Matthew Vaughn’s X-Men: First Class officially has its first student. Showbiz 411 reports that stage actor Benjamin Walker will play Beast in the upcoming prequel, which revolves around the creation of the Charles Xavier School for Gifted Youngsters. Walker joins James McAvoy who plays Professor Xavier, a role played by Patrick Stewart in the first three X-Men movies. Beast was played by Kelsey Grammer in X-Men: The Last Stand. Like Grammer, Walker is a Juilliard-trained actor.
Those unfamiliar with the comics may not know that despite being big and blue in The Last Stand, Beast (aka Dr. Hank McCoy) originally looked human and his mutant ability has always been strength and agility coupled with a scientific genius. It wasn’t until an unfortunate medical experiment that his physical appearance was permanently transformed.
Hit the jump for other actors currently circling the project.
Michael Fassbender, who is a tremendous actor and by far the best thing in Jonah Hex, is in talks to play the young Magneto (originally played by Ian McKellen). According to Bryan Singer—who wrote the treatment for the film—the central conflict of First Class centers on the breaking of the friendship between Xavier and Magneto over if and/or how mutants can co-exist with humanity. However, Fassbender is also considering the villain role in the upcoming Spider-Man reboot.
Other actors mentioned in connection to the project are Amber Heard (Pineapple Express) for the part of the shapeshifter Mystique (originally played by Rebecca Romijn), Rosamund Pike (An Education) for scientist Dr. Moira MacTaggart (played in X-Men: The Last Stand by Dollhouse‘s Olivia Williams), and Aaron Johnson (Kick-Ass) for the part of Cyclops (originally played by James Marsden).