Rebecca Romijn

Rebecca Romijn was born on 06 November 1972, in Berkeley, California. She attended the University of California at Santa Cruz where she majored in Music. While studying she began modelling and moved to Paris, where she lived and worked for almost three years. Romijn's most famous movie role to date is as the shape-shifting Mystique in the X-Men franchise. She reprises her role in the final chapter of the trilogy - X Men: The Last Stand. In this movie we discover there is a cure for mutancy. Will these unique beings become frail humans? Or will they hold onto their unique powers? How will the revolutionary cure affect the course of history? The mutant leaders are at loggerheads in a confrontation, which triggers the war to end all wars. We caught up with Romijn as X-Men: The Last Stand was due to open in UK cinemas...

Sci-Fi-Online: Without giving too much away about the plot, what can you tell us about Mystique's role in the third X-Men movie?

Rebecca Romijn: Mystique goes through a dramatic time and suffers a heartbreak, She is the first mutant to have the possibility that she could be 'cured', which would inevitably mean losing her shape shifting powers.

The big question for her in this film is what will happen to her? Being a frail mortal would be her worst nightmare. She would hate that. This is a very emotional storyline for her. I cannot tell you what happens to Mystique, but I can say that she goes through a traumatic experience.

SFO: For anyone who needs a reminder, what kind of woman is Mystique?

RR: She is angry, a very angry character. She was born with amazing powers as a shape shifter that she didn't ask for and which have made her life difficult. Probably as a child, Mystique was ostracised because she was different. Her powers placed her into bad situations that made her unpopular and her family probably dumped her.

All those early experiences turned her into an aggressive character. And rather than figuring out how to make the best of life and how to live peacefully with other humans in the world, she goes to war and joins the brotherhood of evil, which is Ian McKellen's side. She makes a decision to fight all the hateful people she has had to deal with in her life.

SFO: How would you describe your relationship with Magneto in this film and over the course of the X-Men films?

RR: Sir Ian [McKellen] and I have discussed our characters' relationship extensively. We have decided that we [Mystique and Magneto] have once upon a time been lovers, we are no longer lovers but we have very deep respect for each other, She is his wing-woman. She is more than his assistant, they have a deep-seated bond and the question is, will it be time for them to part ways? Their relationship changes very dramatically during this film.

SFO: What was your personal experience of working with Sir Ian?

RR: Fantastic. I love him; we have the best time working together. He is the most sympathetic person, when it comes to my situation on the set. I am always physically uncomfortable because of all the blue make-up I have to wear. He sits with me, puts his arm around me and asks me how I am doing. We have a really good time together.

He is the most sophisticated person I have ever met and at the same time, he is the biggest child I have ever met. He has a great sense of humour. Of course he is a wonderful actor and it is always interesting seeing how great actors like him work, watching their level of commitment.

No matter how much work he has done in the past and no matter how well respected he is, he puts everything into this role, playing a super villain who wears a cape for half the movie. He is really good fun and makes the work so exciting all the time. He is infectious to be around. He is also very funny, he likes to play. I adore him.

SFO: You mentioned your makeup. What is that like for you on a physical level, and are you used to it by now?

RR: It is tough. Mystique, as you know, is solid blue and covered in scales. I remember when I was reading the script for the first time, for the first X-Men, they described what my character looked like and I thought: "Ok cool, that might involve a couple of extra hours in makeup, I can deal with that". I never really understood how much time it would entail until I began work.

It ended up being seven or eight hours in the make-up chair, so sometimes I would have to get to the set at one or two in the morning to get started. It is mostly prosthetics; the scales are giant pieces of silicone, (which cover 70 percent of my body), that are strategically placed all over my body. Then they spray me down, they airbrush the rest of me with blue makeup. It is not much fun. But the same group of women has been doing my make up since the first film and we all know each other very well now, obviously. We genuinely have a pretty good time together and make the best of it. And it is worth it because the results are so dramatic.

SFO: How would you say this film differs from the other X-Men movies?

RR: Well I don't know what it will look like, because I haven't seen it yet, but it is definitely the most dramatic, the most happens in this movie. I loved my storyline and I know the rest of the cast feels the same way. I think it is going to be amazing.

