Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
First Official Image: Jesse Eisenberg As Lex Luthor In 'Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice' First Official Image: Jesse Eisenberg As Lex Luthor In 'Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice' Watch: First Trailer For Arnold Schwarzenegger's Zombie Pic 'Maggie' With Abigail Breslin Watch: First Trailer For Arnold Schwarzenegger's Zombie Pic 'Maggie' With Abigail Breslin Idris Elba Replaces Jamie Foxx In Harmony Korine's 'The Trap,' Al Pacino, Robert Pattinson, James Franco Also Join Idris Elba Replaces Jamie Foxx In Harmony Korine's 'The Trap,' Al Pacino, Robert Pattinson, James Franco Also Join 10 Terrible Films Starring Great Actors 10 Terrible Films Starring Great Actors Watch: Tom Hanks Acts Out His Filmography In 7-Minutes On 'The Late Late Show' Watch: Tom Hanks Acts Out His Filmography In 7-Minutes On 'The Late Late Show' Watch: Trailer For 'Fifty Shades Of Grey' Unrated Blu-Ray Edition, Will Also Feature An Alternate Ending Watch: Trailer For 'Fifty Shades Of Grey' Unrated Blu-Ray Edition, Will Also Feature An Alternate Ending New Directors/New Films Review: Jia Zhang-ke Produced 'K' Is A New Take On Franz Kafka's 'The Castle' New Directors/New Films Review: Jia Zhang-ke Produced 'K' Is A New Take On Franz Kafka's 'The Castle' Viggo Mortensen Reveals He Turned Down Quentin Tarantino's 'The Hateful Eight,' Auditioned For 'Reservoir Dogs' Viggo Mortensen Reveals He Turned Down Quentin Tarantino's 'The Hateful Eight,' Auditioned For 'Reservoir Dogs' Watch: First Teaser Trailer For 'Mission: Impossible: Rogue Nation' With Tom Cruise Arrives, If You Choose To Accept It Watch: First Teaser Trailer For 'Mission: Impossible: Rogue Nation' With Tom Cruise Arrives, If You Choose To Accept It Keanu Reeves, Jim Carrey & Jason Momoa Join Ana Lily Amirpour’s Cannibal Love Story ‘The Bad Batch’ Keanu Reeves, Jim Carrey & Jason Momoa Join Ana Lily Amirpour’s Cannibal Love Story ‘The Bad Batch’ Jonathan Nolan Says His Original Ending To 'Interstellar' Was “Much More Straightforward” Jonathan Nolan Says His Original Ending To 'Interstellar' Was “Much More Straightforward” The 25 Best Animated Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Animated Films Of The 21st Century So Far 13 Cult Films About Cults 13 Cult Films About Cults The 50 Best Films Of The Decade So Far The 50 Best Films Of The Decade So Far The 25 Best Films Of 2015 We've Already Seen The 25 Best Films Of 2015 We've Already Seen Best Of 2014: The 15 Best Movie Soundtracks Of 2014 Best Of 2014: The 15 Best Movie Soundtracks Of 2014 The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season From Worst To Best: Ranking The Films Of Hayao Miyazaki From Worst To Best: Ranking The Films Of Hayao Miyazaki All The Songs In 'Pitch Perfect' Including La Roux, David Guetta, Azealia Banks, Nicki Minaj & More All The Songs In 'Pitch Perfect' Including La Roux, David Guetta, Azealia Banks, Nicki Minaj & More

James McAvoy Talks 'Arthur Christmas,' Danny Boyle's 'Trance' & His Secret Love for 'Santa Claus: The Movie'

Photo of Drew Taylor By Drew Taylor | The Playlist November 21, 2011 at 11:41AM

James McAvoy Talks 'Arthur Christmas,' Danny Boyle's 'Trance' & His Secret Love for 'Santa Claus: The Movie'
5
James McAvoy

A lot has been written about next week's family-friendly demolition derby, which will see Disney's "The Muppets," Martin Scorsese's "Hugo" and Sony/Aardman's "Arthur Christmas" already entering a landscape that includes Warner Bros' "Happy Feet Two" and "Puss In Boots" from DreamWorks. But what's not being said is how truly, remarkably good "Arthur Christmas" really is – what a surprisingly charming, tear-jerking, dazzling-looking movie it has turned out to be. Part of the charm belongs to the vocal talents of James McAvoy who, as the titular Arthur, struggles to make sure to make things right after Santa's grand-scale operation encounters a glitch. We got to speak to McAvoy about "Arthur Christmas," what his favorite holiday movies are, and what his upcoming projects are all about.

