They are the next link in the evolutionary chain. Each was born with a unique genetic mutation, which at puberty manifested itself in extraordinary powers. In a world increasingly filled with hatred and prejudice, they are scientific oddities . .. freaks of nature . .. outcasts who are feared and loathed by those who cannot accept their differences. Yet despite society's pervasive ignorance, the X-Men and thousands of mutants across the globe survive.
Under the tutelage of Professor Charles Xavier, the world's most powerful telepath, these "gifted" students have learned to control and direct their respective powers for the greater good of mankind. They fight to protect a world that fears them.
From the team that brought "X-Men" to the screen, comes the next chapter in the X-Men saga, X2. The original summer 2000 hit, based on the best-selling comic series of all time, grossed nearly $300 million worldwide, was a video and DVD phenomenon and pioneered the current wave of comics to film adaptations.
AN "EVOLUTIONARY" LEAP
Bigger. Better. More. "X-Men" director Bryan Singer was determined to make X2 all that and, well, more. Singer's ambitions for the new film came as no surprise to the studio or to the film's producers; his respect for the comics characters - the seriousness and weight, as well as enormous fun with which he approached "X-Men" - had earned the respect of the multitudes of loyal comics fans and millions of moviegoers new to the X-Men universe.
Singer played the genre for real, giving "X-Men" a three-dimensional tone and style that served as a template for and inspired the reemergence of films based on comics properties. "Bryan grew to really love the X-Men characters and their universe, so there was no question about him directing X2," says producer Lauren Shuler Donner, who began developing the first "X-Men" film nearly a decade ago. Echoes producer Ralph Winter: "Bryan has great insight into what makes the series such a popular piece of pop culture. And his ability to make these characters real - like they live next door - even though they possess incredible and sometimes dangerous powers, is pretty extraordinary. "
For X2, Singer would be painting on the huge canvas of big studio, event moviemaking, enjoying a larger budget and longer shooting schedule than was available for the first film. X2 also would ramp up the action, effects, locations and stunts that had captivated the comics enthusiasts and new fans.
Singer had much more in mind for X2 than a traditional sequel. Using the formidable resources at his disposable and no longer constrained by having to introduce the characters and their powers, he wanted to delve deeper into the X-Men mythology, and into their abilities and relationships. "X2 is not a sequel," he notes. "It's the next adventure in a saga -an evolution from the first film. We not only follow up with the principal characters from the first picture and their respective journeys, we introduce a new generation of X-Men, as well as some new villains.
"Like any good comic book, the X-Men universe is designed to expand," Singer continues. "These stories can go on forever. This continuation of the saga has provided me with an opportunity to expand the storylines and the characters - and to have a lot more fun. X2 is edgier, darker, funnier and more romantic than its predecessor. "
X2 continues to deal with the themes of tolerance and fear of the unknown, which have been part of the X-Men universe since Stan Lee created the comics 40 years ago. "It's still about misfits, prejudice, about being an outsider and not being understood," notes Lauren Shuler Donner. Adds Bryan Singer, "The 'X-Men' films pose the questions that we all have: Am I alone in the world? Why am I so different, and how am I going to fit in? These questions are universal and timeless, particularly among adolescents. We've all felt at times like mutants. "
A new theme in X2 is "unity," as two generations of X-Men join forces with a most unlikely ally to combat a new and very human menace. As the story opens, mutants are continuing their struggle against a society that fears and distrusts them. Their cause becomes even more desperate following an incredible assassination attempt on the President of the United States by an as-yet-undetermined assailant possessing extraordinary abilities. All signs point to the work of a mutant.
The shocking assault renews the political and public outcry for a Mutant Registration Act. Leading the anti-mutant movement now is William Stryker, a wealthy former Army commander and scientist who is rumored to have experimented on mutants.
Stryker's mutant "work" is somehow tied to Wolverine's mysterious and forgotten past. As Wolverine searches for clues to his origin, Stryker puts into motion his anti-mutant program beginning with a full-scale military offensive on Xavier's mansion and School for the Gifted. Magneto, newly escaped from the plastic prison, proposes a partnership with the X-Men to combat their now common and formidable enemy, Stryker.
With the fates of Xavier, mankind - and mutantkind - in their hands, the X-Men and their allies stand united to face their most dangerous mission ever.
Re-"uniting" from "X-Men" are Patrick Stewart (Professor Xavier, the world's most powerful telepath), Hugh Jackman (Wolverine, a solitary fighting machine who possesses amazing healing powers, retractable adamantium claws and an animal-like fury), Ian McKellen (Magneto, a powerful mutant who can control and manipulate metal), Halle Berry (Storm, who can manipulate weather), Famke Janssen (the telepathic and telekinetic Jean Grey), James Marsden (Cyclops, whose eyes release an energy beam that can rip holes through mountains), Anna Paquin (Rogue, possessing the ability to absorb the powers and memories of anyone she touches), Rebecca Romijn-Stamos (Mystique, a metamorph who can shape shift into anyone) and Bruce Davison (Senator Kelly, the former leader of the anti-mutant movement).
Actor Shawn Ashmore, who was introduced in the first film as Bobby Drake, aka Iceman, a classmate of Rogue's who can lower his body temperature and radiate intense cold, returns in an expanded role as one of the junior X-Men.
In addition to its returning cast, X2 features favorite characters from the vast
X-Men comics universe who are new to the film franchise. Alan Cumming ("The Anniversary Party") joins the cast as Nightcrawler, a mutant who can teleport himself from one place to another; Brian Cox ("The Bourne Identity") plays the villainous Stryker, a former Army commander who holds the key to Wolverine's past and the future of the X-Men; and Kelly Hu ("The Scorpion King") is Stryker's assistant, who has her own surprises in store for the heroic team as Deathstrike. Aaron Stanford ("Tadpole) also joins the cast as Pyro, a promising new student at Professor Xavier's School for the Gifted, with the formidable ability to manipulate fire.
X2 reunites Bryan Singer with many of the creative production team from the first film. Returning with the acclaimed filmmaker are producers Lauren Shuler Donner and Ralph Winter; plus executive producers Avi Arad, Stan Lee and Tom DeSanto.
"THE WAR HAS BEGUN"
So warns Magneto to his once-and-future friend and ally, Professor Charles Xavier. When news of the attempted assassination of the President of the United States by a mutant reaches the two men, they realize this is a defining moment in the future of mankind.
"War results from actions that trigger irreversible conflict," says Singer. "X2 opens with some startling action, which sets into motion a chain of events that could ultimately lead to the destruction of a part of humanity. "
X2 takes the central conflict in "X-Men" -Xavier's belief in the possibility of peaceful co-existence between humans and mutants, versus Magneto's doctrine of mutant supremacy - to the next level. In the new film, the threat comes not from a powerful mutant, but from a human. "One of the things I wanted to introduce into the story was a human element as the villain," Singer explains. "That menace is a danger to all mutants and, subsequently, to mankind. The conflict is a bold reminder of the prevailing themes in the comic book lore; in this movie, one man's fear of the unknown could lead to a level of intolerance of catastrophic proportions. "
The one man posing such a formidable threat to the X-Men is William Stryker, a character that ups the ante and makes the stakes higher than they ever were in the original "X-Men. "
Stryker's insidious plans are revealed when his forces attack Xavier's School for Gifted Children, also know as the "X-Mansion. " That scene springs from the end of "X-Men," where Xavier and Magneto are seen facing off over a game of chess, in the plastic prison designed to serve as Magneto's final home. Magneto poses a disturbing question, "What will happen if they pass that stupid law the Anti-Mutant Registration Act and they come to your mansion and take your children?" To which Xavier replies with steely determination: "I pity whoever comes to that mansion looking for trouble. "
"Well," says Lauren Shuler Donner, "Stryker and his soldiers are definitely at the mansion and there is definitely going to be some trouble. But that's only the tip of the iceberg for what he ultimately plans for the X-Men. "
"What I love about Stryker," says Bryan Singer, "is that he is a perfect example of a villain who is not involved in violence or terrorism because of the need for expansionism, or religion or even greed. His hate and bias are based on a deeply personal loss of some aspect of his family. Somewhere in the past some damage was done…some hit was taken…and now his desperation makes it easy for him to engage in war against those he thinks are responsible for the destruction of his family. "
"Stryker is the juiciest of roles," says actor Brian Cox, whose performances in "Manhunter" (as the screen's first Hannibal Lector) and in the independent film "L. I. E. " caught Singer's attention. "He is a man with a secret who behaves in a not particularly pleasant way. He's part scientist, part soldier and quite wealthy to boot, so the role has lots of opportunities to play on all sorts of levels, and that is very appealing to any actor.
