Emery was concerned about the crowd-freezing scene as he was to shoot something similar for a post-credit stinger included at the end of 2013’s “The Wolverine.” In “The Wolverine,” the title character (Hugh Jackman) was at an airport, about to pass through security, when he noticed coins and other metal objects mysteriously floating up off of the counters around him. He wheels around to see Magneto (Ian McKellan) behind him. Then, just like in “X2,” the crowd freezes in place. It seems that Professor X is there as well, now having teamed up with his old rival Magneto.
Emery looked to Singer’s film for clues and asked his forebears for advice. No, he learned, that was not a special effect. It was just talented performers who were very good at standing still. Emery asked Singer and Sigel about it, and recalled the following exchange:
“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.'”
For both “X2” and “The Wolverine,” then, the filmmakers hired scads of mimes to appear as featured extras, happy to have people who were good at slowing their movements and coming to a halt. This author was unable to find if there were common performers for both films. There may not have been, however, as “X2” was filmed in British Columbia and Alberta, Canada, and “The Wolverine” was filmed in Japan and New South Wales, Australia. It’s likely each production culled mimes from the local talent pool.