James McAvoy (/ˈmækəvɔɪ/; born 21 April 1979) is a Scottish actor. He made his acting début as a teen in 1995’s The Near Room and continued to make mostly television appearances until 2003, when his feature film career began and he continued to work in both areas from then on. His notable television work includes the drama show State of Play, the adult comedy-drama Shameless, and the science fiction show Frank Herbert’s Children of Dune. Besides screen acting, McAvoy has performed in several West End productions, receiving three nominations for the Laurence Olivier Award for Best Actor. He has also done voice work for animated films including Gnomeo & Juliet and Arthur Christmas (both 2011).
In 2003, McAvoy appeared in a lead role in Bollywood Queen, a British Indian take on the Shakespeare play Romeo and Juliet, directed by Jeremy Wooding. This was followed by a supporting role, the faun Mr. Tumnus, in The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (2005). His performance in Kevin Macdonald’s drama The Last King of Scotland (2006) garnered him several award nominations. The critically acclaimed romantic drama war film Atonement(2007) earned him a Golden Globe Award nomination and his second BAFTA nomination. He appeared opposite Angelina Jolie as a newly trained assassin in the action thriller Wanted (2008).
Since then, he is notable for playing the young Professor Charles Xavier in the 2011 superhero film X-Men: First Class, a role he reprised in X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014) and X-Men: Apocalypse (2016). McAvoy starred in the 2013 crime comedy-drama film Filth for which he won Best Actor in the British Independent Film Awards.