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  • Ability over Appearance:
    • Hugh Jackman is a foot taller than Wolverine in the comics, but his performance has won over the fandom, and it's now difficult to imagine someone else replacing him... So Fox never did.
    • Magneto is very muscular in the comics, but the slender Ian McKellen was cast because he's one of the finest actors on the planet. It was never really in the cards to cast an actor old enough to be a Holocaust survivor who also has a supervillain physique.
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  • California Doubling: The mansion interior was filmed in Casa Loma, a Toronto landmark.
  • Career Resurrection: Anna Paquin was largely written off as a One-Hit Wonder for The Piano; this movie solidified her transition to adult star.
  • Cast the Runner-Up: Kevin Nash was originally cast as Sabretooth with Tyler Mane as his Stunt Double. When Nash dropped out, Mane got the part.
  • Cowboy BeBop at His Computer:
    • A review, this one appearing in the New Times Los Angeles, blasted the film for departing from the comic's signature yellow-and-blue costumes, and for giving Magneto, the "master of all evil", a sympathetic Holocaust-survivor Backstory. Which shows that he did actually read the comic... in the '60s, and not once since. Similarly, a New York Times piece on Valkyrie erroneously claimed that Bryan Singer came up with the idea of Magneto's Holocaust backstory.
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    • Referencing Magneto's holocaust backstory and Wolverine's Dark and Troubled Past, a negative review in People Magazine said, "Since when do superheroes have such traumatic backstories?" They pretty much always have. Both Batman and Superman's birth parents were also killed when they were children. Even older superheroes such as The Shadow, Doc Savage, or The Phantom also tended to have tragic backstories.
  • Deleted Scene:
    • An extended scene of Rogue, Bobby, John, Jubilee and Kitty in Storm's class.
    • A scene where Bobby drops Rogue off at her room after hanging out.
    • An extended scene of Cyclops teaching his automotive class.
    • A scene between Rogue and Storm.
    • An extended conversation between Wolverine, Jean and Scott. Jean displays more of her powers to Logan, who asks how she puts up with Scott, she mentions how he could punch a hole in a mountain with his power. Once Jean leaves, Logan and Scott have an argument, Scott says that Wolverine takes nothing seriously and then insults his lack of memory. Wolverine says he's just a boy and doesn't know real combat.
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    • A scene where Jean and Professor X have a conversation.
    • A scene set in the underground base of the X-Men. Cyclops is putting on his uniform and has a conversation with Wolverine, asking if he'd be able to follow orders, Wolverine tells him to give him one and Cyclops asks him to put on a uniform.
    • A conversation between Cyclops and Professor X about Logan.
  • Dyeing for Your Art:
    • Hugh Jackman admits to having taken the role of Logan without understanding what it meant to have a superhero physique. He showed up on set having done only a few weeks of physical training and director Bryan Singer immediately rearranged the shooting schedule so that they would shoot Jackman's shirtless scenes towards the end of production and told Jackman to hit the gym. He apparently never left, because later installments of the series showcase Jackman's now-ridiculously chiseled physique.
    • Rebecca Romijn said that due to waking up early to spend hours receiving Mystique's make-up, "I had almost no contact with the rest of the cast; it was like I was making a different movie from everyone else. It was hell." The eyeball-covering yellow lenses (used only here, as to make it easier on her, the sequels painted her eyes in post) and being basically naked during a really cold winter only made things more uncomfortable.
  • Enforced Method Acting:
    • When Wolverine first confronts Magneto, the initial look of shock at Magneto's entrance was a result of Hugh Jackman's fear of what was happening around him. He was told Magneto would tear open the train car; he thought this meant ripping off the door, not half of the train being literally pulled apart by hydraulics. He mentioned having to study that shot when doing the reaction shots so he could reproduce all the various twitches and tics he went through.
    • When Sabertooth throws Wolverine off the Statue of Liberty, the next scene is Logan slamming his claws into the side of the torch to stop falling. In an interview with Wizard, Jackman says the harness slipped and pinched him in a very uncomfortable place, as a result his screams of rage are actually genuine screams of pain.
    • When Senator Kelly is being assaulted by Mystique in the helicopter, Bruce Davison is really being struck in the face - Rebecca Romijn couldn't avoid hitting him with her foot given the yellow lenses made it hard to see.
  • Fake American: The Dutch Famke Janssen as Jean Grey, the New Zealander Anna Paquin as Rogue, and the Canadian Shawn Ashmore as Iceman.
  • Fake Nationality: The Canadian Wolverine is played by the Australian Hugh Jackman. American Halle Berry attempted a strange Kenyan accent for Storm (an actual African), although she dropped it after this film. It seemed to be a (poor) imitation of the rather odd British-African accent American Iona Morris used for the 1992 cartoon series. And British Ian McKellen as Magneto.
  • Follow the Leader: The success of this film, followed by the great success of the Spider-Man Trilogy, unleashed a deluge of modern Super Hero-inspired live-action like Daredevil and Batman Begins. Even obscure properties like Namor were optioned for movies. In can also be considered the precursor to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, especially given that MCU head honcho Kevin Feige was a producer on the film.
  • Irony as She Is Cast: Neither Patrick Stewart nor Ian McKellen knew how to play chess during filming. A chess master came in to teach them.
  • Logo Joke: Watch carefully when the 20th Century Fox fanfare ends and you'll notice the first of many Sigil Spam uses of X throughout the film: the image fades to black, but the X stays lit just a little bit longer than the rest.
