James McAvoy’s biographyJames McAvoy is an actor of Scottish descent, who debuted in cinema at the age of 15. He is mostly known for the following films: «The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe», «Inside I'm Dancing», «Wanted», «X-Men: First Class», «Split».
ChildhoodJames McAvoy was born in Glasgow, Scotland in the family of Elizabeth Johnstone, a psychiatric nurse and James McAvoy, a builder. The family was in quite deplorable financial state, maybe that’s why, unable to stand constant severities and privations, James’ parents divorced when he was 7, after which James Jr. permanently lost contact with his father.
After divorcement, McAvoy's mother suffered from poor health and the family decided to leave younger sister Joy (by the way she sings with the «Streetside» band) on her care and send James to live with his grandparents Mary and James Johnstone, who very loved and pampered their grandson.
In youth James McAvoy attended a Catholic school, where he was raised strictly and in religious manners. At some time he even considered becoming a priest. He was also enrolled in lessons of an amateur theatrical circle and turned penny at the bakery after lessons.
«I wanted to become a priest, a missionary, maybe even travel to such a distant Africa in order to save people from starvation, - told the actor. – but once, though I changed my mind. I just imagined I had to wake up early in the morning at six every single day and walk to the church. Of course, I didn’t mind becoming a priest but actually I was categorically against waking up early. As for me, it’s like suicide!».
Then James didn’t even suspect that he had started walking towards his destiny. Once famous producer David Heyman was speaking in front of James’ class telling the juniors several stories about life in filming. James was so interested in his story that he immediately asked the director for at least a small role so 15-year-old McAvoy first appeared on the screens in «The Near Room», a picture about child prostitution in Glasgow.
Barely having begun the filming, James was almost disappointed in his choice and lost interest in cinema. His partner Alana Brady saved the situation. «When I felt her emotions, I was like overwhelmed by a wave of inspiration», - recalled McAvoy.
The first role of James McAvoy («The Near Room»)
Leaving school the young actor began developing his acting skills at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama. The boy entered the educational institution easily despite a large number of people willing and the large contest. During his years of study he managed to play in a couple of cinema projects («Regeneration», «An Angel Passes By, «Lorna Doone»). In the year 2000, he became a graduate actor.
Acting careerHaving played dozen of small roles in the most different projects he was approved for the men’s leading role in a low-budget melodrama the «Bollywood Queen». In the early 2000’s he was involved in performances at the youth theatre PACE, particularly, he played a man selling intimate services in the «Out in the Open» spectacle. The spectacle was seen by filmmaker Joe Wright who was amazed by McAvoy’s play. He began showering the young actor with offers, which James declined one after another.
Looking ahead, let’s note that six years later the actor though agreed to cooperate and the film «Atonement» was made. James was given the role of a poor man who dreamed of climbing the social ladder but was unfairly accused of a crime. James’ partner on the filming platform was Keira Knightley. The actor was nominated for the prestigious «Golden Globe» for that job.
Who knows which direction his career would flow in if he had accepted Joe Wright’s offers right away but, anyway, then in 2001 he had very little left till his breakthrough role.
The «Inside I'm Dancing» film was released in 2004 with the tag line «Live life like you mean it». By the scenario Michael, a young man with cerebral palsy moves into the home for the Disabled, where he meets another patient - Rory O'Shea, who was played by McAvoy. Rory is practically immobile because of Duchenne muscular dystrophy but any healthy person could envy his vitality.
Preparing for the role James McAvoy had long talks with real Disabled. From these meetings, he made the main point that they dislike being regretted. But to the mass audience, he was known as faun Tumnus from «The Chronicles of Narnia» fantasy film. Namely his hero met little Lucy in the fantasy world of Narnia, who was hiding behind the wardrobe at her uncle’s house, and became one of the key characters.
Another notable work - Leto II Atreides, followed in the «Frank Herbert's Children of Dune» short series. The actor next played Wesley Gibson in the «Wanted» action thriller, a debut Hollywood work by Russian director Timur Bekmambetov. McAvoy’s hero was a young servant who was offered to avenge the murder of his father. The partners of the deceased undertook the professional preparation of the avenger for action played by Angelina Jolie and Morgan Freeman.
In 2006 the actor appeared in «The Last King of Scotland» picture, the screening of Giles Foden's novel. The film told about the dictatorship of the ruler of Uganda Idi Amin but from an unusual aspect. The main hero of the narrative was a fictional Scottish doctor Nicolas who, fleeing from dullness came to work to the distant banana republic and by coincidence won the favor of the tyrant.
Forest Whitaker deserved an «Oscar» earnestly portraying Amin but young James McAvoy’s play was also loved by the public.
