Jens Altmann reports for Bleeding Cool:
Lucas Till started his acting career in 2003, at the age of 13. His best known role to date is that of Travis Brody in the Hannah Montana movie. In X-Men First Class, he plays Alexander Summers, better known as Havok.
Bleeding Cool: Are you, or have you ever been, a comic book reader?
Lucas Till: Only recently, actually. Here and there, but I never got into any of the series when I was younger. For this movie, Fox gave us, each of us, whole books of all our characters’ comics to read. I’ve loved it, but, you know, the animated series were out there toon I was two years old, so I’ve been watching the animated series like Spider-Man and Batman, all those things, all famous at the time, a little like the comics, only I had the TV series to watch.
BC: And did you have any favourite superhero, or has Havok become your favourite superhero?
Till: I’d say Batman is, but Havok is also somewhat. I didn’t really know the character very well, now that I think about it.
BC: How did you prepare to become a mutant superhero? How did you train?
Till: By playing a lot of video games. (laughs) What I did, actually, I had a trainer, Ed Chow, we worked out every day in the gym, working out.
BC: And how did you prepare for the time period? I mean, the sixties are a period that old fogeys like myself are likely to recognize. We remember the attitudes of the times. How did you prepare for that?
Till: Oh, wow. Man. Say, do you know of this website called Pandora? It’s all this weird sixties music. (laughs) But seriously, that sixties stuff, that was all in the script.
BC: There’s one scene in the trailer that looks fairly awesome. The one where Havok stands there, blasting away with his full power. Looks awesome on the screen.
Till: (laughs) Yeah, right. It’s awesome. I mean, it’s such a cool thing to have, you know. This thing like shooting a laser out of your body. It’s what all the kids dream of, to be a character in one of those movies, and whatever, and I actually get to be one.
BC: How do you get into the mood for something like that? I mean, when you’re shooting that, you’re probably just standing there, striking a pose and counting the seconds for the special effects people.
Till: Yeah. That’s exactly it. (laughs)
BC: I imagine that feels a bit silly, doesn’t it?
Till: Oh yeah, absolutely. It feels ridiculous. You know, you get into your space where you’re, like, oh, everyone’s here, but they’re all doing their jobs, so they are not paying attention to you, you’re doing exactly that on the shoot. But when you’re doing a rehearsal or something? And it’s like, can you do that action for me? And you’re sitting there in a constipated position or something. Oh my god, it feels ridiculous. It’s also a… humbling experience as well. (laughs) It’s not good for the ego if you have to show up and do that every day. (laughs)
BC: This isn’t your first big effects movie, right? After Battle Los Angeles…?
BC: You’re drifting into that type of filmmaking now?
Till: Yeah. It was awesome. We went to boot camp, we’d show up from eight in the morning, and we’d shoot machine guns for four hours. It was really insane. There were explosions all around, it was cool.
BC: How was working with these comic-book-familiar actors? Matthew Vaughn did Kick-Ass, James MacAvoy did Wanted, Michael Fassbender was in 300, so they all had comic book experience. Did it help, having these guys to go to?
Till: I’m not sure that it mattered that they were comic book familiar. You can’t play a movie like that as if you’re in a comic book. But it was awesome to have people who’ve had that much experience in general.
BC: How was Matthew Vaughn as a director? Demanding or easy-going?
Till: He’s sort of easy-going, but… He’ll tell you when you’re doing something wrong. Also, he’s got a funny sense of humor.
BC: Speaking of “funny sense of humor…” If you had to choose – we all know which side Havok is on in the comics – but if you had to choose, which side would you prefer: Charles or Erik?
Till: Ah. Havok is a real good guy. About being on, completely on one side, uhm… I, as a selfish, you know, fanboy, I’d just wanna be on Magneto’s side, ‘cause he gets to do all the fun. As a human being, of course, I’d go with Xavier, because you have a conscience, and Magneto does all that killing. It’s a tough decision, but I’d definitely go with Xavier.
BC: How much of Havok is in you? He’s something of a conflicted but stand-up guy. How much of that is in you? Or the other way around, how much did you influence Havok?
Till: Oh, well, I was probably a little bit homesick and frustrated (heh) for a while there, so you’ll see how I come across as Havok. He’s a character who is frustrated because he has no control over the power that he has. That’s where I find the connection. He’s also someone who wants to help and do something. You know, fight for something, to do good. So it’s like, he feels guilty that he’s doing the things he’s doing, but he also feels guilty that kind of likes the style. That’s what I’m trying to reach for.
BC: How was the interplay between, let’s call you as a group, Xavier’s students? How did you get along with each other?
Till: That went really well. We were all very, very different. And we were, all of us, very fun to work with. I mean, we were the youngest, we were hanging out because we were all we had, especially the Americans. It was all we could do, so we said, let’s spend as much time as we can around each other. We all gelled very well.
BC: Would you return to the role if you were asked?
Till: In a second! Of course!
BC: It’s being said that the movie is trying for less of a superhero feel and more of a James Bond feel. How did that come across to you?
Till: It’s something different than a superhero movie, but still cool. I think that’ll be a welcome thing. You have so many of these things coming out, Captain America and Thor. So you need to separate the superhero movies from the superhero movies. So you need to give it a different feel. I have always loved new things, so… I think that’s a great comparison. It’s not totally accurate, but I think it’s totally fine.
BC: Considering that you’ve been all over the place, role-wise… You’ve done teen comedies, teen romances, with Battle LA you did big effects-action, you’ve been on TV and the big screen… Which do you like better?
Till: It’s probably action movies. Because never mind how good a time you have on anything else… I mean, I can be totally happy on a romantic comedy or absolutely fulfilling stuff as an actor or a romance that obviously plays on my better instincts. But action is perpetually rewarding. There’s always doing something. Even if you don’t say anything, you shoot something or getting blown up, firing guns… It’s an incredible thing. It doesn’t feel like, dude, we gotta work, you stand around doing a scene with somebody. It’s something different. That’s my favourite. Action.
X-Men: First Class will be with us on June 3rd.