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X-Men: Apocalypse is finally out in theaters and, while it’s getting mixed reviews from critics, it’s taking down all competition in the box office. Despite how you may feel about the movie, you have to admit if there’s one thing an X-Men movie usually does well, it’s the makeup effects on the characters. The makeup on Mystique is always impressive, and say what you want about Apocalypse, but at least they went for it. Another character that boasts an impressive design is Nightcrawler, played by Kodi Smit-McPhee. Adrien Morot, head of the makeup effects department, recently shared with The Hollywood Reporter why the new Nightcrawler looks so different from Alan Cumming's in X-Men 2.
Kodi is a younger-looking actor than Alan was in X-Men 2. Also, Alan was a grey-black in the original movie, and they had a problem lighting him. So we had to make sure Nightcrawler's look was camera-friendly. But they didn't want him to look painted. So we had to come up with a skin that was not the same as the other blue characters; he had to look somewhat different.
The younger Nightcrawler definitely looks bluer than the original older version, but there’s never any shortage of blue people on the X-Men. Plus, it makes sense that they had to change the color if it was affecting lighting. Adrien Morot also goes on to explain that the inspiration for some of the design changes was to make Nightcrawler appear more feline. Morot always felt that Nightcrawler was cat-like due to his posture, tail, and eyes in the comics, so it was something he wanted to translate onto film. So Morot and company changed the design of his ears, eyes, and teeth to make him more feline.
Personally, I’ve always thought of Beast as being the cat guy, and Nightcrawler as more of an elf, but it seems to translate well enough.
Another interesting detail that Adrien Morot goes into is how they made Nightcrawler’s tail, which is apparently six feet long with a one-inch diameter. The Alan Cumming version just had a "static tail," but for this movie, Morot was asked to make one that incorporated movement. Morot explained that that would usually entail "server motors or fishing wires," but they found a way to make the tail without using any of that. Morot compared it to Legos and that "it would move with your body movement." He doesn’t elaborate any further, but that’s still another neat piece of trivia.
You can see Nightcrawler and all of his blue mutant friends (as well as some non-blues) in X-Men: Apocalypse, which is out in theaters right now.