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Here is a fun little video of X-Men: Days of Future Past stars Michael Fassbender, James McAvoy and Hugh Jackman doing impressions of Ian McKellan and Patrick Stewart while promoting the film. Fassbender and McAvoy are of course playing the younger version’s of McKellan and Stewart’s characters, respectively, so they had a little fun with it.

Empire Awards: Scots film star James McAvoy crowned Best Actor for role in Filth

By Brian McIver

THE Glasgow born actor paid tribute to his fans after picking up the award for his part as corrupt Edinburgh copper Bruce Robertson in Filth.

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James McAvoy with his Best Actor award

SCOTS Star James McAvoy is the toast of the movie world after being crowned Best Actor at the Empire Awards.

The actor won for his part as corrupt Edinburgh copper Bruce Robertson in the hit Irvine Welsh adaptation Filth and immediately paid tribute to fans for the award.

He said: “You’re faced with a quandary when you’re nominated for an award- do you come up with a speech or not? I’ve opted not, but I love you all.

“Thanks very much and get on ye!”

McAvoy who was controversially snubbed at this year’s BAFTA awards, where he was not even nominated despite winning huge acclaim for his performance in the film directed by Jon S. Baird.

The 34-year-old Glasgow born actor’s win adds to the British Independent Film Award he won in December, and he last night thanked the Empire readers for the latest honour.

The other big winners included Emma Thompson who picked up Best Actress for Saving Mr Banks, and director Alfonso Cuaron who won Best Director and Best Film for Gravity.

Arnold Schwarzenegger, Tom Cruise, Hugh Jackman and Simon Pegg all won special awards for contributions to film, while Pegg’s movie The World’s End was crowned Best British Film.

Steve Coogan was also among the winners as he lifted Best Comedy award for Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa.

James McAvoy interview: Filth, Frankenstein and more

Interview Andrew Blair 3 Feb 2014 - 06:23

 With the squalid comedy drama Filth due out on disc, we chat to star James McAvoy about unpleasant characters, Frankenstein and more…

NB: The following contains spoilers for Filth, plus a bit of saucy language.

When we caught up with James McAvoy for a chat over a decidedly crackly phone line, he was heading in to film Paul McGuigan’s Frankenstein with Daniel Radcliffe. But Mr McAvoy was talking to us about Filth, the comedy drama we recently listed as one of our favourite films of 2013.

Filth, adapted by Jon S Baird from Irvine Welsh’s novel, is another tale in Edinburgh’s tradition of Jekyll and Hyde – a man in a respectable civic position with a monstrous side to him. In DS Bruce Robertson, that monstrous side finds expression through racism, sexism, abusive relationships, mind games with his colleagues and a hefty intake of drugs and alcohol. It’s the best Welsh adaptation since Trainspotting, signifying Baird as a name to watch in both writing and directing, and featuring a seemingly endless parade of acting talent. You can find our review of it here.

Despite the choppy phone reception, McAvoy spoke entertainingly of his role in Filth, playing unpleasant characters in the face of his ‘nice guy’ media image, his role in Frankenstein, and more besides.

Do you ever find yourself liking Bruce Robertson?

Ehm, no, not really. I think it’s been said that, y’know, to play a baddie you’ve got to like the people you play and all that kind of stuff, [that] if you’re playing Hitler you need to find a way to like Hitler and that sort of thing. I just don’t think that’s true. I think you’ve got to be able to sympathise with them and empathise with them and understand what they do, but no, I certainly wouldn’t want to be going for a pint with him.

He’s one of the two parts that I’ll probably miss most, knowing that I’ll never ever play them ever again, y’know?

With monstrous characters, do you ever feel like giving them a tragic event in their childhood is straddling the line between excusing and explaining?

If he’d gotten away with it all, if he had walked off with the girl into the sunset, it would have been excusing I think. And frankly I wouldn’t want to do that stuff, but I think the fact that the movie condemns him - that for me doesn’t excuse him. What the film tries to do is lure you into liking him and lure you into feeling sorry for him, and maybe lure you into excusing him - maybe not consciously but subconsciously letting him away with it. Right at the end we’re going, “Nope. You can’t have that”. 

How has Filth travelled? In some respects it’s universal, and in others it’s very Scottish, it’s quite Edinburgh specific, that bipolar quality…

Yeah, pretty much. It travelled well to England for a start, thank God. It’s nice to make a tiny wee film like that and have lots of people go see it - it’s not always the case with movies, is it?

