Over the weekend we learned that Jason Flemyng would play the teleporting mutant Azazel (aka Nightcrawler’s father) in Matthew Vaughn‘s X-Men: First Class. Now we have another bit of X-Men casting news. THR has learned that Rose Byrne is in negotiations to play Moira MacTaggert, a scientist and love interest of Charles Xavier (James McAvoy).
According to Wikipedia:
Moira MacTaggert was created by Chris Claremont and Dave Cockrum, in Uncanny X-Men #96 (December 1975). … Born Moira Kinross to Scottish parents, Moira MacTaggert was one of the world’s leading authorities on genetic mutation, earning her a Nobel Prize for her work. She was the longest running human associate of the X-Men and was Professor Charles Xavier’s colleague, confidante, and also once his fiancée, having met and fallen in love with him while they were postgraduates at Oxford University. She ended their engagement when for reasons unknown she married her old flame, the late politician Joseph MacTaggert. … She eventually created a Mutant Research Center on Muir Island, off the coast of Scotland. Moira was forced to contain and imprison her son Kevin, later called Proteus, when he developed reality warping abilities and severe psychosis. One of Moira’s goals was to understand human/mutant genetics, in order to cure her son. Moira’s connection to the X-Men began long before the team formed. The silent partner in the founding of Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters and co-creator of Cerebro, Moira assisted Xavier in helping the young Jean Grey recover after the traumatic triggering of her mutant abilities. Moira was a kind woman who took to helping humans and mutants alike. She rescued a young Rahne Sinclair (Wolfsbane) from an angry mob, and adopted the girl. She even attempted to treat Xavier’s son, a mutant known as Legion who suffered from multiple personality disorder. When Cable arrived from the future, it was Moira who taught him English and introduced him to Xavier. When Magneto was reduced to infancy, he was entrusted to Moira’s care on Muir Island, where she altered his genetic code in an attempt to keep him from reverting to villainy (an unethical decision that she believed was for his benefit).
Byrne is probably best known for playing Ellen Parsons in the television series Damages. You may also know her from the following movies: Dorme in Star Wars: Episode II: Attack of the Clones, Troy, Marie Antoinette, The Dead Girl, Sunshine, 28 Weeks Later, Adam, Knowing and Get Him to the Greek.
In case you’re confused, here is the official casting thus far:
- James McAvoy is Charles Xavier aka Professor X
- Nicholas Hoult has been cast as Dr. Henry Philip “Hank” McCoy aka Beast
- Michael Fassbender (Inglourious Basterds, Hunger) is playing Eric Lensherr aka Magneto
- Alice Eve, the lead actress from She’s Out of My League, was in talks with Fox to play Emma Frost.
- Caleb Landry Jones (Friday Night Lights, The Longshots, The Last Exorcism) is Sean Cassidy aka Banshee.
- 19-year-old actor Lucas Till (Walk the Line, Dance of the Dead, Hannah Montana: The Movie, The Spy Next Door, and the upcoming Battle: Los Angeles) is Alexander “Alex” Summers aka Havok, the younger brother of the X-Men’s Cyclops.
- Kevin Bacon (Mystic River, Apolo 13, Sleepers) will play the villain (no name revealed thus far, although its rumored to be Sebastian Shaw)
- Jennifer Lawrence (Winter’s Bone) will play Mystique
- Twilight vampire Edi Gathegi will be playing the mutant named Darwin, who has “limitless mutation abilities being in a state of continual reaction, adapting to whatever his current situation demands.”
- Jason Flemyng will play the teleporting mutant Azazel (aka Nightcrawler’s father)
And here is a list of the unconfirmed casting rumors:
- Spider-Man shortlist actor Frank Dillane may also be up for a role.
- Surfer Erica Hosseini auditioned for the role of Willow.
- Kick-Ass star Aaron Johnson might be in line for the role of Cyclops. The producer has suggested that the rumor is untrue.
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.