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"James McAvoy's Flushed Cheeks"
Color Pencil on Card Stock 8.5"by 11"
July 30, 2009

 

 

 

 

James McAvoy Flushed Cheeks were red in the photograph I took as reference for this portrait. In the photo, McAvoy in his coat and scarf did give him the distinct feeling of being in cold weather. What I have seen of McAvoy in his film career has left me with the constant impression of a very Scottish gentleman, thus he as I do, get red cheeked in cold weather. This is not one of my better portraits and I can only defend it with the fact that it only took three hours to finish it.
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Who the Devil is He?
James Andrew McAvoy (born April 21, 1979) is a Scottish stage and screen actor known for his roles in Atonement, The Last King of Scotland, Wanted, Frank Herbert's Children of Dune, and the British TV series Shameless. McAvoy has won the BAFTA Rising Star Award and a BAFTA Scotland award. He has also been nominated for an ALFS Award, two BAFTA Awards, a European Film Award, and a Golden Globe award. He is married to Anne-Marie Duff. He is currently working on a new film called Gnomeo and Juliet, which is a remake of Romeo and Juliet in animation form and is to be released in 2010.

  Fascinating from the get go, I caught James McAvoy in the Sci-Fi Channel's second installment of Frank Herbert's Dune series.   The first made for television film Dune was a great step forward from the 1984 big screen film adaptation that featured a young Sting as well as a still non Star Trekked Patrick Stewart.  

The 2000 adaptation of Dune did feature William Hurt and in the small screen adaptation and the Sci-Fi channel, of which I am a fan of, had modern technology on its side and was able to make a Star Wars like equal in production value that was able to play the story out on a six-hour stage.   Skipping one Frank Herbert novel installment in the Dune series, Sci-Fi adapted The Children of Dune in 2003.   The children of the main character, Paul Atriedes from the first Dune came into adulthood for another six-hour film.   Playing the son, Leto II Atreides , is McAvoy.   Young and elegant, McAvoy did catch my eye as he progressed in his character toward a tragic end.   He does not die, however the conclusion of the many hot desert and shirtless scenes, McAvoy's character does not seem to have a happy ending. Yes, it was true to the storyline however it is fantasy, the writers could of smudged the narrative to a nice feel to a film twelve hours long.   What a downer.

In the years that followed, McAvoy appeared in many BBC channel series and specials of which I could not have watched unless I might of tracked them down on You Tube, but I really was not that faithful to have done so.   In 2005, Walden Media who is famed with The Lord Of The Rings trilogy partnered up with Disney to make another money making film series based on C.S. Lewis's Chronicles of Narnia books. Lewis is Rings author J.R.R. Tolkien's contemporary and bases for the voice of his characters the tree Ents in the Middle Earth novels.   This has faltered in that The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe released in 2005 and its sequel Prince Caspian in 2008 have both gained less than expected box office sales and the Narnia series has been rumored to have been discontinued. 
McAvoy appeared as Mr. Tumnis the faun and first mythical or Narnian creature to appear in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and the Narnia series . It should be said that Mr. Tumnis was the initial inspiration for the entire Narnia series; in that, author C.S. Lewis first saw a simple picture of a faun with an umbrella and thus the entire world of Narnia came to him. Shirtless once again and with goat legs, McAvoy was a surprise to me, in that I was not sure if it was indeed him until the credits rolled.   At the time I was watching Wardrobe, I suspected that Tunis was played by a then unknown Shia Lebouf of Transformer and Indiana Jones fame.   The two actors shared the same facial features and I had known Labouf from a humorous TV series I had seen in the past. When I did see that Mr. Tumnis was indeed played by McAvoy, I was glad to see McAvoy was in working order again.    In Prince Caspian, I was sad to see a non return of McAvoy, even though I knew that Mr. Tumnis would of been a thousand or so years old and did not appear in the original novel of the same name, however, Hollywood has a habit of bunching novels together and I knew Tumnis does appear in two later Narnia novels. However, when I did see the poster for Prince Caspian for the first time around Christmas in 2007, I was awestruck. Later, a friend did mention that since Caspian was played by a handsome british actor that would be a prince on a horse, I would of probably of liked the film.
McAvoy's other cheeks

In 2006, McAvoy starred alongside long time coming Oscar winning and personal favorite Forest Whitaker, McAvoy appeared as Dr. Garrigan in The Last King of Scotland.

McAvoy's Scottish pale skin was somewhat more apparent in contrast to the setting of Africa in the heat of summer and I was all the more excited to see the film when I heard that Whitaker and McAvoy had paired up for the film. Whitaker did take home an Oscar for best actor that year.

