Undoubtedly, the highlight of X-Men: Days of Future Past was the film’s stunning Quicksilver sequence. The character that was the butt of every joke pre-release was suddenly the film’s standout, shining in director Bryan Singer’s showstopping “Time in a Bottle”-set action beat, in which the audience entered super slow motion via a series of complex camera movements. So when it came time to put together the ensemble for the 80s-set follow-up X-Men: Apocalypse, of course Evan Peters was going to return, and in an expanded role no less.
We still don’t know too much about how Quicksilver fits into the events of Apocalypse, which finds Oscar Isaac’s centuries-old titular mutant assembling a team of villains to restore order to planet Earth via worldwide destruction. But we do know that the film has a new Quicksilver sequence, one that took over a month to shoot.
When I got the chance to visit the Montreal-set of X-Men: Apocaylpse last summer along with a small group of reporters, we were able to speak with Peters a bit about his role in the sequel. Without giving anything away, he teased the ambitious nature of this film’s Quicksilver sequence—which he likens to a “sequel” to the first—and talked about Quicksilver’s relationship with his father, Michael Fassbender’s Magneto, whom he’s seeking out when X-Men: Apocalypse begins. He also discussed the spontaneity of working on the X-Men movies, Aaron Taylor-Johnson’s Quicksilver in Avengers: Age of Ultron, and the fan-response to Peters’ iteration of the character both before and after the movie came out. It’s a fun interview, and the way Peters talked about his role in Apocalypse, I have a feeling they just may have topped the Quicksilver sequence from the first movie in a big way.
EVAN PETERS: Yeah, I think that’s been the hardest thing. Can we top it? They did such a fucking awesome job. The special effects team is amazing. Bryan Schmears over at Second Unit, everybody just made that whole sequence awesome, I thought. I was just a minion. They just told me what to do so I didn’t really have much to do with it but I was curious to see how they were going to top it and if they could and I think they have. I’m very excited to see it myself. I’m excited for everybody to see it because we’ve been working hard on it.
Nicholas Hoult said you were off filming it for like 30 days. Is that you off in a green room somewhere with your own crew?
PETERS: We were on location a little bit the other day. Most of it is on stages and great stunt guys and just working it all out. It’s very meticulous and tedious work, which is … I kind of like that actually. You kind of do it and then you go back and check it out and see if it worked. You go back and do it again and do it a little differently. It’s kind of fun. I like it a lot.
We were told we’d get to see a little bit more of Quicksilver’s basement. What kind of stuff will we see in there?
PETERS: You’ll have to wait and see. It’s definitely a little bit different. He’s kind of matured a little bit. He’s gotten into music a little bit. Cleaned it up a little bit. He’s not quite the klepto that he was when you first saw him. He’s kind of chilled out a little bit with that.
What can you tell us about Quicksilver’s relationship to Magneto considering that he becomes a Horseman?
PETERS: Yeah, that does confuse things. I have learned that he’s my father at this point and I am trying to … I don’t know what I can say. I’m trying to …
How about even before he becomes a Horseman?
PETERS: Yeah. It’s like an adoptive child or any kind of child who has an estranged father trying to … He knows who he is now so he is trying to find him. He’s been searching for him. It’s been 10 years and he hasn’t found him and then something happens.
What do you think of the other version of Quicksilver in Avengers: Age of Ultron, especially considering he (spoiler alert) didn’t make it?
PETERS: They could always bring him back to life somehow or there could be another studio that starts making superhero films and throw Quicksilver in there. I was really confused as to why they killed him. I thought it was really cool. It was a different take on the character, completely different. Scarlet Witch was there and yeah. I was kind of bummed that they killed him.
In Days of Future Past you had a lot of great comedic elements. In this one it’s so like Apocalypse and all this horrible stuff is happening, ae you still there to provide that light counterbalance?
PETERS: Yeah. I guess it’s been a little bit of a struggle. It is a very serious tone and I’m in it a little bit more. Before I was kind of like pop in “Woo” and I was zany and then you leave, but this one I’m kind of along for the ride. There is that fine line and that balance you have to play around and hopefully we get it right. There has been room to play around and Quicksilver is such a fun character and in his own world really. He can basically stop time so imagine how crazy it would be if you could do that. All the crazy shit.
