Skip to main content

James McAvoy Talks X-Men: No Bald Xavier, No Wolverine And Re-Shoot Details

This week has been jam packed with news about one of this summer's biggest blockbusters, the Matthew Vaughn-directed X-Men: First Class. Since Tuesday we've heard about the film undergoing re-shoots; Kevin Bacon's take on his character, Sebastian Shaw; seen the first stills arrive as well as a banner showing off the characters as well as two more stills directly from Vaughn; and the film's first teaser poster. Lucky for me, the timing couldn't have worked out better, as today I had the opportunity to sit down with Professor Xavier himself, James McAvoy. Speaking with the actor at the junket for his newest film, Gnomeo and Juliet (stay tuned in a few weeks for the entire interview), I took the opportunity to ask him a few questions about the superhero film and he was happy to oblige.

Asking about his approach to the character, particularly in the light of Patrick Stewart's performances in the previous X-Men films, McAvoy revealed that Xavier was initially going to be bald, but the studio vetoed the idea. Apparently this detail alone was enough to help him escape from under the weight of Stewart's performance and left him saying, "Well fuck it, I’m liberated then." This revelation seems to debunk the trailer details from last week that said we would see McAvoy losing his hair.

Discussing how the character is different than the one we've already seen on the screen, McAvoy expressed that he doesn't see the point of doing a prequel set years earlier that features static characters. As such, Xavier's principles are in tact in the new film, however, other elements are definitely different.

"You look at the kind of main, defining characteristics of Professor X, of Charlie Boy, and you go, 'Alright, he’s selfless. He’s a saint. He’s sexless, it seems. He’s egoless. He’s all about other people. He’s all about bettering the world and mutantkind and humankind.' And so you kind of try and flip that on its head. You don’t make him an evil person, or anything like that, but you make him ego-driven, women-chasing, he likes a good drink. He’s not the reluctant leader that you kind of want all heroes to be. He actually kind of wants to be in charge, you know what I mean? And all of those things, just to kind of show a journey. So by the end of the movie he’s some way towards becoming Patrick Stewart[‘s version of the character], rather than just having the same guy at the beginning."

Also significant is that he confirmed that Wolverine, played by Hugh Jackman in all previous films in the franchise, will not be making an appearance in the film.

Following that, I also decided to ask about the stuff that they were doing in re-shoots. In addition to "bits and bobs," three scenes being worked on are the ending and two scenes out on the water.

We doing a tiny little tweak on the very end, finale thing between me and Michael [Fassbender], who plays Magneto. And we’re doing, what else are we doing? It’s all little bits and bobs and things that we dropped or didn’t know we needed or trying to fix a little scene here or there or tighten up a scene here or there. We’re doing a little bit on a boat at one point, which is going to be fun; then a lot of underwater stuff last week, which I can’t really tell you what it’s about, but it’s quite exciting. Just bits and bobs really.

With the film due out on June 3rd, it likely won't be too much longer until we see a trailer for the new film, and until then, we're going to have to settle for bits and details like this. For more on X-Men: First Class, head on over to our Blend Film Database and stay tuned for more news as it comes.

Eric Eisenberg
Assistant Managing Editor

NJ native who calls LA home and lives in a Dreamatorium. A decade-plus CinemaBlend veteran who is endlessly enthusiastic about the career he’s dreamt of since seventh grade.