James McAvoy is a Scottish actor who was born on April 21, 1979. He made his acting debut as a teenager in the 1995 film “The Near Room,” and then worked mostly on television until 2003 when he launched his feature film career. The thriller “State of Play” and the science fiction miniseries “Frank Herbert’s Children of Dune” are two of his famous television credits. He has appeared in several West End productions and has received four Laurence Olivier Award nominations for ‘Best Actor.’ He has also done voice work for animated films, such as “Gnomeo & Juliet,” “Sherlock Gnomes,” and “Arthur Christmas.” We’re ecstatic because it’s his birthday today.
James McAvoy was born on April 21, 1979, in Glasgow, Scotland, to bus driver James and nurse Elizabeth McAvoy. After his parents divorced when he was 11, he was raised by his maternal grandparents in a housing estate in Drumchapel, Glasgow. He went to St. Thomas Aquinas Secondary School in Jordanhill, where he did well enough to form a small school band with a few friends. McAvoy considered becoming a Catholic priest as a child, but when he was 16, actor David Hayman paid a visit to his school and piqued his interest in acting.
Despite enjoying his role in Hayman’s 1995 film “The Near Room,” McAvoy did not seriously consider acting as a vocation, but he did continue to perform as a member of PACE Youth Theater. Instead, he enlisted in the Royal Navy and was accepted before being admitted to the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama (R.S.A.M.D.). After graduating in 2000, he accepted a position at the R.S.A.M.D. (now the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland) and relocated to London. He had already made a few television appearances at this point and proceeded to work steadily in television and movies until 2004 when he first caught the attention of the British public as car thief Steve McBride in the popular U.K. television series “Shameless,” and then the rest of the world as Mr. Tumnus in Disney’s adaptation of C. S. Lewis’s “The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe” (2005).
McAvoy made his breakthrough in the film “Atonement” (2007). Since then, McAvoy has branched out into theater, starring in Shakespeare’s “Macbeth,” for which he was nominated for an Olivier Award for ‘Best Actor.’ In January 2015, McAvoy returned to Trafalgar Studios to play Jack Gurney, the insane 14th Earl of Gurney who believes he is Jesus, in the first revival of Peter Barnes’ comedy “The Ruling Class,” for which he received the London Evening Standard Theater Awards ‘Best Actor.’ McAvoy has starred in several films over the years. In the psychological thriller “Split” (2016), he played Kevin Wendell Crumb, a man suffering from severe dissociative identity disorder, and reprised the role in the sequel, “Glass” (2019).
He also played Bill Denbrough in “It: Chapter Two” (2019), the horror sequel to “It” (2017). McAvoy began dating Anne-Marie Duff, who played his love interest in the film “Shameless.” They were married on November 11, 2006, and Brendan, their son, was born in 2010. However, the couple announced their divorce on May 13, 2016, in a joint statement. In an interview with “The Guardian,” the actor confessed that he married Lisa Liberati discreetly. The couple met on the set of M. Night Shyamalan’s horror film “Split” in 2016, where Liberati was working as the director’s assistant.
He makes his acting debut as a teen in “The Near Room.”
His first significant role on T.V. is in the political thriller series “State of Play.”
McAvoy makes a breakthrough in his career with his role in “Atonement,” Joe Wright's 2007 adaptation of Ian McEwan's novel of the same title.
McAvoy is nominated for ‘Favorite Movie Superhero’ of 2012 for “X-Men: First Class.”
McAvoy is the February winner of the 'Cybersmiler of the Month Award' for his spontaneous decision to raise money for charity at the 2019 Academy Awards.
Why We Love James McAvoy
His numerous accents are impressive
Despite his Scottish descent, McAvoy knows when and how to switch his accent to fit his movie roles. Not many Hollywood actors can do this, and this is a difficult skill to acquire.
He’s a diverse performer
McAvoy, who first made his name as a serious actor at the start of his career, has been experimenting with a wider range of genres and performances in recent years. McAvoy has proven that as a leading man and character actor, he is not afraid to mix things up, from hosting "Saturday Night Live" to playing a man with 23 distinct personalities in "Split."
His affiliation with the British Red Cross
McAvoy felt it was important to give back to the country that had given him so much in his career. He returned to Uganda as a British Red Cross volunteer to distribute food and supplies and raise awareness about the situation there.
5 Surprising Facts
Acting was never his plan
It wasn't until director David Hayman spoke at his school about the entertainment industry that he realized he wanted to try his hand at acting.
He was tipsy at an important event
McAvoy was slightly tipsy the first time he met M. Night Shyamalan, the director of “Split” and “Glass” in which he plays the lead role.
He admires Samuel L. Jackson's attitude
McAvoy admires Samuel L. Jackson’s no-nonsense attitude, saying he wishes he “got the balls he got.”
He farted on the set of “Wanted"
McAvoy had to take supplements to build his muscles for his role, and as a side effect of the medicines, he farted frequently.
He got his driver’s license at 30
Surprisingly, the actor only just received his driver’s license back in 2010.
James McAvoy FAQs
Is James McAvoy in “X-Men?”
Yes. He played Professor Xavier in the popular film “X-Men: First Class” (2011) and reprised his role in the X-Men films that followed in 2014 and 2016.
How did James McAvoy get in shape for “Split?”
He got in shape through 13 straight days of training different muscle groups; eventually, he incorporated rest days into the routine as well.
Did James McAvoy gain weight for “Glass?”
McAvoy added 16 pounds of muscle mass to his frame over four months to transform into ‘The Beast.’
James McAvoy’s birthday dates