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What X2's Kelly Hu Loved Most About Working On The X-Men Sequel

Kelly Hu as Lady Deathstrike in X2: X-Men United
(Image credit: 20th Century Studios)

As we await the X-Men’s introduction to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, we’re coming up on a major anniversary for the previous film series spearheaded by what was known then as 20th Century Fox. In 2023, X2: X-Men United will celebrate its 20th anniversary, and among the newcomers who were brought in for this second mutant-packed movie was Kelly Hu, who played Yuriko Oyama, a.k.a. Lady Deathstrike. Nearly 20 years after X2’s release, Hu shared with CinemaBlend what she loved most about working on that sequel, and it involves another actor who played a character with an adamantium skeleton.

I had the pleasure of speaking with Kelly Hu about her upcoming movie Catwoman: Hunted, where she voices Cheshire, the DC Comics villain she also plays on Young Justice. As our conversation wrapped up, I asked what her favorite memory from working on X2: X-Men United was, and she didn’t waste any time showering Hugh Jackman with praise. In her words:

Just working with Hugh. He’s such an awesome human being, they don’t make them better than that. He really is such a gentleman, he’s so respectful, so professional, just a kind person. He really made working on this project just the best. He did it all for me.

It’s good to hear Kelly Hu had such a pleasant time working with Hugh Jackman on X2: X-Men United considering they shared a significant scene together. Although Wolverine and Deathstrike were separated from the majority of the movie, they eventually came face to face when the X-Men infiltrated William Stryker’s compound at Alkali Lake. Like her comic book counterpart, Hu’s Deathstrike (who was being controlled by Stryker) had a healing factor and adamantium-coveered claws coming out of her fingers, and she nearly killed Logan. In the end though, Jackman’s character emerged victorious when he injected her with liquid adamantium.

While Kelly Hu’s time in the X-Men universe was a one-and-done affair, it was just the start of her comic book media resume. In addition to Cheshire, she’s also voiced Lady Shiva in Batman: Arkham Origins and Batman: Soul of the Dragon, as well as played China White on Arrow, Ms. Li in Batman: Under the Red Hood, Laira in Green Lantern: Emerald Knights and Sha Shan Nguyen in The Spectacular Spider-Man. As for Hugh Jackman, he went on to play Wolverine seven more times after the sequel, including cameos in X-Men: First Class and X-Men: Apocalypse. Maybe there will come a day when he and Hu get to work together again!

Fox’s main X-Men film series wrapped up in 2019 with Dark Phoenix, and the franchise as a whole concluded with The New Mutants the year after, so we’re now in a holding pattern with the property until the mutants are brought into the MCU. For now, the only confirmed holdover from the Fox era is Ryan Reynolds’ Wade Wilson, who will return in Deadpool 3. However, outside of the MCU, fans of X-Men: The Animated Series can look forward to the revival, titled X-Men ’97, arriving on Disney+ in 2023.

Kelly Hu fans can hear her latest outing as Cheshire when Warner Bros. Home Entertainment releases Catwoman: Hunted on February 8. Her co-stars on the animated movie include Elizabeth Gillies as Catwoman, Stephanie Beatriz as Batwoman, Jonathan Banks as Black Mask, Lauren Cohan as Julia Pennyworth, Jonathan Frakes as King Faraday, Keith David as Tobias Whale and  Kirby Howell-Baptiste as Barbara Minerva/Cheetah.

Adam Holmes
Adam Holmes

Connoisseur of Marvel, DC, Star Wars, John Wick, MonsterVerse and Doctor Who lore. He's aware he looks like Harry Potter and Clark Kent.