Famke Janssen has portrayed powerful mutant Jean Grey five times onscreen, since the first “X-Men” film and continuing all the way through to 2014’s “X-Men: Days of Future Past”.
Yet for the 2016 followup “X-Men: Apocalypse”, which focused on younger versions of the characters in the 1980s, producers decided to “go in another direction,” as per Hollywood parlance. As a result, Jean Grey had been recast with “Game of Thrones” star Sophie Turner in the role.
In an interview with Us Weekly, Janseen, 52, reveals the decision to not reprise the role in the most recent “X-Men” film was decidedly not hers.
“I didn’t give up, they gave up on me,” she reveals. “There’s a big difference.”
The producers’ motivation? Janssen hints that it could have been a combination of those two old Hollywood favourites, ageism and sexism.
“It was their [producers’] decision, you know?” she explains. “It’s like what happens in life. You get, well not to me thankfully. But people, just like when men trade women in for a younger model version. It’s like that.”
In an earlier interview with Entertainment Weekly Radio, Janssen pointed to a double standard when it comes to the “next generation” versions of the “X-Men”, in which younger versions of Professor X (originally played by Sir Patrick Stewart) and Magneto (Sir Ian McKellen), for example, are portrayed by James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender, respectively.
“In the ‘X-Men’ series, they’ve been doing this for years,” said Janssen in the 2016 interview. “Although women, it’s interesting because they’re replaced, and the older versions — or more mature, whatever the politically correct version of that is — are never to be seen again. Whereas the men are allowed to be both ages. Sexism. I think that I should be back along with my younger version and the way that we’ve seen it with Magneto and Professor X.”