"Stryker represents the oppressive, racist and intolerant kind of person that mutants fear most," Cox adds. "He doesn't want to take over the world. He just wants to rid the world of those he feels are responsible for the damage to his family and the downfall of society: mutants. First he wants to control them, then he wants to destroy them. "
Ironically, Stryker's aide, Yuriko Oyama, aka Deathstrike, is not 100 percent homo sapien. Like another famous mutant, Wolverine, she possesses adamantium claws and amazing healing powers. "Deathstrike and Wolverine are cut from the same cloth," says Singer. "She, too, has had her body and mind experimented on and is a formidable opponent to Wolverine, physically and ideologically. "
" Deathstrike is an advanced, slicker version of Wolverine," concurs actress Kelly Hu, who dons the mutant's claws (which, unlike Wolverine's, emanate from the character's fingers). "Plus, she's incredibly fast and preternaturally gifted at the martial arts. " Hu's own black-belt-level martial skills were put to the test during a climactic showdown between the two characters, which took days to choreograph and execute.
A new character with a far gentler nature is Nightcrawler. Raised in a traveling circus, German-born Kurt Wagner looks like a blue-skinned demon, with pointy ears, yellow eyes, hooves for feet and a prehensile tail. Yet he is deeply religious, and has a kind, gentle nature. He becomes an important ally to the X-Men, using his power of teleportation for the forces of good. (His teleportation is accompanied by a "BAMPF!" - the sound effects term taken from the comics. )
Singer considered several other figures from the vast X-Men comics universe, before deciding on Nightcrawler. "I chose Nightcrawler to be in X2 because of the character's fascinating dichotomies," Singer explains. "Both his demon-like looks and religious beliefs are grounds for major ostracizing and prejudice. Who can't relate to that? Plus, he has one of the coolest powers and sound effects. "
Alan Cumming, who underwent hours of special makeup effects each day to become Nightcrawler, appreciated that the character has more than a few surprises in store for audiences. "Well, when we first meet Nightcrawler he's just not himself," says Cumming, smiling, and alluding to an early plot point. "I quite like playing the parts that appear as bad guys but then it is realized that they are, in fact, good guys who have probably been exploited in some fashion. Nightcrawler is definitely that kind of character.
"I also loved his physicality, because I am a very physical type of actor. I had the great fortune to have a circus trainer work with me on perfecting the acrobatic movements of Nightcrawler. It was quite difficult to find the perfect physicality for the character but also was great fun to have help in creating such extreme movements for a role. "
THE NEXT GENERATION
A new generation of "Junior X-Men" join the X-Men in the stand against the enormous threat posed by Stryker and Deathstrike. "We have three generations in this film," notes Singer, "and all are prepared to fight in this 'evolution revolution' in order to survive. It's great that we get to pick up where we left off with the older X-Men, like Wolverine, Cyclops and Storm, but it was a lot of fun to introduce the next generation. There is a whole school full of gifted students with extraordinary abilities. The chance to explore some of these younger characters was a great opportunity to enrich the story and, perhaps, the next part of the saga. "
In a nod to the comics' legions of fans, the filmmakers, including screenwriters Dan Harris & Michael Dougherty, created special cameo appearances for some favorite young X-Men from the comics, including Colossus (who can change his flesh into organic steel), Siryn (who can unleash eardrum-piercing sonic forces through her scream), Kitty Pryde (who can pass through ceilings and walls - and who was glimpsed briefly in "X-Men"), Jubilee (who can control fireworks), Jones (who with the blink of his eyes can function as a TV remote control) and the fork-tongued Artie.
Three of the Junior X-Men become integral members of the team. Rogue, again played by Academy Award® winner Anna Paquin, is the heart and soul of the new generation. Having gone through an incredible adventure with the X-Men in their maiden screen outing, Rogue, according to Paquin, has a formidable "head start" on her fellow pupils. Equally significant, she has moved on, romantically. "In the first film, Rogue was infatuated with Wolverine - they had a bond as he had saved her life," says Paquin. "But in X2, a real romance develops between her and Bobby Drake. "
In fact, Bobby's flirtations with Rogue, as depicted briefly in "X-Men," portend the blossoming of this relationship in X2. According to Shawn Ashmore, who reprises his "X-Men" role, Bobby's feelings for Rogue and his experiences as mutant are part of the character's own "evolution. " "Bobby's become more comfortable with himself," Ashmore notes, "and there's definitely more of a feeling of being part of the X-Men team. And, he's solidifying his relationship with Rogue. She's become kind of his anchor at school - and their feelings for one another begin to solidify. "
While teen romance is rarely easily negotiated, the Rogue/Bobby dynamic presented unique challenges. "Rogue has this 'issue'," says Anna Paquin, "that if she touches you, she draws away your energy and can really harm you. So how does she express herself romantically? I really enjoyed exploring that question. "
While Iceman and Rogue are very much team players, a newcomer to the X-Men, Pyro, projects a more troubled, disaffected, even defiant attitude. Pyro's abilities to manipulate fire are so powerful, they threaten to overwhelm his judgment and belief in the X-Men philosophy.
"I think Pyro is a lot like Wolverine," says Aaron Stanford, whose work in the independent film "Tadpole" drew notice and praise from audiences, critics and the X2 filmmakers. "They're both essentially rebels who are not very interested in assimilating within society, whether that society is inside Xavier's school or outside in the real world. I think Pyro has a lot of animosity towards the rest of humanity, and he is struggling with a potentially dangerous inner conflict. "
Bryan Singer, producers Lauren Shuler Donner and Ralph Winter, and the studio were thrilled that all of the principal actors from "X-Men" returned for X2. Hugh Jackman, who rocketed to superstardom after nabbing, at the eleventh hour, the role of Wolverine in "X-Men," continues to make his role a driving force in the X-Men mythology, as the character investigates his mysterious past and dangerous inner conflict. For Jackman, taking on Wolverine was even more fun the second time around.
"Oh, man I had a blast," says the actor. "Wolverine is getting closer and closer to finding out about his past…the clues are starting to come together…more and more information is coming his way. He's having more nightmares and more flashbacks so the mental torment is getting stronger, too. Then, out come the emotions which he tries to repress but he really just gets grumpier and a lot angrier and, well…just beware when that happens.
"By the end of the movie, he's got a pretty darn good idea about what his past is all about. Retribution may very well be in store for those responsible. "
Wolverine also finds things heating up with Jean Grey, as the connection they made in the first film is further explored in X2. "They're connected beyond simple attraction," notes Famke Janssen, returning as the beautiful telepath. "Their relationship is beginning to mature beyond the sexual tension hinted at in 'X-Men. '" At the same time, Jean is having some "issues" with her powers. "Her experiences at Liberty Island in the first film have changed her, and we explore that in X2," Janssen says.
Jean is caught between Wolverine and her longtime fiancé Scott Summers, aka Cyclops, in a love triangle that gains momentum in X2. "The sparks that have been flying for a long time have turned into a fire in this movie," says James Marsden, who again portrays the visor-clad hero. "But whatever's happening between Jean and Wolverine, you get the impression that she and Scott would do anything for one another - that their bond is inseparable. "
Indeed, the latest X-Men movie adventure considerably ups the romantic stakes. "X2 definitely is a much more romantic movie than its predecessor," says Bryan Singer. "In 'X-Men' it was like the characters were exchanging phone numbers; now they're going on dates," he adds, laughing.
Even the blue-skinned metamorph Mystique, again played by Rebecca Romijn-Stamos, shows her seductive side. "She's much more sexual in this film, says Romijn-Stamos. "And she tries to use her ability to transform into others to take care of her sensual needs.
"At the same time, Mystique gets to display a little more humor - and some outrage," adds Romijn-Stamos. "When Mystique is asked why she chooses to keep her freakish look, when she could take the appearance of anyone she wants, she tellingly replies: 'Because I shouldn't have to. '" In addition, the actress appreciated the advances in makeup effects that cut down her time in the makeup chair from eight hours to a still grueling five, as well as the opportunity to appear more or less as herself - sans blue skin - in one key scene.
