X-Men: Days Of Future Past is arguably the most audacious instalment in the film series thus far. Based on Marvel’s 1981 Uncanny X-Men comic storyline of the same name (written by Chris Claremont and John Byrne), it sees Bryan Singer (X-Men and X2) return to the director’s chair alongside a reprised cast of Hugh Jackman, James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Halle Berry, Anna Paquin, Ellen Page, Nicholas Hoult, Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart for a journey which brings together the ultimate X-Men ensemble as the original film’s characters join forces with their younger selves (X-Men: First Class) to fight a war set across two time periods.
In 1973, military scientist Bolivar Trask (Peter Dinklage) is urging the government to fund his Sentinel Program – one that he believes is necessary to save humankind from the unstoppable threat of mutants overtaking the planet. The Sentinels are specifically designed to eliminate mutants through sophisticated detection programs while leaving humans unharmed. However, after Trask has a run-in with Mystique (Lawrence), it sets in course a series of events that leads to an unwinnable war, dooming both mutants and humans to certain extinction. Days Of Future Past sees Wolverine (Jackman) sent from the near future back in time in a desperate last-ditch attempt to change the course of history.
“In history everybody who is proposing war is doing it for ‘the good’,” says Dinklage. “Us against them: they’re the bad guys, we’re the good guys. In American history, wars have always been fought in faraway places. It’s always been about that fear of [the] unknown and protecting ourselves and there are people who profit from that.
“Trask is a war profiteer,” Dinklage says of his X-Men character, the film’s main antagonist. “He sees what he’s doing as something that will definitely save mankind. But he’s not altruistic – he has a financial motive.
“Trask is an outsider, and we address that just through the sheer nature of myself playing the part and my size,” he says. “There’s a lot of self-loathing and envy going on. I think that happens to a lot of people who have a certain reaction to a certain group. I question people who have a strong animosity to a certain group. What is it about them that is affecting you so deeply?
“That’s one of the great appeals of these movies. No matter what, even if you seem perfect, at some point of your life you’ve felt like an outsider. Whether it be because you’re a dwarf, or your race, gender, sexual orientation, ability, disability or whatever it is. These books were written at a time when this wasn’t just becoming an issue – because it’s always been there – but it was becoming more talked about and fought for.”
It’s this great appeal of X-Men that’s led to not only the multi-million dollar film franchise, but a universal legacy that fans have cherished for over five decades.
When he appeared on The Late Show With David Letterman earlier this year, Dinklage remarked that while he’s arguably best known for his role as Tyrion Lannister in Game Of Thrones, he hasn’t read George R. R. Martin’s books.
So was Dinklage an X-Men fan before now?
“I didn’t keep them in the pristine packages and know everything about them down to the last detail like some of my friends did,” he laughs. “I wouldn’t consider myself a true comic book collector. But I certainly enjoyed them. You can’t grow up in the world without knowing about them.
X-Men: Days Of Future Past is in cinemas now.