James McAvoy on Charles Xavier’s ‘X-Men: First Class’ Combat Readiness

Published 4 years ago by , Updated January 22nd, 2011 at 9:44 am,

X Men First CLass Professor Xavier James McAvoy 570x379 James McAvoy on Charles Xaviers X Men: First Class Combat Readiness

Images from X-Men: First Class were released earlier this week much to the delight of  fans eager for clues about the Matthew Vaughn directed film, which had been, prior to this point, shrouded in a bit of an air of mystery.

Very little in the way of publicity or marketing materials had been released, however, the last several days have yielded ripe and juicy fruit in the way of character reveals from the actors; the aforementioned stills, and official banners, and posters from the production. To round out this fresh informational crop, earlier today we had the chance to sit down with one of the film’s stars, James McAvoy, aka Professor Charles Xavier, and gain some insight into how the leader of the X-Men will be portrayed in his younger years.

Stay tuned for the remainder of our interview with McAvoy regarding his role in the upcoming animated take on Shakespeare’s classic romantic tragedy Romeo and Juliet, now titled Gnomeo & Juliet; and of course, Screen Rant will be providing all available updates on X-Men: First Class.

Screen Rant: One thing people are wondering is how Professor X is going to be depicted in terms of combat, as he trained for it in the comics.

James McAvoy: He’s not too combat savvy in this film, it has to be said. He doesn’t do too much, he’s sort of a consultant with the combat guys. But he does get involved in a few little bits of fisticuffs, I wouldn’t say that he comes out well in any of them, but I wouldn’t say that he gets his ass kicked either. Yeah he’s not particularly combat ready.

SR: So it will be more about the mind control.

JM: Yes.

SR: Will he end up in the chair at the end and will he end up bald? Because that is the current rumor.

JM: You’ll have to wait and see, you’ll have to wait and see. It’s actually quite satisfying when you get to say that: ‘I’m not allowed to say.’ Because nobody’s actually told you that you’re not allowed to say, but it’s sort of implied.

SR: Awww, c’mon you can tell me.

At this point, McAvoy’s management team stuck their heads in the room as a gentle reminder for me to not get too sassy.

JM: Noooo, I can’t (Scottish lilt ever-present and almost charming enough to soften the lack-of-scoop blow). I haven’t even told my agent, they don’t even know I’m doing the film.

x men first class magneto professor x1 570x380 James McAvoy on Charles Xaviers X Men: First Class Combat Readiness

SR: Ooooookay. What if anything did you take from Patrick Stewart’s portrayal?

JM: I’ll tell you what I did take – I looked at all of the things that he did the hardest. I looked at all of the things that came out the strongest in his performance and we said we have to go the opposite way. Simply to validate why we were making this film, because if they were just the same there would be no reason to make it, we have to show how different he is. We have to show a journey – so he clearly has to start in a different place. So the main things that we looked into are the fact that he is ego-less, selfless, a very good person, he’s sexless – he’s sort of like a monk. We thought of what the opposite of all of those things would be – so now he drinks a lot, chases women quite a lot, and doesn’t mind sort of abusing his power to get ahead. He’s definitely got an ego, and he’s definitely a little bit selfish. So that’s where we start with him, and so he’s now got to grow towards –Sir Patrick.

SR: So it’s the experiences of this film that make him who he is as a character ultimately?

JM: Yes.

Two friends who become bitter nemeses, a flawed man, tempted by the material world, who is forced by circumstance to become something more, something bigger than he is – these are the classic comic-book and mythological tropes. However, when executed well, they never fail to engage the imagination. From what we have seen and heard thus far, this is one origin story that just may live up to, or perhaps even surpass, its potential.

X-Men: First Class is scheduled for release on June 3rd.

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  1. I think Stewart the perfect choice for Xavier, but I also like McAvoy in the role. But I read a different interview where McAvoy confirms that he WON’T go bald.

