New X-MEN: FIRST CLASS Character Posters; Plus, Michael Fassbender Talks About Playing Magneto

     March 8, 2011


I rather liked the X-Men: First Class posters that popped up last week to highlight James McAvoy as Professor X and Michael Fassbender as Magneto.  The dual taglines — “Before he was Professor X he was Charles”; “Before he was Magneto he was Erik” — are a straightforward, memorable, and effective way to sell the concept of the prequel.  20th Century Fox has released two new character posters with the same “Before he was…” message, but the efficacy is weakened by the aesthetically poor choice of floating heads superimposed over silhouettes.

Directed by Matthew Vaughn (Kick-Ass), X-Men: First Class also stars January Jones, Rose Byrne, Kevin Bacon, Jennifer Lawrence, Nicholas Hoult, Oliver Platt, and their silhouettes.  See the two new posters after the jump; as a bonus, stay tuned for quotes from Mr. Fassbender on his approach to the role.

X-Men: First Class opens on June 3.  Found at the movie’s official Facebook page:



Fassbender is out promoting the March 11 release of Jane Eyre; when the A.V. Club got a chance to talk to the British actor, of course X-Men came up.  Fassbender addresses the inherent silliness of dressing up like a superhero on film:

“If you’re caught in a middle ground, you’re lost. Like you say, if you put on a helmet, you kind of have to go for it. [Laughs.] That’s just part of those sort of fantasy things. If you’re not going to go for it, then you can’t expect the audience to go along with you. So you just have to commit to it.”

It’s especially tricky when you have to sell the dramatic struggle of Magneto, a Holocaust survivor, to the audience.  But Fassbender sounds clear in his thespian vision:

“With Magneto, there is a very specific history that’s happened to him in the comic books, which is pretty heavy. So you use all of that, and then their moral standpoint is formed from their history and their environment. That’s the interesting thing about Magneto. The way we were looking at it was that Charles [Xavier, a.k.a. Professor X] is like Martin Luther King and Magneto is more Malcolm X… Charles has hope in human beings, and Magneto thinks they’re just standing in the way of evolution. They’re going to wipe us out if we don’t wipe them out.”

x-men-first-class-magneto-character-poster-01Fassbender goes on to discuss his portrayal of psychiatrist Carl Jung in A Dangerous Method. The actor sounds justifably enthused about working with director David Cronenberg (Eastern Promises), not to mention co-stars Viggo Mortensen and Keira Knightley:

“[Cronenberg is] a real technician as well as an artist, he’s so precise—and very nice, actually, very light, great sense of humor, a very pleasant atmosphere on set, even though sometimes the films are quite dark. I just tried to learn as much as I could about the man, Jung, and then deal with [Christopher Hampton’s] script. It’s a very wordy script, so just a lot of rereading the script to try to get the rhythm of the piece right, and get the music right, in terms of the text. Working with Viggo [Mortensen] was really special, he’s an amazing human being, and obviously a brilliant actor, and Keira [Knightley], I think a lot of people are going to sit up and take notice of what she does in this film. She does a really extraordinary performance in it, and she’s lovely as well, and super well-prepared.”

While we’re here, if you have any burning X-Men questions, the schedule for the Q&A series “X-Perts” has been posted here.  Vaughn is up first tomorrow, March 9.

Official synopsis:

X-MEN: FIRST CLASS charts the epic beginning of the X-Men saga, and reveals a secret history of famous global events.  Before mutants had revealed themselves to the world, and before Charles Xavier and Erik Lehnsherr took the names Professor X and Magneto, they were two young men discovering their powers for the first time. Not archenemies, they were instead at first the closest of friends, working together with other Mutants (some familiar, some new), to prevent nuclear Armageddon.  In the process, a grave rift between them opened, which began the eternal war between Magneto’s Brotherhood and Professor X’s X-Men.

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