JAMES MCAVOY COMES FULL CIRCLE AS PROFESSOR X IN X-MEN: APOCALYPSE
I t wasn’t so much a passing of the torch as a passing of the clippers. When James McAvoy shaved his head to go full Professor X in XMen: Apocalypse, the famed baldy he inherited the role from, Sir Patrick Stewart, was watching on.
“I thought we’d be lucky to get him on the phone but we got better than that, we got him on, eh – what do you call it? – Facetime,” says McAvoy, with a few other F words thrown in for good measure.
“It would have been nice if he actually shaved my head for me, but I suppose we were lucky to have him present at all. It was nice, man. I am and was a fan of Star Trek and I loved him playing Jean-Luc Picard. To get me, with him watching, trying to pretend to be him was quite a kiddie fantasy realisation moment.”
Scotsman McAvoy, 37, first stepped into Professor Charles Xavier’s shoes in 2011’s X-Men: First Class, before going face to face with Stewart as the past and future Professor in 2014’s Days of Future Past.
In Apocalypse, he rolls into the most well-known incarnation of the character: helping the next generation of mutants at his School for Gifted Youngsters.
Although McAvoy had played roles in The Chronicles of Narnia, romcom Wimbledon and action flick Wanted in the mid-2000s, he was far more an actor’s actor.
The father of one, who recently announced his divorce from actress wife of nine years Anne-Marie Duff, starred in British TV series State of Play and Shameless and films such as Atonement and The Last King of Scotland before signing on to the Xfranchise.
The fact he might be able to join a universe he had loved as a kid watching the Marvel cartoon got him excited.
“(The script) was only 40 pages at this point and it looked like it was gonna be a little bit funny and tongue-in-cheeky and it was gonna have a real style and vibe. ‘‘I thought ‘great, I’m in’.” It was different to what he expected, mostly because of the complex work required of him as an actor ... “in a bloomin’ superhero movie”.
While Apocalypse introduces a younger generation of X-Men, the core of the movie stays true to that established in First Class – Charles, his friend/foe Erik/ Magneto, played by Michael Fassbender, and Raven/ Mystique, played by Jennifer Lawrence.
Apocalypse fulfils the Xcontract for McAvoy, Fassbender and Lawrence. Yet all three seem open to more.
X- Men: Apocalypse opens today
Scottish actor James McAvoy, 37, starring as Professor Charles Xavier in the new Marvel comics film X-Men: Apocalypse.