X-Men: The Last Stand - Rebecca Romijn interview
Compiled by Jack Foley
REBECCA Romijn talks about reprising the role of Mystique in X-Men: The Last Stand, as well as her life and career in general…
Q: What can you say about Mystique’s role in the film, without giving too much away? *A: Mystique goes through a dramatic time and suffers a heartbreak. She is the first mutant to have the possibility that she could be “cured”, which would inevitably mean losing her shape shifting powers. The big question for her in this film is what will happen to her? Being a frail mortal would be her worst nightmare. She would hate that. This is a very emotional storyline for her. I cannot tell you what happens to Mystique, but I can say that she goes through a traumatic experience.
Q: For anyone who needs a reminder, what kind of woman is Mystique?
A: She is angry, a very angry character. She was born with amazing powers as a shape shifter that she didn’t ask for and which have made her life difficult. Probably as a child, Mystique was ostracized because she was different. Her powers placed her into bad situations that made her unpopular and her family probably dumped her. All those early experiences turned her into an aggressive character. And rather than figuring out how to make the best of life and how to live peacefully with other humans in the world, she goes to war and joins the brotherhood of evil, which is Ian McKellen’s side. She makes a decision to fight all the hateful people she has had to deal with in her life.
Q: What is your relationship with Magneto [Sir Ian McKellen] like in this film and over the course of the X-Men films?
A: Sir Ian and I have discussed our characters’ relationship extensively. We have decided that we (Mystique and Magneto) have once upon a time been lovers, we are no longer lovers but we have very deep respect for each other. She is his wing-woman. She is more than his assistant, they have a deep-seated bond and the question is, will it be time for them to part ways? Their relationship changes very dramatically during this film.
Q: What was your personal experience of working with Sir Ian?
A: Fantastic. I love him; we have the best time working together. He is the most sympathetic person, when it comes to my situation on the set. I am always physically uncomfortable because of all the blue make-up I have to wear. He sits with me, puts his arm around me and asks me how I am doing. We have a really good time together. He is the most sophisticated person I have ever met and at the same time, he is the biggest child I have ever met. He has a great sense of humor. Of course, he is a wonderful actor and it is always interesting seeing how great actors like him work, watching their level of commitment. No matter how much work he has done in the past and no matter how well respected he is, he puts everything into this role, playing a super villain who wears a cape for half the movie. He is really good fun and makes the work so exciting all the time. He is infectious to be around. He is also very funny, he likes to play. I adore him.
Q: How would you say this film differs from the other X-Men films?
A: Well I don’t know what it will look like, because I haven’t seen it yet, but it’s definitely the most dramatic, the most happens in this movie. I loved my story-line and I know the rest of the cast feels the same way. I think it is going to be amazing.
Q: What was your experience of working with the director, Brett Ratner?
A: Great, he is no stranger to these big, giant action movies. He had really big shoes to fill, but he was fantastic. Everything felt right on the film and I loved working with him. He is a really fun guy with a tremendous amount of energy. He likes to joke around, he’s lively and very skilled and talented director.
Q: Once again, to play Mystique, you had to spend hours in makeup, what is that like for you on a physical level, are you used to it by now?
A: It is tough. Mystique is solid blue and covered in scales. I remember when I was reading the script for the first time, for the first X-Men, they described what my character looked like and I thought: “Ok cool, that might involve a couple of extra hours in makeup, I can deal with that.” I never really understood how much time it would entail until I began work. It ended up being seven or eight hours in the make-up chair, so sometimes I would have to get to the set at one or two in the morning to get started. It is mostly prosthetics; the scales are giant pieces of silicone, (which cover 70 percent of my body), that are strategically placed all over my body. Then they spray me down, they airbrush the rest of me with blue makeup. It is not much fun. But the same group of women has been doing my make up since the first film and we all know each other very well now, obviously. We genuinely have a pretty good time together and make the best of it. And it is worth it because the results are so dramatic.
Q: How transformational has X-Men been for you in terms of your career, the films are so popular all around the world?
A: It’s amazing, the fan base for these movies is so far and deep, it is unimaginable, just crazy and wonderful to be a part of. I always feel that I don’t want to let anyone down because people are waiting for the new film, for these characters that they love, as well as the new ones. They want to see them on the screen. I think people just love the films, which is so great. And for me personally it has been a fantastic experience.
Q: You always look fit, how do you stay in shape in general?
A: I go to the gym whenever I can. I actually have to eat to keep the weight on when I am working because I tend to lose too much weight. I like to workout. I don’t cook. Not really, I like good restaurants. And sometimes I get back from work and it is too late to eat dinner so I just go straight to bed and I wake up the next morning starving and have to eat cheeseburgers for the pure energy. But in general I am a pretty healthy eater.
Q: Did you always want to act as a child, growing up in Northern California?
A: I always loved to put on a show when I was a little girl, I was always performing in one way or another. By the time I got to high school, I was doing all the school musicals, I did a lot of Gilbert and Sullivan shows. I sang in choruses and choirs including the Oakland Youth Chorus, which musician, Bobby McFerrin founded. I never thought I would perform professionally and I went to university to study music. But I left after a year and started modeling. Then a scout from a modeling agency saw my pictures and a week later I was on a plane to Paris, it was very exciting and that is how it all began for me.
Q: Did you enjoy your experience of modeling?
A: Well the modeling was the last thing I ever expected to be doing. I was not even fashion conscious. But it was actually great; it was like finishing school for me. I had never used makeup or hair products before. Makeup was not something that I learned from my mother. I moved to Paris and I learned so much about the fashion industry and living in Paris was a life changing experience for me. I already spoke Dutch because my father is Dutch, now I speak French too which is great.
Q: What is the best piece of advice you have had?
A: The best piece of advice I ever had was from my sister who told me to get a dog. I have four now and they have changed my life. Having dogs makes you into a less selfish person. You have to pay attention to these other beings and they become your best friends and brighten up everything in your life – they force you out of the door in the morning, because you have to take them for walks.
Q: What do you have coming up?
A: I made a movie with Ben Affleck called Man About Town, directed by Mike Binder. Ben plays an LA super agent going through a crisis. He starts taking a journal-writing course headed by John Cleese; his journal gets stolen by a writer who is about to do a big expose on him. I play his wife who has been cheating on him with one of his clients. I try to get back into his good graces by trying to get his journal back for him. It is hilarious and emotional.
Q: How do you spend your time when you are not working?
A: I love being outdoors, exploring, travelling, hiking with the dogs and trying out new restaurants.
Q: What are your goals?
A: I try not to look ahead. I actually love the role I am working on now, in my new TV show, Pepper Dennis. It’s a lighthearted, comedy drama. I play Pepper Dennis who is a very driven and ambitious television reporter; she will do anything to get the story, which sets her up for humiliation in every single episode. She is insecure but also a strong woman.
For the future, I don’t want to make solid plans, because you never know what will happen, but I know I don’t want to be bored. I really try to focus on the present and be ready for every opportunity. I am so happy with my career and personal life. I never thought I would be working in television and movies, so I am very lucky.