Director: Bryan Singer
Writer: Bryan Singer (story), Dan Harris, David Hayter, Michael Dougherty, Zak Penn (story)
Cast: Hugh Jackman (Logan / Wolverine), Patrick Stewart (Professor Charles Xavier), Ian McKellen (Eric Lensherr / Magneto), Halle Berry (Ororo Munroe / Storm), Famke Janssen (Dr. Jean Grey), James Marsden (Scott Summers / Cyclops), Anna Paquin (Marie / Rogue), Rebecca Romijn-Stamos (Mystique), Brian Cox (Colonel William Stryker), Alan Cumming (Kurt Wagner / Nightcrawler), Aaron Stanford (John Allerdyce / Pyro), Shawn Ashmore (Bobby Drake / Iceman), Kelly Hu (Yuriko Oyama / Deathstrike), Michael Reid McKay (Jason Stryker / Mutant 143)
Genres: Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi, Thriller
Released: May 2, 2003 (USA)
Running time: 133 minutes
MPAA: PG-13 — sci-fi action/violence, some sexuality, brief language
Several months have passed since The X-Men defeated Magneto and imprisoned him in a seemingly impregnable plastic chamber. One day, a mutant by the name of Nightcrawler infiltrates the White House and attempts to assassinate the president, setting off a chain reaction of anti-mutant measures by the government. Meanwhile, Logan is trying to discover his past. As scientist named William Stryker discovers Professor X’s secret school and Cerebro, Magneto’s partner, Mystique, is planning to break her leader out of prison. But when Professor X’s school is attacked by Stryker’s forces, Logan, Rogue, Iceman and a few are lucky to escape. Those who remain meet in Boston, where they form an uneasy alliance with Magneto to stop Stryker and rescue Professor X.
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• Hugh Jackman worked with the same trainer who trained Angelina Jolie for the title role in Lara Croft: Tomb Raider.
• In the bar, the TV is showing a debate on the mutant situation. One of the panelists is “Dr. Hank McCoy,” which is the real name of the blue-furred behemoth X-Man, Beast. The other, not seen but called “Dr. Shaw,” is presumably Dr. Sebastian Shaw, the leader of the Hellfire Club in the comics.
• Alan Cumming had to endure 10 hours of make-up to become Nightcrawler for the scene in the church (where his skin/make-up is shown from the waist up).
• Professor Xavier’s wheelchair from the first movie was bought by a lawyer (who also works for the same law firm as Patrick Stewart’s attorney). When production began, the studio realized they had no chair anymore, so the lawyer rented it back to the studio – as Stewart said in an interview – “for a significant sum.”
• The “Lady Deathstrike” claws were glued to the bottom of Kelly Hu’s own fingernails. She had to grow them out a bit so that the claws would fit securely.
• Hugh Jackman was given a nutritionist to get in shape for his role as Wolverine and gained 20 pounds.
• Rebecca Romijn’s make-up took five hours to apply.
• The fight between Wolverine and Yuriko took three weeks to film.
• The Arctic snow scenes were filmed in Alberta, Canada, an area known for its heavy snows. Naturally when the production arrived, there was none, so the snow had to be recreated.
• Most of the actors from the scene in the museum where Professor X freezes everyone were actually mimes, who are used to not moving. Likewise, mimes were used for the final scene in the Oval Office.
• Unlike the first film where Rebecca Romijn wore contact lenses, this time Mystique’s eyes are rendered digitally.
• The set for Stryker’s underground lair was built in an old Sears warehouse and was the largest set in North America. It involved over 60 miles of cable and was so large that cast and crew members used bicycles to get them to and from the bathroom as quickly as possible. Even then, the production only used about half the space in the warehouse.
• Frozen tea was put on the end of Wolverine’s claws for the cat at Iceman’s home to lick off.
• They had to shoot Professor X’s pristine Cerebro set first before distressing it to show Stryker’s cut-price version.
• Another huge set was the turbine hall of an old dam which housed a museum. Unfortunately the museum was painted in bright, lurid colors, so the production design team had to dress it up to make it look old and dank (something which horrified the museum administration until they realized that it was just temporary).
• The replica of the President’s desk in the Oval Office was so detailed that it took two months to build.
• In an effort to keep the ending a secret up until the movie came out, the novelization and the movie comic both have different endings.
• Several sets for the film were not used. Some of these sets included the Danger Room and several areas in Stryker’s underground bunker. One room in Stryker’s underground base was going to be the setting of a Nightcrawler vs. Toad fight.
