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SPECIAL COVERAGE: 'X-MEN: FIRST CLASS'
McAvoy Happy With 'First Class' Direction Of Xavier
By Tim Lammers
June 6, 2011
INTERVIEWS, REVIEWS & MOVIE NEWS BY TIM LAMMERS
James McAvoy in "X-Men: First Class."
20th Century Fox Image
For a brief time earlier this year James McAvoy and Patrick Stewart shared dialogue in a scene in the animated Sir William Shakespeare-flavored family movie "Gnomeo & Juliet." But as things often go in the world of animated moviemaking, McAvoy and Stewart never shared the recording studio with one another.
For "X-Men" fans, the scene was still remarkable, however, since it marked a unique time that the once and future Xavier both appeared on the same marquee.
"We didn't meet, unfortunately, on 'Gnomeo and Juliet,' but we did meet six years ago when he presented me with an award -- which was kind of weird, not knowing someday that I was going to play the young Xavier," McAvoy said in a recent interview. "But it was cool at the time because I'm such fan of him in 'Star Trek,' David Lynch's 'Dune' and 'X-Men.' I'm hoping to get a chance to meet up with him again at some point."
McAvoy, of course, plays the young Charles Xavier in "X-Men: First Class," the "X-Men" movie prequel that scored more than $55 million over the weekend to secure the top spot at the North American box office.
Mostly set in the 1960s, "First Class" recalls, among other things, when a young Xavier first meets Erik Lensherr (Michael Fassbender) before the two assume the identities of Professor X and Magneto. And while
'X-Men' Star Plays Young Professor X In Hit Prequel
"First Class" isn't the first "X-Men" prequel, McAvoy doesn't place the film in the same realm of "X-Men Origins: Wolverine."
"It's not really one of the origins films because if it were, it would have to concentrate on just one character and thoroughly explore where they came from," McAvoy said. "But this properly concentrates on at least four or five characters. It's more about the origins of the relationship between Erik and Charles, more than anything else. Yes, we see Charles and Erik very young in the beginning of the film, but then it catches up to them again in their late 20s/early 30s."
Like director Matthew Vaughn's and Michael Fassbender's decision not to emulate Ian McKellen as Magneto, McAvoy is glad the director didn't ask him to do an impersonation of a young Stewart.
"It's a very different version of Xavier," McAvoy explained. "There would be no point in doing the same character again in a prequel if he were exactly the same. The fun of doing the character lies in how different a character he was, and watching his journey to who Xavier ultimately became."
Fans, of course, found out early on through photos and trailers that McAvoy's Xavier was going to be decidedly different. Chief among the differences were that Xavier was not in a wheelchair, and furthermore, the character had all of his hair.
"We were going to shave my head at the beginning -- it seemed like the obvious route to go, but then they decided to do it differently and start fresh," McAvoy said.
Perhaps, though, with the success of "First Class" and a sequel, McAvoy may get another shot at a clean (shaven) start.
"I would imagine that if we do a sequel, it seems like the natural way to go. I'm hoping to do it anyway," McAvoy said. "I've shaven my head before and liked it. And I'd quite like to do it playing Charlie-boy."