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James Andrew McAvoy ( ; born ) is a Scottishmarker stage and screen actor known for his roles in Atonement, The Last King of Scotland, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Penelope, Wanted, Frank Herbert's Children of Dune, and the British TV series Shameless and Early Doors. McAvoy has won the BAFTA Rising Star Award and a BAFTA Scotland award. He has also been nominated for an ALFS Award, two BAFTA Awards, a European Film Award, and a Golden Globe award. He is married to Anne-Marie Duff. He is currently working on a new film called Gnomeo and Juliet which is a remake of Romeo and Juliet in animation form and is to be released in 2010.

Early life

McAvoy was born in Port Glasgowmarker, Scotlandmarker, the son of Elizabeth (née Johnstone), a psychiatric nurse, and James McAvoy, a builder. McAvoy's parents divorced when he was seven, and he subsequently lived with his maternal grandparents, Mary and James Johnstone, in the Drumchapelmarker area of Glasgowmarker. His mother lived with them intermittently but McAvoy has not been in contact with his father since childhood. McAvoy attended St. Thomas Aquinas Secondary in Jordanhill, Glasgow, a Catholic school, and briefly considered joining the Catholic priesthood. During his education he worked at a local bakery. He was a member of PACE Youth Theatre before he eventually graduated from the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama in 2000. His sister, Joy McAvoy, is a singer and actress.


James McAvoy's agent is Kate Marquis.

McAvoy's first roles were in David Hayman's The Near Room in 1995 and then as Anthony Balfour in Pat Barker's Regeneration in 1997. He received his first big break with a role in the Steven Spielberg-produced miniseries Band of Brothers. His first international starring role was as Leto Atreides II in the 2003 Sci Fi Channel miniseries Frank Herbert's Children of Dune (adapted from Frank Herbert's novels). The same year he also appeared in several episodes of the BBC sitcom Early Doors and co-starred in Paul Abbott's acclaimed thriller serial State of Play. In 2004, he starred as Steve McBride in another Abbott-written drama series, Shameless on Channel 4, for which he was nominated for the British Comedy Award for Best TV Newcomer. He also appeared in two other productions: Wimbledon as Paul Bettany's obnoxious brother, Carl Colt; and he played disabled character Rory O'Shea in the Irish film Inside I'm Dancing. In 2005, he starred in three productions: he played Ben in the Royal Court Theatremarker's production Breathing Corpses and an adaptation of Macbeth in the four-part BBC production ShakespeaRe-told; he also portrayed Mr. Tumnus, the Faun, in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, and Max/Johnny-2008 in Penelope.

In 2006, McAvoy starred alongside Forest Whitaker as Dr. Garrigan in The Last King of Scotland. The film is an adaptation of Giles Foden's novel of the same name and gives a fictionalized account of the regime of the brutal Ugandan dictator Idi Amin during the 1970s, as seen by his (fictional) personal physician and adviser. The character of Garrigan is a composite of several men who were close to Amin, most notably Englishman Bob Astles, who was a top adviser to Amin during his regime and became known in Uganda as "The White Rat".

That same year, McAvoy took the lead role in Starter for 10. The film, which was adapted from the novel of the Starter for Ten by David Nicholls, follows the exploits of the nerdy Brian Jackson as he navigates his first year at Bristol University during the mid-1980s. McAvoy won the new Mary Selway/Orange Rising Star Award at the 2006 BAFTA Awards for his role. He also completed filming of Penelope in 2006, but due to distribution problems the film was not put in wide release until 2008.

McAvoy and Anne-Marie Duff at the Orange British Academy of Film Awards in London's Royal Opera House in February 2007
In 2007 McAvoy appeared in two critically acclaimed films: Becoming Jane, a fictional romance inspired by the life of Jane Austen, and Atonement, an adaptation of Ian McEwan's award-winning 2001 novel. McAvoy was nominated for a Golden Globe for his role in Atonement. During this time he workshopped scenes for the film Three Way Split for directors Neil Hunter and Tom Hunsinger, but will not take part in the actual film.

McAvoy's film, Wanted, was released on 25 June 2008. Loosely based on the comic book miniseries by the same name, McAvoy plays Wesley Gibson, a twenty-five year old everyman who is offered the opportunity to avenge the death of his father, who was an assassin. The character is then trained by his father's partner, Sloan (Morgan Freeman), and by Sloan's second-in-command, Fox, played by Angelina Jolie. McAvoy will appear in the forthcoming film The Last Station, planned for worldwide release in 2009. The film is based on the 1990 novel by Jay Parini about the final year of Leo Tolstoy's life, and co-stars McAvoy's wife, Anne-Marie Duff. McAvoy is currently working on Robert Redford's "The Conspirator". McAvoy will also star in the upcoming film "I'm With Cancer," which will be directed by Nicole Holofcener and produced by Seth Rogen.

