Interview by Pedro Caiado
The Scottish actor James McAvoy, star of the new X Men First Class, talks about the new movie, his role and says, in an interview at the Dorchester Hotel in London, “This one had to be different.”
Were you aware of the comic books before making X-Men First Class?
I was really aware of the comic books and the cartoon when I was growing up. I was about twelve-years-old and the show had shown up on Live and Kicking I think. I would make the mistake of watching that first cartoon… and then they’d make you wait an hour and fifteen minutes to show you the second half of the cartoon.
Why did you accept this role?
I think it was due to the chance we had to redefine the characters. It’s not a reboot, like the latest Batman movies, but It’s very much a prequel.
This character (Professor Xavier) was established in the comic books but also in the movies by another actor. Did you look at the actor or did you base your performance on the comic book?
Well, the comic book history is very different from all of the X-Men movies that have come before; even the cartoon to a certain extent. In the comic books my character is an American person and Fox decided to make that character English when they cast Sir Patrick Stewart. So, I had to go with the film. I watched the films and then, as this is a prequel, it had to be different and the franchise needed to be fresh. Also there’s no point having that character played the same way in a different suit because it just doesn’t validate the movie. It has to be different. So I looked at Patrick and took a lot of notes but it was more about seeing something different. So, where Patrick was wise I would be foolhardy. Where he was chaste, I would be randy (laughter). By the end of three films, if we make any money, I will end up doing something that feels more like Patrick Stewart, but it was really important to start in a different place, but taking the cues from him.
Do you agree that there’s a bullying element in the context of X-Men movies?
I think that one of the things that always runs through the X-Men movies is that they are about people who feel like outsiders. People who are upset about self-loathing perhaps, are afraid of themselves and want to be normal perhaps, or rejoice in the fact that they are not normal. This is one of the key elements in all of the X-Men stuff and I think that the screenwriter managed to put in there.
There a nicely humorous element towards the end of the film where you say that you might be bald when you get older. How do you think that that might be addressed. Maybe have a nice buzz cut?
Well, either he shaves it, or he loses it. In the comic books he loses it the day that his powers activate when he is very young. We decided not to do that. Maybe it’s a smart move in an origin story. We spend time in this movie explaining why he can’t walk so we’ll get to see why he loses his hair or shaves his head in a future movie. We’ve saved all that for then (he laughs).
X-MEN FIRST CLASS opens in the UK from 1st June