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James McAvoy (/ˈmækəvɔɪ/ MAK-ə-voi; born 21 April 1979) is a Scottish actor. He made his acting debut as a teen in 1995's The Near Room and continued to make mostly television appearances until the late 2000s. His notable television work includes the drama show State of Play, the adult comedy-drama Shameless, and the science fiction show Frank Herbert's Children of Dune. Besides screen acting, McAvoy has performed in several West End productions, receiving three nominations for the Laurence Olivier Award for Best Actor. He has also done voice work for animated films including Gnomeo & Juliet and Arthur Christmas (both 2011).
In 2003, McAvoy appeared in a lead role in Bollywood Queen, a British Indian take on the Shakespeare play Romeo and Juliet, directed by Jeremy Wooding. This was followed by a supporting role, the faun Mr. Tumnus, in The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (2005). His performance in Kevin Macdonald's drama The Last King of Scotland (2006) garnered him several award nominations. The critically acclaimed romantic drama war film Atonement (2007) earned him a Golden Globe Award nomination and his second BAFTA nomination. He appeared opposite Angelina Jolie as a newly-trained assassin in the action thriller Wanted (2008).
Since then, he is notable for playing the young Professor Charles Xavier in the 2011 superhero film X-Men: First Class, a role he reprised in X-Men: Days of Future Past in 2014. McAvoy starred in the 2013 crime comedy-drama film Filth for which he won Best Actor in the British Independent Film Awards.
McAvoy dated Scottish actress Emma Nielsen (stage name Emma King) for six years until 2003. While working on Shameless, McAvoy started a relationship with his character's love interest, Anne-Marie Duff. When they first began dating, McAvoy and Duff agreed not to speak to the press about their relationship. He married Duff on 18 October 2006 in a quiet ceremony. When asked by Ryan Seacrest, during his radio show, if he wished he had waited longer to get married so he could exploit his fame better, McAvoy replied that he had married the woman of his dreams. "The world seemed less scary.... And I started to like myself a little bit more."
They have one child together, a son named Brendan (b. 2010). In interviews, the actor has opted not to discuss his son and have not announced their child's birth date, although he has stated "the little man" keeps him up at night. McAvoy leads what has been called a modest life. Prior to marrying Duff, he purchased a second floor flat in North London in 2006 for about £178,000. Also, he and his wife drive a 1990s Nissan Micra that is worth less than £1,000. The couple enjoy a close relationship and rarely leave their flat, choosing to instead read or do sudoku puzzles together. Of this lifestyle, the actor said it is "mundane, and I love it that way".
After McAvoy won an award from the BAFTAs, his estranged father spoke to the Sunday Mirror, stating that he would love to get in touch with his son, but did not know how to reach him. Though the actor did not read the piece, he heard about it and was unmoved. He enjoys fantasy themes which he said started from the age of 11 with The Lord of the Rings. His big interest outside acting and science fiction is football; he is a huge fan of Celtic Football Club, stating that his dream role would be to play Celtic legend Jimmy Johnstone. McAvoy considers himself a spiritual person who no longer practices Catholicism. Speaking to Sky News, McAvoy said he believed that British filmmakers belittle and dumb down their productions to please American audiences. "It's like we're patronising them and short changing ourselves," the actor commented. He had previously called 3-D films a "waste of money", accusing film studios of using the effect to get more money out of their theatre audiences. McAvoy has stated that The Goonies (1985) is his favourite film.