In a video interview with BuzzFeed Brews, Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen shared the stories of how they were original recruited for the X-Men franchise. They also dropped a couple of spoilers about X-Men: Days of Future Past.
In regards to how he became Professor Xavier, Stewart explained, “I was not approached by Bryan, but I was at Warner Bros. one day doing some ADR, and I got a note saying would you go and see Lauren Shuler Donner in her office, who was the wife of the man whose film I was doing ADR for, Richard Donner, who directed it. And so I went to see her, and the door was open, and she said, ‘Yes, come on in.’ And as I walked in, she held up what was clearly a Marvel comic book and said nothing. And my reaction was, ‘What am I doing on the front of that comic book?’ And she said, ‘Exactly.’”
However, Stewart initially turned the project down after meeting with Bryan, because he had just done the last Star Trek movie, and he didn’t think another franchise might be in the best interest of his career in the long run. “But Bryan, smooth talking bastard that he is, persuaded me that it would all be very different this time,” said Stewart. “And indeed it has been.”
In regards to how he became Magneto, Ian McKellen said, “They showed me the comics as well. Have you seen Magneto in the comics? My god, that’s a part that you want to play. Thighs like this, codpiece, boots, helmet, scarlet pecks… and they got me, ridiculous.”
“But I was sold it by Bryan, who said mutants are like gays, they are cast out by society for no good reason,” added McKellen. “And they, as in all civil rights movements, have to decide are they going to take the Xavier line, which is to somehow assimilate and stand up for yourself, but be proud of what you are, and to get on with everybody. Or are you going to take the alternative view which is if necessary use violence to stand up for your own rights. That’s true, I’ve come across that division within the gay rights movement.”
“And Marvel told me that the demographic for the readership of the comics, I don’t know if it’s true with the movies, is young blacks, young Jews, and young gays,” continued McKellen. “These are all young people, who feel a little bit like mutants, and so sympathize with them and want them to thrive and do well. And all this has come to a happy conclusion hasn’t it with Ellen Page, Kitty Pryde, coming out. That gladdened my heart so much.”
In regards to how Professor X returns after dying in X-Men: The Last Stand, Stewart said, “Jean Grey vaporized me and very uncomfortable it was to, but for those of you, and they were not many, who stayed until the end of the credits of that movie, there was a little short scene that dropped a hint that perhaps the good professor was not gone for good. And so I took that as a happy sign that I might be resurrected,” said Stewart.
As far as X-Men: Days of Future Past, McKellen dropped a strong hint that his character’s lack of a helmet in the movie will be relevant to the film.
“And I don’t have to wear a helmet,” said McKellen. “And if you think about it, why doesn’t Magneto wear a helmet in this movie? That’s a clue to what’s going to go on in the movie.”
Also, fans shouldn't expect Stewart and McKellen's versions of Professor X and Magneto to share any screen time with Mystique, as the pair revealed that they didn't work directly with Jennifer Lawrence, who plays Mystique. “We didn’t work with her. We socialized a little bit with her at Comic-Con," said McKellen. "I think that’s where we met her. And I was just in awe. She’s a beautiful person to look at and to talk to and to be with, that’s obvious."
X-Men: Days Of Future Past is scheduled to be released in movie theaters on May 23, 2014.