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James McAvoy on Playing Young Picard, Sandman, and Professor X

The Scottish actor talks science fiction and fantasy.

James McAvoy at the Vanity Fair Oscars party

Thanks to his roles as Mr. Tumnus in The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and as young Charles Xavier in the X-Men franchise, James McAvoy has already made a name for himself in the world of science fiction and fantasy. But the Scottish actor maintains a love of the genre, as is evidenced by his latest role playing Morpheus the Dream Lord in Audible’s adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman. The series, now an audio bestseller, was adapted and directed by Dirk Maggs.

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The audio series is narrated by Neil Gaiman, and features an all-star cast that includes Emma Corrin (The Crown) as Thessaly, Brian Cox as Augustus, Kat Dennings as Death, Regé-Jean Page as Orpheus, David Tennant as Loki, Michael Sheen as Lucifer, and Bill Nighy as Odin, among many others.

In an interview with Collider, McAvoy was asked about his dream sci-fi role. McAvoy replied,

“I mean, I’ve often talked about loving Star Trek, and jokingly, but also kind of seriously been like, if you ever want to do a young Jean-Luc Picard, I’m your man. But I’m probably getting close to being too old to do a young Jean-Luc Picard now. So there’s that.

I mean, I remember when they made Lord of the Rings, the first time. (You have to say the first time, because Amazon is doing it again.) I remember me and my mate, Ross, just sitting in a pub and just being like, What’s the point of becoming an actor? They’ve already made the best story ever written. And so there was that out the window. But then, now we live in the land of remakes, so there’s always a chance. There’s always a chance that you’re going to get on a show. But the only one that comes to mind is Star Trek, I think. I’ve always loved it. Always.”

He also discussed his previous work playing a young Patrick Stewart in the X-Men film series, where he plays young Charles Xavier, saying “I’ve successfully been Patrick, actually, and balded up, although maybe again, the young Jean-Luc wouldn’t be bald. But yeah, no, maybe I’m overqualified for it, though. That’s the other thing. Do you know what I mean? It’s too easy, it’s too obvious a choice. So maybe that turns people off from it.”

McAvoy did say that he was probably done with the X-Men franchise after appearing in the last four films, saying “I feel like, yeah. I feel like I got to explore, not everything I wanted to explore, because there’s always more, surely, but I got to explore a ton of Professor X, and I feel quite satisfied with what I got out of him as a performer. It’s not to say that you don’t ever want to, you never want to come back, and you never want to do it again, and all that kind of stuff. You never say never, as I believe James Bond once said. But I’m not chomping at the bit. I’m not going to be gutted and desperately sad if it never happens again.”

What’s your favorite McAvoy role? Let us know in the comments!

(via Collider, image: Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images)

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Chelsea Steiner
Chelsea was born and raised in New Orleans, which explains her affinity for cheesy grits and Britney Spears. An pop culture journalist since 2012, her work has appeared on Autostraddle, AfterEllen, and more. Her beats include queer popular culture, film, television, republican clownery, and the unwavering belief that 'The Long Kiss Goodnight' is the greatest movie ever made. She currently resides in sunny Los Angeles, with her husband, 2 sons, and one poorly behaved rescue dog. She is a former roller derby girl and a black belt in Judo, so she is not to be trifled with. She loves the word “Jewess” and wishes more people used it to describe her.

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