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A&F Quarterly Spring Break Issue 2003

Shawn Ashmore

Ice, Ice Baby

He's a mutant, born with the uncanny ability to bend water molecules to his will and form them into lethal shards of ice. But don't worry: He's Canadian, so he's got plenty of experience with the cold. Meet Shawn Ashmore, who in his role as Bobby Drake -- a.k.a. Iceman -- in the upcoming X-Men 2 is poised to become the latest in a string of breakout superhero stars. Just how hot did things get on the set for this cool customer? A&F asked X2's wunderkind cowriter Dan Harris to trek up north and find out.

Where are we right now?

We're sitting in a hotel in Kannanaskis, Alberta, finishing up the last couple of days on X-Men 2. But really I'm just here to spend some time with everyone before I go home.

Where is home?

Toronto, Ontario.

I understand that, as befits a mutant outcast, you're the sole Canadian in the cast of X-Men 2.

I'm the lone Canadian, which is fun in a way. There are far too many Brits and far too many Americans who like to make fun of our "Monopoly money."

Tell us about your character.

I play Bobby Drake, a.k.a. Iceman. The way I see Bobby is that he's basically a normal kid who's grown up with this mutant ability. He ends up at this school -- his parents don't know about his gifts -- so he's kind of alone in a sense. I think in this movie he becomes part of a group -- he starts to make friendships, has a romance with Rogue (Anna Paquin) and finally is accepted. He's a normal guy dealing with a mutant ability the way most people would; he doesn't rebel, like Pyro. He's not an outsider.

You have a rivalry with Pyro?

We're on opposite sides of the spectrum -- fire and ice. They're working against each other the whole time. I think bobby doesn't try to rebel with his powers, while Pyro goes the other way -- shows off. We have a rivalry because of Rogue.

What's your mutant power, exactly?

My power is the ability to control water molecules and form them into ice.

Practical

Great at a party, you know?

As Iceman, did you take any acting tips from Arnold Schwarzenegger's tour-de-force performance in Batman and Robin?

Mr. Freeze? You know what? I've seen the film, but I didn't get inspired by it. Did you like the performance?

Yeah, I thought you were great.

No, I mean Arnold's performance. I was thinking of using it -- you know, "Stay cool," "Chill out," "Ice to see you." Those are all the things I want to work into the next one.

If you could have one mutant ability in real life, what would it be?

I'd love to have Mystique's shape-shifting powers, so I could change my form, and all Abercrombie clothes would fit me. Okay, no. I'd take telekinesis. I could move things with my mind, and with telepathy I could control other people's minds and make them do whatever I wanted.

Sick.

Yeah, but so much better than flying around -- how far does that get you? Telepathy is much better in day-to-day life.

Word is that you have a big love scene with Anna Paquin in X-Men 2.

Rumors are true. There's sort of a love scene -- a kiss in the movie.

How did you prepare for it?

I didn't prepare at all. I hung out with Anna for a while and got to be good friends with her. It didn't feel weird at all. Some people talk about screen kisses being strange or uncomfortable. But I think that I got along with Anna well enough that it just happened; it was a fun day of shooting. I was super sick on the day, so I felt sorry for her. I couldn't speak, and I was afraid I was going to pass the cold on.

But she almost kills you.

Yeah, she almost kills me from the kiss. She has ice breath for a while -- which is fun. It's like that Dentyne commercial -- icy fresh. And then we go back for more. She couldn't handle one little taste -- she needed more Ashmore. So we basically get carried away, we keep on kissing, and she sucks my powers and nearly kills me.

Is that a typical night out?

I'd have to say no, it's not a normal night out. I'll have to leave it at that.

What was it like working with such incredible actors as Ian McKellen, Halle Berry and Hugh Jackman?

It was sort of overwhelming at the start. The first time around, I was completely in awe -- then to come back and be welcomed into the group was nice. Every day on set, there was something to watch and learn. You get to see the real people doing their job. I learned a lot just by watching people. Everyone definitely has a different technique: Hugh can turn it on and off. He's like, Hugh Jackman fun and games, and then all of the sudden, he snaps into Wolverine. For me, for Iceman, it was all about a moment with Hugh. The whole understanding between Bobby and Wolverine -- just about Rogue and Jean Grey, the women they love -- the connection of unrequited love... it's a great moment.

Is there any unrequited love in your life?

No. At this moment, no.

So it's requited love?

Yeah, completely. What?

Never mind.

A&F / Transcript by Pam