X-files Skully 120x240

Return to the Continuum home page

Clicking on images provides larger ones.
Spider-Man T-Shirts



LOS ANGELES -- The Continuum continues its series of features on Wanted with a roundtable question-and-answer session from James McAvoy, who stars as Wesley Gibson.

Following is an edited transcription from the junket interview.

Question: How did you get in such great shape for the movie? Are you still like that?

McAvoy: I'm not still like that. I've lost a lot of weight, I'm glad to say. It took me a couple of months to get into shape for this film. It took me a couple of weeks for it all to disappear. I'm not joking. I lost 90 percent of the weight really quickly. I had to eat like a Trojan to keep the weight on. Because you're doing 12-13 hour days and you're doing a lot stunts and fighting during the day, anyway. So it's like a workout and then you go work out at night. So I was just eating enough for like four people. And then, of course, when I stopped doing all that, I stopped eating all that and I stopped going to the gym, and it all just dropped. It just disappeared. I was so disappointed.

Question: People on the outside would not think of James McAvoy, action hero, buff guy with guns. Why do you think you were right for this?

McAvoy: I think this film is an example of one of those type of super-here/action movies that requires that the lead actor is not an alpha male. It requires that your hero is unlikely, like your Spider-Mans and even Edward Norton in Hulk. But what I think is good about film is that by casting somebody like me, you're getting more than just a guy taking his glasses off or changing his hairstyle and he becomes a tough guy all of a sudden. I think not only is the character unlikely, but the casting of me is unlikely, so that hopefully the audience will watch the film and go, "There's no way. There's just no way that he's going to do the stuff we've seen in the trailer or seen in the poster."

And hopefully the journey from here to here (spaces hands out)... he's a very interesting person, clinically depressed here and he's a very interesting psychopath here. But the interesting things if how he gets from there to there. You have to believe who he is in the beginning and you have to believe who he is in the end in order for the journey to be intersting and not just be a kids' film, do you know what I mean?

And this really isn't a kids' film. It's a fantasy and it's silly and it's entertainment, but it's an adult fantasy. So hopefully, I've accomplished that.

Question: You were making that transition to who you were going to become in that finale It's still gradual. That was a lot different than most movies.

McAvoy: I hope so, yeah. I think it's one of those things where it's a quite shallow learning curve. We wanted it to take a long. He's not got great super-powers. It wasn't his estraordinary abilities that ultimately proved to win the day for him. And you spend a lot of time getting to know his extraordinary abilities. It's really just his motivation. When his motivation changes, that's when...it's a much more human thing.

Question: Can you talk about some of the more scarrier stunts?

McAvoy: One that was one of the most enjoyable stunts was probably the most dangerous stunt was there a car going along at 30 miles per hour and I'm chasing someone who is getting away from me, so I hope a ride on the car. So I jump on the car while it's moving and it hits the breaks -- because obviously you would -- and I go flying off the front and a truck smashes into the side.

And that was all real. There was no wires. There was no mats. I was wearing pads and stuff. But I've said this a few times, they wouldn't let me jump through a pane of shooting glass, which at the very most might scratch me a little bit. But they would let me do thing on the car. I couldn't quite rationalize what the decision-making process was based on or what the insurance people were thinking.

But I didn't argue with them. I was just very jazzed to get to do something like that. That was probably the most hairy. I was very excited and pleasure, but also just very worried about that whole thing. But it worked out well in the end, and I never broke anything make this film. I sprained a couple of things, I had a couple of straings and tweaks, but nothing desperate at all.

Question: In the scene with Angelina Jolie, how were you so convincing in taking so much punishment?

McAvoy: Just a lot of fight rehearsal. I love nothing more than taking a hit in a film. I've done it a few times now, but never so sustained as in this job. Everyday I would be getting punched. I don't know what is, it might be watching Indiana Jones movies as a kid. Nobody took a hit better than Harrison Ford. He almost looks more heroic being punched than he does hitting someone. They make a real virtue of it in the fourth one.

I don't what, maybe it's that, but I love being the person getting beaten up. I love being covered in the blood. I love doing that old gag with the blood flying out of your mouth in slow motion. I love all that.

She's a good puncher, and hopefully I'm a good seller of punches.

Question: Are you in The Hobbit?

McAvoy: It's just Internet conversation. There's nothing true, I'm afraid. I have not been contacted by anybody to do with The Hobbit.

Question: Would you be interested in doing The Hobbit.

McAvoy: I would be intersted in reading the script when they write it. That's a long way away, I think. But beyond that, you can't make any decisions.

Question: Did you meet Mark Millar?

McAvoy: Yeah, I did.

Question: You're kind of like homies?

McAvoy: I don't know about homies, but he's definitely from Glasgow, as I am. But I never knew of him, knew of his work, which is strange because he's from Glasgow. I think there's quite a lot of writers of graphic novels from Scotland. Yeah, it's kind of strange, that.

But we hung out a little bit on the set. He's a nice guy and he's very pleased with the film, so that's good to know.

Question: Did you read the comic?

McAvoy: Yeah, I did. I read the script and then before I flew out to the screen test, I was sent the graphic novel as well. Which totally freaked me out because I opened in and on page one went, "What? Eminem? Are you having a laugh? Am I going to be playing that?" I just couldn't quite understand. And I thought, well, I'm not going to be going in doing an impression of Eminem. So I got over that fairly quickly.

But I loved it. It's really good.

Question: Can you about working Timur (Bekmambetov, director)?

McAvoy: He does this really good thing where he sort of applies the principle of contradiction, where, almost as a rule, on every scene -- whether it works or not and sometimes it fails spectacularly, but when it works, it's great and it's worth doing as an exercise -- say, there's scene that says Wesley walks into the room and he laughs his head off. He'll let you do that and then he'll say, "Walk into the room and cry your eyes out." And you go, "Why?" He'll go, "Just because."

And sometimes it works perfectly, sometimes it doesn't work. But even when it doesn't work it gives you something every now and again. It can illuminate parts of the scene that you wouldn't have been brave enough to even contemplate because you didn't want to get it wrong. And sometimes doing it wrong on purpose illuminates something about your character or a relationship in a scene or the environment or something. It gives you something extra. Maybe sometimes only a little thing, but sometimes it's big things it gives you. I thought that was just so clever of him.

He always out there to go for the fun, to go for the comedy, no matter how broad or how silly it is. He'll cut it out or just eventually start saying, "Stop doing it like that. I'm really glad we went there, but it just doesn't work."

He's adventurous and brave, and I liked working with him a lot.

Question: There are parts of the film that it goes right up to that point, but there's a reality in it.

McAvoy: The thing about the character is that he starts in a very sad and truthful place, the post-modern apathy that my character is suffering in the beginning of the film. I think that's quite a truthful and depressing sad place to start the journey of an action here. So as ridiculous and as epic as fantastical as the film becomes, hopefully you can still connect to that very sad, young man.

E-mail the Continuum at RobAlls@aol.com

Return to the Continuum home page

Copyright © 2008 The Comics Continuum