Halle Berry's character, Storm, also undergoes some evolutionary changes (and, like Famke Janssen's Jean Grey, a new hairstyle). According to the Oscar®-winning actress, who made time in her X2 shooting schedule to accept the coveted statuette for her work in "Monster's Ball," Storm has more to do in the new film. "Audiences will get to learn a little more about Storm; she's more aggressive and gets to present a more personal point of view this time out. "
Berry took special pleasure in getting together with her "X-Men" cast mates. "X2 gave us the chance to reconvene and pick up where we left off in the first film," she explains. "That's been a big part of the fun of making this movie. "
Like Berry, Patrick Stewart, returning as Professor Charles Xavier, was pleased with X2's larger scale and new opportunities, and he is confident X2 will resonate with audiences even more deeply than the first.
"When you take material that already exists and is so loved," says Stewart, "there is an absolute seriousness about retaining the quality of the original material. In writing a screenplay about the X-Men lore, you can't approach it ironically or tongue-in-cheek or with the intention of making fun of it. The core…the heart…of the original comic books must remain the central focus and Bryan, the writers and the studio have been very faithful to those origins. "
"The imaginative enhancement and expansion of this second film is absolutely thrilling," adds Stewart. "The degree to which they have added new dimensions and new perspectives has raised the bar, and the audience will be clamoring for more. "
Like "Star Trek" veteran Stewart, Ian McKellen is no stranger to reprising characters in a successful film franchise.
"There was a huge confidence following the success of the first film," says McKellen, "because it was a little like a family coming back together again in front of and behind the camera. We all recognized that this film had more of everything …more characters, more action, a more engaging plot. "
McKellen says the quality of the script and the detailing of characters is of utmost importance in film franchises. "Characters like Magneto and ["The Lord of the Rings'"] Gandalf do have special powers that are required by the plot. However, for an actor, those abilities are not usually the most interesting aspects of the character. It's the character's inner life, inner strengths and the complications of their relationships with other people that add to the flash and the bravado of the moving pictures.
"I believe in Magneto," says McKellen. "I believe he is a man with a real past, a real dilemma and a real purpose for being alive. That's why I like him so much. "
ABOUT THE PRODUCTION
One of the less daunting, although critically important, decisions made by the production was where the second film would be shot. In 1999, "X-Men" spent five months on location in Toronto. This time, however, the filmmakers agreed that it made more sense to film in Vancouver.
"We chose Vancouver because it had larger stage spaces to accommodate our truly gargantuan sets and we needed snow - and lots of it - for the third act," says producer Ralph Winter. "The Canadian Rockies are not that far from Vancouver which was convenient for us. " Winter also states that Vancouver's relatively close proximity to Los Angeles was another important consideration.
Filming began on location in Victoria, the provincial capital of British Columbia, where Hatley House at Royal Roads University served as Professor Xavier's mansion. Although the production utilized several non-studio locations in and around Vancouver, the majority of filming took place at the Vancouver Film Studios and the Mammoth Studios, a former Sears department store warehouse, where the production built the single largest sound stage in North America. In fact, X2 is not only the biggest budgeted movie to ever shoot in Canada but it was also the biggest "build" in terms of sheer scale, time, personnel and studio space square footage.
Much of the responsibility of that work rested on the shoulders of production designer Guy Hendrix Dyas, who is one of the new members of the X2 team. It was Dyas who oversaw the creation and construction of twenty massive sets.
"Designing this film was easier in some respects than the first 'X-Men' because so much had been established in that film," Dyas points out. "We got to expand upon the wonderful work like the underground blue walls of Xavier's mansion and, of course, Cerebro, both created by 'X-Men' production designer John Myhre. "
In developing the look of X2, Dyas, a former illustrator, personally created over 2,000 drawings, from thumbnail sketches to fully rendered Photoshop art. "Bryan wanted me to give him scope," says Dyas. "He wanted 'X2' to expand in terms of exteriors; he wanted more scale, more vistas. The look of the film had to reflect the expansion of the story. X2 had to feel bigger and be visually more imposing. You don't ever want to sit through a film and feel that you're in the same place you were three years ago. "
Dyas endeavored to give X2 a wide range of aesthetics, from classical to modern and high tech to vintage 1930s architecture. The film has both a more sophisticated look and comic book-like feel than its predecessor, with more light and shadow contrast and exaggerated camera angles. Dyas' designs provided the opportunity to open up the world of the X-Men to everything from beautifully manicured Italian gardens to barren snowscapes and derelict architecture. "Every few minutes you're in a new environment," Dyas continues, "discovering new parts of the X-Mansion, X-Jet and locales new to the saga. "
Dyas' creations include an abandoned Gothic-style church; a science museum built in a glass walled building (filmed at Vancouver's Plaza of Nations), replete with scale reproductions of prehistoric dinosaur bones; a classical Victorian mansion; and Stryker's Base, a concrete bunker-like structure situated underneath a dam at Alkali Lake.
Stryker's base (complete with a three-story-tall water spillway) occupied over half of the 113,000 square foot Mammoth Studios stage. The production ran over 60 miles of electrical cable through the massive compound, set up in such a way that director of photography Newton Thomas Sigel (another returnee from "X-Men") would be able to light any part of the set at a moment's notice. "Even though this was an extravagant undertaking, it made sense from a time standpoint," notes producer Ralph Winter.
At the Stryker base set, dark, dingy corridors wind their way through a chamber of horrors-like bunker, leading to its infamous "Augmentation Room," where Stryker conducts his hideous experiments on mutants - including, at some point in the past, Wolverine.
"The concrete has been left to go awry," Dyas notes of the compound. "I wanted to enhance the horror of it all with a lot of tiled, stark spaces that had been water-damaged and left to rot. You could almost smell the mold and mildew when you stepped on set. "
By contrast, the plastic prison that serves as Magento's "home" is clean, clear and contemporary. "There's not an ounce of metal in there," says Dyas. "Even the surveillance cameras we designed are all transparent plastic. "
Dyas and his team also recreated several White House interiors, most notably an oversized replica of the Oval Office, including an exact reproduction of the new carpet designed by the current First Lady. The chandeliers were handmade and the many authentic looking paintings, including portraits of former Presidents and First Ladies, are prints which were convincingly textured to look like the original oil paintings.
"The President's desk was painstakingly reproduced," says Dyas. "The crest at the front of the desk was hand crafted in clay. It's an incredibly elaborate desk that took two months of solid work to create. "
One of Dyas' most anticipated re-designs was for the X-Jet, which is also a favorite piece of "X-otica" for the fans. A "new and improved" version was necessary because more action takes place in the jet than in the first film. While the original vehicle was about 60 feet long, the new measures 85 feet, with a more streamlined and modern look. It has three distinct compartments: the cockpit, which is larger; the center section that has more seats and a changing area; and a rear cargo area that also houses the stairs. "A lot of people come and go inside the jet," says Dyas, "so we had to make it practical for that and for all of the movie equipment that had fit inside as well. I'm very pleased with the way the X-Jet turned out and hope the fans are, too. "
Dyas took special pride and delight in planting near-subliminal "X's" throughout the sets - from curtains to the X-Jet to a museum. "It was Bryan's idea," Dyas notes, "and we think audiences will have a lot of fun looking for the X's. It's the X-Men version of 'Where's Waldo. '" Dyas also streamlined Cyclops' visor, eliminating the "ear muff"- like earpiece.
X2's larger canvas also necessitated bigger visual effects, which were overseen by the original film's visual effects supervisor, Michael Fink. Much of Fink's work focused on the story's third act, where he notes almost every cut involves a visual effect. Major digital wizardry also comes into play in scenes involving the flight of the X-Jet from Boston to the snowy mountains of Colorado (and an ensuing aerial battle), sequences involving Cerebro (perhaps the story's most closely guarded secret) - and Nightcrawler's "BAMPFs. " "As Nightcrawler moves at will from one spot to another, we created effects to make him look as if he's dematerializing in three dimensions, then rematerializing in another spot," Fink explains.
Special makeup effects supervisor Gordon Smith designed and implemented Nightcrawler's look. Smith, who developed the ground-breaking Mystique makeup for the first film, designed Nightcrawler's appendages as well, including his prehensile tail. He explains that the tail that will be seen in the film will be a combination of several practical tails mixed with a computer generated tail created by Michael Fink.
After four-and-a-half months of a record dry summer in Vancouver, the production wrapped up principal photography with a six-day shooting schedule in the Canadian Rockies, near Kananaskis, Alberta. Based out of the same luxurious resort that hosted last year's G8 Summit, the 225-member cast and crew traveled one-and-a-half hours round trip each day to a remote location in the Peter Lougheed Provincial Park.
