Our 2006 “XMenFilms.net” interview with X-MEN 3 director Brett Ratner!
When you took on this project, in a way you were the new kid on the block. Was it intimidating to step onto the set the first day with the cast veterans? Or did you find the transition to be an easy one?
Brett Ratner: The entire cast made me feel very much at home, and made a difficult job much easier on a daily basis. I’m very grateful that the actors welcomed me into the X-Men world.
This is the final act for many of the mutant characters we’ve come to know and love since 2000’s X-MEN. In your opinion, how have each of the characters evolved since the first film?
Brett Ratner: For me, these movies begin and end with character. All the characters evolve over the span of the trilogy, so I’ll just pick a few to focus on. Wolverine probably has the biggest arc from first to last movie. He goes from being a loner to being a leader, and he becomes more human in the process.
Rogue’s struggle with her powers finally gets resolved in our film. Jean obviously transforms from the mild-mannered Dr. Grey of X1 to the Dark Phoenix of X3. In the first film, she is totally in control of herself and her powers. In X2, she starts to lose control. In X3, she finally snaps, spiraling out of control.
Storm’s politics become more radical over the three films, and she becomes more a powerful leader. Likewise, Bobby really evolves, becoming more empowered and mature over the three films. Magneto, Xavier, Cyclops, and others also evolve, which you’ll see for yourself.
How much of an X-Men fan were you before you signed on for this film? During production, did you ever visit forums to see what the fans were saying?
Brett Ratner: I was always a major X-Men fan when I was growing up. But the writers, Simon Kinberg and Zak Penn, are the biggest X-Men fans in the world, and we had our own little forums that helped dictate what went in the movie or not.
How will you go about making the film your own, without making it completely obvious that you are not the same director from that last two films?
Brett Ratner: X-Men: The Last Stand is part of a trilogy, so it was my goal to have this film work as a finale to the other 2 films. Bryan and the actors created a wonderful tone, and my job was to keep that tone consistent and focus on the performances and the emotion of the new story.
What aspect of the comic book did you get to bring into the film that you wanted to that may not have been in the prior incarnations?
Brett Ratner: After going through all the comics, I thought that it would be great to include the Danger Room, the Sentinels, and some new characters- but you’ll have to wait to see the movie to see if those made it into the film.
Has the fast speed of production had a negative impact on the film?
Brett Ratner: FYI- I shot for over 100 days, so we had plenty of time to shoot the film. The studio is 100% behind this movie and has given us all the time and money we need to make this the best film possible.
How hard is it to keep your cool and stay focused on your duties admist the at times harsh criticisms thrown your way? Do you have a favorite character and if so who?
Brett Ratner: My focus is always on my work. I don’t have time to worry about any negativity or harsh criticism. My favorite character is Magneto.
How was it working with Famke? Is there anything you can say about Jeans character?
Brett Ratner: Famke did a brilliant job of interpreting Dark Phoenix. As you know, Phoenix is one of the most complex characters in the history of comics, and Famke really brought that level of complexity to her performance.
She’s an extremely dedicated actor, who takes her craft very seriously. She really savored this role, because it was an opportunity to show her full range from incredibly emotional, vulnerable scenes to wild, violent sequences.
There has been an obvious concern among fans of Cyclops after rumors spread about his possible death?
Brett Ratner: As for rumors about Cyclops’ death in the film, that would be a spoiler and I cannot comment on that. You’ll just have to wait to see the movie. I get this question a lot, and death is relative in the X-Men universe.
Nothing is forever in the Marvel world. At the end of the last X-Men, from what I saw, Jean Grey had died. But she happened to be back on the set on the first day of shooting “X-Men: The Last Stand”, so you never know…
How will this movie be different from previous superhero movies?
Brett Ratner: It is an epic story, and it raises issues with strong contemporary relevance. The concept for a cure threatens to alter the course of history, and the opposing viewpoints of mutant leaders- Charles Xavier who preaches tolerance and Magneto who believes in survival of the fittest- are put to the ultimate test, triggering the war to end all wars.
A lot of preparation and groundwork has already been established before you came on board. How much input did you actually put into the production?
Brett Ratner: Work had been done on the script, but no decisions had been made for any of the locations, wardrobe, set design, etc. As the director, every single decision is put on my plate. Vinnie Jones and Kelsey Grammer were cast before I came on board, but I was happy to cast Ben Foster as Angel and Ellen Page as Kitty, as well as the Brotherhood of mutants.
Was there any scene that you thought was too difficult to film, despite your expertise and the special effects crew’s expertise?
Brett Ratner: The Golden Gate bridge seemed overwhelming, but once I got into the nuts and bolts and put it down on paper with my storyboards, it all became quite clear what needed to be done.
What is your favorite scene out of every single scene in X3?
Brett Ratner: I don’t have one favorite scene, but all of the emotional scenes are my favorite. I love the action, but I did a lot of action in the Rush Hour films. The scenes I’m the most proud of here are the dramatic scenes.