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Freeze Frame
Shawn Ashmore Chills as Iceman in X-Men 2

There's a reason 23-year-old Shawn Ashmore was named one of E! Entertainment's Sizzlin' 16 of 2003 -- the Canadian-born actor's career is on fire and is showing no signs of simmering down.

This month, he resumes his role as Bobby Drake/Iceman, your not-so-average high school student, in X-Men 2, the long-awaited sequel to the popular comic book series. The X-Men movies have given Shawn the opportunity to work alongside the likes of such in-demand Hollywood stars as Halle Berry and Hugh Jackman, an amazing experience that has not gone unappreciated by the down-to-earth entertainer. Not bad for a guy who got his start as a child actor working on commercials!

You may also remember Shawn from the Disney Channel flick Cadet Kelly, in which he appeared opposite Hilary Duff, another member of E!'s Sizzlin' 16 this year!

We chatted with Shawn about his latest foray into the world of X-Men and what it's like when your acting competition is none other than your own twin brother!

We hear that you have a twin brother -- have you ever competed for the same parts?

Yeah, in the past we have, but it doesn't really come up too often when we're actually competing.

Did it ever create any sibling rivalry?

Absolutely, yeah, when we were in high school. As twins, you get compared all of the time anyways, whether it's grades or whatever, people just look at you and automatically compare you and your similarities. So this is sort of like another notch on the belt when it came to that because not only was it our personal lives but in our careers, on a professional level, we were being compared.

After a while, we both realized, "You know what? Whoever is going to get the part is going to get the part. It has nothing to do with who is a better actor, it's who is right for this role." So much of getting cast comes down to, when you walk in the room, whether you're right for the part. Sometimes it's not necessarily your ability.

So, yeah, we definitely got into some fights over stuff in the past, but we learned you can't be like that. It can't be a jealous thing.

Do you have another other brothers or sisters who are also actors?

No, my mom is actually a twin so when she had twins... obviously, it's suppose to skip a generation and it didn't. The doctor told my parents afterwards that the likelihood of her having twins or triplets or quadruplets again were really, really high. So they were like, two at once was enough! All of the sudden you want to have three kids and you end up with five or something like that! They said, "Two is enough!" [Laughs]

So for readers who aren't familiar with X-Men, tell me about your character.

Well, basically, I play a character called Bobby Drake, or Iceman -- that's my special power. Essentially, his powers are that he can manipulate water molecules to free everything. That's sort of the character... that's his mutant abilities, anyway.

In the movie, I think Bobby is just a normal kid with adolescent problems -- graduating from high school. The interesting thing is that everyone he's going to school with and basically everyone around him has mutant abilities so it makes everything a little more difficult. I think it adds an interesting twist to all of the characters in the film. So that's Bobby!

Did you know about X-Men before you did the first movie?

I was actually pretty familiar... I had read the comic book and, also, there's a cartoon out. So I was definitely aware of all the characters and what the X-Men universe was about before I did the film. It was kind of cool, actually. I could come in and be excited about them making a movie about this and I get to be a part of it. So it was kind of cool.

We heard that you had to undergo a lot of training for this role.

Yeah, it wasn't strenuous... it wasn't too much. I just worked out with a trainer basically before we started shooting just to get in shape for the part because it was physical enough that it's a little easier when you're in good shape.

How long did you have to train with him?

Well, I did the initial training for a few weeks before we started filming and that was with the trainer, then I just sort of kept up with the routine while we were filming. So the initial stuff was like completely changing my diet for a while, it was sort of a crash course. And really getting into the gym like six days a week and working out just to sort of shock the body and get it into working mode. And then over the five months we were shooting it wasn't as tough as that. It was sort of a little more leisurely.

Did you keep up with your routine after filming?

Oh, no, not to the same extent at all. [Laughs] I mean, I don't have a problem with it, but it's a lot easier to get your self to the gym and work out extra hard when you're working on a project and you're doing it for a reason. So, yeah, I'm very goal-oriented and I like to focus on a goal and then I can get to the gym more often. I still keep it up a little bit but nowhere near the extent of before.

What was your favorite aspect of filming this movie?

Honestly, I thought it was really cool to be on the same set as some of the actors that were in the film. It was just an incredible cast. From Hugh Jackman to Anna Paquin to Brian Cox to Ian McKellen to Halle Berry -- just a huge, ridiculously talented cast. That was definitely a thrill. Just to watch everyone's different way of acting. It was sort of like an acting lesson every day, you'd pick up something from a different Oscar winner or Oscar nominee.

Weren't you ever intimidated?

Absolutely -- the way I went into it was I felt I didn't want to be the weak link in the chain. But it also made me step up and perform to my best abilities!

Pop Star! / Transcript by Pam