It did well in Scotland, it did well in Australia. It did well in… I think it was the number one film in Romania? I’m not sure France liked it - for some reason France was like, “No, eet eez not for us”. Even the distributor in France, who’d bought the rights, was a bit like, “We do not like theez film” even though they had a vested fucking interest in it. Scandinavian countries went for it, Germany… yeah, we’ve done relatively well for a low-budget film. It’s still not come out in America yet, that’ll be April or May.

Do you feel there’s a Glasgow equivalent to Irvine Welsh’s books? Do you wish there was?

I don’t think every city has their Irvine. There’s no one in the world like Irvine. He’s sort of unique in the world as a writer, I don’t think anybody’s got anybody… I think the person that I find most like him is someone like Dickens, who’s got this hyper-reality, y’know? It’s not caricature and it’s not cartoonish, it’s very 3D and it’s hyper-real to the point where you actually think it’s too real, which I love. I don’t think we’ll see the likes of Irvine again for a long time. I get a similar vibe when I read Dickens to when I read Irvine. 

In some of the publicity for Filth, I noticed a frequent comment saying you were shedding a nice guy image, but you’ve played some really horrible people over the years. Wanted, The Last King Of Scotland… is that a conscious decision on your part or merely a journalistic angle?

A little bit of both. I wasn’t actually looking for something to challenge some kind of nice guy image, but when this came along I clearly understood that it would do that. I was aware of what it might do, but it wasn’t what I looking for. I’m always looking for something a little bit different to what I’ve done in the past and that’s good quality. This [Filth] is one of the best I’ve ever read, I think.

I think the nice guy thing’s something that’s been a little bit invented as well, but definitely I knew this role had the potential to alter that…but I know what you mean with me and Last King Of Scotland. He wasn’t a nice guy, and Wanted wasn’t a nice guy, and even the guy in Trance - but I appear to have a sort of image of being a nice guy!

Which isn’t bad…

No, I dunno, I’m lucky, I’ll be glad if I get to the end of my days having played nice guys.

Although, having said that, even Mr Tumnus [from The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe] is kind of dobbing them in…

Yeah, no, he’s totally questionable, and he’s a 400-year-old kinda male kidnapping an eight-year-old girl [for] white slavery. 

After you did Macbeth, you were quoted in The Guardian as missing, “Making people shit themselves nightly’, and Filth had a similar effect on viewers. So my next question is: what’s so great about making people shit themselves?

I reckon… why is it so fun to do that? I don’t know really, it’s just nice to get a visceral reaction out of people, to manage to make people laugh. You get an immediate vocal, physical reaction and that’s good fun.

When people are scared you get that physical, sometimes vocal, visceral reaction and I think it’s good to get that kind of feedback, and that’s why I like making people laugh or scaring people - not that it’s what I’ve spent most of my career doing either of those things, but it’s one of my favourite things to do.

Also, it’s unexpected. You go to Macbeth expecting a dark and murderous play, you don’t really go expecting to be scared or terrified, so it was nice to take it and make people feel physically threatened by what was happening on stage. So that was quite good. 

You’re doing Frankenstein right now?

Yeah, I am. I’m on my way to work in the car right now.

Like Macbeth, Frankenstein's a story people keep telling. I appreciate you probably can't say too much, but is this a new angle on it, doing something unexpected like Macbeth?

Yeah it is, actually. It’s set in the period but it’s not really the existential kind of monster’s [story] it’s more about the relationship between Doctor Frankenstein, who I play, and Igor who Dan [Daniel Radcliffe] plays. The character of Igor isn’t in Mary Shelley’s book, you know what I mean? It is very, very different, but it’s about the same essential things. It’s about obsession, and relentless pursuit of scientific advancement, immortality, death, trying to replace God and whether that is right or wrong - it’s about the same things really, but it’s got a different angle. It’s much more about our relationship than it is about a mental doctor and existential ponderings.

Finally, what’s your favourite Jason Statham film?

Crank, because he got the line, “Does it look like I’ve got c*nt written on my head?” and that is the best line I’ve ever heard in a film.

James McAvoy, thank you very much.

Filth is out on DVD and Blu-ray on the 10th of February.

