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Of these films, which is your favorite?

  • X-Men: First Class
  • Arthur Christmas
  • The Conspirator
  • The Last Station
  • Gnomeo & Juliet
  • Atonement
  • Becoming Jane
  • Wanted
  • Starter For 10
  • Penelope
  • The Last King of Scotland
  • Other-Inside I'm Dancing, Wimbledon, CON, etc

[ Results | Polls ]

Votes: 4
Comments: 0

ONE TO WATCH by Times Online - January 2004

(712 total words in this text)
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<body> One to watch
James McAvoy holds the key to success, says Pauline McLeod

So dexterously impressive is the list of performing skills on James McAvoys CV rugby, boxing, fencing, acrobatics, gymnastics, fire eating that one cant help wondering if he vaulted into acting via the big top.
No! he wails. The circus freaks me out. My grandmother took me when I was young, I was very scared and I have never been back. And the fire eating? Er, thats incorrect. But I can breathe fire, he adds helpfully. Anybody can do it. All you need is a bottle of paraffin and a match and youre away! My friend showed me how to do it and I stood in for this fire breather in a park in Glasgow when he went off for his lunch. I must have done it for 25 minutes and earned about 25.

His prowess at torching mouthfuls of fuel is restricted to parties these days. Still, he was always game for a laugh (the circus aside), so when McAvoy was 16 and offered a role in the film The Near Room the director David Hayman wanted to cast young people with no acting experience he didnt need to be asked twice.

I hadnt thought about acting until the chance was put in front of me by a complete fluke. If I hadnt got in to drama school, I probably wouldnt have become an actor because Id have thought: Oh, well, its not for me.

As it is, only three years out of the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, the 24-year-old Glaswegian is already the veteran of 11 movies and ten television series, including BBC Twos comedy Early Doors, as the improbably named pub regular Liam Gallagher, and a louche young hack in BBC Ones State of Play. His breezy chirpiness belies his measure, and a perfect ear for mimicry. Take those cut-glass vowels that he employs in his role as the gossip columnist Simon Balcairn in Stephen Frys Bright Young Things sharp enough to slice bacon.

Having just finished making the hugely challenging film Inside Im Dancing (he stars as Rory, a young man immobilised by muscular dystrophy) in Dublin, McAvoy is taking a two-month break. Given this years workload, it is a wise decision.

It will enable him to watch himself in Shameless, Channel 4s flagship drama series that has an audacious script by Paul Abbott (State of Play, Clocking Off) and sees McAvoy plagiarising his own wildly chaotic northern upbringing.

McAvoy plays Steve, a middle-class Londoner with a working-class chip on his shoulder who sweet-talks his way into the heart of Fiona (Anne-Marie Duff). He feels so much for Fiona that he almost stalks her. You want them to be together but you also worry that he might dump her because he is such a fly boy. Can he really be trusted? I think if I met the man I would want to kick him in, because hes not half as charming as he thinks he is.

Shades of the would-be entrepreneur Carl, then, in Wimbledon, the hotly anticipated summer flick that also stars Paul Bettany and Kirsten Dunst? Im Pauls annoying younger brother who thinks that hes a bit smart but is 25, quite lazy and still living at home.

If McAvoy has any feelings of dj vu about 2004 filming a second series of Early Doors, Shameless and (further down the line) reprising Dan Foster, the bright young thing of investigative journalism, in a sequel to State of Play he is not complaining.

I went through a phase when I was about 16 when I contemplated being a journalist, but thats where it ended. Far too much like hard work for me.

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