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BBC Film Interviews

Shawn Ashmore: X Men 2
- Anne Smith

The 23-year-old Canadian actor Shawn Ashmore came from nowhere to play Bobby Drake (aka Iceman) in "X-Men". He comes in from the cold once more for the sequel...

Compared to other comic book films, this film has a lot more depth. What perspective do you have on that?

As a teenager at high school, I felt like an outsider. Playing a character who's dealing not only with a superpower but having a normal relationship is easy to associate with, because I feel that everyone has been through it. That is why it has been so popular for 40 years.

There is a large cast of main characters. How did you all get along on set?

Everyone was transported to Vancouver for a while and so, rather than sit around in your room on your own, you go out and make friends with people who are in the same situation. I think Ian McKellen made it all happen, because he used to throw dinner parties and invite everyone over. For those of us who were new, it was good to meet people. And when you work long hours and you have these connections and these friendships, that pulls you through.

Do you think spending time on set with particular individuals helped form the character groups in the film?

It was good to have the little pockets that you worked with. Above and beyond having the social life, to have a core group of people that you work with and spend time with and learn how to work with is a nice thing. For me, it was nice to spend time with Anna [Paquin] and Hugh [Jackman], especially for the first half.

This is an action film, but you ending up thinking about civil rights movements and parental issues. How does it feel to have raised the bar?

I think it is important that you care about the characters, and you are not just waiting for the next action sequence but have a vested interested in what happens to them.