James McAvoy to star in ‘X-Men’ prequel

Thesp to ride 'First Class' with Fox

Fox has found its young Professor X.

James McAvoy will play the character popularized by Patrick Stewart in “X-Men: First Class,” the origins take on the Marvel tale to be directed by Matthew Vaughn.

The “Wanted” star will play Charles Xavier as a young man discovering his powers along with Erik Lensherr in “X-Men: First Class.” Before they took the names Professor X and Magneto, the duo were close friends. They worked together with other Mutants to stop a threat to the world, but in the process, a rift opened between them, leading to the war between Magneto’s Brotherhood and Professor X’s X-Men.

The pic begins production this summer and is slated for a June 3, 2011 release.

Bryan Singer, who directed the original “X-Men” and its sequel “X2,” conceived the story. He is producing along with Lauren Shuler Donner and Simon Kinberg.

McAvoy is repped by UTA and Ruth Young/United Agents.

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