It's hard to believe it's been over 17 years since the first X-Men film hit theaters. Even more unbelievable is the wave of superhero films we've seen come as a result of its success. And like so many films of the genre, we've seen changes come along that force us as viewers to accept a whole new cast and dynamic. A prime example of this is Famke Janssen, the X-Men actor who is no stranger to these unfortunate but often expected casting changes.
Through 15 years and five films, Janssen played #JeanGrey, also known as The Phoenix. She first appeared in Fox's original #XMen trilogy, and then popped up briefly in subsequent films, like The Wolverine and the prequel (or sequel, depending on how you classify it), Days Of Future Past.
But when the time came to recast the role, Janssen was understandably upset her version of the character didn't get the same on screen treatment as her male co-stars. When she was recently asked by Us Weekly why she left the franchise, she didn't hold anything back.
“I didn’t give up, they gave up on me. There’s a big difference. It was their [the producers] decision, you know? It’s like what happens in life. [...] But people, just like men trade women in for a younger model version. It’s like that.”
The role was recast with Game Of Thrones star Sophie Turner taking on the role in X-Men: Apocalypse and the upcoming reboot of the Dark Phoenix saga. Though Janssen was excited to see what Turner brought to the role, it did feel unfair to leave her out and she blames, again understandably, Hollywood's undying ageist and sexist casting practices. But being the strong, undeterred woman she is, Famke refused to let her exit from the blockbuster franchise slow her down.
From 'X-Men' Onward, To Even Better Roles
Since her departure as a main cast member of the X-Men, Janssen has kept herself quite busy. Jumping from big budget blockbusters to acclaimed independent features and even once directing a film she co-wrote and produced, there's no limit to what she strives to achieve.
Her recurring roles on major TV dramas such as #TheBlacklist and #HowToGetAwayWithMurder (where she quickly became a fan-favorite) has brought the actor newfound acclaim and a wider fanbase that has helped people recognize her outside of just saying, "Oh, that's the woman from X-Men." In fact, HTGAWM creator Peter Nowalk recently said, “Famke is the most amazing, generous actor." Later, when asked about her returning to the show in the future, he said,
"I love Famke so much, and I love Eve and Annalise together. I hope we will see her again. We don't have specific plans for that right now, but you never know."
Aside from TV, Janssen has some interesting projects in the pipeline including a modern day take on the Tom Hanks film, Big, an action/drama film called Asher that co-stars Ron Perlman, and Cuba Gooding Jr.'s directorial debut, Louisiana Caviar. She's also expressed interest in returning to direct another film if given the opportunity.
If all this shows us anything, it's that blockbuster films don't define an actor and losing out on them to a younger star isn't the end of a career; it's simply the beginning of another chapter. Janssen isn't letting one role define her or let that casting change slow her down. We hope she'll continue to break the mold of Hollywood's archaic casting system until we no longer have to watch overlooked, equally talented actors fade from the spotlight.
[Source: Us Weekly]