IAR EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Producer Lauren Shuler Donner Talks 'X-Men: First Class' cameos, a possible sequel, the real Emma Frost, 'The Wolverine' and 'Deadpool'

Wednesday, 07 September 2011 22:21 Written by  Jami Philbrick
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IAR EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Producer Lauren Shuler Donner Talks 'X-Men: First Class' cameos, a possible sequel, the real Emma Frost, 'The Wolverine' and 'Deadpool'

Lauren Shuler Donner has produced some of the most beloved films of the last thirty years including Mr. Mom, St. Elmo’s Fire, Dave, Free Willy, and You’ve Got Mail. But to comic book fans around the world she will always be remembered as the woman that successfully ushered the X-Men on to the silver screen.

Beginning with X-Men in 2000, Donner has produced every one of Fox’s mutant themed films including X2, X-Men: The Last Stand, and X-Men Origins: Wolverine. In addition, she recently reunited with Bryan Singer (director of the first two movies), and Matthew Vaughn (who almost directed the third) to make X-Men: First Class, a prequel to the long running franchise. X-Men: First Class tells the story of how Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) and Erik Lensherr (Michael Fassbender) first met, and includes surprise cameos from Hugh Jackman (Wolverine) and Rebecca Romijn (Mystique), which helped to solidify the film’s place in the overall franchise. The film opened this summer to glowing revues and so far has earned over $350 million worldwide at the box office.


IAR had an opportunity to attend an event at the 20th Century Fox lot on Wednesday to celebrate the release of the film on Blu-ray and DVD, which will be available September 9th. After the presentation, I had a chance to sit down and speak with producer Lauren Shuler Donner about X-Men: First Class. We discussed the film, who came up with the idea for the cameos, how they kept them a secret, the real Emma Frost, a First Class sequel, progress on The Wolverine, and if Ryan Reynolds is still going to play Deadpool in the aftermath of Green Lantern. Here is what she had to say:

To begin with, X-Men: First Class was intended to reboot the X-Men film franchise but at the same time it is obviously a prequel to the original film. Can you talk about the choice to bring back Hugh Jackman and Rebecca Romijn in cameo appearances and how that helps tie this film together with its predecessors?

Lauren Shuler Donner: We always want to let the fans know that we are aware of the timeline, we are aware of the characters and we do try to adhere to the comic. When we can’t, we just try to then throw a little something in so they’ll know (we care). I will say that the idea of having Hugh Jackman and Rebecca Romijn (return) was the idea of Tom Rothman (co-chairman and Chief Executive of Fox Filmed Entertainment ). With both of them … we’ve all remained friends so that was easy to get them. They were very generous to us with their time and allowing us to film them. It was a good idea and Hugh had the best scene. Rebecca had fun too, she had a lot of fun.


In this day and age it’s almost impossible to keep film cameos like this a secret, how were you able to do it?

Donner: I know. There was almost a sighting. People were saying that there were sightings of Hugh in Georgia where we filmed but he was never there! We were just thinking, what is going on? So they almost tipped it but we all denied it and it seemed to go away.

Is January Jones’ Emma Frost somehow the same character we saw in X-Men Origins: Wolverine?

Donner: No, she’s Emma from First Class. That’s who she was and she’s the real Emma Frost. I think January did a pretty good job of portraying her.

So there is no connection between the First Class Emma Frost and the one we see in X-Men Origins: Wolverine?

Donner: No … not really, no.


Do you think there will be a sequel to X-Men: First Class?

Donner: We’re talking about it. We’re seriously talking about it.

Has Matthew Vaughn, Jane Goldman, or Bryan Singer discussed any story ideas with you for the sequel?

Donner: Yes. I mean that movie was a very strenuous movie so Matthew and everybody took some time off. Now we’re back and regrouping and kicking around some ideas.

Do you feel pigeon holed in a sense by the original movies? Do you feel like you have to end this new franchise where the original one began?

Donner: No, I don’t think so. I think we just need to come up with a really good story and see where that leads us. If we could, great, if not, I think the story itself is what is most important.


How’s pre-production going on The Wolverine?

Donner: It’s going well. We’re prepping it, we’re figuring out where we’re going to shoot it and we’re working on it. It’s good.

Finally, do you think Deadpool will still happen?

Donner: Deadpool can still happen, absolutely. We’re trying to move it forward.

With Ryan Reynolds in the title role?

Donner: With Ryan absolutely, can you see anybody else in it?


Well many fans have questioned his ability to play the lead in a big super hero movie after the mixed reaction he received for Green Lantern. As a producer, does that films underperformance concern you at all?

Donner: No, it doesn’t bother me.

X-Men: First Class will be released on Blu-ray and DVD this Friday!



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