ByPhoenix Rook, writer at Creators.co
Phoenix Rook

Who would have thought the man who played sweet, gentle Mr. Tumnus would one day embody a terrifying killer? James McAvoy's earlier roles consisted largely of kind-hearted characters, but as he evolved as an actor he took on darker, more complex roles. Let's take a look at some of the highlights of his incredible transformation.

Mr. Tumnus: 'The Chronicles Of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe' (2005)

'The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe' [Credit: Disney]
'The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe' [Credit: Disney]

Here we have James McAvoy just starting to get noticed in Hollywood as Mr. Tumnus in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. This classic movie follows the adventures of the Pevensie children as they save the kingdom of Narnia from the White Witch. Along the way they meet the lovely Mr. Tumnus, who protects the youngest, Lucy, from being captured by the evil Witch Queen Jadis.

James McAvoy shows Mr. Tumnus's brave heart and gentle demeanor, creating an enduring performance. This movie (and Mr. Tumnus) will always hold a place in our childhood hearts.

Dr. Nicholas Garrigan: 'The Last King Of Scotland' (2006)

'The Last King of Scotland' [Credit: Fox Searchlight Pictures]
'The Last King of Scotland' [Credit: Fox Searchlight Pictures]

One year later we take a chilling turn into a movie about Idi Amin, the dictator of Uganda who killed hundreds of thousands of his own people. In this disturbing film, James McAvoy portrays the naive Dr. Nicholas Garrigan, who becomes Amin's personal physician and confidante. From there we follow Dr. Garrigan as he plummets down a rabbit hole that is the terrifying mind of a dictator; one minute a magnanimous leader, the next a paranoid madman.

This film is a first glimpse of the edgier subject matter that James McAvoy is heading towards. As a well-meaning doctor, he goes from admiring Amin to fighting to escape his influence and Uganda itself.

Robbie Turner: 'Atonement' (2007)

'Atonement'[Credit: Focus Features]
'Atonement'[Credit: Focus Features]

Next, we continue the bleak tone with a movie about a doomed love affair. Atonement is a little remembered gem of a film about two lovers torn apart by the lies of a 13-year-old girl. If you're in the mood for a romantic WWII movie, then this is worth watching. James McAvoy is shy and adorably awkward as Robbie Turner, the housekeeper's son trying to express his affections for Cecilia Tallis while surviving through WWII to get back to her.

Fun Fact: McAvoy also received a Golden Globe nomination for best performance by an actor in a motion picture drama.

Wesley Gibson: 'Wanted' (2008)

'Wanted' [Credit: Universal]
'Wanted' [Credit: Universal]

This is where the world really took notice of James McAvoy in what is often credited as his breakout role. Instead of simply playing a nice guy in a violent movie, he becomes the murderous character. As Wes Gibson, he goes from being a wimpy pushover to master assassin, all with a perfect American accent. This movie alone could sum up his transformation as an actor.

Professor Charles Xavier: X-Men Franchise (2011, 2014, 2016)

'X-Men: Apocalypse [Credit: 20th Century Fox]
'X-Men: Apocalypse [Credit: 20th Century Fox]

Several years after Wanted, James McAvoy's took on the character of Professor Charles Xavier, a role already made famous by Patrick Stewart. Those were some seriously intimidating boots to fill, and he managed not only to deliver, but to make the part his own. Over the course of three excellent movies, we follow Professor X's quest to bring mutants together while witnessing James McAvoy's emotional depth as an actor. He displays Professor X's arrogance, insecurities and kind heart impeccably, all while exploring the darker parts of the character.

Dennis, Patricia, Hedwig, Barry And 20 Other Characters: Split (2016)

'Split' [Credit: Universal]
'Split' [Credit: Universal]

Arguably his most complex role to date, Split is about a man with 24 different personalities who kidnaps three girls. How many other actors can play two dozen characters in one movie and still do an amazing job? Split is terrifying and disturbing, completing James McAvoy's evolution into an edgy leading man.

It's been fun to watch grow from his nice guy roles into darker characters. He's proven to be an incredibly talented actor and we're super excited to see what he'll do next.

What dark roles would you like to see him take on? Let us know in the comments.

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