While McAvoy describes the hiring process for "Arthur Christmas" as "really dull, boring," he still says that it was somewhat unique. "They did an audition process where they took the voices of a handful of different actors and edited pieces out of other movies we'd been in and placed them onto an animation of Arthur prancing around," McAvoy said, which mirrors stories Tom Hanks used to tell about being sold on "Toy Story" after seeing his dialogue being spoken by Woody (who at that point wasn't a pull-string toy but a cloggy woody marionette puppet). "Then they decided which one worked the best, and that was me."

Sarah Smith, the director and co-writer of "Arthur Christmas," told us that she was initially worried about McAvoy because she feared his voice wasn't "young enough." We asked McAvoy what he had to do to convince her. ""I just made his voice a bit higher – she kept asking for my voice to be higher and to be sweeter," McAvoy said. He paused. " She was kind of riding my ass about that one."

Although McAvoy didn't inspire the look of his character in Arthur Christmas (he said it had been finalized well before he came onboard), he said he was really surprised when he saw the final product. "I find it really funny and I cried my ass off," he said. "I found it really moving. It was quite poignant and sad and at times quite hard, in terms of the father not being who you thought he was…I found all of that quite hard but ultimately moving in a really good way."

He does have a dream for the movie, too. "I'd love for it to go on to become one of those Christmas classics," McAvoy said, saying of his personal favorite holiday classics, "When I was growing up I loved 'Santa Claus: The Movie' with Dudley Moore and more recently 'The Polar Express.' "

But just in case "Arthur Christmas" isn't a perennial sensation, he's still got a whole host of movies coming up, including "Welcome to the Punch," which he calls, simply "a London-based crime thriller;" an adaptation of Irvine Welsh's "Filth," which starts filming in January "up in Glasgow," and, most intriguingly, the art heist thriller "Trance," a Danny Boyle project which has already been filmed but won't be completed until after Boyle finishes his commitment to next summer's London Olympic Games.

When we asked what brought him to "Trance" (in a role originally pegged for Michael Fassbender), McAvoy said "The first thing that made me so attracted to it was the director, Danny Boyle. When he asks you to do something, you don't ask too many questions, you just say yes." He went on to describe it as "really interesting," and "twisty, turny, and mind-bending." But he circled it back to its director. "But it's Danny Boyle. You just don't say no to Danny Boyle."

Less substantial are the rumors that he would play Elton John in the John-produced biography "Rocketman" (a rumor started by John himself!) "Elton asked me to do it in a room full of journalists at a press conference for 'Gnomeo & Juliet.' So that's where that comes from. If he offered to the part and the script was good, then yeah I'd consider it."

For those that are eager for more young X-Men antics after this summer's surprisingly solid "X-Men: First Class," he says things are going well so far. "I've spoken to the director [Matthew Vaughn], spoken to Michael [Fassbender]. We've all got ideas but as of yet we don't know," McAvoy said, before complimenting the wait-and-see approach the studio is taking. "I think Fox is doing the right thing, which is wait until they've got the script before they decide to green light. Which I think is responsible. It'd be easy just to green light it because it did well but then we'd be stuck with a rubbish piece of nonsense."

When we were getting off the phone with McAvoy, he wished us a cheery "Have a good holiday period!" Quite frankly, it sounded a little like we were actually talking to Arthur Christmas for a minute. Which isn't a bad thing at all. "Arthur Christmas" appears in your stockings (and in cinemas nationwide) on Wednesday, November 23rd.

This article is related to: James McAvoy, Danny Boyle, Arthur Christmas, Trance, X-Men: First Class, Filth, Welcome To The Punch


The Playlist

The obsessives' guide to contemporary cinema via film discussion, news, reviews, features, nostalgia, movie music, soundtracks, DVDs and more.


Check out Indiewire on LockerDome on LockerDome

E-Mail Updates