Dark Phoenix cast talks emotional character journeys, massive practical stunts, pranks on set

Photo credit: 20th Century Fox, acquired from Fox Movies site
Photo credit: 20th Century Fox, acquired from Fox Movies site /

The cast of Dark Phoenix revealed the magnitude of the practical sets and stunts in the movie, including a real rogue subway car, and called out the biggest prankster on set (it’s not who you’re thinking).

Dark Phoenix took the stage at WonderCon’s Arena to share some extended first-looks at the film with fans. We learned from several cast members about how their characters are changing and evolving in this new chapter, and that the focus of story will be able to highlight the very unique strengths throughout the team. Along with a very intense group mission scene in space, the Dark Phoenix team also gave audiences a look at the massive practical stunts that will be seen in the film.

Because of the space mission gone wrong, Jean Grey will start to develop incredible powers in Dark Phoenix that corrupt her. At the panel, Sophie Turner gave the audience some more insight into the differences we can expect to see between Jean Grey and the “Dark” Phoenix, and why they’re not two separate characters. “It’s not really like day and night,” Turned said. “They’re kind of fused together, and that’s why there’s such an internal struggle is because it’s two kind of separate entities fighting each other within one person’s body.”

The X-Men team evolving in Dark Phoenix

Several other cast members also opened up about how we can expect to see their characters evolving in Dark Phoenix. Tye Sheridan, who plays Cyclops, explained that while Cyclops is unable to use eyes to show emotion, we’re going to see him convey expressions through “a lot of eyebrow activity.” For Sheridan, the films are so much fun to do because “they jump from decade to decade. A lot happens over the course of ten years, and so you get to explore these characters in the new chapters of their lives.”

Nicholas Hoult confirmed that we will get to see a new emotional side of Beast as he learns to come into himself, especially because Beast will be taking a step away from Charles Xavier in the story. Alexandra Shipp, who plays Storm, teased we’re going to see a new skill set from Storm as well, but in the form of physical power. “It was really fun being able to do all the stunts and do more hand-to-hand combat,” Shipp told the audience. “You really kind of get to see Storm exude more power.”

Dark Phoenix’s practical sets and stunts

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Filmmakers spoke on the magnitude of the practical sets that were built for the movie, most impressively, the recreation of several blocks of Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue all within a soundstage. And when you see the film, you’ll understand why there was a need to bring that real-life location into a more controlled environment.

There are several VERY REAL practical stunts in the scene, and one of the most impressive stunts involves a rogue subway car that is pulled up through the ground to street level. The (real) subway car was supposed to come to a stop 10 feet behind the actor in the scene, and filmmakers explained that it worked in rehearsal, but on the day the scene was shot (and they only had once chance to get it right), the subway car wound up actually stopping within INCHES behind the actor — who didn’t flinch. The bricks falling from the ceiling around the actor were also real (not styrofoam), so keep an eye out for these stunts when the team gets to that Fifth Avenue set.

Dark Phoenix cast names biggest prankster

The panel revealed that Jessica Chastain was actually the biggest prankster this time around, but she did team up with Sophie Turner to play a prank on James McAvoy. In a scene where McAvoy had to be on wires mid-air, Chastain and Turner convinced the stunt crew responsible for controlling him. Chastain had them blast the Macarena while the stunt crew moved McAvoy around like a puppet.

Dark Phoenix pranks
Photo credit: 20th Century Fox, acquired from Fox Movies site /

Overall, the Dark Phoenix cast commented on how their were fewer pranks on set because the characters needed to go to a stronger place emotionally than they have in previous films. But there were still lots of jokes and games in-between takes, including a cast favorite called “Tequila Slaps” (which was banned after an actress got knocked out). And yes, Tequila Slaps is just what it sounds like… 2 people take a shot of tequila and then slap each other across the face.

Watch the Dark Phoenix trailer below:

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Dark Phoenix premieres this summer on June 7, 2019. Check back with Hidden Remote for more news and updates about the anticipated film!