LONDON — As Jennifer Lawrence sat down to chat about her third “X-Men” film — “X-Men: Apocalypse” (opening Friday) — the Oscar winner revealed that she would truly love to possess her Raven/Mystique character’s shapeshifting ability in real life.
“I would not want to trade it for anything the others have,” said Lawrence. “My mutant quality — as Mystique — is exactly the one I want,” added the actress, explaining it was all about her non-stop struggle to escape the constant intrusion into her private life by the paparazzi.
“Selfishly, that is the power I would choose. Are you kidding me?! Being able to become other people instantaneously, being able to create the absolute perfect disguise — that would be the greatest thing ever!
“My life would then be perfect — no mistaking that. I’d love it. I know this sounds totally selfish — and it is,” Lawrence said with her famous, throaty hoarse-like chuckle. “We’re not talking about saving the world here. This would be just for me.”
Sitting next to Lawrence was her co-star, James McAvoy, who reprises the role of Professor Charles Xavier in his third “X-Men” movie. Looking a bit incredulous, the actor turned to Lawrence and asked, “Have you simply tried wearing a disguise, when you go out in public and want to be anonymous?”
Lawrence smirked knowingly. “Yes, I have, but it doesn’t work. You have to understand, those paparazzi constantly stay outside my home — 24/7. Then they just follow you. So, if I simply put on a disguise they would know that today Jennifer Lawrence is going out dressed as an old man!
“No, I need the power to totally turn myself into whomever I’d like on a particular day, and then everything would be so much simpler — both for me and my family and friends.”
In this latest film, Apocalypse — the first and most powerful mutant (portrayed by Oscar Isaac) — awakes after thousands of years and discovers the world has become a place he totally hates. Bringing together a group of new mutant acolytes, including a disillusioned Magento (Michael Fassbender), Apocalypse sets out to destroy and “cleanse” mankind and bring about a new world order that he will dominate.
Lawrence’s Raven/Mystique, along with McAvoy’s professor, lead a team of younger X-Men to save the planet from destruction.
“The fact that it’s entertaining and exciting is nothing to be ashamed of,” Lawrence said. “I love going to these kinds of movies, and they are very fun to make.
“But there are very deep and emotional themes, and we all sign on to these kinds of movies for the same reasons we sign on to anything. You love the character and you love the story. That’s first and foremost.”
Olivia Munn co-stars as Psylocke, a mutant who possesses the power of telepathy — the ability to read and project thoughts over long distances — but also is a highly skilled ninja warrior and a true whiz with the sword.
Munn explained her preparation to play Psylocke required “a lot of physical training. … As a kid I had been into martial arts and had taken up tai kwon do growing up.
“But it’s a completely different thing to go back to it as an adult. Plus I had to learn how to convincingly fight with a sword, which I had never done. … It took working all day, every day for months, but it was well worth it.”
Asked why he thinks the “X-Men” franchise has remained so popular with fans — both with the comics and now the films — Evan Peters (Peter Maximoff/Quicksilver) said, “I think it’s a drama with complex characters, but then it’s also a great special-effects action movie as well. … Then, of course, there’s the whole issue of discrimination.”
Munn picked up on that, explaining, “We all know what it’s like to feel different — or at least a lot of people understand that. These mutants were born with these abilities, and they’ve been targeted and ostracized. This movie in particular focuses on the dangers of going after an entire group of people — and shows what can happen when you do discriminate on a global level.”
Peters’ mutant is able to move about with uber-fast speed, but in real life, the actor admitted, “I’m not fast at all. What you see on-screen is truly movie magic. … I run like a 13-minute mile — and that’s when I really get motivated!”