• An early draft of the script had Magneto saving Professor X from Dark Cerebro and escaping with the other X-Men, similar to what happened in the comic graphic novel that the film is based on. According to director Bryan Singer this was changed late in production not only to remain true to Magneto’s ruthless character, but also to give the other characters – namely Nightcrawler and Storm – something more to do in the film’s climax.
• On “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno,” Hugh Jackman related a story about something that happened during the filming of the Weapon X flashback scene: while he was filming the corridor run (in which he is nude and backlit), he turned the corner and saw the female cast members, including James Marsden’s mother, waiting for him, hooting and waving dollar bills.
• There was an extended scene that doesn’t appear in the final film, nor as a deleted scene on the DVD that features Cyclops’s fight with Yuriko (Lady Deathstrike), where he picks up and fights with the two prison guards’ plastic nightsticks.
• The set from the bathroom scene where Mystique incapacitates the prison guard and injects him with a foreign substance is actually an unused set from X-Men. The scene in question (written and storyboarded, but not shot) involved Cyclops manifesting his powers as a teenager, destroying a high school bathroom.
• Alan Cumming was Bryan Singer’s first choice for the role of Nightcrawler. However, during initial casting, he was unavailable. The project labored in development long enough that by the time the film was ready to shoot, Cumming was able to come onboard. Ethan Embry was rumoured to have won the role before Cumming was available.
• Most of the exterior shots of the Xavier mansion were recycled from the first movie because there was no budget for them.
• The final scene in Xavier’s mansion with Cyclops, Wolverine and Professor X was shot at Shepperton Studios in London, simply because Hugh Jackman was shooting Van Helsing at the time and the producers released him for only one day to do the final shooting of X-Men. The reason Wolverine’s hair looks higher than usual in this scene is because Jackman had long hair for Van Helsing and had to wear the Wolverine wig over a lot of hair.
• In the scene at the bar, the foam in the beer is fake. Singer chose to do this to avoid continuity conflicts.
• Ian McKellen (Magneto) worked with screenwriters to make the scene in which Bobby Drake (Iceman) tells his parents he is a mutant to look more like a common gay “coming-out” scene.
• The White House oval office is an exact recreation, but the corridors in the opening chase between Nightcrawler and the Secret Service, were wider than the actual walls to allow more room for fighting.
• Beast and Gambit were considered as new characters but they ultimately went with Nightcrawler because he was the most outsider-like of the choices.
• Pyro’s cigarette lighter has a shark design on it; this is a tribute to director Bryan Singer’s love of the movie Jaws.
• The ice wall separating Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) and Stryker (Brian Cox) in the mansion scene where they meet for the “first time” was real ice and weighed 3,500 lbs.
• When Mystique reviews the information on the security guards at the facility housing Magneto, the following names are displayed, referencing crew members of the film: DeSanto, T. (Tom DeSanto, executive producer); Dougherty, M. (Michael Dougherty, screenwriter); Donner, L. (Lauren Shuler Donner, producer); Young, R.D. (possibly Rob Young, production sound mixer); Harris, D. (Dan Harris, screenwriter) C. L. G. – Classified; R. G. M. – Classified, and; Singer, B. (Bryan Singer, director). Bryan is the only one who gets his own photo – the others, including Ms. Donner, are given stock male guard photos.
The music played in the opening scene when Nightcrawler attacks the White House is “Dies Irae” from Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Requeim.
• Initially, during the “Dark Cerebro” scene where it is attempting to kill all mutants, Bryan Singer had planned to show not only Cerebro’s effects on the mutants in the Alkali Base, but mutants all over the world. During this scene, Hank McCoy, aka Beast (Steve Bacic), as seen earlier on the television during the bar scene, was to be shown in agony, transforming into his furry form, and fan-favorite Gambit was to be shown at a card game having his energy powers flare up. This scene was actually shot, using one of Hugh Jackman’s stunt men, James Bamford as a stand-in for the role, shot from behind to remain ambiguous. For whatever reason, Singer decided to cut this sequence altogether and it remains unseen.
