In the near future, some children are born with an extra twist in their genes: the X-factor, which gives them super powers. These mutants are feared and persecuted by normal humans. A group of them calling themselves The X-Men forms around Professor Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart), who teaches his students at his School for Gifted Youngsters how to live with the superhuman abilities, providing them a safe haven with and a friendly mutant community.
After the death of his family in the Holocaust during his childhood, full of hatred against all humans, the extremely powerful mutant, Magneto (Ian McKellen) sets out to destroy all humanity. The X-men, led by Xavier and the gruff mutant with razor-sharp claws, Logan (Hugh Jackman), begin their quest to stop Magneto's evil plan to exterminate the human race.
Another from our lists of movies shot in Toronto, this is Bryan Singer's comic book adaptation of X-Men (find out more about the original comic novels on the official Marvel website). The best known Hollywood blockbuster filmed in Toronto is yet another cinematic piece that masks our lovely city as New York and uses lower production costs to its advantage.
Watch the interview with Bryan Singer, the director of the movie, talking about the story and its characters.
Filming took place at various locations across the city and in Ajax, Burlington, Hamilton, and Oshawa. You can recognize many favourite locations such as Casa Loma and The Distillery Historic District. Toronto becomes a futuristic city where a spectacular battle between takes place. You could spot film crews all around Toronto and Hamilton during the filming, which lasted from September 22, 1999 to March 3, 2000. The movie is packed with Hollywood superstars such as Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen, Halle Berry, Anna Paquin, Hugh Jackman and Famke Janssen.
- The opening concentration camp scenes set in 1944 Poland where Magneto learns about his super powers for the first time were shot in the Gooderham-Worts Distillery district. This complex with empty warehouses is a favoured filming location for many Hollywood movies (such as Blues Brothers, Chicago, The Long Kiss Goodnight, Mimic, Scott Pilgrim, The Recruit, and Three Men and a Baby).
- The last scene shot in Canada was actually this first scene — rain falling down on the muddy streets of the concentration camp and the Nazis taking away Magneto's parents.
- Besides Toronto, some scenes were shot in Hamilton. During the filming of one of these scenes at the train station, Bryan Singer was mistaken for an onlooker and not able to join the production team because a local police officer did not recognize him at first. The train station hall fight scene is filmed at the Canadian National Railway Station, which stands for the Westchester Railway in the movie.
- A little boy at the train station smiles at Cyclops, who smiles back at him. This scene was not in the original script but happened because the little boy — a huge fan of Cyclops — could not stop smiling at the actor, James Marsden. Bryan Singer liked it so much that he kept it in the film, only slightly directing the mother's reaction afterwards.
- Did you know that both the location of the Xavier's school for Mutants and the house where Billy and his family lived were the same mansion? Mutant High is located in Oshawa, representing Westchester. You might recognize this mansion from other movies such as Billy Madison, Mrs. Winterbourne, Bulletproof Monk, and Hollywoodland.
Watch the first minutes of this video clip to see the Mutant High:
- The meeting place for the Conference of World Leaders on 'Ellis Island' is the Central Commerce Collegiate located on 570 Shaw Street. The senate hearings were held in the buildings of the Metro Hall Council Chamber at St. John Street, which is a beautiful glass and metal sky-high building.
- Patrick Stewart, playing Professor Xavier, was the first actor to be cast as a mutant; he was the top candidate ever since the 1990s and initial plans for the movie adaptation.
- Rebecca Romijn had to wear a very difficult all-body mask to get into her character, Mystique. The costume consisted of 110 custom-designed prostheses covering 60 per cent of her body, taking more that nine hours to apply every day of filming. To keep her character secret from curious fans, she had to sit in an isolated, windowless room when not shooting.
- The scene where Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) appears for the first time, in a rough bar in northern Alberta discovered by Rouge during a cage-fight, is actually shot in the old Distillery District as well.
- The dog tags Wolverine was wearing are the standard type issued by the Canadian military.
- The interiors of the Mutant High, where Professor Xavier trained his students, were shot at Casa Loma, a darling in Toronto movie locations. When you visit the medieval castle, you can recognize the study of Professor Xavier, the conservatory where mutant children learn to channel their skills, and the Old Stables, where Cyclops (James Marsden) stashes his bike.
- The NYC's Liberty Island is actually our very own Spencer Smith's Park in Burlington. And no, it is not the real Statue of Liberty, where some of the most spectacular fight scenes take place. The interior scenes of the Statue of Liberty were shot at Bridgman Transformer Station on 391 Davenport Road.
- The location of the very last scene of the movie's principal photography was the sunny Santa Monica, California. Senator Kelly, played by Bruce Davison, emerges from the ocean.
Filming Locations Map
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