A lot of the cast members have their future selves to go off of. For you, this is just Quicksilver. Is that more freeing for you knowing that you can basically play around or do whatever? Any thing’s possible for you?
PETERS: Yeah, absolutely. I didn’t even think about it that way. That’s a great way to think about it. Totally free to experiment. Yeah. It would be cool though to have … I wonder what happens to him, I really do. These movies have taken such a different look on Quicksilver compared to comic books so I am anxious to see what actually happens to him when he gets older and if I would look old enough to play him.
Wolverine has that line in Days of Future Past where he says he knew him or something.
PETERS: Yeah, “When I knew him he wasn’t so…” I can’t remember what the line was. He wasn’t so young or…? I think it was young. That’s the thing. It’s been 10 years so he is a little bit older. He is a little more calm. He’s not as crazy and has hopefully matured in some ways.
We saw you out there with Beast and Raven; how does he get along with the other characters, since in the last movie he didn’t really interact with that many?
PETERS: Yeah. Pretty well I would say. I think he sort of gets himself in the group. I don’t know what you guys have seen but they all sort of get grouped together and sort of have to bond quickly to get out of the situation and also to deal with the impending doom. They all kind of come together and bond pretty well and become friends, I think. That’s where Quicksilver is at with the rest of the friends.
Bryan was telling us that this movie is, among other things, about the formation of the X-Men. Is Quicksilver a significant part of that?
PETERS: Yeah. I would say that whatever happens down the line, that Quicksilver vanishes from the movies, I don’t know. At this point it is the beginning of him coming into the group and being a force that fights evil. It’s pretty sweet.
How was it to go back into the ‘80s?
PETERS: It’s awesome dude. I love the 80s. I always used to watch that VH1 show, I Love the 80s, nonstop. I love the 80s, everything about it, the clothes, the music. Especially the music. The music is so happy. It’s great. I’m like partying and I don’t know. It’s really weird.
Is there specific stuff that you like music-wise that either personally or for Quicksilver?
PETERS: I guess personally I really like “Take on Me” by Aha. I think it just defines the 80s and how insane it was and like neon and like calculator watches and that whole thing. I really like that stuff. You can get more into the metal bands and stuff, which is pretty cool too.
Do we get any sense of how his moral standing has changed over the 10 years?
PETERS: Yeah. I still think he’s good. He’s not really … He hasn’t gone to the dark side. I think he understands why Eric is the way that he is and does these things. I think he has a lot of sympathy for him and empathy and knows what he’s going through and is trying to help him really. There’s a way to go about doing this that’s not destroying people. You can do this the good way. Eric has so much anger and stuff built up inside him. I think he understands him. He’s not on the dark side. Not yet anyway until something horrible happens, screw it all. We’ll see.
We’ve heard that young Cyclops is sort of a bad boy when he starts out and we know that you have sticky fingers. Do you two have a relationship?
PETERS: We should. That would have been a cool thing to do. No. He’s just another kid in Quicksilver’s eyes, another mutant kid in this crazy 80s mutant world where mutants are able to, because of Mystique in the last one, sort of be a little bit more free but still obviously oppressed and not fully out there.
We have heard of some circumstances where, the stuff that’s shot yesterday, Bryan and Simon did some really bit rewrites in the morning just because they got ideas and were like, “Hey, this stuff is great.” We’ve heard about that from other actors. Has that been something that you’ve encountered?
PETERS: Just today. I didn’t know we were shooting today. I rarely do. It changes a lot and it’s kind of fun. It creates spontaneity and in the moment. These guys know. They see the movie in their whole head. They’re editing it as they’re shooting so they’re figuring it all out. You just kind of have to trust them and get out there and get your mark and do it. It is tough. I’m hoping that they don’t throw any paragraphs at me because I’m going to need a cue card.
Does that add more than it takes away?
PETERS: Yeah. I think because it’s like … You saw the South Park thing where they shoot in 6 days so it’s insane to where it’s current. Everything is sort of evolving into this beast. It’s a huge beast and a huge machine and it’s sort of evolving as it’s going along and things get shot and it becomes different than what it was on the page so then they have to sort of adjust everything else to that and everything is constantly readjusting and reforming itself. It’s good because it makes for a better finished product as opposed to sticking to something in the past that’s not even in the movie anymore because it wasn’t shot. I think it lends itself great to these movies.