The "Alkali Lake" set was a mountain clearing situated between Upper Kananaskis Lake and Lower Kananaskis Lake. While it is, perhaps, one of the most picturesque landscapes in North America, it is also one of the most rugged and is home to Rocky Mountain Sheep, black bears, wolves, coyotes, foxes, deer and elk. Because the set was situated over 6,000 feet above sea level in between the two lakes, it was smack in the middle of a natural wind tunnel. The cast and crew braved 55mph winds (with recorded gusts up to 80mph) and frigid temperatures. As one astute crew member put it: "This is Wolverine country. "
As the filmmakers wrestled daily with the sometimes chaotic challenges of making X2 "bigger and better" than the first film, there was also a feeling of comfort and confidence on the set. Although three years had passed since starting the first film, Singer says everyone stepped right back into their roles. "There was a kind of confidence comes from mutual trust and familiarity," says the director. "I think we all felt more comfortable with each other this time. It made for a lot more fun, too. "
"We're here, we've arrived and we were successful," says Patrick Stewart. "I have a strong sense that the fans and the other cinema-goers are really anticipating the giant leap forward we've made with this second film. "
Hugh Jackman describes the opportunity of the second outing as a "luxury. "
"In film, you rarely get the chance to know a character so well on the first day of shooting," says Jackman. "With X2, from the first take you can hit your mark with an incredible amount of confidence…confidence in yourself as an actor and confidence in the vision and style of the film.
Director Singer is clearly sentimental when he speaks about Jackman and the rest of his returning cast.
"I can remember walking into the lunch tent on any given day," recalls Singer, "and seeing Patrick eating with Ian, or Hugh chatting with Halle and Anna, or Rebecca and Famke laughing at Jimmy Marsden's impersonations of me. It was a remarkable and memorable feeling. To see all my favorite superheroes hanging out with each other again was very cool.
"Making the first 'X-Men' film was a tremendous experience, and the audience reactions were extremely gratifying. But after working on X2, it now feels like 'X-Men' was almost like a preview for X2," he smiles.
Twentieth Century Fox presents, in association with Marvel Enterprises, Inc. , The Donners' Company / Bad Hat Harry Production, a Bryan Singer film, X2. The film stars Patrick Stewart, Hugh Jackman, Ian McKellen, Halle Berry, Famke Janssen, James Marsden, Rebecca Romijn-Stamos, Brian Cox, Alan Cumming, Bruce Davison, and Anna Paquin. The costume designer is Louise Mingenbach, and music is by John Ottman. The co-producer is Ross Fanger, special make-up effects are by Gordon Smith, and the visual effects supervisor is Michael Fink. John Ottman is the film editor, Guy Hendrix Dyas is the production designer, and Newton Thomas Sigel, ASC, is the director of photography. Executive producers are Avi Arad, Stan Lee, Tom DeSanto and Bryan Singer. The film is produced by Lauren Shuler Donner and Ralph Winter. Story is by Bryan Singer & David Hayter and Zak Penn, and the screenplay is by Michael Dougherty & Dan Harris. X2 is directed by Bryan Singer.
ABOUT THE CAST
PATRICK STEWART (Professor Charles Xavier) reprises his role as the wheelchair-bound mentor of the X-Men, and the world's most powerful telepath.
Stewart recently returned as Captain Jean-Luc Picard in the latest installment of the phenomenally successful "Star Trek" franchise, "Star Trek: Nemesis. " He is starring and producing "The Lion in the Winter," for television, and appears on the London stage in "The Master Builder. "
Stewart supplied the voice of Pharaoh Seti in the animated film "The Prince of Egypt" and as the voice of King Goobot in Nickelodeon Movies' highly successful computer animated film "Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius. "
His many film credits include "Jeffrey," "Hedda," "Dune," "Excalibur," "L. A. Story," "Death Train," "Robin Hood: Men in Tights," "Gunmen," "Masterminds," "The Pagemaster," "The Conspiracy Theory," "Safe House" and "Doc Savage. "
Stewart originated the role of Captain Picard in the hit television series "Star Trek: The Next Generation," which aired from 1988 to 1994. The role earned him Best Actor nominations from the American TV Awards and the Screen Actors Guild. He also directed several episodes of the series, including "A Fistful of Datas," which won an Emmy® Award.
Stewart earned a Screen Actors Guild Award® nomination for his portrayal of Ebenezer Scrooge in TNT's "A Christmas Carol," which he produced with Robert Halmi for Hallmark Entertainment. Also for TNT, Stewart played the title role in "King of Texas," an updated version of Shakespeare's classic "King Lear," set during the Mexican revolt of the mid-1800s. Stewart also co-produced "King of Texas" with Hallmark.
He was honored with Emmy and Golden Globe® nominations for Best Actor in a Dramatic Series or Miniseries for his role as Captain Ahab in USA Network's "Moby Dick," which also starred Gregory Peck and Henry Thomas.
Stewart's television credits include the title role of "The Canterville Ghost" for ABC and Hallmark Hall of Fame, TNT's "In Search of Dr. Seuss," and Fox's animated series "The Simpsons. " He has also hosted several documentary series, including "The Shape of the World" on PBS, and TNT's "MGM: When the Lion Roars," a six-part series on the history of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.
For the BBC, Stewart has been seen in the acclaimed miniseries "I, Claudius," "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy" and "Smiley's People. " He also portrayed Salieri in "The Mozart Inquest," Oedipus in "Oedipus Rex," and Reverend Anderson in "The Devil's Disciple. "
In the summer of 2000, Stewart starred in the Broadway production of Arthur Miller's Tony®-nominated play "The Ride Down Mt. Morgan" and in 1998 he played "Othello" at the Shakespeare Theatre in Washington, D. C. In 1996, in honor of his work in the theater, Stewart received the prestigious Will Award from The Shakespeare Theatre in Washington, D. C. The award is given annually to an individual who makes "a significant contribution to classical theatre in America. "
In the same year, Stewart brought "A Christmas Carol," his award-winning adaptation of Dickens' classic tale, to an exclusive engagement at the Doolittle Theatre in Los Angeles. This acclaimed one-man show, in which he played over 40 characters, earned Stewart a Drama Desk Award for Best Solo Performer in 1995. When Stewart presented "A Christmas Carol" at London's Old Vic Theatre, he received an Olivier Award nomination as Best Actor and won the Olivier Award for Best Entertainment.
Stewart brought "A Christmas Carol" back to Broadway for eight benefit performances over the 2001 holiday season. The ticket sales from the sold-out performances were the highest single week sales for any play in the history of Broadway.
In 1995 Stewart starred as Prospero in the Broadway production of Shakespeare's classic "The Tempest," for which he received a Best Actor nomination from the Outer Critics Circle. In 1971 he appeared on the New York stage in Peter Brook's now legendary production of "A Midsummer Night's Dream. "
Stewart is an Honorary Associate Artist of the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC), having been made an Associate Artist in 1967. He has played Shylock, Henry IV,
Titus Andronicus, Oberon, Leontes, Touchstone, Launce, and Enobarbus in RSC
productions. Stewart won the Society of West End Theaters' (SWET) Award
for his performance as Enobarbus in Peter Brook's production of "Anthony and Cleopatra," and was nominated for his Shylock in "The Merchant of Venice. "
He has also starred in many contemporary works with the RSC, including premiere productions by Tom Stoppard, Edward Bond, Howard Barker and David Rudkin. In 1986, he played the title role in Peter Shaffer's play "Yonadab" at the National Theater.
Stewart has adapted other works for the stage, television and radio, including two works by Mikhail Bulgahov, "The Procurator" (from the novel The Master and Margarita) and "A Country Doctor's Notebook. " In 1992, he directed the music/drama "Every Good Boy Deserves Favor" by Tom Stoppard and Andre Previn, starring along with four other cast members of "Star Trek: The Next Generation" and the Orange County Symphony Orchestra. The same production was presented with symphony orchestras in Minneapolis, Chicago and Atlanta.
In 1993 Stewart won a Grammy® Award for his narrative work on the Best Spoken Word Album for Children, "Prokofiev: Peter and the Wolf. "
HUGH JACKMAN (Logan / Wolverine) reprises his "X-Men" role as a solitary fighting machine who possesses amazing healing powers, retractable adamantium claws and an animal-like fury.
Jackman's first major U. S. film appearance in "X-Men" resulted in leading roles in "Someone Like You" and "Swordfish. " He received a 2002 Golden Globe nomination for "Kate and Leopold. "
He currently is before the cameras in the adventure "Van Helsing," and will then star on Broadway in "The Boy from Oz," based on the life of Peter Allen.
