Last week, stage actor Benjamin Walker dropped out Matthew Vaughn’s X-Men: First Class in order to reprise his starring role on Broadway in Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson. Deadline now reports that Nicholas Hoult (A Single Man) will replace Walker in the role of “Beast”. Hoult gave a breakout performance in 2002’s About a Boy and then grew up to be handsome beyond all reason. He was most recently seen in Clash of the Titans and is signed on to co-star in George Miller’s Mad Max: Fury Road. Hoult’s casting follows news from earlier today that Kick-Ass star Aaron Johnson is reportedly set to play Cyclops. Additionally, Variety confirms that Caleb Landry Jones (Friday Night Lights TV series) will play Banshee.
Hit the jump for more information on Beast as well as a list of the current cast members and the roles they’re playing. X-Men: First Class is set to open on June 3, 2011.
While Beast (real name: Dr. Henry “Hank” McCoy) is currently known for being blue, hairy, and…well…beastly-looking, this was not always the case. When the character first debuted in 1963 as one of the original X-Men, he was possessed ape-like superhuman physical strength and agility and oversized hands and feet, but otherwise looked human. Then due to an experiment gone wrong, he undertook his current blue and fuzzy appearance that also added claws and heightened senses to his mutant abilities. However, Beast has always maintained a genius-level intellect. The character was played by Kelsey Grammer in X-Men: The Last Stand.
I’ll be the first to admit that Hoult currently doesn’t look like he has the bulk to play the character, but that’s what physical trainers are for. Those who saw A Single Man know he has acting chops and that’s what counts.
Here’s how the rest of the cast currently stands:
- James McAvoy as Professor Charles Xavier
- Michael Fassbender as Magneto
- Nicholas Hoult as Beast
- Alice Eve as Emma Frost
- Aaron Johnson as Cyclops
- Caleb Landry Jones as Banshee
And as for rumored casting:
Kick-Ass co-writer Jane Goldman has been working on a script based on a treatment by producer Bryan Singer. The film centers on the breaking of the friendship between Xavier and Magneto over the relationship between mutantkind and humanity. This falling out occurs against the backdrop of the two creating the first mutant academy.