It is worth noting that James McAvoy was one of the candidates for the leading role in the famous screening of John Tolkien «The Hobbit». But the creators of the picture still signed the contract with Martin Freeman, who suited more to the description of Bilbo Baggins from the book.
In the late 2000s, the actor decided to give up his profession, precisely the part of it that has to do with cinema. According to his own feelings, he was seriously worried by the fact that he was losing the opportunity to fully develop his talent in Hollywood. James saw the main barrier for self-improvement in blockbusters. «All those beautifully shot actions don’t allow me to stay an actor of full value», - claimed the actor.
Radcliffe and McAvoy on The Graham Norton Show
Thereby the actor declined a few profitable roles including the «Wanted 2» by Timur Bekmambetov. The actor left America for Britain and announced he was taking a vacation from the cinema and would devote the freed time to theatre.
However, the hate for blockbusters didn’t prevent him from playing young Professor Charles Xavier in the «X-Men: First Class» (2011) fantasy thriller. The picture took the audience to the origins of schools for gifted mutants and the beginning of the confrontation between Xavier and Magneto, played by Michael Fassbender. McAvoy returned to that character in 2014 and 2016 in the «X-Men: Days of Future Past» and «X-Men: Apocalypse».
In 2013 the actor played the leading role of an immoral policeman Bruce Robertson in the screening of the novel by the Scottish countercultural writer Irvine Welsh, the «Filth». He hasn’t approved for the role right away. When Welsh first saw McAvoy he thought the latter was too young and attractive for the given character. «I went up to my room and told my wife that he doesn’t suit us. When I returned James had transformed. His beard had grown like in five minutes. He had changed to an angry and cruel man Bruce», - recalled the writer.
He was given a quite insane role in the «Victor Frankenstein» fantasy thriller, where James and Daniel Radcliffe surprisingly lively embodied the images of Doctor Frankenstein and his hunchback assistant Igor.
In 2016 McAvoy reaffirmed his high level of skill playing in the «Split» psychological horror film. The role left after him, say the least of it, was not of easy ones – a young man with a multi-split personality. 23 people radically different in character lived in his hero. James’ partners on the screening platform were young actresses Anya Taylor-Joy and Haley Lu Richardson.
A year later a few loud premieres were released with McAvoy. The «Atomic Blonde» thriller spy film, which the actor closely worked on with Charlize Theron and the «Submergence» romantic thriller film alongside charming Swede Alicia Vikander.
James McAvoy about his characters in «Split» (2017)
In 2018 the second part of the «Deadpool», a film screening of the Marvel comics was released, where James appeared in the image of Professor Xavier - a kind of Easter eggs by the creators of the picture.
James McAvoy’s personal lifeJames McAvoy lived in civil marriage with his classmate Emma Nelson for 9 years. After parting with his beloved, he became addicted to alcohol. Just at the time, the creative crisis filled the actor’s life.
James’ life changed after the filming of the British series «Shameless» (don’t mix it with the American remake of the same name), where the young man met actress Anne-Marie Duff, who played the role of his girlfriend in the series. The girl appeared to be older than his colleague for 9 years. Namely, she taught James to «respect life» and helped his self-appraisal.
McAvoy came out of depression and again firmly rose to his feet. They got married to Anne-Marie Duff in 2006 and 4 years later the 39-year old spouse gave birth to his first-born - son Brendan.
Avoiding extra noise James and Anna-Marie tried to keep her pregnancy secret, why the birthday of the child is unknown. The news on the happy event in the McAvoy’s family was discovered when a paparazzi caught the family walking around London with the child.
Because of the pregnancy of his spouse, he refused to play in the «50/50» film by Jonathan Levine. His colleague Joseph Gordon-Levitt replaced him on the screening platform.
In 2016, after 10 years of a seemingly ideal marriage, the couple announced divorcement. But the actors’ folks took the news calmly – they knew there was a breakdown in the life of the couple the recent years. Young actress Alexandra Shipp who played the Storm in the «X-Men» was called the cause of the divorce. James and Anna-Marie decided to stay friends for the sake of Brendan.
James McAvoy at Jimmy Fallon’s show
In 2017, McAvoy met Lisa Liberati. Lovers for a long time hid their romance. However, two years later it became known that James and Lisa secretly got married - the couple wears wedding rings.
James McAvoy nowadaysIn the terms of the contract with Marvel McAvoy took part in the filming of "X Men: Dark Phoenix", which released in 2019. In the same year the sequel to the horror movie about the penny clown Pennywise “It 2” was released, where James played the role of one of the matured heroes of the first part, Bill Denbrough. The "minor version" of this character was played by Jaden Liberer. The shooting did not pass without leaving a trace for the psyche of the actor, so, soon after the premiere, he admitted that he began to be afraid of clowns, and sometimes he dreams of Pennywise, more precisely, Bill Skarsgard in this image.
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