James McAvoy Biography

    James Andrew McAvoy is a Scottish stage and screen actor known for his roles in Atonement, The Last King of Scotland, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Penelope, Wanted, Frank Herbert's Children of Dune, Becoming Jane, and the British TV series Shameless and Early Doors.

    McAvoy has won the BAFTA Rising Star Award and a BAFTA Scotland award. He has also been nominated for an ALFS Award, two BAFTA Awards, a European Film Award, and a Golden Globe award. He is married to Anne-Marie Duff.

    Personal Life

    McAvoy previously dated Scottish actress Emma Nielsen (stage name Emma King); they began dating when he was 16 and broke up in 2003. At the age of 27, he married actress Anne-Marie Duff, then 36, whom he met while working together on the sets of the comedy drama series Shameless, on 18 October, 2006, in Scotland. The couple live in Crouch End, London.

    On Tuesday 26 January 2010 the couple announced that they are expecting their first child together. It was announced on June 16 that Duff had given birth to a baby boy named Andrew in the early summer.  

    He enjoys science fiction which he said started from the age of 11 with The Lord of the Rings. He considers himself a spiritual person who no longer practices Catholicism. His big interest outside acting and science fiction is football. He is a huge fan of Celtic Football Club, stating that his dream role would be to play Celtic legend Jimmy Johnstone.

    Early Life

    McAvoy was born in Port Glasgow, Scotland, the son of Elizabeth (née Johnstone), a psychiatric nurse, and James McAvoy, a builder. He was brought up as a Roman Catholic. McAvoy's parents divorced when he was seven, and he subsequently lived with his maternal grandparents, Mary and James Johnstone, in the Drumchapel area of Glasgow.

    His mother lived with them intermittently, but McAvoy has not been in contact with his father since childhood. McAvoy attended St. Thomas Aquinas Secondary in Jordanhill, Glasgow, a Catholic school, and briefly considered joining the Catholic priesthood. During his education, he worked at a local bakery.

    He was a member of PACE Youth Theatre, before he eventually graduated from the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama in 2000. His sister, Joy McAvoy, is a singer and actress.


    McAvoy's first roles were in David Hayman's The Near Room in 1995 and then as Anthony Balfour in Pat Barker's Regeneration in 1997. He received his first big break with a role in the Steven Spielberg-produced miniseries Band of Brothers. His first international starring role was as Leto Atreides II in the 2003 Sci Fi Channel miniseries Frank Herbert's Children of Dune (adapted from Frank Herbert's novels).

    The same year, he also appeared in several episodes of the BBC sitcom Early Doors and co-starred in Paul Abbott's acclaimed thriller serial State of Play. In 2004, he starred as Steve McBride in another Abbott-written drama series, Shameless on Channel 4, for which he was nominated for the British Comedy Award for Best TV Newcomer.

    He also appeared in two other productions: Wimbledon as Paul Bettany's obnoxious brother, Carl Colt; and he played disabled character Rory O'Shea in the Irish film Inside I'm Dancing. In 2005, he starred in three productions: he played Ben in the Royal Court Theatre's production Breathing Corpses and an adaptation of Macbeth in the four-part BBC production ShakespeaRe-told; he also portrayed Mr. Tumnus, the Faun, in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, and Max/Johnny-2008 in Penelope.

    In 2006, McAvoy starred alongside Forest Whitaker as Dr. Garrigan in The Last King of Scotland. The film is an adaptation of Giles Foden's novel of the same name and gives a fictionalized account of the regime of the brutal Ugandan dictator Idi Amin during the 1970s, as seen by his (fictional) personal physician and adviser.

    The character of Garrigan is a composite of several men who were close to Amin, most notably Englishman Bob Astles, who was a top adviser to Amin during his regime and became known in Uganda as "The White Rat".

    That same year, McAvoy took the lead role in Starter for 10. The film, which was adapted from the novel Starter for Ten by David Nicholls, follows the exploits of the nerdy Brian Jackson as he navigates his first year at Bristol University during the mid-1980s. McAvoy won the new Mary Selway/Orange Rising Star Award at the 2006 BAFTA Awards for his role. He also completed filming of Penelope in 2006, but due to distribution problems the film was not put in wide release until 2008.

    In 2007 McAvoy appeared in two critically acclaimed films: Becoming Jane, a fictional romance inspired by the life of Jane Austen, alongside Anne Hathaway, and Atonement, an adaptation of Ian McEwan's award-winning 2001 novel. McAvoy was nominated for a Golden Globe for his role in Atonement. During this time he workshopped scenes for the film Three Way Split for directors Neil Hunter and Tom Hunsinger, but will not take part in the actual film.

    McAvoy's film, Wanted, was released on 25 June 2008. Loosely based on the comic book miniseries by the same name, McAvoy plays Wesley Gibson, a twenty-five year old everyman who is offered the opportunity to avenge the death of his father, who was an assassin.

    The character is then trained by his father's partner, Sloan (Morgan Freeman), and by Sloan's second-in-command, Fox, played by Angelina Jolie. McAvoy appeared in the 2009 film The Last Station, based on the 1990 novel by Jay Parini, about the final year of Leo Tolstoy's life; the film co-starred McAvoy's wife, Anne-Marie Duff. McAvoy is currently working on Robert Redford's The Conspirator.

    McAvoy was set to star in the upcoming film Live With It, which will be directed by Nicole Holofcener and produced by Seth Rogen, but dropped out and was replaced by Joseph Gordon-Levitt.  McAvoy has expressed interest in returning as Wesley Gibson in Wanted 2, which is currently in pre-production.  He is also said to be highly considered for the part of Kurt Cobain in the upcoming biopic Heavier than Heaven.

    McAvoy is a celebrity supporter of the British Red Cross with whom he travelled to Uganda to raise awareness of the projects there.  He has been cast as Charles Xavier in X-Men: First Class, directed by Matthew Vaughn.

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