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If the X-Men are cool then they certainly don't come much cooler than Iceman (sorry). Shawn Ashmore is the insanely lucky young actor who, after a brief appearance in the first film, found himself summoned for an expanded appearance in the sequel rather than (wait for it) being left out in the cold.

Having been baptised by fire somewhat, jumping straight into a huge summer blockbuster, how have you found the whole media circus surrounding the film?

It's overwhelming! I've never experienced anything like it. It's cool though, you get to travel, you get to meet a lot of people and talk about something you had a lot of fun doing. It's a good feeling to know that people are interested and excited about a project that you were a part of.

You're working with people like Patrick Stewart and Sir Ian McKellen and very closely with Anna Paquin - herself an Oscar winner - how intimidating is that?

Completely intimidating! I had a small part in the first movie so I sort of got to meet everyone and hang out but it was only for a couple of weeks. To be brought back in a larger role is pretty intimidating given the company. Going in, I really didn't want to be the weak link; I knew I was going to have scenes with Anna and Aaron Stanford - who I totally respect as an actor. But after the first couple of days I loosened up, I got to know them and realised that they're just people doing what they love to do so let's have fun.

When you did your part in the first film, was there an understanding that Iceman would get expanded in the sequel?

Not at all, I had no idea. I had no expectations because I was just happy to be able to go on set and hang out. I didnít' find out until about a month before we started filming X-Men 2 that I was even going to be in it. It was a weird day because I'd just been told a pilot for a television series I was in hadn't been picked up. Then I got a call saying 'X-Men want to fed-ex you a script,' I was like, 'send it over!' To flip through the script and see that my character was at the start, the middle and then alive at the end was really thrilling.

Everyone seems to have had a great deal of fun on set, did you find the relaxed atmosphere made everyone more at ease?

Well, the story I like to tell is one day when Hugh's sister came to the set. Everyone was in on this joke, they dressed her up in full Wolverine costume: chops, hair, everything and for one take they put her in the scene. So Hugh ducks out, she steps in and they're rolling; everyone's watching Bryan's reaction. You can see him and he's got this weird look on his face, you can tell he doesn't like the performance, like something's off. He finally yells 'cut!' and gets up to walk over, finally realising it isn't Hugh. We were like, 'you didn't realise it wasn't him?' and he said 'I just though he had a weird look on his face, like he was doing something different from all the other takes.' That was really funny. If you're on a set for five months and people aren't having fun, it can get a little difficult.

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