We’ve now seen a cast photo from X-Men: First Class (expect a better version sometime today) but there was one character not shown: Sebastian Shaw, who is played by Kevin Bacon. In fact, we know little about how the on-screen version of the character will relate to the various portrayals of Shaw in years of X-Men comics continuity.

But now Kevin Bacon has explained a bit about his role, which gives us a lot more clues about what to expect. He also confirms a few details about the plot and timeline. Finally, Michael Fassbender adds a few comments, too.

Moviefone talked to Kevin Bacon, who said of his appearance,

My look is very different from the guy in the comic books. We decided pretty early on that that was not going to translate to film. But there’s a certain kind of style to the suits that I wear, but I don’t have anything extreme in the makeup department. When you first meet me — I don’t want to spoil it — but when you first meet me, I look a little different.

He’s referring to the fact that the classic version of Shaw is stocky, with large mutton chops and a bow-tied pony tail, and slightly baroque gentleman’s garb. The actor adds more detail:

You don’t see much [of his backstory] in the movie, but he’s kind of a self-made man. He lost his father as a young man, made his first million by the time he was 30 and first billion by time he was 40. He’s a very powerful billionaire and also, as it turns out, a mutant. He’s the leader of the Hellfire Club, which is a nightclub for the rich and extremely powerful. And he has a plot to take over the world, so that’s really fun. He’s incredibly good at manipulating people and at taking whatever kind of energy or ability they have and using it to his advantage, like if he’s talking to a German, he’s fluent in German. He’s very charming and able to get whatever he wants.

There are also some good comments from the actor about the scope and timeline of the film. We previously had some of these details via reports from a crew member, but Fox sent out a cease and desist, so we took down that info. But with Kevin Bacon explaining it, we’re free to run the info. So here you go:

The backdrop is the Cuban Missile Crisis, so it’s a little earlier than the Civil Rights era. I don’t think JFK is a character in the movie, but the idea of the possibility of thermonuclear war in our own backyard is there… Yes, [racial tensions are definitely in the film]. And also the fallout from the Holocaust is still there, which you’ll remember is in the first film… The set design is fantastic. I’ve only seen the sets that I’ve been on and they are really interesting and very ’60s modern and super cool, and beautiful. I have one set that’s kind of like an inner sanctum and then I also have a submarine; the inside of the sub has elements of my other set.

And, yes, as is so often the case with a studio film like this, Kevin Bacon is signed for more than one film, which tells us only that Shaw is likely to live through this movie.

Finally, here’s what Michael Fassbender told MSN about the film’s costumes:

As for our costumes, we went back and forth on so many things. We added things that worked in the comics, took them away again, and stripped them down again. … When it came to the Magneto suit, you know, there’s various stages of what has been done with it, but you will have something that is traditional to the comics.

Check out both interviews for a lot more detail.

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