London Premiere Report - Lots of X2 Pics

Empire Online has some excellent coverage of yesterday's X2 world premiere in London. There's a gallery, competition comparasin and more.
Mutants Mobbed

I need a hero, as the song goes and, after holding out for one till the end of the night, wouldn’t you know it if a whole busload of them all turn up at once. Such was the sight in London’s Leicester Square last night when almost every member of the X-Men 2 cast made an appearance for the world premiere of the superhero sci-fi sequel. But, while there were stars in abundance, flaming torches and an enormous ‘X’ decal over the cinema’s entrance, it was the staggering amount of fans who turned out to witness the event that really made an impression.

Stacking a grandstand opposite the cinema and lining behind barriers all round the square, the ever-loving British public put American fans to shame with the sheer volume of people present. The fact was far from lost on the film’s cast, who turned every which way as people screamed their names and tried valiantly to sign autographs as a sea of pens and pads were thrust in their direction. "For me it’s just as big a thrill as it could possibly be," said Patrick Stewart, finally disengaging from the crowd. "This is the city that I was a low-paid actor in, understudying other actors and wondering if my career would ever go anywhere."

The film reunites the original X-Men cast for another go at saving the world but while it may be high fantasy, there’s far more to the X-Men universe than comic book action. "It’s basically about being gay," Sir Ian McKellen told us. "Or at least being part of a minority that society disregards." McKellen plays the villainous Magneto in the film, a master of magnetism and a man determined to stop mutants being persecuted by normal humans. "I’ve played Richard III and Iago and Macbeth but I think there’s something about Magneto that’s well-intending. He doesn’t think you should kowtow to society, he thinks you should stick up for yourself and, as an openly gay man, I Know what that’s all about."

Boasting the kind of high-calibre, ensemble cast that most directors would literally kill to get their hands on, X-Men 2 is far more than the hundreds of effects shots that bring its colourful characters to life. As director, Bryan Singer, is quick to point out: effects alone do not a hit movie make. "I really do think it starts with the characters," he said. "The X-Men universe has some extraordinary characters and we’ve got some extraordinary actors to play them. Ultimately the digital effects enhance it but, to me, it always comes down to the characters."

Hugh Jackman was likewise quick to comment on the film’s CG quotient and had a few suggestions on how they could have been improved. "There’s one scene where I’m running down a tunnel wearing my claws and nothing else – though thankfully I’m backlit. I’m completely naked and I’m going ,‘There’s millions of dollars worth of CGI in this film, you can’t throw a couple of inches my way?’"

Halle Berry was the sole cast member absent from the proceedings but, with the likes of Alan Cummings, James Marsden, Brian Cox and the rest of the cast present, her absence did nothing to detract from the evening. Not even, it would seem, for her red-blooded male fans, whose lust for heroic hotties was more than sated by the presence of Famke Janssen, Kelly Hu, Anna Paquin and Rebecca Romijn-Stamos.

For the girls, though, it was Hugh Jackman who was the star of the hour, arriving with flowing locks straight from the set of his latest film, Van Helsing and breaking hearts left, right and centre as he lovingly embraced his wife and insisted on doing all interviews with her firmly by his side. Sorry ladies, but this is one dashing superhero who won’t be coming to save you any time soon.

A full gallery from the evening as well as X2 interviews and competition is available here.
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