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Wizard

Ice to Know You
Meet 'X-Men 2' co-star Shawn Ashmore, who plays sub-zero hero Iceman, as he recounts his on-set adventures including a Smurf attack, cruising in the X-Jet and... gulp!... Wolverine's sister!
- Shawn Ashmore

WEDNESDAY, MAY 15, 2002

I don't know if I quite believe it myself, but I've just been told that I'm going to Vancouver for five months to play Bobby Drake/Iceman in the sequel to "X-Men." Although I played the part in the first film, it was definitely a smaller role (that quite possibly could have been passed by for a new mutant at the school). I guess they saw a relationship between Rogue [played by Anna Paquin] and Bobby that might be interesting to expand on.

Listen, I'm not going to ask questions! I'm just going to go along for the ride and see what happens. If it's anything like the first film, it should be a very exciting summer for me. And if the first draft of the script gives us any indication, there's a lot of action in store for all of us!

I can't wait to freeze something!

MONDAY, JUNE 10, 2002

After a lot of packing and anticipation, I've finally arrived in Vancouver. Today's the day the whole cast gets together for a full read-through of the script.

I've got to say. I'm a little bit nervous about the whole thing. Not only are all the producers and executives from 20th Century Fox and Marvel Films going to be there, but the majority of the cast as well. Don't get me wrong; everybody has been completely welcoming, but at the end of the day, read-throughs are my least favorite part about starting a new project. It's basically a bunch of actors that don't know their lines reading the script while other people watch. Weird huh?

I have to admit that once we all started to read together, there was definitely a feeling of excitement in the room. I think it went off without a hitch!

I've also met some great people in the last couple of days. Yesterday at the makeup and wardrobe tests, I was introduced to Aaron Stanford who plays Pryo. He seems like a cool guy and I'm sure we'll get along really well. He's even newer to the X-Men experience that I am, which makes me feel better. It's interesting that our characters are so different and volatile in the film yet we get along great. I'm not going to argue, sometimes you get lucky and work with people you like and respect.

It was great to see Anna again as I spent most of my time hanging out her on the first movie. After the read-through [director] Bryan Singer has invited us on a tour of the new sets. From what I've heard, this includes the White House, Cerebro and a new version of Magneto's plastic prison. I've also heard rumors of a new and improved X-Jet that is going to get some serious airtime in this movie.

THURSDAY, JUNE 20, 2002

My first day of shooting has finally come and it's pretty much what I expected. Call time was bright and early after the small party that was thrown last night in honor of the first day of shooting. After a quick shower and a last-minute review of the day's scene, I shoot off my nerves and ran downstairs to catch my ride (I always get nervous before the first day, especially when I'm working with such established actors).

We are shooting in an identical version of the X-Mansion used in the first film. The only difference is that this time we are filming on Vancouver Island off the west coast of Canada as opposed to Toronto. It's only a few thousand miles away! It feels quite appropriate for me to spend my first couple of days filming mansion scenes considering I spent the majority of my screen time in the last movie wandering the halls of the school.

Our first scene is sort of a reunion between the X-Men characters, which establishes everyone's relationship to one another, sort of like a recap for all those who have forgotten since the last movie. It's really cool to see the whole group together again for the first time. I feel like everybody slipped back into his or her characters really easily considering it's been close to two and a half years since everyone last put on their X-suits and saved the world.

I think the highlight of the day for me was introducing myself as Iceman to Logan in that opening scene. It made me feel like little Bobby Drake was all grown up and ready to kick some ass! It's always the little things that make me happy and so far I've had a smile on my face that doesn't seem like it's going anywhere.

WEDNESDAY, JULY 10, 2002

O.K., here's the day I've really been waiting for: the first time in the film I get to use my powers!

I don't get to hurt any bad guys today but just the fact that my mutant abilities are being displayed is pretty exciting! This is also one of the first days that we haven't been filming in a remote location or studio. We're filming in a neighborhood just outside Vancouver in a town called Surrey.

I'm beginning to see how excited people are for the sequel. As of crew call this morning, the Surrey neighborhood has been getting out lawn chairs to watch us work. When there's a break, everyone comes out and hangs out like we're having a block party! It's really interesting to see Bryan Singer talk to the fans about the new film. He's a director who doesn't mind taking the time to talk to people that are interested in the movie. I think that's great because the only reason sequels get made is because of the fans' support of the first movie. It's really nice to be received in a positive way even though we're taking over their street for a week. I'm sure this is going to be a great couple of days and I'm sure there's a lot of cool stuff to come.

One month down, five more to go!

MONDAY, AUGUST 12, 2002

It seems to me that there's nothing tougher looking that a bunch of X-Men in black leather outfits. That might sound like I'm joking, but I'm really dead serious. We spent the day in the Oval Office, which is essentially an exact replica of the real thing. Guy Dyas, the production designer, has created some incredibly elaborate sets for this film. The detail in the Oval Office goes right from the rugs on the floor to art on the walls. It almost makes you feel like the real President might walk in and kick you out of his office! Luckily it's under our control, so we can bring a bunch of leather-clad mutants in there and no one can do a thing about it! Ah, the magic of film!

