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James McAvoy

James McAvoy arrives at the opening of the Los Angeles Film Festival with the premiere of Universal's 'Wanted.'

Kevin Winter/Getty Image
James McAvoy may keep a low profile, but the Scottish actor, who rose to fame with roles in The Last King of Scotland and Atonement, has become a veritable star with the blockbuster film Wanted.


Born Jan. 1, 1979 in Glasgow, Scotland, James McAvoy was raised by his maternal grandparents after his parents divorced in 1986. He began his screen career at age 16 in the 1995 thriller The Near Room, a dark thriller about child prostitution. McAvoy’s portrayal of the son of a pimp won him a spot at the Royal Scottish Academy of Dance and Music.

Breakout Role:

James McAvoy sprung to worldwide attention with his role in the science-fiction miniseries Children of Dune. Adapted from the works of Frank Herbert, the three-part, six-hour miniseries was produced in Germany and boasted an international cast.

Work In Theater:

In 2005, McAvoy could be seen on the stage in London, playing Ben in the Royal Court Theatre's production Breathing Corpses. He also played Macbeth in the four-part BBC production Shakespeare Retold.

James McAvoy Film Career:

It seemed a surprising choice for James McAvoy to take on a starring role in Timur Bekmambetov's blockbuster Wanted, bending bullets with co-star Angelina Jolie. But McAvoy had already appeared in another blocker, The Chronicles of Narnia (2005), portraying, Mr. Tumnus, a faun. Early film roles for McAvoy include Bright Young Things (2003), Wimbledon (2004) and Rory O'Shea Was Here (2004). In 2005, he had the lead role in the charming coming of age film Starter For Ten, starring opposite Rebecca Hall, another British rising star.

In 2006, McAvoy starred alongside Forest Whitaker in The Last King of Scotland, a fictionalized account of the regime of the brutal Ugandan dictator Idi Amin during the 1970s. McAvoy went on to play romantic leads in Penelope, wooing Christina Ricci, and Becoming Jane, wooing Anne Hathaway in the title role.

James McAvoy was critically acclaimed for this performance in James Wright's Oscar-nominated Atonement, an adaption of Ian McEwan's novel, receiving a Golden Globe nomination.

The Future

After Wanted, McAvoy will next be seen in The Last Station, based on Jay Parini's 1990 novel about the final year of Leo Tolstoy's life, and co-stars his wife, Anne-Marie Duff.


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