  • Making Use of the Twin: Amusingly enough, averted. Mystique impersonates Bobby "Iceman" Drake (Shawn Ashmore), and in one scene, the real Iceman walks by a door shortly before the fake Iceman comes out of it. The director states in the commentary that he didn't know he'd managed to hire somebody with an identical twin who could easily have played the double and went to the bother of doing two takes spliced together.
  • No Stunt Double: Hugh Jackman did most of his own stunts. One day, he almost impaled a cameraman with his claws.
  • Orphaned Reference:
    • In Hugh Jackman's audition, Logan tells Rogue he's already saved her life once, in reference to a scene in the original script where he rescued her from an attempted rape.
    • Senator Kelly tells his aide (actually Mystique) that Jean is a mutant, despite no prior indication he knew her secret. This is because there was supposed to be a scene where Jean accidentally outed herself as a mutant by using her powers in front of Kelly. This was cut very close to filming, which is why there's also a deleted scene on the DVD where Xavier scolds Jean for losing control of her powers in public.
  • Promoted Fanboy: Hugh Jackman was thrilled to get to work with two of his heroes, Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen. Ian McKellen was likewise quite happy to work with Jackman, who he claims to have had a bit of a crush on since Oklahoma.
  • Reality Subtext: Stewart and McKellen had worked together on and off together for decades prior to this film (Royal Shakespeare Company), and (from all accounts) are friends in real life. This definitely spilled over into the on-screen chemistry, making the long standing Friendly Enemy status all the more believable.
  • Refitted for Sequel: Beast was planned for the first movie but was saved for the sequels. Concept art can be found on the X-Men 1.5 DVD.
  • Saved from Development Hell: Throughout 1989 and 1990, Stan Lee and Chris Claremont were in discussions with James Cameron and Carolco Pictures for an X-Men film adaptation. The deal fell apart when Cameron went to work on Spider-Man, Carolco went bankrupt, and the film rights reverted to Marvel Studios. In December 1992, Marvel discussed selling the property to Columbia Pictures to no avail. Meanwhile, Avi Arad produced the animated X-Men TV series for Fox Kids. 20th Century Fox was impressed by the success of the TV show, and producer Lauren Shuler Donner purchased the film rights for them in 1994. The film went through a number of scripts and actor and director changes and was eventually released in July 2000, starting a long running film series and spawning a re-emergence of superhero films.
  • Scully Box: Hugh Jackman is 6'2 and Famke Janssen is 6'0. While James Marsden is reasonably tall at 5'10, the filmmakers didn't want Cyclops to be noticeably shorter than both Wolverine and his own love interest. A number of tricks were done to make up the difference, including Marsden standing on apple boxes or wearing platform shoes. Janssen also went barefoot in some scenes where her feet aren't visible. A behind-the-scenes feature showcases Marsden humorously grousing about needing such tricks.
  • Sleeper Hit: X-Men had its release date moved forward and its budget slashed (with some planned action sequences and characters cut from the movie in pre-production), with then-Fox exec Tom Rothman fully expecting that the movie would bomb and that the company could sell the rights back to Marvel in order to cut their losses. Instead, the movie managed to nearly quadruple its production budget in raw gross and help revitalize a genre that would go on to completely change the face of Hollywood. Amusingly, Fox would become very apprehensive about sharing the X-Men rights for decades, until Marvel's parent company bought them out.
  • So My Kids Can Watch: Tyler Mane wasn't familiar with X-Men before he appeared in the movie; he prepped for the role with his son, who was a big fan of the comics.
  • Star-Making Role: For Hugh Jackman and James Marsden.
  • Throw It In!:
    • Reports suggest that the actual script of the movie didn't have Wolverine saying "bub," but Hugh Jackman threw it in. Some reports state that he actually "threw it in" many, many times. They just only kept some of them. When Wolverine meet Professor X, he says "What do they call you — Wheels?" where the Wheels part was ad-libbed. The scripted line was "What do they call you — Baldie?"
    • The scene in the train station where a young boy smiles at Cyclops and he smiles back was unplanned. The boy was a huge X-Men fan, and Cyclops was his favorite. The scene originally called for Cyclops to look at the train schedule, but according to Bryan Singer, the boy could not stop smiling at James Marsden. Finally, during one shot, Marsden just looked back at him and smiled, much to the boy's delight. Bryan Singer liked the idea so much, he kept it in the film, and told the actress playing the boy's mother to react the way she did.
  • Troubled Production: Though it was long assumed that the film had a comparatively trouble-free production outside of some effects issues, series producer Lauren Schuler Donner admitted two decades later that this wasn't remotely true, as the movie ended up delayed by a year due to a lack of a script (which ended up spliced together from a bunch of rejected drafts by David Hayter, then a little-known voice actor who worked part-time as an assistant to the director), and Bryan Singer's erratic behavior that created much turmoil in Bohemian Rhapsody actually first appeared making X-Men, often bringing young men to the office or set with him, getting addicted to pain medication for a back injury, reportedly throwing tantrums over the slightest thing, and feuding with several of the actors. Most notably, he'd often send Rebecca Romijn home without shooting her scenes, after she'd spent hours in make-up. Donner downright dispatched one of her assistants to the set to keep an eye on him... who just so happened to be one Kevin Feige, whose experience there certainly helped when he ended up being hired to oversee something called the Marvel Cinematic Universe later that decade.
  • Wag the Director:
    • During filming, Halle Berry refused to wear white contacts that covered her eyes (like in the comics) and wanted more lines/scenes.
    • According to Hugh Jackman, Bryan Singer banned comic books from the set, but the cast read them anyway.
  • What Could Have Been: Enough for its own page

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