James McAvoy Speaks Openly on X-Men: First Class Story

Published 4 years ago by , Updated September 12th, 2013 at 7:21 pm,

James McAvoy X Men First Class History James McAvoy Speaks Openly on X Men: First Class Story

The X-Men are going retro and come June 3rd, they’re taking us with them to the 1960s for X-Men: First Class. Jumping in to the important lead role of the younger Professor Charles Xavier is of course, James McAvoy, who stars opposite Michael Fassbender’s Erik Lehnsherr/Magneto, the two protagonists of Bryan Singer and Matthew Vaughn’s X-Men prequel..

Twentieth Century Fox is in full marketing swing as we approach the summer movie blockbuster season, and have only just begun showcasing the next installment to the X-Men franchise, from movie posters to the one official X-Men: First Class trailer.

Our friends at IGN were fortunate enough to fly out to the set of X-Men: First Class where they conducted a lengthy interview with James McAvoy. In their chat, they discuss Xavier’s many transformations, not the least of which involve his physical attributes. Read ahead for the highlights but beware – there are spoilers.












McAvoy confirms that his younger Professor X is certainly morally reprehensible relative to the calm and collected Patrick Stewart we all know from the X-Men trilogy. He also talks about how Xavier’s character still has so much to offer if X-Men: First Class succeeds and is able to launch its own prequel trilogy.

“Yeah, he’s a little bit of a cad. It’s quite nice to play that because throughout the course of this movie the characters are actually… it’s quite interesting, but if we do a two and a three — if this one makes any money and we do get to do more — then you’ve got a really nice start. Not only is he newly having to deal with the fact he no longer can walk, but whether he’s to challenge Magneto or not is a big deal.”

He continues to confirm that we do in fact get to see how Xavier loses his ability to walk, and possibly how he loses his hair.

“We see why he can no longer walk and why he is in a wheelchair. And hopefully we’ll find out why he lost his hair as well. In the comics he loses his hair when he sort of gains or discovers his powers. But obviously that is not the way they wanted to go in this case.”

McAvoy actually had shaved his head previously and was completely comfortable in doing that for this film if necessary, but Vaughn and co. wanted him to sport long locks for First Class and during the beginning of filming, he wore hair extensions.

Michael fassbender young magneto x men first class James McAvoy Speaks Openly on X Men: First Class Story

Moving on to the story of X-Men: First Class, McAvoy expands on the idea of mutants being new and unknown during this era, even to each other, and them meeting and showing off their powers, learning them and how/when to use them is a big part of the plot.

“Anybody who has any kind of mutant power in them is leading a very secretive and sometimes messed up life. I don’t think there is the sense yet that they are appreciated as the underclass or feared yet, but we do get to that stage where we all start to realize that: OK, there is a group of us, and we go through our sort of period of fraternity time where we are all having a great time because we realize we are not alone and suddenly we are making connections for the first time in our lives. Then things get serious and ultimately we realize that it is not just going to be a case of, ‘We’ve got these great powers, aren’t we a great addition to the Planet Earth?’ There is a lot of fear attached to it and that ultimately sort of explains the split between Erik and Charles, because one is an optimistic and one is sort of a fatalist really, or a realist maybe you could argue.”

From the trailer, we saw that First Class takes place in the thick of the cold war. How do the first group of X-Men play a crucial war in history?

“I mean the Cold War plays a big part in it and the manipulation of history is quite a nice thing. So we sort of attach ourselves to history really closely in quite a strong way, but then we also mess with history quite a lot and re-write it a little bit. We don’t change the outcome of any world events, but the explanation and the kind of machine behind those world events we kind of play off the mutants, which is great. And I think that’s kind of fun… You know, we can talk about people who can fly, people who can do this and do that and shoot energy out of their chest or spit acid or change into other people or whatever. That’s all fantastical, but to base it in something that actually happened then makes a big difference.”

With young professor being a “dirty dog” of sorts in X-Men: First Class, how does that (and his mutant powers) play into his potential love interests and character relationships?