• The Danger Room, the area where the X-Men train and hone their powers, was going to be included in this film. Bryan Singer had wanted it to appear in the first film, but due to budget cuts, the idea had to be scrapped. It was then worked into the story for this film, to take place when Wolverine is left to watch after the students in the mansion. He decides to do a workout in the Danger Room, which was going to segue into the scene of him lying down and having a vision of Stryker and his Weapon X procedure. The Danger Room was going to be a cylindrical-shaped room, with different sections of the floor raising and lowering at dangerous speeds, as well as holographic projectiles, etc. The earliest teaser trailer for the film gave a sneak peak at how the Danger Room was going to look, but shortly after this teaser was released, Fox cut Singer’s budget down from $125 million to $110 million, forcing Singer to once again cut the Danger Room from the film. There is still a small reference to the Danger Room remaining in the film: when Stryker first enters the X-Mansion subbasement, directly opposite from the elevator is a door with a small label on it, which, according to Singer’s DVD commentary track, identifies the door as the entrance to the Danger Room.
• Neil Patrick Harris auditioned for the role of Nightcrawler, but lost out to Alan Cumming who speaks fluent German.
• The radio in the X-jet that Storm tunes is a Garmin 530, an actual communication/navigation radio commonly found in light aircraft.
• This is the only X-Men film where Stan Lee, creator of the original comics, doesn’t appear.
• In the scene where Rogue is sucked out of the jet, the stunt was performed by Anna Paquin herself and not a stunt double.
• The German phrases that Nightcrawler shouts to Storm and Jean in the Boston church are “Gehen Sie raus! Ich bin ein Büttel des Teufels! Ich bin die Ausgeburt des Bösen!” They translate to “Get out! I am a minion of the devil! I am the spawn of evil!”
• Shaquille O’Neal badly wanted to be in the film and actively campaigned for a role.
• The script underwent rewrites to give Halle Berry more screentime after she won an Oscar for Monster’s Ball.
• The adamantium that pours out of Lady Deathstrike’s face is CGI and that’s a highly detailed mannequin of her that falls down into the bottom of the tank.
• Originally the idea was that Jean Grey was temporarily rendered blind after her violent reunion with Cyclops. This was initially filmed as such, but ditched during production, but in the scene where Wolverine shuts a dam door, saving the X-Men from a wall of water, Jean Grey is the only character not looking at him.
• According to Bryan Singer, he conceived the idea of Jean Grey’s death mid-way through production. During the filming of the museum scene, he privately met with Famke Janssen to discuss the concept of Jean dying at the end of this film, with the allusion to her return as Phoenix (as in the comic book mythology) in the next sequel. Janssen enthusiastically agreed.
• At the end of the film as the camera is gliding over the water, a large, bird shaped shadow can be seen. This is most likely a reference to Jean Grey being resurrected as the Phoenix.
Professor X: [voiceover] Mutants. Since the discovery of their existence they have been regarded with fear, suspicion, often hatred. Across the planet, debate rages. Are mutants the next link in the evolutionary chain or simply a new species of humanity fighting for their share of the world? Either way it is a historical fact: Sharing the world has never been humanity’s defining attribute.
Wolverine: She’s good.
Magneto: You have no idea.
Wolverine: Got any beer?
Bobby: This is a school.
Wolverine: So that’s a “no”?
Bobby: Yeah, that’s a “no.”
Wolverine: Got anything other than chocolate milk?
Nightcrawler: You know, outside the circus, most people were afraid of me. But I didn’t hate them. I pitied them. Do you know why? Because most people will never know anything beyond what they see with their own two eyes.
Storm: Well, I gave up on pity a long time ago.
Nightcrawler: Someone so beautiful should not be so angry.
Storm: Sometimes anger can help you survive.
Nightcrawler: So can faith.
Mrs. Madeline Drake: [to Bobby] Have you ever tried… not being a mutant?
Rogue: Logan, come on. Let’s go.
Wolverine: Go, I’ll be fine!
Rogue: But we won’t.
Pyro: I’m driving.
Wolverine: Maybe next time.
Wolverine: Who’s this guy?
Rogue: This is Bobby, he’s my…
Bobby: I’m her boyfriend. [shakes Logan’s hand and freezes it] Call me Iceman.
Wolverine: Boyfriend? So how do you guys…?
Bobby: Well, we’re still working on that.
Professor X: William, you wanted me to cure your son. But mutation is not a disease.
William Stryker: You’re lying. You were more frightened of him than I was. You know, just one year after Jason returned from your school… my wife – you see he resented us. He blamed us for his condition. So he would toy with our minds… projecting visions and scenarios into our brains. Well, my wife, in the end… she took a power drill to her left temple in an attempt to bore the images out. My boy, the great illusionist.
