Going Deeper into X-Men's Origins
In X-Men: First Class, the origin of the X-Men world is born during the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962, with Charles Xavier/Professor X (James McAvoy) and Erik Lehnsherr/Magneto meeting and becoming friends and rivals. The VFX challenge was to visually convey the nascent super powers in exciting and diverse ways, including Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence), Emma Frost (January Jones) and the supper baddie, Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon).
John Dykstra, a legend in the VFX world, of course, is no stranger to comic superheroes (Spider-Man). But, as the visual effects designer, he was faced with some new challenges in turning out 1,150 shots: time and budgetary constraints and collaborating with global vendors (among them Digital Domain, Rhythm & Hues, MPC, Cinesite, Weta Digital, Method Studios and Luma Pictures).
"We had a very collapsed schedule," Dykstra concedes. "It was slightly less than a year and I've never done anything like that before (Spider-Man was frequently two years). It was a unique experience for me and I had my misgivings about it, but I really liked [director] Matthew Vaughn's irreverent approach to Kick-Ass. And one of the things I think that the superhero genre lacks is the ability to poke fun at itself. The characters are self-deprecating and I love the whole idea of it being the '60s. When he talked to me initially, he said he wanted it to have the feeling of a James Bond film, and I think it does. We shot in England in the wintertime, and, of course, this is an iconic American film, so the challenge was to find environments that either echoed the American environment feeling or that could be enhanced to look as though the stuff was shot here. The idea also was not to make a movie that looked like it was shot in the '60s…"
"The most challenging thing was to come up with a range of super powers that didn't overlap each other hugely and that we could execute smoothly using Matthew's preference for original photography. We were also constrained by time in terms of preparing things from scratch."