Prior to his star-making role in "X-Men," Jackman played Curly in Trevor Nunn's revival of "Oklahoma," at Britain's National Theater. His performance earned him an Olivier Award nomination for Best Actor in a Musical. The production also received an International Emmy Award in the Performing Arts category.
Jackman's career began in Australia with leading roles in the independent films "Paperback Hero" and "Erskineville Kings," for which he received a Best Actor award from the Australian Film Critics Circle and a Best Actor nomination from the Australian Film Institute. In 1999, he was named "Australian Star of the Year" at the Australian Movie Convention. In addition he appeared in the hit Australian television series "Corelli" and "Halifax f. p. "
Jackman received the MO Award (Australia's Tony Award) for Best Actor in a Musical for his performance in the legit production of "Sunset Boulevard" and an MO Award nomination for Best Actor in a Musical for his performance as Gaston in "Beauty and the Beast. "
IAN McKELLEN (Magneto) reprises his role as the strongest and most powerful mutant. X2 reunites McKellen and director Bryan Singer, with whom he previously collaborated on the 1998 film "Apt Pupil," as well as on "X-Men. "
Last year, McKellen was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his performance as Gandalf the Grey in Peter Jackson's "The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. " In September of 2001 he celebrated his fortieth anniversary as an actor with a return to Broadway, starring opposite Helen Mirren in Richard
Greenburg's new adaptation of Strindberg's "Dance of Death," directed by Sean Mathias.
Recently, he was a guest "voice" on "The Simpsons. "
McKellen, who was knighted in 1991 for his services to the performing arts,
has been honored with more than thirty international awards for his performances on stage and latterly on screen. He won the Tony Award as Salieri in Peter Shaffer's
"Amadeus" (1981); and an Emmy Award as Best Supporting Actor in HBO's "Rasputin" (1996).
He was European Actor of the Year for his screen version of "Richard III" (1996); and received Academy Award, Golden Globe, Screen Actors Guild Award and Golden Satellite nominations for Best Actor for his portrayal of Hollywood director James Whale in Bill Condon's "Gods and Monsters" (1999).
McKellen's numerous motion picture credits also include "Swept From the Sea," "Bent," "Thin Ice," "Restoration," "Jack and Sarah," "The Shadow," "Cold Comfort Farm," "And the Band Played On" (for which he won a CableACE Award and received an Emmy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor), "Six Degrees of Separation," "Last Action Hero," "I'll Do Anything," "The Ballad of Little Jo," "Scandal," "Plenty," "Zina," "The Keep," "Walter," "Priest of Love," "The Promise," "Alfred the Great," "A Touch of Love/Thank You All Very Much" and "The Bells of Hell Go Ting-A-Ling-A-Ling. "
McKellen was born in the industrial north of England on May 25, 1939, the son of a civil engineer. He first acted at school and at Cambridge University, where he studied English Literature and appeared in twenty-one undergraduate productions. Without any formal dramatic training, he made his professional debut in 1961 at the Belgrade Theatre in Coventry. Then, for three seasons, he worked his apprenticeship with other regional companies, culminating with the opening of the Nottingham Playhouse, where he was directed by his childhood hero, Tyrone Guthrie.
His first London appearance in "A Scent of Flowers" (1964) won him the Clarence Derwent Award and an invitation from Laurence Olivier to join his new National Theatre Company at the Old Vic Theatre. This was followed by two seasons with the touring Prospect Theatre, storming the 1969 Edinburgh Festival as Shakespeare's Richard II and Marlowe's Edward II. These played for two sell-out seasons in London and were televised, as well. His "Hamlet" followed, and established McKellen as one of the leading classical actors of his generation. In 1972, he co-founded the democratically run Actors' Company, which visited the Brooklyn Academy of Music in 1974.
His work with the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) at Stratford-upon-Avon and in London (1974-78) included plays by Brecht, Chekhov, Ibsen, Marlowe, Shaw, Stoppard and Wedekind. For director Trevor Nunn he played Romeo (with Francesca Annis), Macbeth (with Judi Dench) Leontes, Toby Belch, Face and Iago (with Willard White).
At the Royal National Theatre, where he is a member of the Board, McKellen's hits include "Wild Honey," "Coriolanus," "The Cherry Orchard," "The Critic," "Bent," "Napoli Milionaria," "Uncle Vanya," "An Enemy of the People" and as Captain Hook/Mr. Darling in "Peter Pan. " As "Richard III", he toured the world from Tokyo to Los Angeles and later co-wrote, co-produced and starred in the motion picture version.
His position as an openly gay advocate for social change has coincided with his career. He was the original Max in Sherman's "Bent," and for the 1994 Gay Games in New York City, he devised and performed on Broadway his autobiographical anthology, "A Knight Out at the Lyceum. " Raising funds for local youth/gay/AIDS charities, this solo show has since been to South Africa, up and down the U. K. across the U. S. and, most recently, Canada, as "A Knight Out in Vancouver," a benefit fundraiser for the Vancouver Playhouse, which he performed while shooting X2. McKellen continues as a member and volunteer for Stonewall UK, which he co-founded in 1988 to lobby gay/lesbian equality. He devises the annual "Equality Show" at London's Royal Albert Hall.
HALLE BERRY's (Storm) spectacular performance in "Monster's Ball" won her an Academy Award, a SAG Award™, and the Berlin Film Festival's Silver Bear Award as Best Actress. She also received Golden Globe and AFI Award nominations and was named Best Actress by the National Board of Review.
This year, she starred alongside Pierce Brosnan in the latest James Bond blockbuster, "Die Another Day. " Her next film is the thriller "Gothika," also starring Penelope Cruz and Robert Downey Jr.
Berry made her feature film debut in Spike Lee's "Jungle Fever. " She has since starred in "Bulworth" opposite Warren Beatty, "Why Do Fools Fall in Love," "Losing Isaiah," opposite Jessica Lange, "Executive Decision," with Kurt Russell (winning a Blockbuster® Award for Best Actress in an Action Drama), "The Flintstones," with John Goodman, "The Last Boy Scout," "Strictly Business," and "Boomerang," opposite Eddie Murphy. She also received the NAACP Image Award for her role in "Swordfish," in which she appeared with Hugh Jackman.
Berry's performance in "Introducing Dorothy Dandridge" earned her an Emmy, a Golden Globe, a SAG and an NAACP Image Award. In addition she won the NAACP Image Award for Best Actress and Best Newcomer Award from the Hollywood Women's Press Club for her performance in the title role in the Alex Haley mini-series "Queen," the highest rated sequel in television history. Berry's television work includes starring roles in the highly rated mini-series, "Oprah Winfrey Presents: The Wedding" (ABC) and in Showtime's original telefilm "Solomon and Sheba" with Jimmy Smits.
Berry was honored by the Harvard Foundation, receiving a Cultural Artist of the Year Award in recognition of her achievements as an actress and received a Crystal Award from Women in Film.
FAMKE JANSSEN (Jean Grey) returns as one of the planet's most powerful telepaths and telekinetics, second only to Prof. Xavier.
Janssen starred with Eddie Murphy and Owen Wilson in Betty Thomas' "I Spy," based on the successful 1960s TV series. She stars with Ray Romano in the upcoming independent film "Eulogy. "
Initially known as the lasciviously lethal assassin, Xenia Onatop, in the James Bond megahit "GoldenEye," Janssen received critical acclaim for her star making performance opposite Jon Favreau in the romantic comedy "Love and Sex," which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival.
She appeared in Gary Fleder's "Don't Say a Word," with Michael Douglas, "Rounders," opposite Matt Damon, John Turturro and John Malkovich, Woody Allen's "Celebrity," with Winona Ryder, Kenneth Branagh and Leonardo DiCaprio, and "House on Haunted Hill," opposite Geoffrey Rush.
Her film credits also include Ted Demme's "Monument Avenue," Robert Rodriguez' "The Faculty," Stephen Sommers' "Deep Rising," Robert Altman's "The Gingerbread Man," John Irvin's "City of Industry," Clive Barker's "Lord of Illusions," and Paul Mones' "Fathers and Sons," which marked her feature film debut.
Born in Holland, Janssen moved to the United States where she has made her home for the last twelve years. She majored in writing and literature at Columbia University and studied stage craft with Harold Guskin.
JAMES MARSDEN (Cyclops) reprises his role as a character whose eyes release an optic blast, which, at full power, can punch holes through mountains.
Marsden stars in the upcoming independent features "The 24th Day" with Scott Speedman, "Interstate 60" with Gary Oldman and Amy Smart, and "The Notebook" with Ryan Gosling, James Garner and Joan Allen. He also appeared on the Emmy Award-winning series "Ally McBeal," as Ally's love interest, Glenn Foy.
