X-Men: Days of Future Past opens in Perth cinemas this Thursday May 22. TYSON WRAY attended a media conference recently with Peter Dinklage (Game Of Thrones) who portrays Boliver Trask.
Days Of Future Past is arguably the most audacious instalment thus far in the X-Men film series.
Based on Marvel’s 1981 Uncanny X-Men comic storyline of the same name (by Chris Claremont and John Byrne), it sees Brian Singer (X-Men and X2) return to the director’s chair alongside a reprised cast of Hugh Jackman, James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Halle Berry, Anna Paquin, Ellen Page, Nicholas Hoult, Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart for a journey which culminates in the ultimate X-Men ensemble as the original film’s characters join forces with their younger selves (X-Men: First Class) to fight a war across two time periods.
In 1973, military scientist Bolivar Trask (Peter Dinklage) is urging the government to fund his Sentinel Program – one that he believes is necessary to save humankind from the unstoppable threat of mutants overtaking the planet. The Sentinels are specifically designed to eliminate mutants through sophisticated detection programs all while leaving humans unharmed. However, after Trask has a run-in with Mystique (Lawrence), it sets in motion a series of events that leads to an unwinnable war which dooms both mutants and humans to certain extinction. Days Of Future Past sees Wolverine (Jackman) sent from the near future in 2023 back in time, a desperate last-ditch attempt to change the course of history.
“In history everybody who is proposing war is doing it for ‘the good’. Us against them: they’re the bad guys, we’re the good guys,” notes Dinklage. “In American history wars have always been fought in faraway places. It’s always been about that fear of unknown and protecting ourselves and there are people who profit from that.
“Trask is a war profiteer,” he details of his character who unwittingly dooms the planet. “He sees what he’s doing as something that will definitely save mankind. But he’s not altruistic – he has a financial motive.”
As his role as the film’s main antagonist, his first in the X-Men series, Dinklage recognises that Trask himself is also subjected to the same sort of ostracising and humiliation that is inflicted upon the mutants.
“Trask is an outsider and we address that just through the sheer nature of myself playing the part and my size,” he notes. “There’s a lot of self-loathing and envy going on. I think that happens to a lot of people who have a certain reaction to a certain group. I question people who have a strong animosity to a certain group. What is it about them that is affecting you so deeply?
“That’s one of the great appeals of these movies. No matter what, even if you seem perfect, at some point of your life you’ve felt like an outsider. Whether it be because you’re a dwarf, or your race, gender, sexual orientation, ability, disability or whatever it is. These books were written at a time when this wasn’t just becoming an issue – because it’s always been there – but it was becoming more talked about and fought for.”
It’s this great appeal of X-Men that’s led to not only the multi-million dollar film franchise, but a universal legacy that fans have cherished for over five decades.
When appearing on The Late Show With David Letterman earlier this year, Dinklage remarked that while he’s arguably best well-known for his role at Tyrion Lannister in Game Of Thrones, he’d not read the books which spawned the series written by George R. R. Martin.
So then, was Dinklage a prior X-Men fan?
“I didn’t keep them in the pristine packages and know everything about them down to the last detail like some of my friends did,” he laughs. “I wouldn’t consider myself a true comic book collector. But I certainly enjoyed them. You can’t grow up in the world without knowing about them.
“Like a lot of us I was late to the game and became a fan of them through the movies, especially Brian Singer’s first two films. They started it all and really delivered what I feel the true comic book fans were waiting for.”
Read Travis Johnson’s review of X-Men: Days Of Future Past here.