Benjamin Walker Cast as Beast in X-Men: First Class

Showbiz411 is reporting that Benjamin Walker (star of the Public Theater’s “Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson” has been cast as r. Henry Philip “Hank” McCoy (aka Beast) in Matthew Vaughn‘s X-Men: First Class. The character was played by Kelsey Grammer in X-Men: The Last Stand.

Also, Entertainment Weekly confirms the earlier rumors that Michael Fassbender is in talks to join the film in the role of Erik Lensherr, who later becomes Magneto.

Here is more information on Beast from Wikipedia:

When first introduced, the Beast — a mutant — possesses ape-like superhuman physical strength and agility and oversized hands and feet, though he otherwise appears to be a normal human being. Throughout his history, the Beast undergoes progressive transformations to his physiognomy, permanently gaining increasingly animalistic physical characteristics. These include blue fur, feline facial features, pointed ears, fangs, and claws. His physical power increases to even greater levels, as do his senses.

Despite his savage appearance, he is a brilliant man of the arts and sciences; he is a world authority on biochemistry and genetics, the X-Men’s medical doctor, and the science and mathematics instructor at the Xavier Institute (the X-Men’s headquarters and school for young mutants). He is also a mutant political activist. Fighting his bestial instincts and fears of social rejection, the Beast dedicates his physical and mental gifts to the creation of a better world for man and mutant. He also has a witty sense of humor.

Henry’s mutation more fully manifests during adolescence, providing greater strength and agility, and although his powers allow him to briefly excel in athletics during his remaining time at school, he soon attracts the animosity of his fellow students and other non-mutant humans. As he seeks refuge, he is approached by Professor Charles Xavier, who invites him to study at “Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters”. Henry recognizes the opportunities such an institution can offer him and accepts the offer. He finds the school both a fount of scientific knowledge and a place of sanctuary and is there introduced to the X-Men, who accept him into their ranks and give him the codename Beast. Alongside workouts in the Danger Room, under Xavier’s tutelage, he studies subjects ranging from differential equations to Proust. With the rest of the X-Men on their first field mission, he battles Magneto for the first time.

Walker’s work includes portraying Kinsey (at age 19) in Kinsey, and Harlon Block in Flags of Our Fathers. Walker was also featured in the short-lived CBS drama series 3 lbs. Walker’s theatre credits include The Arrangements at the Atlantic Theatre (NYC in 2005), Spring Awakening ( NYC  in 2005), Lady Windermere’s Fan (Williamstown Theatre in 2005), and Romeo and Juliet (Williamstown Theatre in 2006).

Here is footage of Walker in “Andrew Jackson Does Emo Rock”

Previously:

Earlier this week it was rumored that Amber Heard (The Informers, Zombieland) is in talks to play a young Mystique, and Pride & Prejudice/Surrogates star Rosamund Pike is in talks to play Moira McTaggert. Mystique was played by Rebecca Romijn-Stamos in the original Bryan Singer films while McTaggert was played by Olivia Williams in Brett Ratner’s X-Men: The Last Stand.

It was also reported that Vaughn wants Michael Fassbender of Inglourious Basterds and Hunger for Magneto, but the actor is also being pursued to play the bad guy in Sony’s Spider-Man reboot. The idea is that he can only do one or the other. Spider-Man shortlist actor Frank Dillane may also be up for a role.

A couple weeks ago, Aaron Johnson was spotted “taking a meeting” with Vaughn and newly announced First Class star James McAvoy, who has signed on to play young Charles Xavier (aka Professor X). The photo shows director Matthew Vaughn having a meeting with James McAvoy and Kick-Ass star Aaron Johnson last week in London England. We know that a week later McAvoy joined the cast of Vaughn’s X-Men prequel… but what about Johnston? It is completely possible that he was just meeting up with Vaughn, as the two became friendly over the course of making Kick-Ass. But why would he be present during Vaughn’s meeting with McAvoy?

THR’s HeatVision has reported that producer Bryan Singer (who was originally supossed to direct First Class but was unable to due to his Jack the Giant Killer commitments) was using Giant Killer‘s casting process :as an opportunity to look for potential X-Men, vetting actors who may be qualified to play a young Cyclops or young Jean Grey.” And previously it was reported that Singer had met with Johnson and Andrew Garfield about the possible leading role in Giant Killer.Is it possible that Singer met with Johnston and sent in a recommendation for the actor to play young Cyclops? Again, just wild speculation at this point.

Matthew Vaughn beat out eight directors to take the helm. Bryan Singer was originally attached to return to the X-Men franchise to helm this new film, but his commitment to Jack The Giant Killer at Warner Bros will prevent him from directing. Singer’s treatment was a Str Trek-style reboot/prequel, which will focus on “the formative years of Xavier and Magneto, and the formation of the school and where there [sic] relationship took a wrong turn.” Singer has previously admitted that First Class would “probably utilize some of the [planned/announced X-Men Origins:] Magneto story because it deals with a young Magneto,” and that “it might supersede” that plan because this new movie would explore “that relationship between a young energetic professor and a disenfranchised victim of the Holocaust.”

“It’s basically about the formation of the X-Men. How they began and the relationship between a young Xavier and a young Magneto.”

Here is the official plot synopsis:

X-MEN: FIRST CLASS, following the classic Marvel mythology, charts the epic beginning of the X-Men saga.  Before Charles Xavier and Erik Lensherr took the names Professor X and Magneto, they were two young men discovering their powers for the first time. Before they were archenemies, they were closest of friends, working together, with other Mutants (some familiar, some new), to stop the greatest threat the world has ever known. In the process, a rift between them opened, which began the eternal war between Magneto’s Brotherhood and Professor X’s X-Men.

The day after Jamie Moss handed in his first draft, Fox head Tom Rothman fast-tracked the project.  It was at this moment that Warner Bros informed Singer that they would not delay the production of Jack and the Giant Killer. Singer will still produce the project. I’ve heard the script is solid, and everyone who has read it is excited to make it.


Fox is scouting locations in West Michigan.  The film is set to go into production this Summer, and the studio has set a June 3rd 2011 release date.

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