Prior to "X-Men," Marsden starred in the thriller "Disturbing Behaviour," with Katie Holmes and Nick Stahl. He also starred opposite Norman Reedus and Kate Hudson in the drama, "Gossip," and in the comedy, "Sugar and Spice. "
An Oklahoma native, Marsden discovered his natural acting talent after his mother convinced him to enroll in a tenth grade drama class. A brief stint at Oklahoma State University confirmed Marsden's ambition to pursue acting as a career. He headed to Los Angeles and, within two months, began working steadily in various television productions. His TV credits include starring roles in the highly rated mini-series "Bella Mafia" and the family oriented drama "Second Noah. " Marsden also originated the role of Griffin on the hit series "Party of Five" and played Doc Barker in the HBO film "Public Enemy #1. "
REBECCA ROMIJN-STAMOS (Mystique) returns as the evil and enchanting metamorph, who can transform into anyone or anything she touches.
Romijn-Stamos co-starred opposite Al Pacino in "Simone. " She recently starred with Antonio Banderas in Brian De Palma's film noir "Femme Fatale. " Both films came on the heels of her starring role in "Rollerball," opposite Chris Klein and LL Cool J, and the hugely successful "X-Men. "
Romijn-Stamos has made the successful leap from international model to busy actress. She began her acting career with memorable appearances on the hit television shows "Friends" and "Just Shoot Me," cameos in films such as "Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me," and hosting "MTV's House of Style. "
In her career as a model, Rebecca graced the covers of Cosmopolitan (including their biggest selling issue of the 90s), People, Marie Claire, Glamour, Elle, FHM, Shape, and the 1999 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue. She has been featured in numerous
prestigious print and television ad campaigns including Tommy Hilfiger, Pantene, Miller Lite, Halston, a "Got Milk?" ad and is currently the face of Liz Claiborne.
ANNA PAQUIN (Rogue) returns as the alienated teenage girl who can absorb the powers of everyone she touches.
Paquin stunned the world in 1993 with her film debut in "The Piano," winning an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. She appears in Spike Lee's "The 25th Hour," with Ed Norton and Philip Seymour Hoffman, and in the upcoming films "Darkness," with Lena Olin, for director Juame Balaguero, and Miramax's "Buffalo Soldiers," co-starring Joaquin Phoenix and Ed Harris.
In addition to "X-Men," Paquin's film credits include "Finding Forrester," "Almost Famous," "A Walk on the Moon," "All The Rage," "Hurlyburly," "She's All That," "Fly Away Home" and "Jane Eyre. "
She appeared in the theater production of "This is Our Youth" in London's West End and received a Drama Desk nomination for Best Actress for her most recent stage performance in Rebecca Gilman's "The Glory of Living" at New York's MCC Theater.
ALAN CUMMING (Nightcrawler) co-wrote, co-directed, produced and acted (all with Jennifer Jason Leigh) in the feature film "The Anniversary Party," which premiered at the Cannes Film Festival and won a National Board of Review Award and two Independent Spirit Award nominations. He also directed the short films "Butter" and "Burn Your Phone. "
Cumming filmed a starring role in Dough McGrath's "Nicholas Nickleby. " His film credits include "Spy Kids," "Spy Kids 2," "Josie and the Pussycats," "Company Man" (as Cuban Dictator General Batista), "Titus," "Get Carter" "Urbania," "Eyes Wide Shut," "Plunkett and MacLean," "Emma," "Circle of Friends," "Goldeneye" and "Buddy. "
He also appeared in the New York production of "Design for Living" and won a Tony Award, as well as awards from Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle, Theater World, New York Press, FANY and New York Public Advocate for his performance in "Cabaret. " Last summer he launched a new theater company The Art Party. He adapted and appeared in the company's first production, "Elle," by Jean Genet.
Cumming played Hamlet at London's Donmar Warehouse, winning the TMA Best Actor Award and a Shakespeare Globe nomination. He received Olivier Award nominations for "Cabaret," "La Bete" and "Conquest of the South Pole. " He also
spent seasons with the Royal Shakespeare Company and the Royal National Theatre.
He trained at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama and now resides
in New York City. His first novel, Tommy's Tale, was published by HarperCollins.
BRIAN COX (Stryker) won the 2001 Emmy Award for Best Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or Motion Picture Made for Television for his portrayal of Nazi war criminal Hermann Goering in the TNT original film "Nuremberg," as well as receiving SAG and Golden Globe Award nominations. His film "LIE," an official selection of the 2001 Sundance Film Festival, was released last year to critical acclaim. His masterful portrayal of Big John in the film earned an AFI Award Nomination and a Golden Satellite Award.
Cox was most recently seen in "The Ring," with Naomi Watts, and Spike Lee's
"The 25th Hour," with Ed Norton. He also co-starred in "The Bourne Identity,"
with Matt Damon, and in "The Rookie," with Dennis Quaid.
His film credits include "The Affair of the Necklace," The Minus Man," "For the Love of the Game," "Rushmore," "The Corrupter," "The Boxer," "The Long Kiss Goodnight," the Academy Award-winning "Braveheart," "Rob Roy," "Hidden Agenda" (Special Jury Prize, Cannes Film Festival), as well as originating the celluloid Hannibal Lecter in Michael Mann's cult classic "Manhunter. "
Cox has won two Olivier Awards for Best Actor for his performances in "Titus Andronicus" at the Royal Shakespeare Company's Swan Theatre and "Rat in the Skull" at the Royal Court. He recently returned to the London stage to star in the world premiere of Connor McPherson's "Dublin Carol," which opened the new Royal Court Theatre. Recent New York theatre credits include the Broadway production of "Art" and "St. Nicholas" at Off Broadway's Primary Stages, for which he won the Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Actor and received Drama Desk and Outer Critic's Circle nominations.
Other theatre credits include "St. Nicholas" at The Bush Theatre in London and the Matrix Theatre in Los Angeles; "King Lear" and "Richard III" at the National Theatre in London and "Skylight" at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles.
Cox made his television directing debut with the hit HBO prison drama "OZ. " He is the author of two books, Salem to Moscow: An Actors Odyssey and The Lear Diaries.
KELLY HU (Yuriko Oyama / Deathstrike) stars with Jet Li and DMX in "Cradle to the Grave," a new action feature produced by Joel Silver. She recently played the role of Cassandra in the box office hit "The Scorpion King. " Hu also appeared opposite Russell Crowe in "No Way Back," and played Dorothy Manzarek in Oliver Stone's "The Doors. "
In addition to her feature film roles, Hu starred in the CBS action drama "Martial Law," which received a TV Guide Award for Best New Drama Series. She also co-starred with Don Johnson and Cheech Marin in "Nash Bridges. "
Born in Honolulu of Chinese, Hawaiian and English descent, Hu always wanted to be an actress. She catapulted into the spotlight in 1985, when she was crowned Miss Teen USA. In 1993 she was crowned Miss Hawaii USA, and went on to become a finalist in the Miss USA Pageant. Her exposure in contests led to modeling assignments in the U. S. and internationally.
A black belt in martial arts, Hu continues to train in both karate and kick boxing.
SHAWN ASHMORE (Bobby / Iceman) reprises the role he created in "X-Men. " His career took off in 1994 when he was nominated for a Gemini Award for his work as Waylon Tibbins, the starring role in the TV movie "Guitarman. " At age 17 he landed the role of Jake on the Nickelodeon series "Animorphs. " Two seasons later, he had a starring role in the Disney series "In A Heartbeat. "
Ashmore starred in The Disney Channel's hit TV movie "Cadet Kelly," and played Trevor Brewster in the pilot "Being Brewster. " He has made guest appearances in the television series "The Outer Limits" and "Smallville. " He recently completed a pilot for his own series, "Aces," in which Daniel Baldwin plays his father.
AARON STANFORD (Pyro) landed the role of Oscar Grubman in Gary Winick's film "Tadpole" on graduating from the acting program at Rutgers University. Stanford stars opposite Sigourney Weaver and Bebe Neuwirth in the film and received critical acclaim for his performance at last year's Sundance Film Festival. Stanford also appeared in Woody Allen's "Hollywood Ending" and most recently in Spike Lee's "25th Hour. " Last year he had a recurring role on the series "Third Watch. "
ABOUT THE FILMMAKERS
BRYAN SINGER (Director, Story, Executive Producer) directed the box-office hit "X-Men. " Singer became the focus of considerable attention in 1995 when his second full-length feature, "The Usual Suspects," was released to critical and commercial acclaim. With an impressive cast that included Gabriel Byrne, Kevin Spacey, Kevin Pollak, Stephen Baldwin and Chazz Palminteri, the young director (28 at the time) beat a slew of odds by bringing the $6 million, 35-day shoot in on time and under budget. "The Usual Suspects" won two Academy Awards that year: Kevin Spacey for Best Supporting Actor and Christopher McQuarrie for Best Original Screenplay.
