James McAvoy is a Scottish stage and screen actor, best known for starring in films The Last King of Scotland (2006) and Atonement (2007), for which he gained a Golden Globe Award nomination and two BAFTA nominations. He has also been nominated for an Olivier Award.
McAvoy’s acting debut was at the age of 15 in the film The Near Room. He subsequently went on to train at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, graduating in 2000 and gaining roles in television, film and on stage in that first year.
Television work started with the part of Miller in Band of Brothers and Sergeant Bloxham in Lorna Doone, both in 2000. Early work following that includes Foyles War, Frank Herbert’s Children of Dune, and the part of Josh Malfen in the television adaptation of Zadie Smith’s bestselling and multi-award winning novel White Teeth (2002). This same year he played Dan Foster in State of Play, and in 2004 went on to make his first big break with the part of Steve in the first two series of Shameless, a role he is well known for. He has also played Joe Macbeth in the BBC’s Macbeth (2005) and the role of Angelina's father in Angelina Ballerina: The Next Steps (2009).
Film work started with a part in The Swimming Pool in 2000. After appearances in Bollywood Queen (2001) and Bright Young Things (2002), in 2004 he played Carl in Wimbledon alongside Paul Bettany and Kirsten Dunst. After appearing in Inside I’m Dancing (2004), in 2005 he featured as Mr Tumnus in The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe. In 2006 he gained his major breakthrough with the lead role Nicholas Garrigan in The Last King of Scotland, for which he was named Best Actor of the year by Scotland’s own BAFTA awards, and for which he received a BAFTA nomination for Best Actor in a Supporting Role. The film itself walked away with three wins, including Outstanding British Film of the Year. After performances as Brian Jackson in Starter for Ten, Max in Penelope (both 2006), and Tom Lefroy in Becoming Jane, in 2007 he then gained the role of Robbie Turner in Atonement, directed by Joe Wright. The film itself was nominated for fourteen BAFTAs and seven Academy Awards, with McAvoy and Knightley both nominated for their performances at the Golden Globe Awards. Only the year after, in 2008, McAvoy starred in Wanted opposite international stars Angelina Jolie and Morgan Freeman. Film work subsequent to this has included The Last Station (2009), The Conspirator (2010), X-Men: First Class (2010) and Filth (2012). He will also appear in Danny Boyle’s film Trance (released in 2013).
After graduating from drama school, McAvoy’s professional debuts were at Edinburgh’s Traverse and Lyceum Theatre, with The Reel of the Hanged Man and Lovers respectively. In 2001 he played the title role in Romeo and Juliet at the Courtyard Theatre and Iggy in Out In the Open at the Hampstead Theatre in London. 2002 saw him working under Michael Grandage’s direction in Privates on Parade at the prestigious Donmar Warehouse Theatre in London’s West End. In 2005, he made his first appearance at the Royal Court Theatre, playing Ben in Anna Mackmin’s production of Breathing Corpses. He is set to star in Macbeth in 2013 at the West End’s Trafalgar Studios, in what will be ATG and Jamie Lloyd Productions’ inaugural collaborative piece.
James McAvoy was last on stage in 2009 in Three Days of Rain at the Apollo Theatre directed by Jamie Lloyd for which he received an Olivier award nomination. Other stage credits include Breathing Corpses at the Royal Court, Privates on Parade at the Donmar Warehouse and Out in the Open at Hampstead Theatre. James’s film credits include X-Men: First Class, The Conspirator, Gnomeo and Juliet, The Last Station, Wanted, Atonement (winner of Best Actor at the London Film Critics Circle Awards, Empire Film Awards, Richard Attenborough Film Awards and further nominations for Best Actor at both BAFTA and the Golden Globe Awards) Becoming Jane, Starter for Ten, The Last King of Scotland (winner of Best Actor BAFTA Scotland Award and nominated for BAFTA Best Supporting Actor and London Film Critics Circle Best British Actor), The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and Bright Young Things. In 2006 James won the BAFTA Orange Rising Star Award. Forthcoming films include Welcome to the Punch, The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby, Filth, Trance and X-Men: Days of Future Past. McAvoy’s television credits include Shameless, Macbeth, Early Doors and State of Play.