Class, there were rumors that it was going to be sort of like a young X-Men team, not necessarily going back into the past. I wasn't sure how much of that was rumored and how much was true, so yeah. I hadn't heard anything about X-Men 4, and then when First Class went in the direction that it did, I thought maybe that's the end of our run within the franchise. It was a really great run, and I thought maybe that was it. It's a really cool movie and it's a really successful take and it's a great way to continue the story. It was a very sudden surprise to get a call and hear the words Days of Future Past, because I knew what that meant. I knew it meant time travel and all of these characters could come together. It's an incredible place to take this franchise.
I was thrilled when I heard they would merge both of these worlds, so to speak. It was a brilliant story, but it was rather complex, so I imagine there were a lot of questions that were asked after you first read the script.
Shawn Ashmore: You know what, I had actually read the Days of Future Past comics, so I was actually very aware, and I understood the general idea of the time travel elements, and going back to change the past to the future. That I could wrap my head around. So, to be honest, there were definitely elements with time travel that were really complicated. Like, when these decisions are made, how does it affect our future? There are elements like that that can be confusing, but, as far as the general idea, and the understanding of the story, I was with it right away.
Since it has been awhile since we have seen Bobby, did you develop any back story about what he has been through, in the time between Last Stand and this?
Shawn Ashmore: Yeah, I think coming into this film, it's sort of an obvious thing, but I sort of wanted to make a definitive difference between the last time we saw Bobby, which was, I guess, fighting Pyro (Aaron Stanford) on Alcatraz. That was sort of the last time we saw Bobby until this moment, and obviously the big change was that the X-Men are now soldiers. My character went from being a student to being a team member, and now they're soldiers. They're not living, they're surviving, so I thought that was a big change. Part of that was adding a maturity and a hardness to Bobby, and a lot of that was in the look, so I think the costume reflected that. I got an email saying, 'Don't cut your hair or shave before coming to the set.' It turned out, that message was meant for the actors who are in the 1970s.' Obviously, they have sideburns and long hair, but I grew everything out as well. Once we got there, and we started playing around with the look, I started thinking it might be nice to have Bobby with facial hair, with a beard. It's a small thing, but it tells a story visually, right away. This character has matured, and it's not the kind of world where you're shaving every morning. You're running for your life, in survival mode. Those were some of the small changes that I wanted to bring to Bobby right away.
Can you talk about getting back on set with (director) Bryan (Singer)? I know a lot of people were excited that he was coming back to the franchise. Was there anything about his style that has maybe evolved over the years?
Shawn Ashmore: Yeah, I think everybody has matured and sort of experienced a ton between the first movie and now. First of all, having Bryan back was amazing. He started this franchise, and I don't think anyone quite understands the characters or cares more about them then Bryan does. It was nice to have someone we all really trusted back, and it was always nice for us, because we are the actors he chose to play these characters, so there's a trust and a familiarity there. ||Bryan has become a much more complex filmmaker than even when he first started, and he was incredible back then. When we made the first X-Men, he had already made The Usual Suspects, so he's a very sophisticated filmmaker and storyteller, and over the years, he's just gotten better and better. We needed a filmmaker like that to tell such a big story.
Shawn Ashmore: Yes, I was involved in all of them, actually, or at least a majority of them. There's a sequence... and I don't want to give too much away, because I think it's best for people to see it with fairly fresh eyes. There's a whole sequence, a rescue sequence, that myself, Xavier, and Magneto are involved in, to go get Rogue. We shot them all, in the first several weeks, actually, and it was a really fun sequence, and an action-packed sequence. It was cut, I think, for time, and just general story purposes. It was definitely like an off-shoot of the main A story, which was Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) in the past, trying to change our future. I guess it was maybe a distraction, in the big picture, but I still think it's a fun addition. I'm excited that it's going to see the light of day. It was a lot of fun to shoot and it was amazing to be back with Anna again. I'm glad that everyone is going to get a chance to see that sequence.
Is there anything that you're working on now that you can talk about?
Great. That's my time. Thanks so much, Shawn.
Shawn Ashmore: Yeah, thanks so much, man.
You can watch Shawn Ashmore as Bobby "Iceman" Drake in X-Men: Days of Future Past, which is now available on Deluxe Edition Blu-ray, Blu-ray and DVD.