James McAvoy on Charles Xavier's '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.

Magneto and Professor X play chess in X-Men: First Class movie

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.

Follow me on twitter @jrothc and Screen Rant @screenrant

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