It's not easy being a mutant. There's the uncontrollable optic laser blasts. The unsightly blue skin. Or the girlfriend who sucks up your life essence if you kiss her for too long. The only one who's got it tougher is director Bryan Singer, who had to juggle about a dozen costumed characters in X2: X-Men United while clawing his way past the recent glut of comic book films. Nevertheless, he delivered what many considered a superior sequel. With its DVD release today, Singer looks back on his x-traordinary experience.
TV Guide Online: Did you really consider reshooting some scenes because your mom said Famke Janssen's new hairstyle didn't look glamorous enough?
Bryan Singer: I just think that was her way of saying it wasn't long enough. My mother always has something to say about everything. You should see the script notes she did on The Usual Suspects. She circled every swear word and wrote "alternate" next to them.
TVGO: And you've mentioned that you told Patrick Stewart to talk faster this time around.
Singer: Yeah. I said, "In general, I want to pick up the pace, and that means everything, [including] dialogue." He's like, (Singer does a British accent) "Talk faster?" And I said, "Yeah." And he said, "Okay." At one point, he sort of blurted [his lines] out incredibly fast, as sort of a joke, and I said, "Perfect. Moving on."
TVGO: Were there any practical jokes on the X2 set?
Singer: Yeah, there was a [flashback] scene in which Hugh Jackman had a little G-string on and was running through a set of a cave, and then through a door into what was meant to be the outside. And what we did was, we removed the entire wall and replaced it with all the women on the production. All the women screamed, and then he turned around and mooned them.
TVGO: What do you think about giving away movie secrets in DVD commentaries?
Singer: I don't usually like it, frankly. And yet, when you're doing it, you get caught up in it. But ultimately, it does kind of spoil the magic. On the other hand, I am a student of film. I want to know those things. I find hearing about the compromises and problems and dilemmas that filmmakers overcome very inspirational.
TVGO: What's your favorite line in the film?
Singer: I love when Ian McKellen says to Patrick Stewart, "You should have killed me when you had the chance." Because if [he] had just done that, none of the problems in X-Men 1, X2 or maybe even X3 would've happened.
TVGO: You needed some sort of dramatic score there.
Singer: Dun, dun, dun dun! And then of course, my favorite [ad lib] is when Hugh Jackman threw in the line "Holy s---" when he saw Deathstryke's claws. That's also very funny....
TVGO: What are your thoughts about the first X-Men kicking off the recent string of superhero films?
Singer: I feel proud to have initiated the resurgence in the genre. I think comic books make magnificent science fiction and fantasy. And it's odd, because when I made my first student film, I wanted to have a screening of it. And I was friends with Ted Raimi and I asked his brother [Spider-Man director] Sam Raimi if he would host it for me. Never did I think, when Sam was hosting my screening, that he and I would be making these huge comic book movies.
TVGO: So give me a little something more about X-Men 3.
Singer: I just did. You're not hearing it. "You should have killed me when I had the chance."
TVGO: Magneto comes back again?
Singer: (Coyly) I don't know about that....
TVGO: Are there certain characters you just couldn't make the movie without?
Singer: Yes. Not all the characters, but there are a few that I wouldn't want to make it without.
TVGO: Hugh Jackman, obviously?
TVGO: Now for a very serious film question: Who'd win in a fight, Wolverine or the Terminator the original Arnold version?
Singer: Wolverine, because he can cut through anything. And whatever the Terminator's made of, it constitutes "anything."