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Metro Toronto

It's Ice Ice Mutant
Canuck works hard to look cool as Ice Man
- Chris Atchison

Richmond, B.C., native Shawn Ashmore stars as Bobby Drake's Ice Man in X-Men: The Last Stand. The film hits theatres today.

So you're a young actor who's been involved in a superhero franchise for a few years, playing what has thus far been a peripheral character, and you finally get the chance to don your villain-fighting leathers.

Specifically, you're now part of the core group of mutants in the third installment of the X-Men series. This one's titled The Last Stand. It's your first time to truly shine.

And what's one of your biggest concerns?

If you're Canadian Shawn Ashmore who plays Bobby Drake, a.k.a. Iceman in the film, it's simple you want to look cool using your onscreen powers.

"The special effects guys can tell you what the ice is going to look like on your hands and the director puts you in that position for what the story entails, but you have to craft your own movement and make sure you don't feel stupid doing it," the 27-year-old explains of his character's ice-wielding abilities.

"You feel stupid the first time you go," he says, gesturing as if he were icing Magneto's cheesy helmet. "You're shooting nothing from your hands. That's fun to play with a little bit. You stand in front of the mirror and find out what looks dumb and what works."

The third X-Men movie has the mutants dealing with a problem that threatens their very existence namely a cure for the gene that gives them their powers.

As the heroes (played by returning stars Hugh Jackman as Wolverine, Halle Berry as Storm and Patrick Stewart as Professor Xavier) struggle with this new reality, the Brotherhood Of Evil Mutants led by Magneto (Sir Ian McKellen) and his villains (Rebecca Romijn as shape-shifter Mystique, Vinnie Jones, who makes his debut as the unstoppable Juggernaut, and Aaron Stanford as Pyro) do their utmost to suppress the cure.

Keeping with the traditional storyline, the script raises questions surrounding diversity and discrimination, talking points which have consistently separated the 43-year-old X-Men comic book franchise from other titles in the genre.

But this time around director Bryan Singer (Usual Suspects, X-Men, X2) handed the professional reins to colleague Brett Ratner (Rush Hour, Red Dragon), who Ashmore feels put his own unique stamp on the series.

"I think it's really interesting to have a new vision for this film because the fans who have seen the movies know Bryan did a great job at setting up the world and introducing people the right way, not going too over the top with it," the native of Richmond, B.C., explains.

"Brett is a more frenetic sort of movement-oriented director. He's got a lot of energy."

X-Men: The Last Stand opens in theatres today.