BEVERLY HILLS, California — It’s called “The Last Stand,” and director Brett Ratner has sworn that May’s blockbuster will be the final “X-Men” film. According to burly character actor Vinnie Jones, however, plans are under way to get many of the mutants on their feet again soon, with at least two major characters going toe-to-toe.
“We have some great scenes involving Wolverine and Juggernaut,” Jones said, simultaneously offering a preview of “X-Men: The Last Stand” and confirming that the groundwork is being laid for his subsequent return in the soon-to-follow “Wolverine” spinoff movie.
The 6-foot-2-inch actor joined the “X-Men” franchise last year as the unstoppable head-bashing villain who has battled Professor X’s disciples through five decades of comic book plotlines (see ” ’X-Men 3′ Casting News: Soccer Star, Sure … But Frasier Crane?” ). Admitting that his deal obligates him to two sequels, however, Jones said he fully expects to don his character’s helmet again after “Stand” concludes the trilogy (see ” ’X-Men’ Director Says Movie Will Really Be ’The Last Stand’ “ ).
“That’s my contract,” he grinned. “I hope so … please, God!”
“I said this to Brett the other day, and he was saying that they’ll probably use a lot of the characters,” Jones said, implying that the director will also return alongside star Hugh Jackman in “Wolverine.” “Hopefully [the Wolverine/ Juggernaut rivalry] will come into it. There might be something for me and him to get together.”
“We have some great scenes,” Jones reported of the big-screen battle between the steel-clawed hero and Professor X’s 900-pound stepbrother. “When I first got the part I didn’t know there was gonna be a suit. I thought in six weeks I can work out and then [be huge]. And then all of a sudden they said, said, ’No, he’s got to be seriously big.’ With all the steroids in the world I wouldn’t have got up there in six weeks.”
Jones, a former U.K. soccer star whose second career has consisted of a wide variety of big (“Gone in Sixty Seconds”) and little (“Mean Machine”) movies, said nothing could have prepared him for the fast-paced “X-Men” shoot. “It was the biggest movie anybody could be a part of,” he laughed. “I mean I’ve done a few $100 million movies now but obviously I think this is creeping up towards $200 million.”
The experience also allowed him to sympathize with Amanda Bynes, his co-star in this week’s gender-transformation comedy “She’s the Man.” “As the movie got into it, [Bynes’ makeup] became more of a burden. I mean, I’ve just done a movie where I wear a suit in ’X-Men,’ and it starts off as great and then it really wears you down. … I felt a bit sorry for her in that way.”
Referring to the controversial outfit that has some “X-Men” geeks howling in disapproval, Jones insisted that the leather-strap and elevator-shoes costume isn’t as simple as it looks. “It didn’t take that long to put on. I thought, ’This is pretty cool,’ ” he recalled. “But then they said, ’Your head looks smaller than the body.’ So then we had to put on a prosthetic face, and then that’s when it all started getting tricky because it had to blend in and everything else. … It was four hours of makeup to get into.”
Still Jones said those lost hours will be worth it once the “X-Men” fans that continuously hound him for plot details finally get to see Juggernaut in action. “The fanbase is unbelievable,” he marveled. “I’m all for the fans. That’s a 100 percent thing, the same as when I played soccer.”
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