“Dark Phoenix” reigned supreme on Tuesday night in Hollywood, as the twelfth film in the “X-Men” franchise celebrated its world premiere. And the biggest show of support for the film and its star, “Game of Thrones” actress Sophie Turner, came from the person who originated the title role on the big screen – Famke Janssen.
Janssen played the role of Jean Grey in the original “X-Men” trilogy 19 years ago alongside Hugh Jackman, James Marsden and Halle Berry. But her presence at Tuesday night’s premiere seemed to mark a change of heart for the actress, who has been vocal about her criticism of the franchise in the past. Case in point — Janssen took on the famed “Dark Phoenix” storyline in 2006’s “X-Men: The Last Stand,” to mixed reviews from fans and the actress herself.
“I’m just happy that Dark Phoenix got her own movie because she deserves it. And it’s a really powerful and very important story in the comics, that in ‘The Last Stand’ we just touched upon the tiniest part of,” Janssen told Variety on the carpet. “It was something that needed to be told as a full-blown film and now that’s happening. And it’s wonderful.”
“She did [reach out before initially taking the role] and she reached out again and she’s lovely,” she shared about her relationship with Turner. “I’m so excited to see the film.”
Michael Fassbender (who stars as Magneto) agreed, saying Turner was “amazing” in the role. The entire cast of the comic book film reunited at Tuesday night’s premiere at the TCL Chinese Theatre – including franchise stars James McAvoy, Jennifer Lawrence, Nicholas Hoult, Alexandra Shipp, and newcomer Jessica Chastain. Turner was also supported by new husband Joe Jonas and the entire Jonas clan, who continued their L.A. takeover for a second consecutive night after the brothers premiered their own film “Chasing Happiness” in Westwood on Monday night.
“She had the weight of the world on her shoulders in this one,” said Kodi Smit-McPhee, who plays fellow mutant Nightcrawler. “She was alongside Jessica Chastain, Michael Fassbender and James McAvoy — she truly leveled those performances and she accomplished that greatly.”
The film’s writer and director Simon Kinberg was already well-versed in the storyline and the controversy, since he co-wrote the screenplay for “The Last Stand.”
“He’s been around the series for so long now and he feels very passionate about this story, the story of Jean Grey,” Fassbender said, explaining why he and some of his castmates, including Jennifer Lawrence, asked Kinberg to direct this time around. “We’ve all known him very well though the years, he’s always been very collaborative, and all of us just wanted to be there for his first film.”
There was an emphasis on new beginnings and nostalgia at the premiere, with the rebooted X-Men films seemingly coming to an end after “Dark Phoenix.” Now that Disney and Fox have merged, the future of the X-Men is more up in the air than ever.
“It’s a hard question in as much as we don’t know,” producer Hutch Parker told Variety. “Marvel has reacquired the properties and all the comics. And my guess is they will repurpose how they want to explore these characters. And they haven’t said anything to us so now we’re kind of occupying the fan seat waiting to see what kind of magic they’re going to do with these.”
But for Janssen, the question about the future of Jean Grey and her own future with the franchise is a little easier. “If someone asks me,” she declared. “I might consider it.”
“Dark Phoenix” is in theaters on June 7.
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