James McAvoy denies wanting Jimmy Savile film role

James McAvoy and Irvine Welsh. Picture: Phil Wilkinson
James McAvoy and Irvine Welsh. Picture: Phil Wilkinson
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A SPOKESPERSON for film star James McAvoy has denied claims by the author Irvine Welsh that the actor would like to play Jimmy Savile if the Trainspotting author ever penned a script about the sex predator.

The pair worked together on new film Filth, which also stars Jim Broadbent and Jamie Bell, and is based on Welsh’s “unfilmable” third book.

Jimmy Saville

Jimmy Saville

Welsh told the Radio Times that while making Filth, he discussed the subject of sexual abuse with X-Men star McAvoy, who apparently told him: “If you ever write a script about it, I’d love to play Jimmy Savile.”

However, representatives for McAvoy said today: “James did not make that statement. He has never expressed interest in playing the role of Jimmy Savile.” Irvine Welsh has yet to comment.

Andrew Collins, the Radio Times journalist who initially reported the claims, said: “Although Welsh related the story to me with conviction – and, it has to be said, in the context of great praise for the actor’s fearlessness – it turns out that McAvoy has no memory of vocalising this wish and denies making the statement.”

In Welsh’s 1996 collection Ecstasy, one of the stories, Lorraine Goes to Livingston, concerns Freddy Royle, a fictional children’s TV presenter described as the nation’s “favourite caring, laconic uncle”, who turns out to be a child molester and necrophiliac, raising millions for the hospital where he commits his crimes.

The story was written over 15 years before Savile’s crimes became public.

Asked whether the similarities were based on inside knowledge, Welsh told the Radio Times: “I had nothing to do with the hospital services, or NHS trusts, or the BBC.

“So how come I knew this rumour about Jimmy Savile, this eccentric British institution? There must have been so much stuff on the grapevine. But there was a whole culture then of not addressing these issues.”

Welsh said that he was groped by middle-aged women when, as a student in the late 70s, he worked in a bingo hall.

He said that he believed such abusive behaviour was “all about power”.