Rumors abound on the casting of the new X-Men prequel, but as of last week, the only person signed and ready to go on the project was James McAvoy as Professor Xavier. Now comes word from Showbiz 411 that Benjamin Walker (Flags of Our Fathers) has signed on to play the Beast at Prof X’s School for Gifted Youngsters.
Walker, like Kelsey Grammer who played the Beast in X-Men: The Last Stand, is a graduate of Julliard. Walker had been receiving raves for his performance for his starring turn as the title character in the off-Broadway musical, Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, at the Public Theatre this spring. Unlike Grammar, he will most likely not have to don blue fur for the role. If this film follows the comics, Beasty became a blue muscled ball of fur during his twenties after a botched experiment.
X-Men: First Class will be directed by Matthew Vaughn, with a script by his Kick-Ass cohort, Jane Goldman, based on an original idea by Bryan Singer. Production is scheduled for this summer in London, and the film has a release date of June 3, 2011.
In other casting news for the film, Michael Fassbender is reportedly very close to signing on as Erik Lehnsherr/Magneto, but it hasn’t been confirmed as of yet that he will accept the role. Stay tuned…