a.k.a. "The Oscar Messenger"

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“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!

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