James McAvoy Biography: In His Own Words – Video Exclusive, News, Photos
James McAvoy (born April 21, 1979; age: 42) is a Scottish actor best known for his role as Mr. Tumnus, the faun from The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (2005), The Last King of Scotland (2006), Atonement (2007), Wanted (2008), and as the young Professor Charles Xavier in the X-Men films.
He also recently starred in the 2017 psychological thriller Split.
James McAvoy Bio: Early Life
McAvoy was born in Glasgow, Scotland, to builder James McAvoy, Sr and psychiatric nurse Elizabeth. He was raised as a Roman Catholic, and his parents divorced when he was just seven years old.
After McAvoy’s mother’s health began deteriorating, he went to live with his maternal grandparents Mary and James Johnstone, a butcher who resided in the nearby region of Glasgow. McAvoy has a sister named Joy as well as a half-brother, Donald, who is younger. McAvoy has reportedly not spoken to his father since he was a child.
McAvoy attended Catholic school St. Thomas Aquinas Secondary in Jordanhill, Glasgow, and for a short time thought of becoming a Catholic priest. He stated in a 2006 interview he had mulled over the idea of joining the priesthood because the thought of traveling the world to do missionary and other types of service work seemed very appealing to him. McAvoy also had a job at a local bakery while growing up.
James McAvoy Bio: Early Career (1995-2004)
McAvoy first began acting when he was 15 years old in The Near Room (1995). He continued acting while remaining a member of PACE Youth Theatre. McAvoy earned his degree from the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama in 2000. During the early 2000s, he made guest appearances in television series and started working in films.
In 2001, McAvoy played a gay hustler in the play Out in the Open. His performance amazed director Joe Wright, and Wright began offering McAvoy roles in his movies. McAvoy turned down these offers several times, however, and the pair didn’t finally collaborate until six years afterwards.
That same year, McAvoy appeared in Band of Brothers, the eleven-hour World War II HBO miniseries that was executive produced by Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg. McAvoy won further acclaim in 2002’s White Teeth, a four-part television drama miniseries based on Zadie Smith‘s book of the same name.
McAvoy went on to play a reporter in the 2003 six-part British BBC One drama series State of Play. That same year, he appeared in the Sci Fi Channel miniseries Frank Herbert’s Children of Dune, which was based on Frank Herbert’s novels. The series earned record-high ratings on the network.
In 2004, McAvoy had a supporting role in the romantic comedy Wimbledon, which starred Kirsten Dunst as the lead. That same year, he appeared in the first two seasons of the British series Shameless as Steve McBride.
James McAvoy Bio: Critical Success (2005-Present)
McAvoy jumped to further mainstream success after he played Mr. Tumnus, the faun in the 2005 Disney fantasy film The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, based on C.S. Lewis’s children’s novel of the same name.
The following year, McAvoy played a nerdy college student who earns a spot on a University Challenge quiz team in the 1980s in Starter for 10. The film was directed by David Nicholls, who adapted the film’s script from his own novel.
McAvoy then starred opposite Forest Whitaker in the 2006 Oscar-winning historical drama The Last King of Scotland, a role for which Whitaker reportedly recommended McAvoy to director Kevin Macdonald. McAvoy played a Scottish doctor who becomes the personal physician of Ugandan dictator Idi Amin (played by Whitaker) and drew praise for his performance, and also received a BAFTA nomination for Best Supporting Actor.
In 2007, McAvoy starred in three movies: the Jane Austen biographical romantic drama Becoming Jane (opposite Anne Hathaway and Maggie Smith), the fantasy film Penelope and the romantic war drama Atonement. McAvoy portrayed an Irish lawyer and the love interest of Austen in Becoming Jane.
Atonement, Joe Wright’s adaptation of Ian McEwan’s novel of the same name, centers on a pair of lovers (McAvoy and Keira Knightley) whose lives are forever changed after Knightley’s character’s jealous little sister Briony (Saoirse Ronan) falsely accuses McAvoy’s character of sexual assault.
Upon reading the script, McAvoy said he thought: “If I don’t get the part I’m not reading the book because it’ll be devastating. It’s an amazing role and I really wanted it.”
Both McAvoy and Knightley were nominated for their performances for Golden Globe Awards (Best Actor and Actress in a Drama).
In 2008, McAvoy played the lead role of a slacker recruited to a secret league of assassins in the action thriller film Wanted, which also starred Morgan Freeman and Angelina Jolie.
McAvoy sustained several injuries while working on the film, including a twisted ankle and an injured knee. Still, he said he had a “good time” making the film.”
Wanted was a box office success: it made $341 million despite having a $75 million production budget.
McAvoy then appeared in the 2009 biopic The Last Station, a film about the last months of famed Russian writer Leo Tolstoy’s life that featured Christopher Plummer in the title role. McAvoy’s then-wife Anne-Marie Duff also starred in the film, as well as Helen Mirren and Paul Giamatti.
In 2011, McAvoy played the young Charles Xavier (who also goes by the name “Professor X”) in the X-Men prequel X-Men: First Class. The film also starred Michael Fassbender, Rose Byrne, Kevin Bacon and Jennifer Lawrence.
