We’ve long known that studios of bigger film franchises like Marvel, DC, and even Scream have gone out of their way to keep the cast caught off guard and out of the loop when it comes to spoilers. However, a similar situation took a more sinister turn on the set of an X-Men flick when the studio tried to pull a bait-and-switch with Halle Berry.
According to director Matthew Vaughn, Halle Berry was given a fake script detailing a much different story for her character Storm in X-Men: First Class in order to lure her into returning for another movie.
Matthew Vaughn, who rebooted the X-Men franchise with 2011’s X-Men: First Class revealed that, in an attempt to get Berry back into her role as Storm, she was given a script that would be scrapped as soon as the ink dried on her contract.
Speaking with ScreenRant at this weekend’s New York City Comic-Con, Vaughn says that before steering the franchise in his particular direction in 2011, he was first asked by the studio to take over Bryan Singer’s position as the helmer of 2006’s X-Men: The Last Stand which was set to star Hugh Jackman and Halle Berry.
“I went to an executive’s office and I saw an ‘X3’ script. It was a lot fatter. I asked, ‘What is this draft?’ They were like, ‘Don’t worry about it.’ So I grabbed it, and opened the first page, and it said, ‘Africa. Kids dying from no water, and Storm creates a thunderstorm to save all these children.’”Matthew Vaughn
When he went in to chat with a studio exec about the film, he caught a glimpse of “an ‘X3’ script.” Immediately noting that the pile of papers “was a lot fatter,” Vaughn was told, “‘Don’t worry about it.’”
The X-Men director’s curiosity got the better of him and, he says, that when he flipped to the first page, there was a story centered around Halle Berry’s Storm that saw her forming a thunderstorm to save children in Africa. Vaughn, who says he was excited by the idea, asked the exec to present more info on the copy which he had never seen before.
It was then that the bigwig glibly said that it was nothing more than a fake copy of the script that they planned to pass to Berry in order to get her to sign on for the film.
“They said, ‘This is the Halle Berry script, because she hasn’t signed on yet. This is what she wants it to be. And once she signs on, we’ll throw it in the bin.’”Matthew Vaughn
Vaughn says that it was at that very moment that he knew he couldn’t step up to the plate to direct X-Men: The Last Stand. Standing by Halle Berry and having nothing but respect for the critically acclaimed star, Vaughn says that he remembers thinking, “If you’re going to do that to an Oscar-winning actress who plays Storm, I quit.” Without so much as a second thought, Vaughn left the production, leaving the directorial task up to Rush Hour’s Brett Ratner.
Despite the X-Men script rewrites, Halle Berry did, in fact, reprise her role in The Last Stand. Of course, that superhero moment in Africa never happened, nor did anything else like it. The closest moment in the limelight she received for being such an outstanding member of the team was when Storm was given the leading spot as the head of Charles Xavier’s school for mutants following the beloved professor’s death.
As for Vaughn, he would ultimately land a job with the franchise years later in 2011’s X-Men: First Class, breathing fresh air into a film series that had, by that point, certainly seen better days. While Halle Berry was nowhere to be found on the call sheet, Vaughn worked with a team that included James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Kevin Bacon, Nicholas Hoult, January Jones, Zoë Kravitz, Rose Byrne, and Jennifer Lawrence.