a.k.a. "The Oscar Messenger"

Posts tagged ‘James McAvoy’

James McAvoy via Satellite on “Arthur Christmas”

Is there any star more Christmas-y that Scottish charmer James McAvoy? Calling me via satellite from London, James was all aglow about the coming Holiday Season and the fact that his new animated film “Arthur Christmas” is about to open everywhere, like Santa Claus, the charming James is about to be everywhere at once. The film opens next week. Same day as “The Artist,” “My Weekend with Marilyn,” and “Hugo”! WOW! What a festive filmic day that is going to be!

James is a father now. He has a new little boy, the year and a half year old son, who he says, “Is too young to notice about Christmas yet. But NEXT year!”

He also mentions that a sequel to the box-office blockbuster “X-Men” first class is being planned with himself and Michael Fassbender back to repeat their roles as Professor X & Magneto!

My Christmas-y interview with James, who I’ve now interviewed I think at least five times, will be coming soon on www.youtube.com/StephenHoltShow.

Just in time for Christmas, I hope.

“X-Men:First Class”s James McAvoy ~ Hot and Cool!

Well, James McAvoy called me via satellite from London today. And he was as cool as a cucumber in “Sunny London” as he described it. And I told him it was 100 degrees in New York, and I said “I feel like I’m hell!” But then we quickly changed the subject back to his super-hot hit “X-Men:First Class” which just made $56 million dollars at the box-office in this, its’ first weekend! “And all that money comes to ME!” he joked.

I’ve interviewed James over and over again. Seems like every time I turn around, there’s James! Always funny, always perky, always ready to entertain “the punters” as they call audiences in Blighty.

And entertain them he does. Especially this weekend. And although he’s made many, many distinguished films in his short career, he’s still not a household name. At least in American households, but “X-Men:First Class” which is #1 at the box-office right now, is gonna change all that. He’s so good(and the picture’s so good) that he’s gonna to be forever identified by the masses of movie-goes as Professor X, the nice guy. The hero.

And “X-Men:First Class” plays to all James’ strengths. He’s compassionate. He’s intelligent. He’s admirable. And he also, like James, is funny, too.

“I wanted to put a bit of humor in him, ” he says, “Also a bit of ego. I didn’t want him just to be somebody who’s standing in front of all those special effects”

Professor X is a mutant, which is what distinguishes this franchise from all the other comic-book, super-hero, blow’em up, shoot’em tent poles. And as James put it to me “He’s someone who can see all the other mutants on the earth.” He was telepathic powers. He can read people’s minds.

“And he sees that they are the next front of evolution. And he wants to unite them all, to band them together” Because singly they are all treated as society’s rejects. And are very isolated. And discriminated against because they are different. Professor X believes that in unity there is strength.

So James is playing a leader, too.

But he’s used to playing leads. In the first British film I interviewed him for “Starter for Ten” at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2006, he was the lead in a shy guy, coming-of-age story.

I caught up with him again around Christmas the following year for Focus Features big Oscar push for “Atonement.” And again, in “Atonement” he was the good, heroic guy, which he said he found hard to play. “He didn’t have any flaws” I remember him telling me at the time.

Then last year he was again front and center with the Oscar-seeker “The Last Station” and I interviewed him again. All these interviews and soon, the one I just did today, are on my You Tube channel www.youtube.com/StephenHoltShow

He got no Oscar recognition for “The Last Station” but it garnered co-stars Dame Helen Mirren and Christopher Plummer Oscar nods. For “Atonement” he was also unjustly passed over for a very beautiful, sensitive performance.

“X-Men: First Class” isn’t going to be in the Gold Derby this year on any level. Gold Derby is what my equally Oscar-obsessed colleague Tom O’Neil calls the Awards race. But I’m SO SURE an Oscar will one day be in James’ future.

Right now, he’s literally over the moon with the ecstatic critical and box-office reaction that “First Class” is getting.

“I hope the audiences like it enough for us to be able to do another one,” he puts it humbly. He seemed genuinely surprised, relieved and over-whelmed at the same time.

And judging from the wildly applauding audience I saw it with at a public screening, they will, James. They will. I predict you’ll be doing “X-Men” for at least a decade.

Heat Wave in New York today! Ugh! Tomorrow, James McAvoy of “X-Men” Yay!

Ok, it’s going to go into the 90s again today in New York City! I have been reluctant to write about just how bad the heat gets here, because heat effects me greatly. The cold, not so much. Guess I’m a true Celt in that sense. With an ethnic background of Irish-English-Scottish-German, I’ve always been better in cooler climes and weather. And New York in the summer is a bummer

Me, I prefer the blizzard we had this winter. Worst winter in NYC in my memory and I hope this summer doesn’t match last summer which was a 90 degree heat wave through almost all of July and August!

I got drenched by stupidly misjudging the rain one day on my way to tape my Tony show. You can see it here www.youtube.com/StephenHoltShow

I was soaked, then had to sit in the air-conditioning for four hours or more at the lovely Bombay Palace Restaurant while we were filming. Then got sick from it and developed what was probably Walking Pneumonia.