SFO: What was your experience of working with the director, Brett Ratner?

RR: Great, he is no stranger to these big, giant action movies. He had really big shoes to fill, but he was fantastic. Everything felt right on the film and I loved working with him. He is a really fun guy with a tremendous amount of energy. He likes to joke around, he's a lively and very skilled and talented director.

SFO: How transformational has X-Men been for you in terms of your career?

RR: It's amazing, the fan base for these movies is so far and deep, it is unimaginable, just crazy and wonderful to be a part of. I always feel that I don't want to let anyone down because people are waiting for the new film, for these characters that they love, as well as the new ones. They want to see them on the screen. I think people just love the films, which is so great. And for me personally it has been a fantastic experience.

SFO: What training did you do to keep in shape and what is your workout regime in general?

RR: I have been doing Pilates for eight years now. Six months before I started this movie I had to get back into the gym to do serious cardio training. I had to change my eating habits again. I got on the elliptical machine for 45 minutes every single day. I did Pilates four times a week. I did the Zone diet very strictly for six weeks and then continued less strictly. At the weekends I would relax a little bit, but it meant no alcohol and no sugar. Jerry, my fiancée is my biggest motivater, he forces me out of bed every day and makes me get to the gym.

SFO: How do you stay in shape in general?

RR: I go to the gym whenever I can. I actually have to eat to keep the weight on when I am working because I tend to lose too much weight. I like to workout.

I don't cook, not really. I like good restaurants. And sometimes I get back from work and it is too late to eat dinner so I just go straight to bed and I wake up the next morning starving and have to eat cheeseburgers for the pure energy. But in general I am a pretty healthy eater.

SFO: You are engaged to actor Jerry O' Connell, are you excited about getting married?

RR: Absolutely. Jerry is amazing, fantastic. He is always in a good mood, all the time and he has a fantastic amount of energy. We get on so well. We will have a quiet wedding, but we have no plans for now, we are enjoying our engagement.

I am really looking forward to starting a family sometime soon. I can't wait.

It is actually getting to the point where I get tears in my eyes when I see a pregnant woman. You know it is time to have a baby when you get tearful if you see a pregnant woman. Family is a priority for me.

SFO: Did you always want to act as a child, growing up in Northern California?

RR: I always loved to put on a show when I was a little girl, I was always performing in one way or another. By the time I got to high school, I was doing all the school musicals, I did a lot of Gilbert and Sullivan shows. I sang in choruses and choirs including the Oakland Youth Chorus, which musician, Bobby McFerrin founded. I never thought I would perform professionally and I went to university to study music.

But I left after a year and started modelling. Then a scout from a modelling agency saw my pictures and a week later I was on a plane to Paris, it was very exciting and that is how it all began for me.

SFO: Did you enjoy your experience of modelling?

RR: Well the modelling was the last thing I ever expected to be doing. I was not even fashion conscious. But it was actually great; it was like finishing school for me. I had never used makeup or hair products before. Makeup was not something that I learned from my mother.

I moved to Paris and I learned so much about the fashion industry and living in Paris was a life changing experience for me.

I already spoke Dutch because my father is Dutch, now I speak French too which is great.

SFO: What is the best piece of advice you have had?

RR: The best piece of advice I ever had was from my sister who told me to get a dog. I have four now and they have changed my life. Having dogs makes you into a less selfish person. You have to pay attention to these other beings and they become your best friends and brighten up everything in your life - they force you out of the door in the morning, because you have to take them for walks.

SFO: Who are your role models?

RR: I love Goldie Hawn and Lucille Ball. I love Cybill Shepherd, I adore Susan Sarandon, and I also love Julie Andrews.

SFO: What do you have coming up?

RR: I made a movie with Ben Affleck called Man About Town directed by Mike Binder. Ben plays an LA super agent going through a crisis. He starts taking a journal-writing course headed by John Cleese; his journal gets stolen by a writer who is about to do a big expose on him. I play his wife who has been cheating on him with one of his clients. I try to get back into his good graces by trying to get his journal back for him. It is hilarious and emotional.

SFO: Thank you for your time.

With thanks to Emma Carter at New Media Maze

X-Men: The Last Stand is released in UK cinemas from 25 May 2006.

Click here to view the trailer

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