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In signing on to X-Men: Apocalypse, Sophie Turner inherited a very important role. Not only has the Jean Grey character been vital to the history of the X-Men franchise for decades, but she inherited the part from actress Famke Janssen – who earned acclaim from fans for her performance in the original X-Men trilogy and beyond. It was only natural that the Game of Thrones actress would watch her predecessor for keys to the character, and the particular thing she took away was her poise and grace.
I had the pleasure of sitting down with Sophie Turner recently during the X-Men: Apocalypse press day in London, England, and one thing we discussed was the influence that Famke Janssen’s Jean Grey had on her own take on the character. She explained,
What I took away from Famke’s performance was just how balletic she was. Even when she went into Dark Phoenix, it was just so beautiful and balletic. That’s just something that stuck with me for the future, if they ever want to explore that.
Her answer didn’t stop there, however. It turns out that Famke Janssen’s time as Jean Grey was only one source of inspiration for Sophie Turner, and that another more significant one was actually on set with her throughout the production: James McAvoy. Obviously Professor X is a very important person to Jean, being a fellow telepath and her teacher, and so he has a significant impact on the way that she carries herself. Said Turner,
I also took influence from James’ performance, because Xavier is a mentor to Jean, and she would emulate his mannerisms and such. And they share a similar power set! I just tried to put my own spin on it as well, because it’s such a different Jean from the Jean in the first three movies. It feels like we’re exploring new territory here.
A big part of that "new territory" is the fact that the X-Men franchise wiped most of its continuity slate clean after X-Men: Days of Future Past, and the upcoming X-Men: Apocalypse steers the series in a fresh direction with a cast full of new faces. Along with Tye Sheridan as Cyclops, and Alexandra Shipp as Storm, Sophie Turner is expected to play a very important role in future films as one of the key members of the titular team.
You’ll be able to watch Sophie Turner in action as Jean Grey for the first time when X-Men: Apocalypse arrives in theaters next Friday, May 27th. In the meantime, be sure to stay tuned for a lot more of our coverage from our interviews with the film’s talented cast and filmmakers!