*“You just try and find as many mimes as you can”: The Greatest Hugh Jackman X-Men Scene Ever Was Never CGI, Proves Practical Effects are Always Timeless

“You just try and find as many mimes as you can”: The Greatest Hugh Jackman X-Men Scene Ever Was Never CGI, Proves Practical Effects are Always Timeless

It was a genius and simple method, which allowed X2 to feature the time-freezing scene.


hugh jackman, x-men

Back in 2003, X2 was released as the second movie in the iconic Sony franchise.
Charles Xavier was seen pulling off a time-freezing antic during one of the initial scenes in the movie.

As far as the live-action iterations of the X-Men are concerned, Patrick Stewart has become synonymous with the character of Professor Charles Xavier. The highly gifted psychic who is the leader of the X-Men, and whose ideals the entire franchise effectively revolves around, was first seen in live-action way back in 2000, with Sony’s X-Men.
Patrick Stewart as Charles Xavier in X-MenPatrick Stewart as Charles Xavier in X-Men. | Sony
This was followed by X2, as the series eventually became one of the most popular live-action superhero iterations ever produced. Throughout these movies, Charles Xavier showed off his extraordinary skills multiple times. Sometimes, it came in the form of him using Cerebro to locate mutants all over the world.

Other times, it came in the form of him being able to freeze individuals to help his young mutants escape, each time they got into trouble. The first such scene popped up in X2, or X2: X-Men United. While one would expect pulling off such a scene might be a huge challenge, especially considering the fact that the kind of technology available to the creators today was not present back then, the movie’s cinematographer, Newton Thomas Sigel revealed a hilarious and simple technique that the used to pull the scenes off.

X2’s cinematographer came up with hilarious technique to pull off Charles Xavier’s people-freezing scenes

A still from X2. | Sony
While nostalgia-inducing, older fans will remember well the scene in question. Towards the beginning of X2, a bunch of young mutants, including Pyro, Rogue, and Iceman, are seen visiting a museum. They are then approached by two bullies, who want Pyro’s famous Zippo lighter to light a cigarette.

While he refuses, the bullies snatch it, and the young mutant played by Aaron Stanford responds exactly how one would expect. He blasts the bully’s lit cigarette, and sets his jacket on fire, before Shawn Shamore’s Iceman extinguishes it.

At this moment, everyone around the three mutants freeze, seemingly stuck in their places. The camera then pans to Charles Xavier ambling over to the group on his wheelchair. He scolds his young students for breaking rules and using their powers in public, before taking them back home.

Home, of course, is the Xavier School for Gifted Youngsters, where Professor X imparts knowledge, wisdom, and training for mutants. While the scene is obviously a challenge to pull off considering the limited technology available back then, The Wolverine cinematographer Ross Emery revealed how Newton Sigel pulled it off, without using any form of technology.

X2’s time-freezing Professor X scene happened without the use of technology

X2: X-Men United (2003)

X2: X-Men United (2003) | Sony
The moment Patrick Stewart’s Charles Xavier makes his first appearance in the film will appear to current fans to be a clear result of technology. The entire audience, filled with dozens of people, immediately come to a standstill, as the mutants themselves stare around in disbelief. As it turns out, instead of using any technology, Sony actually hired a plethora of mimes in order to stand still and frozen during the scene!

A similar scene makes it to the end of The Wolverine, which leads to Ross Emery deciding to contact Newton Sigel to get his advice on how to pull it off best. He was told the following: (SlashFilm)

We were like, ‘Well, what’s the best way to do this [freezing scene]? Is it all visual effects or do you shoot people against green screens?’ They said, ‘No, you just employ mimes. You just try and find as many mimes as you can. ‘All of the foreground people are actually professional mime artists … It’s as simple as that.’

Emery then followed his predecessor’s suit, and realized that all of his thinking and speculation was useless, considering the fact that Sigel had come up with a hilariously old-fashioned way to pull the scene off. And thus, during the ending of The Wolverine, as Hugh Jackman’s iconic character walks through an airport, he first notices coins flying in the air, before people around him once again come to a standstill.

That scene, like the one in X2, was also a result of the largescale hiring of mimes, instead of any sort of technological trick

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