CAREER ON STAGE AND SCREEN
Run & Jump (15)
And as both men stride into their seventies they together form the living core of X-Men.
It was James McAvoy, star of Atonement, Trance and Filth, who confessed to being nervous around Stewart when they filmed a scene involving a meeting between the young and old Xavier characters. It’s to Stewart’s credit that he recognised his co-star’s discomfort and appreciated it.
“It was challenging because of the nature of the scene that James and I had to play,” he recalls.
“It was my last day of work on the movie and his first. So I was in quite a different place and James had to pretty much start cold. But we both found the scene very interesting, and it presented an acting challenge as to how we would respond to being face to face with our younger or older self.
“I found that challenge fascinating and I wish we’d had more time on-screen together, because I’ve admired him for many years but never before had an opportunity to work with him until he shot that one scene.”
There is a sense of Stewart winding down. He will be 74 in July and, in recent years, has been seen to be reconnecting with his Yorkshire roots. And 14 years after the original X-Men came out Stewart clearly still enjoys the day job.
“The drama and intensity really never let up for us in this film. In the past we’ve had lighter moments and sometimes even scenes of quite conventional action. But not in this one, because the external threat is so present and so demanding that everything is at a high level of tension.
“It’s not too challenging picking up the X-Men reins again.”
X-Men: Days of Future Past (12A) is on saturation release.