The story is of the brutal Ugandan dictator Idi Amin during the 1970s and based on the fictional novel of the same name. The true story is told through Amin's fictional personal physician and advisor Dr. Garrigan played by MCAvoy. Garrigan is a composite of real life characters. The film, I felt was unfortunately however bold and as much as I felt it was important to be told, I knew the historically facts ahead of time and I was not practically quick to see the tragedy unfold with out the aid of an exit or remote.

Not put to wide release, Penelope was released in 2006, McAvoy charmed the pants of Christina Ricci in the romantic and somewhat fantasy film about a girl born with a slightly pig like in appearance nose.   Winning in the same year of 2006 a BAFTA award for his role as a College student in Starter of Ten, McAvoy showed his talent and that greater accomplishments are yet to come.
  Taking his way into the world of women in nice hats type films otherwise known as Jane Austin novel film adaptations.   Like Ewan McGreggor before him, the Scotsman McAvoy appeared in Becoming Jane, a film about a fictional romance inspired by author Jane Austin.   This was the first of two critically acclaimed films McAvoy appeared in 2007 the second was Atonement.  
  Atonement ran for and won many awards that year, including an Oscar for best film score and I thought the Academy Awards would of fallen into the normal groove of liking any film about war and romance and given Atonement a few more, but alas no.   McAvoy was nominated for a Golden Globe for his role though.

Released in June of 2008, Wanted shot across the screen with Angela Jolie, McAvoy and an ever wise and cool Morgan Freeman.   The plot is based on a comic book series of the same name.   A thousand or so year old fraternity of assassins made up of Jolie and managed more or less by Freeman that take in a new recruit, McAvoy.   When I saw the trailer for this film earlier that year, I thought the over masqueraed but still stunning Angela Jolie as an assassin who takes under her wing a seemingly younger and naive joe everyman played by McAvoy.  

  In the short trailer, Jolie appears to be teaching McAvoy, when I first saw this I thought it was Mr. and Mrs. Smith part two and McAvoy was playing Brad Pitt and Jolie's son.   A bit of a leap, but that is Hollywood.

McAvoy will appear in the film The Last Station, planned for worldwide release in 2009. The film is based on the 1990 novel by Jay Parini about the final year of Leo Tolstoy's life, and co-stars McAvoy's wife, Anne-Marie Duff. Also in 2009, he will return to the stage in a revival of Three Days of Rain at the Apollo Theater in London's West End.

 

It is rumored that he will be playing Kurt Cobain in the film version of Heavier Than Heaven . That is circa October 2007 with Courtney Love producing.   Cobain's widow and holder to the rights to the Charles R. Cross biography, Courtney Love has been rumored to endorse actor Ryan Gosling in the upcoming film version of the biopic of the same name.   Marc Foster has been said to direct.  

A resident of London, McAvoy enjoys Science Fiction and is a fan of Celtic Football Club.   McAvoy considers himself a religious man that no longer practices Catholicism.

An actor that has been more and more appeared in the mainstream, McAvoy has been becoming a more of a well-known face.   With each film, I am somewhat always stating to myself in conversations with others that yes that is a great film and James McAvoy is in it, however I liked him before this.   Many of my celluloid crushes have been tossed in from person to person and I have had to hold my tongue when they have become too popular.

When after years of liking an actor and no else knew who he was, I felt unique in being a fan. However, to have a crush on a popular actor, the crush is somewhat thought of being jumping on the bandwagon and is soul crushing.  

However, I am and will always be more than happy to cheer on and be glad in the success and recognition of an artist, even if he is now loved by a lot rather than a few or just me.

In discussing Angelina Jolie with coworkers at a lunch break at my work, the film Wanted came up.   The two young ladies mentioned the actor but could not think of his name.   "James McAvoy," I said calmly.   They then owned up to he was cute in that film.   I was starting to leave them to return to work when I said, "Cute? He is freakin' adorable."

I am not sure if it is the cheeks, the raised eyebrow or just the fact he comes across as are ally nice guy.   The world needs more like him. - (Tim Benjamin)

Jude Law and Ewan McGreggor
Emile Hirsch and James McAvoy
McAvoy and Anne-Marie Duff at the Orange British Academy of Film Awards in London's Royal Opera House in February 2007
 
James McAvoy interviewed on the Daily Show with John Stewart on the Thursday before the U.S. release of Wanted. I have yet to delete this off my DVR.
 
Trailer for Wanted
 
Loving James McAvoy
 
James McAvoy and that sexy eyebrow!
 
 

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