Singer's third feature film was 1998's dramatic thriller "Apt Pupil," which starred Ian McKellen, Brad Renfro, Bruce Davison and David Schwimmer. The film tells the story of a sixteen year-old high school student (Renfro) who discovers that a Nazi war criminal (McKellen) has been quietly living in his hometown. "Apt Pupil" was well-received and garnered several awards and nominations for its actors and filmmakers.
Singer's lifelong fascination with the art of cinema became a reality in his early teens when he began shooting 8mm films. After attending the prestigious School of Visual Arts in New York, he moved to Los Angeles where he began undergraduate studies at the University of Southern California. It was during this period that his ambition to become a filmmaker intensified.
After graduating from USC, he wrote and directed "Lion's Den," an award-winning 25-minute film chronicling the lives of five high school friends who reunite after graduation. Singer called upon his childhood friend Ethan Hawke to star in the 16mm, $15,000 project. "Lion's Den" opened the doors to Singer's co-writing, producing and directing "Public Access," his first full-length film project, which won the Grand Jury Prize at the 1993 Sundance Film Festival.
LAUREN SHULER DONNER (Producer) is one of the most successful producers in Hollywood. Shuler Donner has the ability to identify, develop and nurture
a wide range of material, and she is also one of the few producers today with hands-on knowledge of the mechanics of filmmaking.
She produced the Oliver Stone film "Any Given Sunday," starring Al Pacino, Dennis Quaid and Cameron Diaz, and "You've Got Mail," starring Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan, an e-mail take on the romantic comedy "Shop Around the Corner," directed by Nora Ephron. "X-Men," which she produced with Ralph Winter, opened to a scorching $54. 5million, the biggest ever July opening. She recently completed "Timeline," based on the Michael Crichton novel for Paramount.
The Donners' Company, which she runs with her producer/director husband Richard Donner, is developing "Constantine," starring Keanu Reeves and directed by Francis Lawrence for Warner Bros, and is in pre-production on "Labor Day," starring Jet Li for Disney. Future projects include "Vacation from Marriage" at Warner Bros. , as well as "Crazy Train" for Fox.
Her first producing project was the television movie "Amateur Night at the Dixie Bar & Grill," hailed by The Washington Post as "one of the ten best movies ever made for television. " Written and directed by Joel Schumacher, the film starred Tanya Tucker
and Dennis Quaid.
The smash hit comedy "Mr. Mom" was the first feature film Shuler Donner produced. Written by John Hughes and starring Michael Keaton, the movie was the ninth largest grossing film in 1983. She then produced the epic medieval adventure-romance
"Ladyhawke," which was directed by Richard Donner and starred Matthew Broderick, Michelle Pfeiffer and Rutger Hauer.
Shuler Donner was reunited with Joel Schumacher for "St. Elmo's Fire" (which starred an extraordinary ensemble of talented new stars) and with screenwriter John Hughes, when she produced "Pretty in Pink," starring Molly Ringwald. These two films were box office hits and were accompanied by platinum-selling soundtracks.
In 1989, Shuler Donner produced the comedy "Three Fugitives," starring Nick Nolte and Martin Short; "The Favor," starring Elizabeth McGovern and introducing Brad Pitt; and "Radio Flyer," directed by Richard Donner.
Her next two films, "Dave" and the family adventure "Free Willy," were two of the top ten grossing films of 1993. "Dave," starring Kevin Kline and Sigourney Weaver and directed by Ivan Reitman, was nominated for a Golden Globe in the Best Picture-Comedy or Musical category and for an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay. She also produced "Free Willy 2: The Adventure Home," "Assassins" and "Volcano" and executive produced "Free Willy III. "
Shuler Donner also served as a member of the Executive Committee of the Producer's Branch of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for eight years (the term limit) and is on the Advisory Board of Women in Film.
She has been honored within and outside of the entertainment industry.
She is the recipient of a Vision Award and an Icon Award from Premiere Magazine. "Ladyhawke" and "X-Men" received the Best Fantasy Film award from the Academy
of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Films. "Ladyhawke" and "Free Willy" were honored with the Award of Excellence from the Film Advisory Board.
In addition she is a board member of Hollygrove, an organization that provides
a safe and nurturing environment for children who have been removed from their homes due to abuse and neglect.
In 1987, Shuler Donner was recognized by her alma mater, Boston University, where she earned her B. S. in film and communications, with a Distinguished Alumni Award. In 1993, she was honored by the university's alumni association for "Service to the Profession," in recognition of the talent and determination that has made her one of the most respected film producers today.
RALPH WINTER (Producer) executive produced "Planet of the Apes," directed by Tim Burton for Twentieth Century Fox. The film opened to $68. 5 million, then the largest non-holiday three day gross in history. He also produced "X-Men" for Twentieth Century Fox with Lauren Shuler Donner. "X-Men" opened on July 14, 2000, to the then largest non-sequel weekend box office in history, $54. 5 million.
Winter produced the Academy Award-nominated films "Mighty Joe Young," "Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country," and "Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home," which received four nominations.
Winter executive produced "Star Trek V: The Final Frontier. " He executive produced "Inspector Gadget," starring Matthew Broderick and Rupert Everett for Disney: produced "Hackers," directed by Iain Softley ("K-Pax") and starring Johnny Lee Miller and Angelina Jolie for United Artists; and with Tom Jacobson, produced Disney's remake of the 1949 RKO classic, "Mighty Joe Young," directed by Ron Underwood
("City Slickers. ").
Winter created a mini-studio facility in Chatsworth, California, from which he produced the ABC-TV series "High Incident" for Steven Spielberg in 1995-96. This led to his directorial debut on the special Halloween episode, "Masquerade. "
As executive in charge of production for Harve Bennett Productions, Winter supervised the highly-acclaimed "Jesse Owens Story," as well as the 1982 Emmy Award-winning drama special "A Woman Called Golda. "
While his company, Ralph Winter Productions, was based at the Walt Disney Studios, Winter produced "The Puppet Masters" with Donald Sutherland, and executive produced the live-action comedies "Hocus Pocus," with Bette Midler, and "Captain Ron" with Kurt Russell and Martin Short.
More recently, his company produced the family film "Blizzard," directed by Levar Burton and starring Whoopi Goldberg, Christopher Plummer, Brenda Blethyn and Kevin Pollak. He also produced "Hangman's Curse," based on a novel by Frank Peretti, starring David Keith and Mel Harris ("Thirtysomething"), which will be released by Fox Home Video in the spring of 2003, and "Left Behind" with Kirk Cameron, which sold three million cassettes in the specialty Christian market. His four hour mini-series, "Pontius Pilate," is in development at ABC for production in 2003. Ralph Winter Productions is now based at Fox.
Winter began his career at Paramount Pictures as director of post-production for Paramount Television. He is a graduate of the University of California at Berkeley, and is a member of the Directors Guild of America and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
DAN HARRIS (Screenwriter) is set to make his feature directing debut with "Imaginary Heroes," a coming of age story about secrets and lies in suburban America.
Harris' short film, "The Killing of Candice Klein," played to rave reviews at the 2002 Sundance Film Festival. A year earlier, his short film "Urban Chaos Theory" won the Grand Jury Prize for the Best Short Film at the Nodance Film Festival and has been distributed on DVD.
Harris graduated from Columbia University in 2001, winning the Louis B. Sudler prize in the arts for a screenplay, "America's Least Wanted. " Just months after graduating from college and moving to Los Angeles, Harris and writing partner Michael Dougherty sold their first pitch, a horror film, to Phoenix Pictures.
MICHAEL DOUGHERTY (Screenwriter) is an up-and-coming young writer making a name for himself in the science fiction and horror genres. Prior to X2, Dougherty wrote "Trick or Treat," a horror film produced and directed by Stan Winston for New Regency. He co-wrote a script for Phoenix Pictures with Dan Harris.
Dougherty is also an accomplished animator and illustrator whose award-winning films have appeared on MTV and the Sci Fi Channel, and his artwork is currently featured in a line of subversive greetings cards.
Dougherty is a graduate of NYU's film program and currently lives in Los Angeles.
