X-men: Days of Future Past–Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart

Another veteran of the franchise is Ian McKellen, whose professional relationship with director Bryan Singer began on “Apt Pupil,” in 1998, which Singer produced and directed.

Since that first collaboration, McKellen has marveled at Singer’s enthusiasm for his projects and his dedication to the audience. McKellen, too, has great respect for the audience.  As a classically trained theater actor he draws from their energy and excitement for his performance.

The actor sees his character Magneto as a man with a conscience and a tragic past, whose grief leads him to discover his superhuman power to attract and control metal.  In McKellen’s view, Magneto is the most powerful mutant, at least in terms of what he can physically accomplish.  His grief and his rage put him at odds with society, but in “Days of Future Past” he teams up with his rivals to ensure the survival of the mutants.  Thanks to his new costume, McKellen says his character “looks like a man who means business,” not that there was any doubt.

Patrick Stewart, who has played Charles Xavier/Professor X for over fourteen years, was not surprised that his character was returning in “Days of Future Past.”  The success of the franchise has been impressive and Stewart could see where the stories were headed.  And besides, “It’s going to take James McAvoy a year or two before he actually looks like me,” he jokes.

Stewart was happy to again work with Singer, whose vision has helped define the ambitions and success of the films.  One of the changes Stewart has witnessed over the years is the approach to setting up a project of this scale.  He had never before worked on a 3D film nor seen animated pre-visualizations of his scenes.  The process has become more complex but also more precise, all of which excited Stewart almost as much as finally flying the X-Jet.  Moreover, this time Xavier has a wheelchair that “actually hovers!” he marvels.