    • cant see McAvoy goin bald lol

  2. I have loved mcavoy ever since he was first in Shameless. great actor, I hope this film succeeds

  3. id like to see him end up in the chair in this film. its something x-3 and wolverine didnt bother explaining. they show him walking but never showing how it will happen. fingers crossed.

    • But he was bald and walking in X3…

  4. forget this I just watched Bronson starring Tom hardy and hes gonna act the hell outta Bane

  5. Any one who says Stewart isnt the most ideal actor to character match, they are just plain insane. Of course he cant play the young version though.

  6. Batman? Imo, TDK is one of the most overhyped films ever, and I really couldn’t care less about Bane. Don’t have any idea of who is the guy anyway, not interested to find out.
    Charles Xavier and the X-Men, on the other hand…I think that James is a fantastic actor, and it seems he had great material to work with in this film. Can’t wait!

  7. Damage control. Not going to work. The picture’s been leaked. Game over.

  8. I wonder how they’ll introduce Lucifer so he can drop the mountain on Charles Xavier to put him in wheelchair.

  9. anther thing where is sabretoothe in first class and when does he come in? and how does he change form x-men origins wolverine to looking like he did in x-men1? good questions i think and they need to be answered in the films or like i said give rights to marvel.

    • I think they were planning to make multiple “Origins” movies, but since Wolverine was, less than satisfactory, they scrapped that idea…

  10. I’d love to sit down and interview James McAvoy. First thing I ever saw him in he was Leto II and I’ve followed him ever since. He’s got to be the best part of this movie and is why I’m not so worried about continuity. Not everything can be right but the acting is going to rock.

  11. Wow, so they are completely disregarding the fact that he served in the military and was athletic. I don’t know :(, but like the said above post the acting is going to rock. With him and Michael Fassbender alone is going to be intriguing in my opinion.

  12. I think this will ultimately just prolong the agony of the fans. Fox fubarred the handling of the franchise especially in the “Last Stand.” I wish they’d just graciously give it back to Marvel…

  13. I’ve been trying to not judge things without seeing them (Spider-Man), but I really think this movie’s gonna… well… blow :/

    … but we’ll see

  14. Dont worry yall, our kids will be able to one day see xmen done better.

    • More like their kids

  15. This might be good. I’ll probably see it just because of the dude that’s playing Magneto. It would be cool if mcavoy shaved his head.

  16. What happened to people being excited about movies? All I ever hear nowadays is how much people think a movie is gonna blow months and months beforehand. Get excited and enjoy the entertainment (that’s what movies are anyway) and just be happy they spend millions and millions trying to make you and others happy. Have some optimism you sad bastards! Haha

    • DaftBasters,

      That’s a good question, and I’ve thought about writing up a piece on that. I think the short version is the equivalent of sausage – most people LOVE sausage, but they don’t want to see or know how it’s made. The problem with movies today is we’re watching the sausage making process in excruciating detail. 8)


    • Here’s what I think. This movie for a movie goer may be really good, but the fact that it’s not done “correctly” bothers people too much to where they cant see it in a positive light.

  17. @Daftbasters and Vic

    I totally agree with you guys. I’ve been trying to be more positive lately, but sometimes your knee-jerk reaction takes over, especially when a beloved character is portrayed or cast diferently than expected. I’m sure there’s a lot of us that probably would take back certain replies if we read them after a movie has released…or the opposite. Here’s an idea, if you have an update that’s minimal in scope just limit the replies or disable the function entirely for that miniscule bit of news.

  18. I heard that Vaughn is comparing this film to the JAMES BOND franchise, and TWILIGHT films. Two franchises I don’t like.

  19. A movie about Xavier and Magneto WITHOUT Ian McKellen and Patrick Stuart?
    My heart is weeping buckets. Those two were meant for their roles. I get that this is about the younger versions of them and all, but still…
    Also, the Xavier younster looks close enough to Sir Patrick Stuart, but from that one shot, the young Magneto looks nothing like Sir Ian McKellen.
    I may end up seeing it anyway, if it has decent reviews, but I will be crying inside.

  20. the movie in my opinion is great.