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James McAvoy, Taran Killam Talk 24 Hour Plays’ Challenges, Rewards

8:48 PM PST 11/19/2013 by Hilary Lewis

24 Hour Plays H 2013

James McAvoy, Taran Killam, Thomas Kail, Mickey Sumner and Jonathan Marc Sherman at Monday’s 24 Hour Plays.

The actors were part of the star-studded cast of the 13th edition of fast theater, presented on Monday night in New York.

Monday night stars like James McAvoyJesse Tyler Ferguson and SNL cast members Taran Killam and Jay Pharaoh took the stage at Broadway’s American Airlines Theater to present a series of short plays that were all created within the previous 24 hours.

It sounds like a daunting concept, but the one-night-only benefit 

for education charity Urban Arts Partnership has been going on for 13 years and the actors who took part in this year’s edition said doing it wasn’t that much of a challenge, apart from the whole putting-on-a-play-in-24-hours thing, as McAvoy noted.

"It’s not really a challenge," the X-Men star told The Hollywood Reporter at the after-party. “You’ve got an audience who are willing to go with you, you’ve got writers who are writing stuff that’s easy to learn, you’ve got great people who are good at improvisation. If you mess up, the audience will like it even more. As far as an actor, the key is, don’t get too afraid, enjoy yourself.”

Rizzoli & Isles star Sasha Alexander said letting go was a big issue for her play about assassins at a book club, co-starring Zachary LeviJosh Lucas and Game of ThronesNatalie Dormer.

"We had a very absurd play, very Monty Python-esque, so [the biggest challenge] was really letting go of any desire to have it make sense," she said. "[In the play,] I’m a woman pretending to be a man who then busts out into some Serbian language … You just had to sort of let it go and have a good time."

Michael K. Williams, who starred in the preceding play about an accounting firm’s annual party, and the nerves of two newcomers, played byFerguson and Smash's Krysta Rodriguez, echoed those sentiments.

"The biggest challenge is not taking yourself seriously," Williams said. "If you’re a perfectionist, which I consider myself, I’m my worst critic, you’ve just got to let it go and welcome the mistakes and use them and make fun of yourself. It’s not about me; it’s about the kids. That’s what the cause is for."

Indeed, the event, Montblanc Presents The 24 Hour Plays on Broadway, is designed to benefit the Urban Arts Partnership, which provides arts-education programs for underserved public-school students.

UAP CEO Philip Courtney said The 24 Hour Plays’ 13-year existence helps them amass a star-studded roster of talent each year. He noted that they have a core group of returning performers and new participants come on board via word of mouth. For McAvoy, this was his Broadway debut, Courtney pointed out, saying that the event helps people get involved with theater without having to make a huge commitment.

But McAvoy already seems committed to UAP’s cause.

"I grew up in a place where people didn’t have a lot of dreams, and I know 24 Hour Plays reaches out to people who are in a similar position," he explained. "There’s always a lot of talk about organizations helping people achieve their dreams. That’s what 24 Hour Plays does. It reaches out to people who don’t even have a dream, and that’s really sad, so giving people the ability to project and hope and have a dream, whether they f—-ing achieve it or not is up to them, helping people develop hope and imagination is an incredible thing. And that’s what art education does more than anything else, I think."

Alexander said she also believes strongly in what UAP is doing.

"I went to a public school in Los Angeles, and if it wasn’t for my drama teachers, I don’t know that I would be pursuing this or doing this for a living," she told THR.

Alexander also seemed excited about Rizzoli & Isles' new showrunner.

Jan Nash has a phenomenal reputation. She seems to be an amazingly like smart, creative woman who will continue to grow the show, and that’s what we want, so we’re really excited about her,” she said.

Killam told THR that these plays pose a particular problem for people used to SNL's cue cards. But he agreed, it's not really that hard.

"You show up at 8 a.m. and you rehearse it over and over again until 6 p.m., so if you don’t have it by then, there’s something wrong with you," he said.

Killam also did the show during a work week for the second year in a row, which he said “seemed crazy, but it’s so much fun.”

This week, SNL is new with host Josh Hutcherson before a December full of as-yet-unannounced but “booked” and “exciting” hosts, Killam said.

He also assured us that there would be some Hunger Games parodies Saturday.

"Oh, there’ve gotta be, right? Like Hunger Game Night?” he said, making a face. “I don’t know. That’s just off the top of my head.”

It was only Monday, and he just spent the past day putting on a brand-new play.

James McAvoy makes Filth premiere a real family affair as he poses on the blue carpet with co-star sister Joy


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