SUNDAY, AUGUST 18, 2002

There's one thing that always amazes me no matter how many times I see it and that's Mystique's and Nightcrawler's makeup. Rebecca [Romijn-Stamos] and Alan [Cumming] have to walk around all day in blue makeup. Kyle, their assistant, came up with the original nickname the Smurfs! Pretty appropriate, don't you think? The makeup effects are so real that when you stand next to them you almost feel uncomfortable. However, it is kind of funny when Nightcrawler smiles and asks you, with a strong Scottish accent, if you want to watch "Waiting for Guffman" in his trailer with some of the other cast members while they prep for the next scene! It's great though; there's something very unnatural about their characters that really translates to film. I think it also gives the other actors a real sense of uneasiness to play off.

Today is the first day that I'm in a scene with them. We're shooting on a sound stage today, so you really get a chance to check them out. I've been told that both actors spend at least three hours in the makeup chair every day they're on camera. I really admire their patience; I'm just thankful nobody has to paint me blue!

MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 9, 2002

After a bit of a break from shooting, we're back at the sound stages of Vancouver Film Studios where most of the sets for "X2" are located.

We've spent the last couple of days being thrown around on a gimble made to look like the X-Jet. It sounds like a lot of fun until the tenth take, when you start to feel seasick! It's like being on a roller coaster that you can't get off. The only saving grace is that everybody is in the same boat, literally! Hugh [Jackman], Patrick [Stewart], Halle [Berry], Famke [Jassen], Jimmy [James Marsden], Alan, Anna, Aaron and I are scheduled to spent the next week flying around. I think these scenes may end up being some of the most exciting stuff in the movie. I'd like to tell you more but I don't want to give away the ending!

MONDAY, OCTOBER 7, 2002

This is a special entry for me because today is my birthday. Most of the cast is filming all day, so two of my new friends, [screenwriters] Mike Dougherty and Dan Harris, invited me to join them to watch some of the scenes that have been cut together. It wasn't a wild party but it was kind of a cool way to spend my birthday. Sometimes you almost forget why you're away from home, so it was really great to sit back and appreciate the cool project that I'm working on. I almost fell off the couch when I saw Nightcrawler for the first time [onscreen with special effects added] and I think Wolverine is cooler than ever in this movie. I feel really good about all the footage I've seen and am excited to see more!

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 25, 2002

Today we had an online press conference for a ton of reporters at our studio. It was pretty interesting because they showed the trailer on a big screen and then introduced all the actors to the audience waiting to get some sort of scoop from Bryan and the cast. I've never done anything like this before, so I took my cues off everybody else. The scary part was that I was the first person to walk on stage and was positive I would trip or embarrass myself in some way. Luckily I held my composure and didn't do anything too embarrassing (a little mumbling maybe).

My favorite part was telling the story of how Hugh's sister came to the set and got dressed up in full Wolverine makeup. I'm talking about hair, makeup, wardrobe and even his giant sideburns! She then went to the set and replaced Hugh for a take to fool Bryan. The best part about it is that he didn't even realize it was her until the end of the take because they looked so similar!

The conference was also funny because we were being asked questions that we weren't allowed to answer. We'd all look at each other and then to Bryan and just sort of laugh and say something like "I can't talk about that because it would ruin the surprise," or "You'll just have to wait and see." They must have thought we were being difficult but we really aren't allowed to give away much of the story. We even have to wear hooded robes around sometimes when we shoot on location to hide our wardrobe. You never know when somebody will have a camera and snap a shot that might let the cast out of the bag. It's kind of fun being in on the secret. You feel like a spy, only we're not really saving the world, we're just pretending to.

TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 12, 2002

The final week of shooting has finally arrived. My last day was actually three days ago at the sound stages. We wrapped after a really great stunt that Anna has been training to do for months. It's always a bit tense when an actor has to do a stunt instead of a trained stunt person, but Anna pulled it off amazingly, being the trooper that she is! Being pulled around in a harness is no easy task! What a great way to finish a shoot!

Anyway, that leads me to explaining why I'm now in the Rocky Mountains of Alberta. Even though I wrapped last week, they still brought me out here to hang out with everyone for the last section of shooting. That's the kind of set I was lucky enough to work on. After six months of working with people so closely, it's a bit hard to say goodbye. Of course, it'll be nice to be home, but the X-perience (no pun intended) is one I will never forget!

I'm sure that everyone's hard work is going to show on screen. The team of talented filmmakers that put this whole production together should be proud that an exciting movie will come from their vision. Well, I guess this is the end. Now I can look forward to seeing everyone, and the movie, when it premieres May 2!

Wizard / Transcript by Pam