“Between me and Rose… it’s just me and Rose. There is a love triangle between me, Fassbender and Jennifer Lawrence who plays Raven. It’s not a love triangle… basically she’s my assistant in this film, and obviously by the other films she is not my assistant anymore; she is very much not my assistant. Actually that’s quite good fun to see how that relationship disintegrates as well and why she ultimately goes over to the dark side as well. But yeah, it’s fun to inject a bit of romance into Charles’ life and not always to see him welcomed with it as well. He’s a little bit forlorn and he doesn’t really take ‘no’ for an answer. He’s not forceful in any way, but I think he’s used to using his powers to get what he wants as well.”

Lastly, and certainly the most spoiler-fused snippet from the interview, describes a scene where the “First Class” of mutants are opening up to each other, showing off their powers… then dealing with the consequences [Plot Spoilers ahead].

“Yeah, it’s basically like the first night of their new mutant existence and they all get a bit drunk and show their powers off to each other, wreck the ****ing joint and then CIA come in and go, ‘Oi, for God’s sake, you’re on Presidential money here at the moment. We’ve got some work to do.’ And I never liked the scene, but I realized the reason I didn’t like the scene is because I shouldn’t be in it and neither should Michael. They ultimately at the last minute wrote both him and I out of it, which I am really grateful for because it was a scene for the younger element. And I think it does help that we are a bit older than… there is a real teacher/pupil dynamic going on in Charles’ eyes anyway; not so much from Erik but in Charles’ eyes anyway I think he quite likes that dynamic, I think he wants to cultivate that.”

The full interview at IGN also touches on plenty of other interesting tidbits, including how McAvoy and Fassbender initially tried imitating Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellan respectively, but that director Matthew Vaughn quickly put an end to that. They also talk about impressive large-scale set pieces, Magneto’s God complex and whether or not he’s good/evil based on his actions and motivations.

Follow us on Twitter @rob_keyes and @screenrant.

X-Men: First Class opens in theaters June 3, 2011.

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  1. interstin

  2. Sounds interesting. Since it’s going to be very difficult to be worse than “X-Men: The Last Stand,” I’ll check it out.

  3. I thought his Martin Luther King/Malcolm X analogy was brillant!!! “Same goals, two different ways of going about it”. It makes so much sense!!!

  4. Hair extensions? Now that explains alot 😀

  5. I’m already sold on this movie, but this sounds good.

  6. Bryan Singer and his crew completely screwed up the X-Men. Flagrant disregard for the source material. The fact that First Class is trying to stay in line with his abominable X-Men films hinders it from being great. Marvel/Disney needs to take back the X-Men property and make their own films. As a fan I have no interest in enabling these people to make more substandard X-Men films.

    • Great – now the “disregard for the source material argument” has already been brought to this thread too.

      Film is a different medium and only inspired by the comics – not a translation of the comics into film. It doesn’t have to be the same. Writers / directors have to do what they must to make a coherent 2-hour story. Don’t like some of the unnecessary changes, fine. But there is nothing inherently bad about changing things when translating to a different medium. Get over it.

      • At this point it is not just a source material gripe as much as they are now telling people to disregard other films in what people are lead to believe is a series. And as you said they are trying to make a coherent 2-hour story but, they are in theory supposed to be several pieces that also link together somewhat coherently as well.

        Hopefully they can prove people wrong with this movie and get things back on track, since the people making this movie themselves feel other movies in the series have not been coherent story-telling. Where that problem begins and ends is up for debate though and right now the ball is in this group of director/producers/writers court.

        • Well considering they are attempting to push forward with 4 and 5, my hope is this one will tank hard enough they are willing give up and relinquish the rights, allowing Marvel to reboot the franchise CORRECTLY.

          • “but if we do a two and a three — if this one makes any money and we do get to do more — then you’ve got a really nice start.”