McAvoy is a celebrity supporter of the British Red Cross with whom he travelled to Uganda to raise awareness of the projects there.

Personal life

McAvoy previously dated Scottish actress Emma Nielsen (stage name Emma King); they began dating when he was 16 and broke up in 2003. He married actress Anne-Marie Duff on 18 October 2006. They live in Londonmarker. He enjoys science fiction which he said started from the age of 11 with the Lord of the Rings. He considers himself a spiritual person who no longer practices Catholicism.

McAvoy is known by his friends as Jamesy Boy. His big interest outside acting and science fiction is football; he is a huge fan of Celtic Football Club.

Stage and screen credits


Year Film Role Notes
1995 The Near Room Kevin
1997 Regeneration Anthony Balfour
The Bill Gavin Donald one episode, "Rent"
2000 Lorna Doone Sergeant Bloxham TV film (BBC and A&E co-production)
2001 Band of Brothers Pvt. James W. Miller TV miniseries, one episode "Replacements"
Swimming Pool Mike Also known as The Pool
Murder in Mind Martin Vosper one episode, "Teacher"
2002 White Teeth Josh TV film
Bollywood Queen Jay
The Inspector Lynley Mysteries Gowan Ross TV series; episode "Payment in Blood"
Foyle's War Ray Pritchard one episode, "The German Woman"
2003 Frank Herbert's Children of Dune Leto Atreides II TV miniseries
Bright Young Things Simon Balcairn
Early Doors Liam TV series (4 episodes; Series 1 only)
State of Play Dan Foster TV serial
2004 Wimbledon Carl Colt
Strings Hal Tara (Voice) English Version
Inside I'm Dancing Rory O'Shea Also known as Rory O'Shea Was Here
Nominated — London Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actor
2004 Shameless Steve McBride TV series (13 episodes; Series 1 and Series 2)
Nominated — British Comedy Award for Best TV Comedy Newcomer
2005 The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe Mr. Tumnus, The Faun Empire Award for Best Actor
Nominated — London Film Critics Circle Award for British Supporting Actor of the Year
ShakespeaRe-Told Joe Macbeth 1 episode ("Macbeth")
Starter for 10 Brian Jackson
2006 The Last King of Scotland Dr. Nicholas Garrigan BAFTA Scotland Award for Best Actor
Rising Star Award, BAFTA
Nominated — BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role
Nominated — British Independent Film Award for Best Actor
Nominated — European Film Award for Best Actor
Nominated — London Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actor

2007 Becoming Jane Thomas Lefroy
Atonement Robbie Turner Empire Award for Best Actor
London Film Critics Circle Award for British Actor of the Year
Nominated — BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role
Nominated — European Film Award for Best Actor
Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Drama
Nominated — Irish Film Award for Best International Actor

2008 Penelope Johnny Martin/Max Premiered at the Toronto International Film Festivalmarker in 2006, released in the US & UK in 2008.
Wanted Wesley Gibson Nominated — MTV Movie Award for Best Kiss
Nominated — National Movie Award for Best Performance - Male
2009 The Last Station Valentin Bulgakov post-production
2010 The Conspirator Frederick Aiken filming
I'm With Cancer Adam Schwartz pre-production
2011 Gnomeo and Juliet Gnomeo (voice) filming
Wanted 2 Wesley Gibson pre-production



  • Wanted: Weapons Of Fate (2009)


  1. "The Real McAvoy", The Observer, October, 2006. Retrieved on 16-03-2008.
  2. James McAvoy Biography (1979-)
  3. "Uganda's White Rat". Daily News (South Africa). Retrieved 16-4-2008.
  4. Penelope starring Reese Witherspoon and Christina Ricci, release dates on, Retrieved 31-3-2008.
  5. Wanted release dates on, Retrieved 16-3-2008.
  6. The Last Station press release, Retrieved on 29-5-2008.
  7. [1], retrieved on 25-10-2009.
  8. Variety "James McAvoy is 'With Cancer'" Retrieved on 2009-8-18
  9. Profile on the Red Cross site
  10. GLASGOW HERALD INTERVIEW - August 2003 :: James McAvoy :: Welcome to James McAvoy Online !
  11. "James McAvoy Biography". Retrieved on 2008-03-24.
  12. "Discover more about the stars of BBC Drama: James McAvoy". Retrieved on 2008-03-14.
  13. "A young actor creating a buzz". Retrieved on 2008-03-17.

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