That same year, McAvoy played the lead role in the Robert Redford-directed historical drama The Conspirator, which centered on the plotting of Abraham Lincoln’s assassination. He also provided voice roles in the 2011 animated films Gnomeo & Juliet and Arthur Christmas.
In 2013, McAvoy starred in two British thriller films: Welcome to the Punch and Danny Boyle’s Trance.
McAvoy then played a Scottish detective in the 2013 British crime comedy-drama film Filth. The film, which also starred Jamie Bell and Imogen Poots (as well as McAvoy’s sister Joy) drew mixed reviews. McAvoy described his character as “sexist, racist, homophobic, xenophobic and mentally ill” in several interviews, given that the character displays sociopathic, schizophrenic and bipolar characteristics.
In 2014, McAvoy starred alongside Jessica Chastain, Viola Davis, William Hurt and Bill Hader in the romantic drama film The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby.
McAvoy then played the title character in the 2015 fantasy horror film Victor Frankenstein, which co-starred Daniel Radcliffe and was based on Mary Shelley’s 1818 novel Frankenstein.
In 2017, McAvoy starred in two films. The first was M. Night Shyamalan’s psychological horror-thriller Split, in which he played a man with dissociative identity disorder (formerly multiple personality disorder). His character has 23 different personalities who kidnaps and imprisons three teenage girls. The film earned rave reviews, and McAvoy’s performance was seen by many critics as one of the best of his career. It is a standalone sequel to Shyamalan’s 2000 film Unbreakable.
McAvoy also starred alongside Charlize Theron and John Goodman in the 2017 action spy thriller film Atomic Blonde, based on the 2012 graphic novel The Coldest City.
McAvoy is currently starring in two films: the romantic drama Submergence (2018) and the animated film Sherlock Gnomes (2018). The former is based on J. M. Ledgard’s book of the same name and stars Alicia Vikander. The film premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in September 2017.
Sherlock Gnomes is a Paramount Pictures animated comedy film that is a sequel to 2011’s Gnomeo and Juliet. McAvoy reprises his role of Gnomeo. The film also features the voice talents of Emily Blunt, Mary J. Blige, Chiwetel Ejiofor and Johnny Depp as the title character.
McAvoy is set to appear in two sequels in 2019: X-Men: Dark Phoenix and Glass, a sequel to Split. Bruce Willis and Samuel L. Jackson are also set to star in Glass.
James McAvoy: Video Interview On ‘X-Men: First Class
In 2011, McAvoy sat down with uinterview for an exclusive interview on his film X-Men: First Class, which was both a prequel and reboot of sorts of the X-Men franchise.
McAvoy admitted he was nervous to play the iconic character of Charles Xavier, which was previously played by Patrick Stewart.
“I suppose I was nervous,” McAvoy told Uinterview exclusively. “I didn’t really see myself as that type of figure and I certainly didn’t see myself as the same kind of actor as Sir Patrick Stewart, who did a fantastic job portraying him in the other three or four other movies because he’s in Wolverine as well.”
He also discussed what it was like to act opposite Michael Fassbender, who played a young Magneto.
“My standout moment was probably when I nearly broke both [Michael’s] legs one day driving a golf cart and I don’t think he’ll forgive me for that simply because I was thrown clean of the cart, he was thrown into the driving seat,” he told Uinterview. “And because of that, everybody blamed him, which was fantastic.”
James McAvoy Bio: Personal Life, Girlfriends, Social Media, Net Worth, Quotes
McAvoy began dating Anne-Marie Duff while shooting Shameless, and the couple married in November 2006. The pair have a son named Brendan (born 2010) together.
Duff and McCoy agreed to divorce in May 2016.
McAvoy is a major soccer fan, and his favorite team is Celtic FC. He said his dream role would be to play Jimmy Johnstone, a legend from the team. McAvoy says he is a spiritual person, and no longer actively practices Catholicism.
McAvoy is 5-foot-7 and weight 148 pounds. He is not on Twitter, but is on Instagram as @jamesmcavoyrealdeal.
In an interview with Sky News, McAvoy once stated he thinks British directors dumb down their films to satisfy American audiences. “It’s like we’re patronising them and short changing ourselves,” he said.
McAvoy also once called 3-D films a “waste of money.”
McAvoy’s net worth is estimated at $17 million.
“Distance is a bad excuse for not having a good relationship with somebody. It’s the determination to keep it going or let it fall by the wayside; that’s the real reason that the relationships continue.”
“At the heart of every really good Christmas movie is the threat, I suppose, to Christmas. Something is wrong with Christmas, in all of these movies. In ‘The Polar Express,’ there’s a kid that doesn’t really believe, and that’s the threat to Christmas. In ‘Santa Claus: The Movie,’ jealousy and greed are threatening to overrun his Christmas.”
“‘St. Elmo’s Fire’ is one of my favorite films. I like the storytelling of those teenage American films. You don’t get that now. Teenage American movies are all about sick jokes, puking a lot, arse jokes.”
“The funny thing is, I’ve never really hurt myself in an action movie. I’ve done ‘Wanted,’ ‘X-Men,’ ‘Welcome To The Punch,’ even ‘Trance’ to a certain extent has little bits of action and stuff, but I’ve never really hurt myself at all – not even like a sprained ankle.”
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