James McAvoy is one of the most talented and exciting British actors around and he is set to return to the big screen this week in Victor Frankenstein, where he will take on the title role.
Victor Frankenstein is a new take on the Mary Shelley classic and will sees McAvoy team up with Daniel Radcliffe and filmmaker Paul McGuigan for the first time.
To celebrate the release of the film, we take a look back at McAvoy's career and some of his best movies and performances.
- Inside I'm Dancing (2004)
It was back in 2004 when McAvoy took on the role of Rory O'Shea in what was one of the biggest leads roles of his career to date.
Directed by Damien O'Donnell, the movie followed Michael Connolly, a twenty four year old with cerebral palsy who live at the Carrigmore Residential Home for the Disabled. Here is life is mundane and routine... until he meets Rory O'Shea, who suffers from Duchenne muscular dystrophy. The pair strike up a friendship and Rory encourages Michael to live life to the full.
Inside I'm Dancing is an uplifting and incredibly funny movie that is a sensitive portrayal of disability without ever being patronising or ignorant.
I love McAvoy's performance as he has nothing but his face to play with. With only his expressions and a great script he conveys happiness, mischief, heartbreak and fear perfectly. Steven Robertson is also great as Michael and he and McAvoy complement each other perfectly as complete opposites with different views on life and the world.
Inside I'm Dancing does get a tad melodramatic in the middle but it is a funny and touching movie that is driven by a trio of terrific central performances.
- The Last King of Scotland (2007)
McAvoy's movie star was rapidly on the rise in 2007 when he landed a role in The Last King of Scotland alongside Forest Whitaker and director Kevin Macdonald.
The movie explored the brutal regime of dictator Idi Amin (played by Whitaker) in Uganda, as seen through the eyes of a young doctor, Nicholas Garrigan, who was working in a missionary clinic after graduating from medical school.
The Last King of Scotland was based on the novel of the same name by Giles Foden and was one of the most interesting and intriguing British movies of the year. While McAvoy's character was a fictional one, he is terrific as the young and naive director who gets pulled into Ami's world - ending up his personal physician.
The Last King of Scotland is a movie about power and corruption and features a fantastic central performance from Whitaker as he captures the funny, intelligent, and enigmatic side of Ami... as well as the brutal and violent dictator.
I love the scenes between Whitaker and McAvoy, particularly towards the end of the film when Nicholas realises that he is in danger and needs to escape. The final scene between these two characters is truly unforgettable and not one that you will forget in a hurry.
The Last King of Scotland boasts impressive performances all around and further established McAvoy as a great dramatic actor.
- Atonement (2007)
2007 was a huge year for McAvoy as he also starred alongside Keira Knightley in the big screen adaptation of Ian McEwan's novel Atonement. Atonement was the second feature film for director Joe Wright and marked the first time that McAvoy had teamed up with the actor.
The film follows wannabe writer Briony Tallis, as a 13-year-old, irrevocably changes the course of several lives when she accuses her older sister Cecilia's lover Robbie of a crime he did not commit. This results in Cecilia becoming estranged from her family while Robbie is sent to jail, where he serves four years before being released on condition he joins the army to serve in the Second World War.
James McAvoy's plays the film's everyman Robbie, the house of the Tallis family's housekeeper who aspires to be more. It is through this character that we are taken into the Tallis world and it is with the character of Robbie that the audience go on the greatest journey.
Knightley and McAvoy are just perfect together - two people from different backgrounds and class who struggle to hide their feelings for one another. It is in the early part of the film that the pair set up and establish their relationship; a relationship that hangs over the whole film and you are rooting for them to triumph.
Atonement is a stunningly beautiful movie as the cinematography really will spellbind and leave you totally breathless. Wright and cinematographer Seamus McGarvey capture a peace and a beauty at the start of the film, which is contrasted to the dark and devastation of war in the second half of the film.
- X-Men Franchise (2011 & 2014)
McAvoy was one of the big names on the cast list when X-Men: First Class, the first of the prequel movies hit the big screen in 2011. The film explored the younger years of Charles Xavier and Erik Lensherr and how they met, became friend, and then enemies.
Matthew Vaughn was in the director's chair for First Class and this was the first time that we had seen a young Charles Xavier. McAvoy really captured his youthful enthusiasm, his love of life, and his desire to find and help other mutants. Charles and Eric are the magnetic centrepieces to this film and McAvoy & Fassbender have a terrific chemistry together; there is a true friendship between the pair, no matter what happens.
Three years later we were treated to Days of Future Past, which marked the return of Bryan Singer to the X-Men franchise. The movie follows Wolverine as he is sent into the past in a bid to change history and save both humans and mutants alike.
We see a very different Xavier at the beginning of the film - all that hope and exuberance has been lost after being paralysed at the end of the first film. With the help of Wolverine, Charles begins to hope and find his way again - both McAvoy and Hugh Jackman deliver terrific performances.
X-Men: Days of Future Past is a movie that is about the characters, their stories, their problems, and their demons. No matter how great a spectacle the film is, it never casts a shadows over the characters and the actor's performances.
McAvoy and co will be back next year for the already highly anticipated X-Men: Apocalypse.
Other great James McAvoy movies include The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Starter For 10, Arthur Christmas, and Filth.
Victor Frankenstein is release 3rd December.