Ben Foster has been floating around Hollywood since he was 16, cutting his teeth in well-regarded but little-seen flicks like “Liberty Heights” and “The Laramie Project,” then graduating to the well-regarded but only slightly more-seen series “Six Feet Under.”
For movie fans, the actor’s true talents have finally been unleashed recently, first with a horrifyingly psychotic performance in the Bruce Willis drama “Hostage” and then with a DeNiro-like transformation into an anemic, drug-addled thug for “Alpha Dog” (which recently premiered at Sundance and is soon to be released nationwide). To the fans who’ve followed his career thus far, Foster is comparable to Ryan Gosling before “The Notebook” or Leonardo DiCaprio before “Titanic” — the talent is there, and now he only needs that dream role that will allow him to soar above his contemporaries.
With this summer’s third installment of the blockbuster “X-Men” series, Foster finally seems ready to take that flight — quite literally.
“Archangel is not a crystal-meth-addict skinhead,” the affable young star grinned, comparing his “X-Men” role to his “Alpha Dog” one. “I just get to fly around all day. I think the fans are gonna be pleased.”
Foster was picked from a huge casting call to take on the role of Warren Worthington III, a character who made his debut in the first “Uncanny X-Men” comic book some 40 years ago. With enormous wings and a powerful bloodline that speeds along his regeneration, Worthington’s discovery of his mutant properties threw him off-course as an upper-class kid who excelled at New York’s finest private schools. Over the past four decades the character has undergone such adventures as a tense recruitment by Professor X (Patrick Stewart in the movies) and a deadly battle that saw his wings amputated and later replaced by metallic replicas that inspired the name Archangel.
Although Foster is mum when it comes to spoiler-heavy plot details, the fact that he refers to Worthington by his evolved name will undoubtedly feed Internet rumors that his character will go through the “lost wings” story line in the film.
Foster has similarly been instructed to keep a lid on the evolution of Famke Janssen’s Jean Grey, who is expected to join forces with Magneto (Ian McKellan) in the sequel after she evolves into Phoenix. “I can’t say these things,” he said when asked to comment on the film trailer’s brief glimpses of Grey and Magneto standing side by side. “I don’t believe in villains, just damaged people.”
|“X-Men 3” Photos|
In the third film (due for release on May 26), Angel and fellow newcomers like Beast (Kelsey Grammer) must assist Professor X’s loyalists as they deal with Grey’s newly resurrected self, the result of a seemingly fatal crash at the conclusion of the last film. When the cure for her dangerous new power presents itself, it’s accompanied by the realization that all genetic mutations could be controlled — resulting in an explosive battle between the various factions of the mutant community.
Joining an already-established cast that includes Hugh Jackman and Halle Berry, Foster admits that there’s a lot more going on in this installment, the first from veteran director Brett Ratner. “The bulk of ’X-Men 3’ has been shot,” he revealed. “We’re going back to do some re-shoots pretty soon, but the first scenes that we’ve seen look really spectacular.”
“My favorite action scene playing Angel was my first flying scene,” he continued. “The cool thing about this particular ’X-Men’ is that we’re doing our own stunts. So if you see Halle Berry flying through the air, or you see [Hugh Jackman], if you see him moving entirely too fast or if you see me flying, that’s us doing it. We’re using some of the most cutting-edge wire work available, so I was doing 80-foot drops headfirst, attached to basically just a jockstrap and a metal wire. Free-fall to fly.”
Such real-life action, he confessed, sometimes got downright terrifying. “You need to take a bath afterwards,” he laughed.
With the majority of the cast signed on for three films and fresh blood brought in for the new installment, rumors have already begun to circulate over which of the mutants will be returning in the years to come. For Foster’s part, he says he enjoyed the experience so much that he would definitely want to take flight again someday. “If the story lines are interesting, [I’ll stay] as long as it goes,” he beamed. “I think the success and longevity of X-Men is the characters, and if they’re true to the comic book, this could go on for a very long time.”
Check out everything we’ve got on “X-Men 3.”
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