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The National Post

Seeing Double
Shawn Ashmore starred in X-Men. His twin, Aaron, is on Smallville. But surprisingly, neither has superpowers
- Shinan Govani

To the Drake Hotel I went the other night, where I ran smack into a major motion-picture mutant.

I didn't really have to ask him -- Shawn Ashmore -- how his summer was going. Playing Iceman in the X-Men movies takes care of that question -- especially when the most recent flick in the franchise took in a not-so-shabby US$122.9-million during its first weekend!

The Toronto-based actor, who's anything but cold -- more like a tall thermos of cocoa -- had some news about his twin brother, Aaron, who's also in the biz. "He's been cast as Jimmy Olsen," he started to tell me. On TV's Smallville -- TV's junior-league Superman serial.

We both chuckled at that, letting the ironies fall where they may on that languid July night.

The story here is that Shawn himself, not so long ago, was up for the role of the Daily Planet cub reporter in the recent, big-screen Superman Returns. "I couldn't do it because of X-Men 3," he reminded me. In one of many interviews he's also done recently, he explained the X-Men/ Superman toss-up this way to another journo: "It was a conflict as far as timing. It's unfortunate. ...It was a good problem to have."

Well, if one Ashmore twin can't play Jimmy Olsen, another one bloody well will! Aaron, who most recently starred on Veronica Mars, has already started shooting for the sixth season of Smallville. (Even stranger -- in that six-degrees-of-Tinseltown sort of way -- is that he's actually good friends with Sam Huntington, who eventually got the part that his brother couldn't take in Bryan Singer's take on Superman! ...You still following all this?)

The thing that I should have asked Shawn but didn't think of until later is this: Since you couldn't take the role of Jimmy Olsen in the film, why didn't they just ask your brother? (I mean, jeez, isn't that one of the benefits of having a twin?! To share clothes -- and blockbuster movie roles?)

Anyways, the Iceman and I continued talking for a spell. His inner confidence having seemingly caught up with his boyish good looks, he's great to talk to and is years beyond the kid I interviewed moons ago for the very first X-Men. Some weeks back, in fact, he took part in his very first, very grown-up fashion week in Milan -- as a special guest of Giorgio Armani.

"It was amazing," Shawn confirmed.

There, he Armani'ed with his pal, that other talented Canadian and promising actor Kevin Zegers, from last year's Transamerica. And guess what? A trip to Milan ain't all these two have shared recently. They both also appeared recently on People magazine's Hottest Bachelors list.

By the way, Ashmore and I were both at The Drake -- along with half the city, it seemed -- to celebrate the launch of the fourth season of Odd Job Jack. The Comedy Network animated series -- which has Don McKellar channelling the perpetually out-of-luck Jack Ryder -- brought out the partying likes of comic Sean Cullen, singer Divine Brown and Idol misanthrope Zack Werner. McKellar, of course, too -- but, sadly, no, he hadn't thought to bring along his new best friend, Tony.

The National Post / Shinan Govani