Professor X: For someone who hates mutants… you certainly keep some strange company.
William Stryker: Oh, they serve their purpose… as long as they can be controlled.
Dr. Jean Grey: Why do you need us?
Magneto: Mystique has discovered plans of a base that Stryker’s been operating out of for decades. Only we don’t know where it is. We thought one of you might.
Wolverine: The professor already tried.
Magneto: [sighs] Once again, you think it’s all about you.
Madeline Drake: You have to understand, we thought we were sending Bobby to a school for the gifted.
Rogue: Bobby is gifted. You should see what he can do.
[Bobby proceeds to freeze the tea his mother is drinking]
Magneto: What’s your name?
Pyro: [staring at his lighter in Magneto’s hands] John.
Magneto: What’s your real name, John?
Pyro: [summons lighter’s flame to his hand] Pyro.
Magneto: Quite a talent you have there, Pyro.
Pyro: I can only manipulate the fire [flame disappears into Pyro’s hand] I can’t create it.
Magneto: You are a god among insects. Never let anyone tell you different.
Pyro: [grunts] I don’t like uncomfortable silences.
Rogue: What are you doing?
[radio turns on and “Bye Bye Bye” by N’Sync Plays]
Pyro, Rogue, Wolverine, Bobby: [all groan] Ahh.
Pyro: That’s it.
Bobby: Whoa. What do you think you’re doing.
Pyro: I’m tired of this kid’s-table shit, I’m going in there.
Rogue: John, they told us to stay here.
Pyro: You always do what you’re told?
Pyro: You know all those dangerous mutants you hear about in the news? I’m the worst one.
[in the X-Jet, being pursued by two fighter jets]
Storm: I gotta shake them!
[she does a roll with the plane and drops it sharply towards the ground, then levels off]
Pyro: [looking ill] Please don’t do that again.
Wolverine: [looking ill] I agree.
Storm: Kurt, it’s about to get very cold in here.
Nightcrawler: I’m not going anywhere.
Magneto: [Magneto uses his power to stop the X-Jet from crashing] When will these people learn how to fly?
Nightcrawler: Excuse me? They say you can imitate anybody, even their voice.
Mystique: [as Nightcrawler] Even their voice.
Nightcrawler: Then why not stay in disguise all the time? You know, look like everyone else.
Mystique: Because we shouldn’t have to.
Policeman: Put the knives down!
Wolverine: I can’t.
Wolverine: If you want to shoot me, then shoot me!
[Cyclops, under Stryker’s mind control, attacks Jean, Magneto, and Mystique]
Dr. Jean Grey: Go! I’ll handle him!
Magneto: [to Mystique] This is one lovers’ quarrel we cannot get involved in, my dear.
Wolverine: She did make a choice, Scott. It was you.
Nightcrawler: Guten tag.
Wolverine: [to Nightcrawler] Who the hell are you? [to Jean and Storm] Who the hell is this?
Nightcrawler: Kurt Wagner, but in the Munich circus, I was known as The Incredib…
Wolverine: Yeah, save it.
William Drake: What exactly are you a professor of, “Professor Logan”?
[Rogue, Bobby, and Pyro look at Logan, none of the kids knowing what to say]
Storm: [about Nightcrawler’s markings] So… What are they?
Nightcrawler: They’re angelic symbols, passed on to mankind by the archangel Gabriel.
Storm: They’re beautiful. How many do you have?
Nightcrawler: One for every sin. So quite a few.
Dr. Jean Grey: Girls flirt with the dangerous guy, they don’t bring him home; they marry the good guy.
Wolverine: I can be the good guy.
Dr. Jean Grey: Logan, the good guy sticks around.
Magneto: [approaching an incapacitated Xavier] How does it look from there Charles? Still fighting the good fight? From here it looks like they’re not playing by your rules… Maybe it’s time to play by theirs!
Mystique: No one’s left a scar quite like you.
Wolverine: What do you want, an apology?
Mystique: [bites him sexily on the ear] You know what I want.
[shifts into Storm, then Rogue]
Mystique: But what do you want?
[Wolverine pushes her off, then she transforms into Stryker]
Mystique: What do you really want?
Wolverine: I want you to leave.
[Mystique exits, glaring]
Wolverine: [under his breath] Jesus.
Bobby: Have you ever wanted to be with someone so badly, but you can’t? [pause] I’ve seen how you look at Professor Grey.
Wolverine: Excuse me?
Wolverine: Who am I?