Speaking specifically about the Quicksilver sequence, as this is probably going to become the second one, working in actual special effects of it, was it like picking up right where you left off for the second one? Was it thinking “Okay now we can take the next step” or was it this an entirely different thing we’re trying?
PETERS: It’s like a sequel. I don’t know any other way to put it. You take elements that worked in the past and then you add on to them and try to make them better. It’s similar but different and better. That’s what you always try to do I think for the sequel and hopefully we’ve done that. I think it’s really cool. You guys know it was a lot of slow motion and stop where people were stopped. They’re doing that again and it’s fucking cool, man. You’re mesmerized watching it. Just the slow motion of it al. That phantom camera like insanity dude. What we’ve been able to accomplish with technology and just be able to watch things in a different way is so cool. It doesn’t matter what we really do as long as you add that phantom camera on there … Obviously mixed with the special effects talents then it becomes something really sweet.
If I remember correctly, your last day of shooting on Future Past was with the air cannon, you’re first day of shooting on this was with the air cannon.
So, did it pick up exactly where it left off?
PETERS: That’s fun. That makes you feel like you’re really going fast. Sometimes they just blast you with a little bit of air and you’re like, “All right I guess I was going fast.” That one you’re like, “Oh my God, my face would rip off.”
Are you in a mount for that, or like what?
PETERS: Yeah. That one was kind of like a Go Pro situation but with a full camera. They had this setup where it was this metal bar, right, and then the camera was on there and then behind me they had this metal bar coming out and then sand bags on that to counterbalance the weight so it was intense. I’m sitting there just going like this because they didn’t want to have me run on a treadmill because I probably would have ate it and broken the camera and it’s all liability.
Or me. They don’t care about me. They care about the camera. It was just me moving my arms but I’ll tell you what, they shoot against these green screens and they fill it in later and it is just unbelievable.
Can you talk about the fan experience that you have now? Coming into Quicksilver you were unknown. Nobody really knew what to expect with you. You kind of came out with that great sequence and everybody was like “This guy’s great. We love him.” Can you talk about the fan experience or the overall response that you’ve gotten?
PETERS: It’s been great. Everybody’s been very complimentary and accepting of me as Quicksilver. I think to be given the outfit and everything. I was a little thrown off by the outfit too. I was like “Oh man. We’re really going for it. Hopefully they like this.” The sequence was very well done and a lot of people come up to me and they say, “Great sequence. It’s my favorite scene in the movie.” I say, “Thank you so much. I had nothing to do with it but thank you so much.” It’s been awesome. It’s been really cool. I grew up watching these movies and I love superpowers. I always at home as a kid tried to move something with your hand and it doesn’t move and then you get to do it in a movie. I mean my superpower is quickness but you know what I’m saying. You get a superpower and you’re like “Man this is awesome. I get to pretend I have a superpower.” It’s been really cool that people actually have liked it and so I get to be in the second one, which is really cool.
Are there any particular new characters that Quicksilver gravitates towards, that you have some good on scene chemistry with?
PETERS: He is kind of still this outsider. He’s kind of interacting with them all based on the circumstances. I think there’s incredible circumstances surrounding them but he’s not really … He was with Hank in the last one and so he is maybe a little bit with Hank.
For more on X-Men: Apocalypse, peruse my other set visit articles below. The film opens in theaters on May 27th.
- ‘X-Men: Apocalypse’: Over 75 Things to Know about the Epic Superhero Sequel
- ‘X-Men: Apocalypse’: Simon Kinberg on Shared Universes, Telling Scott and Jean’s Origins, and More
- ‘X-Men: Apocalypse’: Olivia Munn on Psylocke’s Powers, Provocative Costume, and a Potential Spinoff
- Bryan Singer Reflects on ‘X-Men 1′, Talks the Evolution of the Superhero Genre
- ‘X-Men: Apocalypse’: Evan Peters Describes New Quicksilver Sequence as a “Sequel” to the First
- ‘X-Men: Apocalypse’: New Timeline Explained by Bryan Singer and Simon Kinberg
- ‘X-Men: Apocalypse’: Bryan Singer on the Villain’s Powers, Costume, and Casting Oscar Isaac
- ‘X-Men: Apocalypse’: How Did They Decide Which Mutants to Include?
- ‘X-Men: Apocalypse’: Michael Fassbender on Working with Oscar Isaac, Becoming a Horseman