Our 2003 “X3Movie” interview with X2 production designer Guy Dyas!
Which set was the most difficult to design and/or build?
Guy Dyas: The X-Jet was very complex to build, not only because of it’s intricate design but also because of the level of detail and all of it’s working mechanisms. Stryker’s Base was also a challenge because of it’s huge size. It took almost ten minutes to walk from one end of the set to the other.
Which set is you favorite?
Guy Dyas: The augmentation room inside of Stryker’s base was my favorite set in terms of how the final set looked but also the role it plays in the film. It’s used in flashback scenes, and for a great fight sequence with Wolverine. The overall look stems from World War II bunker architecture and some photographic references we had of abandoned medical facilities.
I also really enjoyed recreating the White House as a set for the opening of the film. The Oval office looked really amazing and we replicated all of the art work and furnishings to the very last detail. It’s nice to be able to include something as historical as the White House in a film like the X-Men. It helps ground the film in reality.
Any chance we may see some unused designs in the future?
Guy Dyas: I think so, the designs for the Sentinels and the Danger Room have been carefully archived for the next film. The Sentinels were almost fully conceptualized and taken in 3D while the Danger Room was hald built on a stage up in Vancouver. We tried to incoporate these things into X2, but there was just too much going on in the film already and had we added all of the scenes that we wanted to add, the film would have ended up being 4 hours long…So look out for the Danger Room sometime down the line.
What was it like working with Bryan Singer? Did he have much input?
Guy Dyas: I really enjoyed working with Bryan and he had a lot of input on how things looked, and so did Tom DeSanto, our producer. Film making is a collaborative process and so we always go over everthing together. I was really lucky because Bryan and Tom have excellent tastes and since we’re from the same generation, we grew up liking the same things and are able to reference each others ideas quickly!
Do you think you topped the number of X’s in X2 from the first film?
Guy Dyas: I can’t remember exactly how many there were in X-Men, so I can’t answer that for sure, but I made it my job to include lots of X’s in my sets as a homage to the first film and also because I thought it was a cool idea.
I notice that production work on X2 is much grander from the first film. Did you try to keep the original look of the first film or did you want to branch out more style-wise?
Guy Dyas: X2 is much more ambitious than X-Men in terms of scale, action and scope. The challenge when you work on designing the look of a sequel, is that you have to be faithful to what has been established in the previous film, while creating new excitment. I left intact designs of certain sets like Cerebo and the famous blue corridor that leads to it, but I took the liberty of changing a few things as well.
You’ll notice that James Marsden (Cyclops) has a new visor design that he wears. I also redesigned the X-Jet interior and exterior. We recreated Xavier’s mansion and added a lot of rooms. Then when it came to new sets that appear for the very first time in X2, I was able to let my imagination run wild and come up with some surprising and exciting new visuals.
How much of the Danger Room set was built before being cut?
Guy Dyas: I think that it was about half built. I kept some photos becuase it looked really impressive, even at that stage. I was sad to see that scene go because I collaborated with Adam Kubert, (the genious comic book artist who draws Wolverine on a regular basis), on staging that scene inside of the set. Adam did some original boards for us and they clearly showed how amazing the whole scene was going to be. Wolverine is one of my favorite characters, and this would have been his big moment, his time to kick ass on the big screen like no one else before.
What was your favorite part of the X2 experience?
Guy Dyas: I loved the whole experience, from A to Z. A few weeks after finishing on the film I went into serious X-Men withdrawals. I had been living in that world for over a year and when it’s finally over, its an experience that you don’t easily forget. Everyone of the crew was amazing and we had a blast.