X-MEN Writer David Hayter Reveals Scrapped Scenes And The Unexpected Actors Who Fought For Key Roles
X-Men writer David Hayter and producer Ralph Winter have detailed scenes that were cut due to budgetary reasons, as well as casting decisions which never happened...including Charlize Theron as Jean Grey!
With Fox closely watching the budget, an action sequence set in the Danger Room was scrapped, as were sequences with Wolverine battling Magneto atop a series of moving buses and Iceman freezing an entire room of people during his introductory scene.
"We had to get to the core fans, but we also had to widen it out for others," he explained, referring to why those comic accurate costumes didn't make the cut. "We even made a joke about yellow spandex suits because we knew what the fans wanted. But to justify a $75 million budget, we had to widen it out so that we could explain and lay the foundation for a wider base of comic book fans and movie-goers in general."
Before shooting started, the studio needed to find a cast, but what no one expected was for actors to be fighting for a role in X-Men. "I have lots of warm memories of people that came in wanting to be in the movie," executive producer Ralph Winter recalls. "Michael Jackson was a big comic fan and wanted to play Charles Xavier. Shaquille O’Neal showed up at the offices and wanted to play Forge, who wasn’t in the movie."
Director Bryan Singer and Hayter flew to Vancouver to offer Charlize Theron the role of Jean Grey, but she said no, while Terrence Stamp pushed hard for the chance to become Professor X.
"Patrick Stewart didn’t want to [play Charles Xavier]. It took a long time to convince him," Hayter remembers. "Terence Stamp told me, ‘You know why Patrick doesn’t want to do it? Because of the chair. He doesn’t want to be stuck in the chair. But I don’t mind. In fact, I also look excellent bald.’ Everyday I was surprised by the faces coming in. Like, I’d find Mariah Carey sitting in my office wanting to go talk to Bryan about being Storm or something. So that’s always shocking."
It's crazy to think about what might have been, and if what happened with X-Men in the late 90s is any indication, Marvel Studios really won't struggle to find a new cast to play these iconic characters.