Saturday, August 15, 2020

Michael Jackson Wanted To Play Professor X In 2000’s X-Men

The X-Men franchise may have eventually spawned a dozen movies, with The New Mutants continuing to be the unlucky number thirteen, but despite Bryan Singer’s original kicking off the comic book boom that’s still going strong 20 years later, the mutant team’s debut outing only just managed to escape from development hell.

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The X-Men franchise may have eventually spawned a dozen movies, with The New Mutants continuing to be the unlucky number thirteen, but despite Bryan Singer’s original kicking off the comic book boom that’s still going strong 20 years later, the mutant team’s debut outing only just managed to escape from development hell itself.

A big screen outing for the X-Men had been in the works for a decade at that point, with the likes of James Cameron, Joss Whedon, Michael Chabon, Robert Rodriguez and Paul W.S. Anderson all flirting with the idea as either producers, writers or directors before it finally ended up in Singer’s hands.

The casting process turned out to be just as tumultuous as the development, with Hugh Jackman famously replacing Dougray Scott as Wolverine after shooting had already started, while virtually every rising star in the business had been considered for a role before X-Men finally settled on the core ensemble.

Despite James McAvoy doing a solid job as the younger version of the character, it seems almost impossible to imagine anyone other than Patrick Stewart playing Charles Xavier, given how pitch-perfect he was in terms of both his appearance and the sense of gravitas he brought to even the most mundane or ludicrous lines of dialogue.

However, a new deep dive feature on the production from The Hollywood Reporter reveals that Michael Jackson actively pursued the role of the X-Men’s patriarch, in what would have been the stunt casting to end all stunt castings. The King of Pop even came prepared with a lengthy presentation that included his 1996 short film Ghosts, where he played a portly middle-aged man under heavy prosthetics, to convince the producers that he could be their Professor X.

Given his very unique appearance, it would be an understatement to say that Michael Jackson would have been a pretty distracting presence had he gotten his wish to star in X-Men, but the fact that he even managed to get a meeting with the higher-ups to discuss the possibility is all kinds of insane in its own right.

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