Nicholas Hoult Cast as Beast in X-Men: First Class

Nicholas Hoult has been cast as Dr. Henry Philip “Hank” McCoy (aka Beast) in Matthew Vaughn‘s X-Men: First Class.

It had been previously reported that Benjamin Walker (star of the Public Theater’s “Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson”) had been cast in the role. Then last week we heard that the studio was worried about Walker’s age. You see, Walker is only a few years younger than James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender, who are supposed to be his elders in the film. Fox decided to find a younger actor to play Beast. Hoult is 20 years old (turning 21 later this year). McAvoy is 31, while Fassbender is 33.

Deadline is reporting that Hoult had a part in George Miller’s Mad Max: Fury Road, which has in fact been delayed, giving him the time to film X-Men. Nicholas has appeared in About a Boy, Wah-Wah, The Weather Man, A Single Man, Clash of the Titans, and the television show Skins.

The character was played by Kelsey Grammer in X-Men: The Last Stand. 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.

Here is a scene from A Single Man featuring Hoult:

Also, Variety has just confirmed a previous rumor that Caleb Landry Jones (Friday Night Lights, The Longshots, The Last Exorcism) is the top choice to play Sean Cassidy aka Banshee. Jones is now officially cast in the movie as Sean Cassidy aka Banshee.

Previously:

Casting:

  • Michael Fassbender of Inglourious Basterds and Hunger is playing Magnet, a role he chose over a villain turn in Sony’s Spider-Man reboot.
  • It has been 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.
  • Benjamin Walker (star of the Public Theater’s “Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson” has been cast as Dr. Henry Philip “Hank” McCoy (aka Beast).
  • Alice Eve, the lead actress from She’s Out of My League, was in talks with Fox to play Emma Frost.
  • Spider-Man shortlist actor Frank Dillane may also be up for a role.
  • It has also been reported that surfer Erica Hosseini auditioned for the role of Willow.
  • It is being rumored that Kick-Ass star Aaron Johnson might be in line for the role oc Cyclops.

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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