DAVID HAYTER's (Story) screenwriting credits include "X-Men," "The Incredible Hulk," "Pitch Black II - The Chronicles of Riddick," and "The Scorpion King. " Hayter has been signed to write and direct the much anticipated film adaptation of Alan Moore's "The Watchmen. "
A native Canadian, Hayter spent the first eighteen years of his life traveling the world with his family, while learning the French and Japanese languages. After graduating from the Canadian Academy in Kobe, Japan, Hayter studied all facets of acting at the Ryerson Theatre School in Toronto.
Hayter has an extensive voiceover resume, most recently voicing the role of Snake for the enormously popular video game "Metal Gear Solid 2. " Acting credits include the television show "Major Dad," a starring role in the feature film "Guyver 2 - The Dark Hero" and the independent film "Burn," which he also produced.
ZAK PENN (Story) co-wrote the box-office hit "Behind Enemy Lines," directed by John Moore and released by Twentieth Century Fox. Penn has been a professional screenwriter since selling his first script, "Last Action Hero," at age 23. Since then, he has worked on numerous movies as a screenwriter or story consultant, including "PCU," "Men in Black," "The Mask of Zorro," "Antz," "Mighty Joe Young," "Inspector Gadget," "Nutty Professor II: The Klumps," "Charlie's Angels" and produced "Osmosis Jones" and co-wrote "Reign of Fire. "
AVI ARAD (Executive Producer) is the President of Marvel Studios and CCO of Marvel Enterprises, Inc. Arad has been the driving force behind Marvel's Hollywood renaissance. Following the record-breaking success of the box office smash hit, "Spider-Man" and the establishment of three more proven franchises in his first Marvel features - "Blade," Twentieth Century Fox's "X-Men" and Fox / Regency's "Daredevil" - Arad has numerous film projects based on Marvel super heroes in various stages of development. He has aligned Marvel with several prominent studios to produce full-feature films including Fox's "The Silver Surfer" and "Fantastic Four," plus "Spider-Man 2," "Ghost Rider," "The Hulk, "Namor," "Prime," "Iron Man," "Werewolf By Night," "Dr. Strange," "The Punisher," "Iron Fist," Man-Thing," and "Deathlok. "
Additionally, Arad has positioned Marvel Studios as a major provider of entertainment on the small screen with both live action and animated series' in production. "X-Men Evolution," in association with Film Roman and the Kid's WB! is a top-rated animated series and Marvel Studios' live-action "Mutant X" (Tribune/Fireworks) is a successful nationally syndicated program. Arad has also brought Spider-Man to MTV with the "Spider-Man" animated series.
He first made a name for himself in the entertainment industry as a toy designer, and then became interested in television animation. This led to his involvement in such series as "Conan the Adventurer," "King Arthur & the Knights of Justice," "Double Dragon and Bots Master. "
When Marvel acquired an interest in Toy Biz, Arad entered into an arrangement with the New York City-based entertainment conglomerate to devote his time exclusively to Toy Biz and Marvel Studios. Arad executive produced Marvel's full slate of animated television series, including the hit shows "Spider-Man" and "X-Men" for the Fox Kids Network, as well as programs based on the "Incredible Hulk," "Fantastic Four," "Iron Man" and "The Avengers. " Arad executive produced the live-action movies of the week "Generation X" and "Nick Fury, Agent of S. H. I. E. L. D. "
STAN LEE (Executive Producer) is known to millions as the man whose Super Heroes propelled Marvel Comics to its preeminent position in the comic book industry. Stan Lee's singular co-creations include Spider-Man, The Incredible Hulk, X-Men, The Fantastic Four, Iron Man, Daredevil, The Avengers, Silver Surfer and Dr. Strange among many others.
Lee has exerted more influence over the comic book industry than anyone in history. He created or co-created 90 percent of Marvel's recognized characters, which have been successfully licensed and marketed since 1965. The numbers are staggering - more than two billion of his comic books have been published in 75 countries and in 25 languages. In Europe alone, Lee's name appears on over 35 million comics annually. In 1981 Lee transformed his Spider-Man and Hulk creations into Saturday morning and syndicated television cartoons. When Marvel Comics and Marvel Productions were acquired by New World Entertainment in 1986, Lee's horizons expanded even further, giving him the opportunity to become more involved in the creation and development of filmed projects for both the big and small screen. He supervised such diverse animated series as "X-Men," "Spider-Man" and "The Hulk. " To date, his characters have populated over 24 separate television series, all of which continue in syndication around the world.
Recent hit movies based on Marvel characters include "Spider-Man," "X-Men," "Blade," "Blade 2," "Daredevil" and "The Hulk. " In addition, Fantastic Four, Dr. Strange, The Mighty Thor and Silver Surfer are in development for motion pictures and TV series.
TOM DeSANTO (Executive Producer) dreamed of bringing the characters of the X-Men comic books to the screen since the age of ten. DeSanto started working with Bryan Singer in 1995 and brought Singer into the world of the X-Men in 1996. In addition to his duties as executive producer on "X-Men," DeSanto co-wrote the story for the film with Singer.
A self described pop culture junkie and proud owner of more than 20,000 comic books, DeSanto also co-produced Singer's "Apt Pupil," and is currently developing the feature film "2001 Maniacs. "
NEWTON THOMAS SIGEL, ASC (Director of Photography) recently directed "Point of Origin," starring Ray Liotta for HBO.
As a cinematographer, Sigel has enjoyed success in documentaries, episodic television, music videos and features films. His film credits include "X-Men," "Three Kings," "Brokedown Palace," "Apt Pupil," "Fallen, Blood and Wine," "The Usual Suspects" (for which he was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award), "The Trigger Effect," "Foxfire," "Blankman," "Money for Nothing," "Indian Summer," "Into the West," "Salmonberries" and "Crossing the Bridge. "
His documentary "Witness to War" won an Academy Award while "El Salvador: Another Vietnam" was Oscar-nominated. Sigel has also co-directed the documentaries "When the Mountains Tremble" and "Report from the Front. "
JOHN OTTMAN (Editor, Composer) is editing X2 and composing the film's score. Ottman has applied this unusual combination of talents to three Bryan Singer movies, "Apt Pupil," "The Usual Suspects" and "Public Access. " His work as an editor on "The Usual Suspects" earned him a BAFTA Award.
Ottman's credits as a composer include "The Cable Guy," "Snow White: A Tale of Terror," "Incognito," "Halloween H20," "Lake Placid," "Goodbye Lover," "Bubble Boy," HBO's "Point of Origin," "Pumpkin," "Eight Legged Freaks" and "Trapped. " He received an Emmy nomination for the score of Barry Sonnenfeld's TV update of "Fantasy Island. " He also directed, edited and scored "Urban Legends 2. "
GUY HENDRIX DYAS (Production Designer) began his career working in Japan as an industrial designer for Akio Morita and his Sony Corporation. He moved to Tokyo shortly after graduating with a Masters Degree in Industrial Design from the prestigious Royal College of Art in London.
While living in Japan, Dyas quickly became one of the most active and noticeable new members of the international design world. Some examples of his designs can be found on display at the Design Museum in London and at the Wakita Museum of Art in Tokyo.
In 1994 Dyas' passion for filmmaking and an invitation from Industrial Light and Magic (ILM) to join their creative team as an art director, encouraged him to move to the United States and devote himself entirely to film production.
Since then, Dyas has worked as a concept artist on "Planet of the Apes," "The Matrix: Reloaded," "Vanilla Sky" and "Pearl Harbor. " He was assistant art director on "Swordfish" and "The Cell," visual consultant on "A Sound of Thunder," and VFX art director on "Twister. "
LOUISE MINGENBACH's (Costume Designer) feature film credits include "X-Men," "K-PAX," "Gossip," "Nightwatch," "Apt Pupil," "Permanent Midnight," "The Spitfire Grill," "One Night Stand," "The Usual Suspects, the upcoming feature "Helldorado," and the television series "The Naked Truth. "
MICHAEL FINK (Visual Effects Supervisor) received an Academy Award nomination for his work on Tim Burton's "Batman Returns. " Fink was also nominated twice by the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) for his work on "Batman Returns" and John Badham's "War Games. " He was also nominated for a Golden Satellite Award for his work on Burton's "Mars Attacks!"
Fink's many credits include "X-Men," "Lethal Weapon 4," "Eraser," "Braveheart," "Baby's Day Out," "The Hunt for Red October," "Tango & Cash," "The Seventh Sign," "Project X," "D. A. R. Y. L. " and "The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai: Across the 8th Dimension. "