Famke Janssen

Famke Janssen

Famke Janssen portrayed Jean Grey in X-Men, X2: X-Men United, X-Men: The Last Stand, The Wolverine and X-Men: Days of Future Past.

Significant roles

  • Dorothea Swann in Lord of Illusions (1995)
  • Xenia Onatopp in 007: GoldenEye (1995)
  • Leeanne Magruder in The Gingerbread Man (1998)
  • Bonnie in Celebrity (1998)
  • Miss Elizabeth Burke in The Faculty (1998)
  • Evelyn Stockard-Price in House on Haunted Hill (1999)
  • Kate Welles in Love & Sex (2000)
  • Jessica in Made (2001)
  • Aggie Conrad in Don't Say a Word (2001)
  • Judy Arnolds in Eulogy (2004)
  • Katherine in Hide and Seek (2005)
  • Allegra Marshall in The Treatment (2006)
  • Gretchen Reigert in The Ten (2007)
  • Jennife Johnson in The Chameleon (2010)


  • "I love the first two X-Mens because I thought that Bryan Singer did such a great job. He elevated that whole genre. He's a very talented director."
  • "This is the wonderful thing about Jean Grey or Phoenix. I don't have to be in any decent shape. She can cause mass destruction by doing nothing. By giving you a little wink and..."
  • "I think in this one, Phoenix is not purely evil. She was in the comic books at some point but the way the writers created her or we always talked about her, was that she was torn with her powers taking over and trying to control them at the same time. It was challenging to play which made it interesting for me to play this character."
  • "The director always determines the tone of the set. So every single time when you act in a film, and there's a different director, which of course as actors we're used to experiencing that's what we do, it's a different experience. So this one was certainly a different experience from Bryan's. I think during the making of X-Men 1 and 2, I feel that we talked a lot more. Before we did the scenes we rehearsed..."
  • "At the end of X2 there is a Phoenix over the lake and my voice over talking about evolution... so that was definitely the foreshadowing of the Phoenix rising. They could have chosen not to take that path and they could have done a whole different... comics have been around for forty years so there were many storylines to choose from. I'm excited they chose this one."
  • "I think that Professor X and Magneto were trying to get into her head. To control her. I think the whole struggle in the film for Phoenix and Jean Grey is that she goes between these two elements that she has within her. The powers that are so strong, they overpower her and the old Jean Grey that could control them. I think the majority of her time is spent in conflict in her head. One wins over the other at one moment, she has moments of being more lucid than others. She wouldn't want to be controlled by anybody. I think it's clear she never particularly chose for... because there's a moment for Magneto where she says, "And what do you want?" Basically, are you trying to control me as well? I think it's in that moment at the very end where Wolverine is getting to her that the soldiers come in and start shooting. That triggers a thing in her again and she goes back to the dark side. It is a constant struggle between her normal Jean Grey and the dark Phoenix. I talked to the writers a lot about the ending of the film wanting to make clear that she wasn't taking a side... between Magneto or the X-Men and that it was a constant struggle in her head. If this had been a movie just about the Phoenix we would have had a lot more time to explore the different avenues that you can explore for that. Given that there's so many characters in the X-Men, and we have to do justice to every single one of their characters and storylines, we have to use broader strokes in that case."
  • "One never knows. Jean Grey, the Phoenix...she finds a way to reincarnate herself constantly, so one never knows. [However] I'm in no position to say anything, just stay tuned."
  • "I'm sitting by the phone waiting, call me up Bryan! I think their challenge is that I died as Jean Grey and I died as the Phoenix, so what else can they do? If they bring a younger version back, they'll have to get a younger actress, so what is there left to do?"
  • "I think that the X-Men series is a really successful one in constantly finding new and additional characters, or younger versions of the same characters to explore. Of course the X-Men as a comic book has so many characters that filmmakers can explore. I like what they’re doing. I think that they’ve always chosen really fine actors. With X-Men: First Class you had Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence and James McAvoy so it’s amazing the kind of actors they keep getting for these. It’s a classy series so I’m proud to be a part of it."
  • "I couldn't tell you how much I’m in it. It’s a flashback sequence, but that’s all I can say. You’ll just have to wait until July!"
  • "X-Men: The Last Stand ended on a very high emotional note, but the audience didn't really have the time to really process what happened which is that The Wolverine kills Pheonix/Jean Grey and that's something people were left with. The fact that Jim and Hugh took on this part [for my character], even though it's a very small through-line for this film, it's such an important part of the series, and what happens with the journey Logan goes through after that. The guilt that he lives with, the reconciliation he has to do with his past, and the fact that somehow this Jean Grey character that comes in -- in trying to either guide him or challenge him or find a way to help him through his part of his past -- I think that is a really beautiful way [Jim and Hugh] incorporated it into the story."
  • "I've never really been able to watch these films without any kind of preconceived notions, because I was a part of [production from beginning to end], but this one because I was only there less than a week I didn't really know what was going on.. I saw the film the film as a true audience member and I think what's so absolutely remarkable about it is I think women are going to respond to this film more than any other of the X-Men films so far because it has love story, it has real emotional depth."
  • "I'm a really good liar it turns out! By then I'd already filmed it. I was sworn to secrecy that's all. I'm not really keen on lying and I have a lot of problem with people who come into my life and lie, but if I'm forced to do it, it does not come easy. There has been two moments now, with Wolverine and with X-Men movies, especially Days of Future Past where I was sworn to secrecy so I kept my word. They were deep into filming when they approached me."
  • "I had run into James Marsden at various film festivals with films, and we've bumped into one another, but I don't get to see Patrick or any of them as often or frequently as I want to, so whenever we're on set together, it's sort of like a family reunion."
  • "That's generally what I find wonderful about these X-Men characters, that there are as many female characters are there male, which doesn't seem to be the case most of the time, I find. A lot of these comic book adaptations aren't necessarily like that a lot of the time—the women's parts are essentially the girlfriends or whatever—so it's really nice to play the scientist, doctor or a strong interesting character. And then we have to really focus on the love story part of it on Wolverine and Jean Grey, and it keeps giving something, especially because it supposedly can't go anywhere, so it becomes even more fun to play around with it. That's thanks to Bryan Singer: he set it up as a universe full of interesting strong women."

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