            This is a funny quote along with the ones the women playing Emma Frost made about Vaughn being rushed when making the movie. Don’t want to read into things but, it just sounds odd. This is also around the time when the producers claim they are working on a 4th and 5th movie of the, whatever the other movies are in relation to this one. So there are going to be four other X-Men movies, yikes……

        • Slayer
          When did anyone involved say to disregard anything about any of the prior films? The only real continuity error is Beast’s cameo in X2, which was maybe 3 seconds.

          We’ll see, maybe there is more with XFC but not that i’ve seen so far.

          • Other people having been posting that in defense of the question about what people thought was Emma Frost being in Wolverine at a certain age and then in the new movie was that Wolverine wasn’t apart of the official “cannon” as far as they were concerned.

            The whole Beast thing, which when he was on TV in the first movie, isn’t even an issue to me. He wasn’t always blue and furry and could have looked normal enough, aside from huge hands and feet. He did that to himself experimenting and did turn himself back to non-furry and back again at least once that I remember so, if they explain it that way, no problem. That’s if they know that.

            Mystique now being about 60 in the first movies and looking really good and being able to flip around like she did must be a new power she developed. Unless of course this is some new version I am not aware from the new comics…

            • I forgot about Emma, but Mistique is of indeterminate age, at one point it’s suggested she is as old as wolverine so not really an issue with XFC. Others argue that Emma in XOW is only called by her first name and only shows one power so it could be another mutant, but IMO it’s pretty clear it Emma Frost

              • The problem with Mystique is that she lost her powers in 3 and she is still young. I don’t think she has Wolverine’s power to heal so she should age normally. But I just hope XFC is an enjoyable summer flick, regardless of the continuity problems.

              • how about Moria who has been shown in all of the xmen movies, and she is also american in this one instead of scottish which she has been in the others. Oh yeah so now she is american, a CIA agent, lol, immortal , cause she is the same age in this as she is in the other xmen movies. Then You have Alex Summers whom whould have to be about 15 to 20 years older then his older brother Scott.

                • I guess Moria is not Scottish but, to make up for it a Highlander. As for Havoc I would guess in this universe he isn’t Cyclops younger brother for obvious reasons. They might not even be related in this version.

            • And now James McAvoy says that Charles Xavier loses his ability to walk in this movie, when he makes appearances years later (in movie time) during “Wolverine,” and again in “The Last Stand” as an older man (aka Patrick Stewart)…STILL WALKING AND STILL FRIENDS WITH MAGNETO. The only things these so called prequels have done is destroy the continuity of the original movies. I can’t watch them anymore without spotting HUGE mistakes.

              • Yeah, I think the best thing to do with this series if you want to try and enjoy it is leave your brain at the door. I have not liked these movies enough to watch them over and over again but, they do not stand up well to scrutiny at all.

                All the talk about them not being able to follow the comics continuity is not even the point. They don’t follow their own movies for some reason which is where most people are having problems.

  7. I agree Panda.

  8. This film was rushed into production and we all know Vaughn just did it for the paycheck. He will never direct another X film again under the crappy Fox and Rothman. Kick Ass will wind up being better than this latest lousy X film.

    • Wow…..

    • So you would be happy if abin Sur passed his ring off to Guy Gardner instead of Jordan, Or that Carol Ferris was actually a school teacher or a cop. How about this they use Alan Scott as the green lantern and he is the one whom meets the Guardians oh and the Guardians actually look like Dominators. how about that the Corp doesnt exist and its only Jordan.

  9. I am interested after the statement about mutants discovering each other and meeting secretely to share their powers out of “normal” peoples way… As a gay man I have always felt a strong parallel between the evolution of X-men and the evolution of being gay. People who are different meeting in secret where they can show their true selves, being happy to find they are not alone, while at the same time being publicly hated. Of special interest was always those mutants that are visibly identifiable as such and thus had to be totally “out” or spend their time completely hidden away…
    So I hope this movie does indeed show character development in this light!

  10. I thought Kick-ass was relatively decent. But I will catch this movie on boot leg, i refuse to continue to wach them place characters where they don’t belong like we don’t know any better.