WHEEL DEAL

JAMES MCAVOY COMES FULL CIR­CLE AS PRO­FES­SOR X IN X-MEN: APOCA­LYPSE

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - FRONT PAGE - NEALA JOHN­SON

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.

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