The first major piece of the X-Men: First Class casting puzzle has fallen into place as Scottish beefcake James McAvoy signed on to play a younger version of Professor Charles Xavier. McAvoy, he of the Narnia goat people, is only the first actor cast for a major role in the new Marvel mutant franchise that will hit theaters with a June 3, 2011 release.
First Class is being directed by Kick-Ass and Layer Cake director Matthew Vaughn, after he beat out Louis Leterrier, Jonathan Mostow, David Slade, and other guys I had to look up on IMDB only to groan over their past work. Bryan Singer, who directed the first two X-Men films before breaking off to give the Superman reboot a rusty trombone, is producing the new X-Men installment, which is expected to be like Muppet Babies meets… well, X-Men. While McAvoy is the only young actor signed on for a movie coming out in one year, at least there’s a story. The rest can be filled in with sock puppets and Asian children.
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According to Fox, “First Class” will “chart the epic beginning of the X-Men saga. Before Charles Xavier and Eric Lensherr took the names Professor X and Magneto, they were two young men discovering their powers for the first time. Before they were archenemies, they were the closest of friends, working together, with other Mutants (some familiar, some new), to stop the greatest threat the world has ever known. In the process, a rift between them opened, which began the eternal war between Magneto’s Brotherhood and Professor X’s X-Men.”
Patrick Stewart played the character, a bald-headed, wheelchair-bound telepath, in the original “X-Men” trilogy. Fox did not reveal if McAvoy will sport a follicle-free pate.
The plot summary is much more effective if you read it in a deep, grating voice while you’re in a prison shower. Among the X-Men characters expected to be cast for First Class are Wolverine, Storm, Cyclops, Jean Grey, Beast and obviously Magneto. McAvoy brings comic book movie experience from his role as the protagonist in Wanted, so he’s making the leap from bullet-bending to MIND-bending… *puts on Criss Angel music, stands like Jesus*
It was originally thought that Singer might use some of the young versions of the characters like Cyclops and Jean Grey from Wolverine: Origins, but he shot that idea down and admitted that he was using the casting for Jack the Giant Killer as a chance to find qualified young actors. The process is significantly different than Michael Bay’s casting sessions, which include driving by middle schools and pelting girls with water balloons.