James McAvoy: the Scottish actor’s IT Chapter 2 role, films, awards, wife and net worth

IT:Chapter 2 hits UK theatres today, providing another great showcase for the acting talents of Scottish star James McAvoy.
Picture: ShutterstockPicture: Shutterstock
Picture: Shutterstock

He will star in highly-anticipated horror alongside his X-Men co-star Jessica Chastain (Molly's Game, Miss Sloane), SNL's Bill Hader (Barry, Toy Story 4), Isiah Mustafa (Shadowhunters, After the Reality), with Bill Skarsgård reprising his role as Pennywise the clown (Assassination Nation, Deadpool 2).

Picking up 27 years after the events of Chapter 1, the second chapter in Stephen King's classic horror sees the Losers Club living separate adult lives, having long since drifted apart.

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James McAvoy starring in IT Chapter 2. (Picture: Universal Studios)James McAvoy starring in IT Chapter 2. (Picture: Universal Studios)
James McAvoy starring in IT Chapter 2. (Picture: Universal Studios)
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They have all done their best to forget the horrors of their hometown, until the return of IT forces them to band together once again.

When the first film became a hit (grossing some $700 million) fans' attention immediately turned to the question of who would be cast as the grown-up versions of the main characters.

James McAvoy ultimately snagged the role of Bill Denbrough.

With Andrés Muschietti's sequel expected to be a smash hit, It:Chapter 2 looks set to be another triumph for one of Scotland's most successful working actors.

McAvoy starred in Glass, which tied in with his previous movie Glass. (Picture: Universal/Everett Collection)McAvoy starred in Glass, which tied in with his previous movie Glass. (Picture: Universal/Everett Collection)
McAvoy starred in Glass, which tied in with his previous movie Glass. (Picture: Universal/Everett Collection)

Who does James McAvoy play in IT:Chapter 2?

McAvoy, 40, has been cast as the adult version of Bill Denbrough, played in the first part by Midnight Special star Jaeden Martell.

Bill is the leader of the Loser's Club, driven by the mysterious death of his little brother Georgie to uncover the dark secrets of his quiet neighbourhood.

He bands together with a group of other local outcasts and together they banish the ancient, evil force known as IT.

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If Andrés Muschietti remains faithful to the original text, McAvoy's Bill will be a successful horror writer, now living in England, called home when evil rears its head again in Derry.

What else has McAvoy starred in?

McAvoy's first major roles were on the small screen, playing a part in the Steven Spielberg-produced Band of Brothers (2001) and the acclaimed Zadie Smith adaptation White Teeth (2002).

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While McAvoy made his big screen debut all the way back in 1995, his real breakthrough came almost a decade later, with his role in The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.

The following year, he starred alongside Forest Whitaker in Kevin MacDonald's Oscar-winning The Last King of Scotland.

With his reputation as a serious actor firmly established, he went about proving his action hero credentials with 2008's philosophical shoot-em-up Wanted.

Then, when Matthew Vaughn rebooted the flagging X-Men series to great success in 2011, McAvoy moved into the real of bona fide movie stars by taking up Patrick Stewart's mantle as Charles Xavier.

With the series booming again, McAvoy would reprise that role three more times, most recently in this year's X-Men: Dark Phoenix.

2019 also saw him return to his role as The Horde for M Night Shyamalan's Glass, the follow-up to 2016's Split.

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McAvoy drew rave reviews for his performances in both films, in which he nimbly flipped between personas as a character with an extreme split-personality disorder.

Where is he from?

McAvoy was born in Glasgow in 1979, his mother was a psychiatric nurse while James senior was a builder, though he spent much of his youth with his grandparents in Drumchapel.

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He was raised Roman Catholic and attended St Thomas Aquinas Secondary School in Jordanhill, though he now identifies as “spiritual but not Catholic.”

His first screen role was a part in Kevin Savage’s The Near Room, an experience he credits with sparking his interest in acting, mostly thanks to his desire to impress his co-star Alana Brady.

Although he now lives in London, his Glasgow roots remain strong, especially when it comes to football - an avid Celtic fan, he pulled on the famous green hoops for charity matches in 2014 and 2017.

He also recently came to the defence of his countrymen at large, snapping back against a theatre critic who complained about “whining” Scottish accents.

What awards has he won?

Having scooped their Rising Star award in 2006, McAvoy made good on his potential by earning BAFTA nominations in both the following years – for Best Supporting Actor in 2007 (The Last King of Scotland) and Best Actor in 2008 (Atonement).

His role in Atonement also saw him voted Best British Actor by the London Critics Circle, an award he would reclaim in 2014 thanks to his performances in Filth, Trance and Welcome to the Punch.

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As one of Scotland's most esteemed film crushes, he was also nominated for MTV's Best Kiss in 2008 (with Angelina Jolie in Wanted) and won the Alliance of Women Film Journalists' Best Seduction accolade for wooing Keira Knightley in 2007's Atonement.

Who is he married to?

James McAvoy married English actress Anne-Marie Duff in 2006, and the pair divorced 10 years later, though they have elected to continue sharing a London home for the benefit of their son.

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Ferociously private as a family, even their son’s first name has been effectively withheld from the public.

McAvoy is currently dating American actress Lisa Liberati, the two having met through Glass director M Night Shyamalan, for whom Liberati worked as a production assistant.

How much is he worth?

McAvoy's net worth is believed to be around $17 million.

His salary for big-budget pictures like the X-Men films and Victor Frankenstein is thought to be some way over the million dollar mark, and he has also snagged a variety of lucrative endorsement deals over the years for companies like Samsung.

In spite of his newfound wealth, McAvoy is famously fond of his Nissan Micra and refuses to upgrade to anything flashier.

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