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May 2006
XMEN 3 The Last Stand: An Interview with Aaron Stanford and Dania Ramirez

XMEN 3 The Last Stand: An Interview with Aaron Stanford and Dania Ramirez
By Wilson Morales
May 15, 2006

When it comes to sequels to a successful franchise, there are returnees and newcomers and with "X-Men: The Last Stand" coming to theaters, careers are born and revived. Aaron Stanford returns as Pyro, the fire blazer who teamed up with Magnetto in the last film. Joining him in the Brotherhood of Mutants is newcomer Dania Ramirez, who plays Callisto, whose highly attuned senses allow her to locate and assess the power of other mutants. Stanford was recently seen in the remake horror film, "The Hills Have Eyes", while Ramirez has appeared in Spike Lee's She Hate Me and "Fat Albert". In an interview with blackfilm.com, both Stanford and Ramirez spoke about their characters and being part of such a wonderful cast.

Is it more fun playing the bad guys?

Dania Ramirez: I liked it. It's my first time playing a villain so I had a really good time.

Aaron Stanford: It's fun playing villains. It's people who are not held by any moral constrains or any constrains for that matter. It's a chance to be completely off the leash and do things that you never could in real life.

Did you want your character to be different from the comic book? Had you read them?

DR: I hadn't read the comic books before I got the role. I hadn't even watched (X-Men) 1 or 2 before I got the role. Then I got the role and started educating myself and I got a bunch of comic books and did some research on the internet about my character and the studio was pretty good with providing me with information.

Aaron, it seems like your powers just comes from your hands. Did you have anything to help you with the fire?

AS: No, nothing. You just have to use your imagination. You just stand there, look silly, and grunt and do the tai-chi moves and that's basically the extent of it. When Shawn (Ashmore) and I have our fight towards the end, it was pretty amusing. You have two guys launching columns of imaginary fire and ice at each other and trying somehow to synchronize the movements back and forth with the power struggle.

Did you ever break out in laughter?

AS: All the time. They would be like, "harder, harder, more energy. A lot of times we'd collapse in hysterics.

DR: The whole is kind of silly, even for me. I had like four (stunt) doubles and we're shooting the whole superspeed and it's supposed to be so fast that when you're camera, you start running as if you were running really fast. Somehow it worked out.

Aaron, did Magnetto teaching Pyro anything about flaming? I see some work was done with Pyro's hair.

AS: That's a loaded question. The hair thing was an attempt to be more true to the comic. The actual Pyro in the comic book had hair cropped up like a flame. It looks like a giant candle flame and I said I certainly don't want to do that, but I had been online and I heard many fans saying that my hair wasn't blonde and Pyro's blonde. So I said to myself that maybe I'd push it a little bit closer and at least have a flamish effect to the hair.

With the comic Pyro, he has to create flame?

AS: This Pyro can't create flame either. He needs an external source. In "X2", he talks about that a lot. In this film, he actually has an igniter strapped to his hand. He's become a little more professional and a little bit more slick in this one. He's got an igniter strapped to his hand that he can flick a bottom and a power light comes on, so he can snap it on really quick. There's one scene with him and Magnetto where you can see it.

Did you learn anything different from Brett than from Bryan (Singer)?

AS: Did I learn anything from him? In terms of character, he pretty much trusted us because he came onto the project and he very much wanted to stay true to the vision that we had all created; myself in the second movie, and everyone else in the first movie. He pretty much trusted us to handle that and be consistent.

When you signed on for this, did you sign on for any additional film?

DR: Actually, I had done another movie with Fox, and I already had an option with them, so what they did was picked up my option, so I didn't have to sign on.

Well, if there are more films with these characters, would you be in it again?

DR: I'm definitely interested if that were the case, but I'm probably the last one to know anything that's going on with the movie. I literally found out 2 days before I got the movie that I was cast in the movie and went up for fittings and just never came home.

As actors in the film, how much logic do you look for? How do you find the logic within your character in a given situation?

DR: I think when you do research, especially comic book characters and you're reading the comic books, everything is two dimensional and I think you have to search deeper and maybe into the issues that are going on and as a human being and through your life experience and knowing people that may have gone through certain issues that are alike and I think in X-Men, there are social awareness about a lot of different issues. So, it's easier in a movie like that because you can relate to it as a person and you can bring those emotions forward.

What was it like for you?

DR: Well, the whole thing about trying to find a cure to adopt yourself to be accepted by society, by your community, and for me, growing up and just being young and becoming a woman, issues like that; and being Latin. I wasn't born here. I was born in the Dominican Republic and coming into a country that wasn't mine and trying to fit in and being proud of who you are and not losing your essence.

AS: I think that's one of the most interesting thing about X-Men in general is you say finding the logic of these superheroes, these extraordinary characters. I think the interesting thing about the X-Men universe is that you have to find the ordinary in these extraordinary circumstances. What would it be really like if suddenly people just popped up with super powers? They wouldn't just be swooping all over the place saving the day constantly. They would be a massive political movement against them because they'd be such a tremendous threat. I think it's interesting that they have these extraordinary superhero characters and ask the question, "What would honestly happen in the real world if superheroes popped up?"

Dania, how was it working opposite Halle Berry in the fight scene?

DR: Halle was great. For me, it was an honor cause Halle Berry, she's got an Oscar and she's so graceful and beautiful and such an amazing actress; so, to have gotten the opportunity to work with someone great and she's so nice in person. She made it a lot easier. It never felt like I was walking into a situation where I was working against someone that felt they were better than me. So for me, it was a pleasure.


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