With X-Men: Apocalypse gearing up to start production next year, it was only a matter of time before we started hearing casting rumors - and today is the day that kicks it all off. To start, it seems that the franchise is first focusing in on finding actors to play young Jean Grey and Cyclops in the film - and if new rumors are to be believed, then they are looking at some very talented individuals.
The Wrap has the inside scoop on what's happening behind the scenes of X-Men: Apocalypse, and according to their sources the three leading candidates for the part of Jean Grey are Chloe Moretz, Elle Fanning and Hailee Steinfeld; while the top choices up to play Cyclops include Ben Hardy, Charlie Rowe and Timothee Chalamet. Director Bryan Singer first hinted back in April that the latest X-Men movie would be looking to find a pair of young actors to fill the shoes originally worn by Famke Janssen and James Marsden, and it looks like the search has begun. It's also been said that the film is going to find an actress to play a teenage version of Storm - the character played by Halle Berry in the original X-Men trilogy and Days of Future Past - but it makes sense that the search would start by focusing on Cyclops and Jean Grey as a pair, given their romantic relationship.
The first thing that fans will notice looking at these actor shortlists is that there is a distinct level of fame differential when it comes to the actresses going out for Jean Grey and the actors gunning for Cyclops a.k.a. Scott Summers. At this point, casual movie-goers are very familiar with Chloe Moretz, Elle Fanning and Hailee Steinfeld - thanks to their work in movies like Kick-Ass, Super 8 and True Grit - but Ben Hardy, Charlie Rowe and Timothee Chalamet are all relatively new to the industry. Hardy's only professional acting experience has been on the British soap EastEnders; Rowe has largely been featured on television and had a part in last year's Walking With Dinosaurs 3D; and Chalamet can be seen in theaters now playing Matthew McConaughey's 15-year-old son in Christopher Nolan's Interstellar. Presumably the X-Men franchise wants to take one of these young actors and turn him into a star, but who will it end up being?
Not a great deal is known about X-Men: Apocalypse's plot at this point, though we do know that it will be set in 1983 and largely center on James McAvoy's Professor X, Michael Fassbender's Magneto, Jennifer Lawrence's Mystique, and Nicholas Hoult's Beast. Writer/producer Simon Kinberg wrote the screenplay based on a story that he developed alongside Bryan Singer, Michael Dougherty and Dan Harris, and the plan is to start production in the spring, targeting a May 27, 2016 release date.
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