I wonder if people realize how strenuous it is to keep doing a weekly TV show? Esp. when you’re sick.

Also for the first mega-heat wave last week, which lasted five days, I didn’t have any air-conditoner. I thought I was going to die. And got sicker. But fortunately, I went to the doctor, got the right antibiotics AND a brand-new air-conditioner and am fine now.

The doctor said “Rest and lots of liquids” so basically what that amounts to in New York is staying IN ALL DAY. Or at least til the Sun begins to set.

I’m getting ready to do Editfest this weekend, which is this really neat two-day festival of all Editors, mostly film, but TV, too, talking about Editing.

As someone who does a weekly show, I have a new mantra “You can never know enough editors!”

Fortunately, it doesn’t begin til after the heat wave is supposed to be over. But we’ll see. I basically don’t trust the weather men, anymore. They almost always seem to get it just a bit WRONG. So I hope this heat wave will be over by Friday. And Editfest.

I’m interviewing James McAvoy via Satellite tomorrow. I think he’s in London. For “X-men: First Class” which is very exciting, esp. since I liked and actually SAW the movie!

This franchise will put James in the multi-millionaire category. Where he belongs. And he’s so good in this film, too. Never your typical leading man, he’s so right for the good guy, Professor Xavier. Can’t wait for that moment!

“X-Men:First Class” is exactly that! Michael Fassbender is a Magnetic Magneto!

Topping the box-office charts this weekend and packing the fanboys and everyone else in  is the “X-Men” pre-quel, now called “X-Men:First Class” and it really is a first class entertainment. An Action Hero flick with pyrotechnics galore. But it’s Irish actor Michael Fassbender as the most magnetic Magneto imaginable that powers this flick into the stratosphere. An actor I’ve admired greatly in many smart Indie films like “Hunger”, which was on my year’s 10 Best List that year,”Fish Tank” and many, many more. He makes smart choices and smart directors seek him out.

And here he is in the role he was born to play. I never thought of him as an action hero. I just thought of him as a very, very talented, but underappreciated actor. Although he works constantly, his really good work in a big film of two years ago “Inglorious Basterds” went pretty much unnoticed. He was also doing sword and sandal duty in “300” in a Supporting Role.

Supporting roles will no longer be something you see him in because he’s the real break-out star of this very well done popcorn movie. It’s NOT in 3D thank goodness. I hate those glasses. They sometimes make me quite sick.

And the lead in this film is James McAvoy as Xavier, and he and Fassbender really make the chemistry, the human, acting kind of chemistry, not just the CGI- kind these super-heroes are constantly capable of producing really work. There are ACTORS here! And the best of the younger generation I might add, and attention must be paid.

I will go see every sequel to this prequel from now on because their dynamic duo dynamism is dynamite.

Less successful, but I don’t rate her much as an actress anyway, YET is the least deserving Academy Award Nominee of All Time Jennifer Lawrence, who certainly nails the babe-licious part of this character, who when she turns blue and scaly, often sheds all her clothing at the same time. Since I don’t think she has much range ALREADY, the blue make-up, with the yellow CGI cat’s eyes, made her look like she was acting more than she actually was.

There was a certain poignancy that she exhibited as Mystique and she’s certainly easy on the eyes. And VERY TALL. That they kept pairing her with the much shorter James MacAvoy (she’s his adopted sister, or something like that), I kept wondering how many boxes he was standing on or how many holes she was standing in, to make them look equal in height. But they do! That’s one of the neatest special effects of all in this special effects laden movie.

I couldn’t keep who did which effect and who has what super power straight, there are so many mutants in this movie.

Oliver Platt plays the small part of one of the only humans in this mutant-filled movies, but his only super power seemed to be that he was simply fat. But at least he WAS a human.

Kevin Bacon seems to be having the time of his life as the villain of villains here. You really need a score card to keep all the Super Heroes straight in this movie. I’m not an X-Man addict, so I can’t parse them all and who they all turn into later. Although I do remember vividly Ian McKellen’s gleeful, older Magneto. An Action Hero At Last! At age 60 something!

And one of the indelible moments I have with Sir Ian, was when I was interviewing him in his dressing room on Broadway back in 2001 and he had a Gandalf figurine and a Magneto one, too, and he made them fight with each other! Hilarious! He was on Broadway with Dame Helen Mirren having a gay old time screaming at each other in one of Strindberg’s more strident pieces “The Ghost Sonata.”

And my favorite Michael Fassbender moment was when I was interviewing him for “Fish Tank” and I was the one who broke the news to him about the death of a mutual friend, the great Irish movie critic, Michael Dwyer, and how he nearly burst into tears, when he realized he was here in NYC and was missing the funeral that was taking place in Dublin.

Michael has a great, sensitive soul and will make a great, great movie star.

Unfortunately, both these interviews were for print, so I never got either of them on camera, for my TV show, but I look forward to many, many more with these two terrific stars,James MacAvoy and Michael Fassbender acting their hearts out in and giving class to “X-Men:First Class.”

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