Young hunk wields power of the pucker

Article in which Iceman talks X3 - Ashmor
Young hunk wields power of the pucker
By Karen Thomas, USA TODAY

Who's hot: Shawn Ashmore.
Why now: He reprises his Bobby Drake/Iceman character in X2: X-Men United.

The buzz: His beefed-up role as Anna Paquin's mutant love interest in X2 will get this 23-year-old cutie noticed beyond kid-TV audiences, where he's best known.

On the set of X2, the cast and crew called it the Dentyne Kiss.

Ashmore's Iceman character, who has the power to freeze, puckers up with Paquin's Rogue, whose touch sucks the life-force out of all living things. Immediately after the teens' first buss, Paquin exhales a smoky breath, as if she were outside in below-freezing temperatures.

Unfortunately, their second, more impassioned kiss proves a little trickier.

"We can't even hold hands," says Ashmore of the mutants' romantic challenges: Rogue's touch is so deadly that sex seems quite impossible. Ah, the agony when mutant powers meet teen angst and puppy love.

Ashmore, Paquin and Aaron Stanford, who plays Pyro, make up a trio of mutant teens (and a love triangle) who are too cool to frolic among the schoolchildren at Mutant Academy and too inexperienced to run with the film's powerful, older mutant posse.

Ashmore was an X-Men comic-book buff as a kid and a regular viewer of the Saturday morning TV series. "It really helps to understand the complex lore behind the characters, and it gives me a keen understanding of the whole X-Men universe," he says.

The Canadian had his first film role alongside twin brother Aaron in the 1993 hockey film Gross Misconduct. The boys got their acting start in commercials, but Ashmore is best known for his TV work — as Jake on Nickelodeon's Animorphs series and as Tyler on Disney Channel's In a Heartbeat.

This summer, Ashmore will be back in Toronto with his buddies, looking forward to hanging out and listening to music. "I do normal stuff," he says, laughing. "I'd love to say I skydive or climb mountains or something, but mostly we just take it easy."

He doesn't have a girlfriend, mostly because his work forces him to travel. "I haven't been in one place long enough to settle down, which is fine with me," he says. "After all this is done, I'll find a nice girl in L.A."

If Ashmore's role in X2 is a leap from his small part in X-Men, the next installment could offer even greater exposure. X2 sets up Iceman to be a major player in a third film, if there is one.

Ashmore is already signed for Part 3, in which a younger generation of mutants could take center stage. "Anything is possible," he says of what could happen in the next sequel.
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