The New Paper
May 16, 2016
After three X-Men movies, Scottish actor James McAvoy feels he has really grown into the part of X-Men leader Professor Charles Xavier.
He tells M at The Lanesborough hotel in London, to which he cycled for our interview: "I was nervous about presenting the original sort of vision of him because it's not what I signed up to do. I signed up to do something a little bit different with Charles.
"Now he's finally the Professor rather than just Charles. Now he has got to admit that he is the Professor."
A key plot point in X-Men: Apocalypse requires him to lose all his hair.
"It was a big deal because I didn't know if I would look good bald," he says with a laugh.
"I always said I would like it to be a moment when he is passing through the crucible and he is not only being shorn of his hair, but being formed as the man he has become moving forward."
And that means mentoring the new mutants, among them Jean Grey (Sophie Turner), Cyclops (Tye Sheridan) and Nightcrawler (Kodi Smit-McPhee).
Says McAvoy, 37: "It was really interesting to see a whole bunch of new people come in because they are all having to deal with a very peculiar challenge, which is 'How do you play a superhero?... How do you take yourself and the story seriously when you are wearing spandex?'
"X-Men can sometimes take itself very seriously and there's a lot of deep emotional relationships that drive most of the storylines...
"But we were lucky because we have an exceptionally talented bunch of young people, some of whom are relatively inexperienced and yet carry themselves really well."
Now that the trilogy is complete, McAvoy will miss the family feeling on the set, especially bonding with co-stars Jennifer Lawrence and Michael Fassbender.
The father of a six-year-old boy says: "We have shared so much. For some of us, we watched people really grow up. Some go through the beginnings of fatherhood, going from playing boys and girls in ghettos to playing men and women.
"We have kind of grown together. So, yeah, there is a familiarity and a closeness there. And if we don't make any more movies, that is sad, but we have had an amazing time."
This article was first published on May 16, 2016.
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