William Stryker: If you knew the kind of person you used to be, the work we did together… People don’t change, Wolverine. You were an animal then and you’re an animal now. I just gave you claws.
Professor X: Logan, my tolerance for your smoking in the mansion notwithstanding, continue smoking that in here, and you’ll spend the rest of your days under the belief that you’re a six-year-old girl.
Wolverine: You’d do that?
Professor X: I’d have Jean braid your hair.
Bobby: I found some of my Mom’s old clothes. I think they’re from before I was born.
Rogue: [pauses, looking over the clothes] Groovy.
[Bobby leans in to kiss Rogue]
Rogue: I don’t want to hurt you.
Bobby: I’m not afraid.
President McKenna: What is that?
William Stryker: A jet.
President McKenna: What kind of jet?
William Stryker: We don’t know, but it comes out of the basketball court.
Senator Kelly: [Mystique in disguise] Mr. Stryker, do you really want to turn this into some kind of war?
William Stryker: I was pilotin’ Black Ops missions in the jungles of North Vietnam while you were suckin’ on your mama’s tit at Woodstock, Kelly. Don’t lecture me about war. This already is a war.
Madeline Drake: This is all my fault.
Pyro: Actually they discovered that it’s the male who carries the mutant gene and passes it on, so it’s his fault.
Nightcrawler: Please don’t kill me, I didn’t mean to harm anyone.
Storm: Now why would people have gotten that impression?
Madeline Drake: We still love you Bobby, it’s just this mutant problem is a little…
Wolverine: [interrupting] What Mutant problem?
Madeline Drake: …complicated.
Magneto: Mr. Laurio, never trust a beautiful woman. Especially one who’s interested in you.
[Wolverine approaches Stryker, chained to the outside of the dam, while carrying Artie in his arms]
William Stryker: Who has the answers, Wolverine? Those people? That creature in your arms? Huh? Huh?
[Wolverine looks at Artie, then takes off his “Wolverine” dog tag and throws it at Stryker’s feet]
Wolverine: I’ll take my chances with him.
[he turns and walks away]
William Stryker: One day, someone will finish what I’ve started, Wolverine!
Wolverine: [tosses Cyclops the keys to his motorbike] Your bike needs gas.
Cyclops: [tosses back the keys] Then fill it up.
Dr. Sebastian Shaw: Look, I think all this anti-mutant protesting underscored the genuine growing concern among most Americans. I think mutant registration…
Dr. Hank McCoy: But why stop there? Maybe it would be easier to round up mutants by the truckload. Or maybe you’d like all-out war, Mr. Shaw.
Dr. Sebastian Shaw: Oh, please.
Wolverine: If we die, you die.
President McKenna: What do you need, William?
William Stryker: Just your authorization for a special operation.
President McKenna: And somehow I thought you were here to talk about school reform.
William Stryker: Funny you should say that, Mr. President.
[Jean and Storm are headed off to Boston to find Nightcrawler]
Professor X: I’m sending you the coordinates of his location right now
Storm: Lets just hope he cooperates…
Professor X: Yes, for his sake. Good luck.
Nightcrawler: There was so much shooting, such fear and then there was only pain. I could see it all happening, but I couldn’t stop myself. It was like a bad dream. Perhaps he is testing me.
Storm: And before you were in the white house, what do you remember?
Nightcrawler: Nothing. I was here.
[invites Jean to read his mind]
Dr. Jean Grey: I’d rather get him back to the professor.
[after watching Nightcrawler teleport around the room]
Dr. Jean Grey: You bored yet?
Nightcrawler: [to Storm] You and Ms. Grey are schoolteachers?
Storm: Yes. At a school for people like us, where we can be safe.
Nightcrawler: Safe from what?
Storm: Everyone else.
William Stryker: [to Logan] I didn’t realize Xavier was taking in animals, even animals as unique as you.
Magneto: Mr Stryker. Funny, we keep running into each other. Mark my words: it will never happen again.
[to Logan, about Cerebro]
Magneto: What do you intend to do, scratch it with your claws?
[the X-Jet is pursued by a fleet of jets]
Storm: Somebody’s pretty pissed.
Wolverine: [glares at Pyro] I wonder why!
Dr. Jean Grey: [voiceover] Mutation. It is the key to our evolution. It is how we have evolved from a single-cell organism into the dominant species on the planet. This process is slow, normally taking thousands and thousands of years. But every few millennia evolution leaps forward.