Gandalf & Catwoman vs. Peter Allan

X3 Stirs Cast Emotions

from Sci-Fi Wire

The cast of the upcoming X-Men: The Last Stand said that the film raised issues that struck close to home, so much so that actors Ian McKellen, Halle Berry and Hugh Jackman ended up arguing about the film's central dilemma during a roundtable interview from the Vancouver, Canada, set last December.

The third film in the X-Men franchise takes the series' underlying theme of alienation to its logical conclusion with a story centered on a "cure" for mutations. Both McKellen and Jackman said separately that they think the new script is the best of the series. McKellen called it "a script that we all agree is superior from the start to the previous two."

The introduction of a cure presents each mutant character with a choice whether to accept themselves as they are or take the chance at becoming "normal." It was clearly a dilemma to which the actors responded emotionally.

"There are people who think gay people can be cured," said McKellen (Magneto), who has spoken publicly about his own homosexuality. "My reaction to the idea that I can be cured as a mutant is as contemptuous as my view of people who say I need curing of my sexuality. The idea that black people could take a pill that would cure them of being black is abhorrent to me."

Halle Berry, who plays Storm, echoed McKellen's sentiment. "Being a black woman, a woman of color, I think that's been an issue I've struggled with my whole life," she said. "Feeling like, somehow when I was a child, if I could change myself somehow, my life would be inevitably better. As I've gotten older, I think I've come to terms with what nonsense that is, and this movie adds light to that dark subject."

Hugh Jackman, who plays Wolverine, took the other side, pointing out that there are other characters for whom the cure is more attractive. "Rogue [Anna Paquin], as amazingly powerful as she is, lives a potentially very lonely life," said Jackman. "Never being able to touch anyone, never being able to have a physical relationship, never able to have children. Now, as politically abhorrent as something like the cure is, it's also humanely, socially, incredibly understandable that a character like that would take it."

"It isn't necessarily her mutancy that's the problem," McKellen shot back. "It's other people's reaction to it. Maybe it's society that's wrong, not her."

The cast then seemed to realize that they were getting emotional about the topic and backed off to more conventional interview subjects.

"It'll get you worked up, this script," McKellen said at one point. "And so it should, because I don't think people should be cured of their God-given nature."

X-Men: The Last Stand opens May 26.


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