James McAvoy says two authors have suggested he was miscast as their characters

James McAvoy says two authors have suggested he was miscast as their characters

James McAvoy has said that two authors have said he was miscast in adaptations of their work.

In a new interview, the actor, 43, revealed that not all writers that he has worked with have been happy to see him cast in film or TV adaptations of their work.

McAvoy stars as Asriel in the BBC adaptation of Philip Pullman’s books His Dark Materials. Season four will be released on 18 December.

Speaking ahead of the fourth season’s release, McAvoy told The Guardian that he had never spoken to Pullman because he was worried the actor would say: ‘“Hmmm, you’re not really my Asriel!’”

McAvoy went on to say: “I’ve had that with a writer, and it’s just not nice. I’ve had that with two writers, actually.”

Asked for the names of which authors disapproved of casting, McAvoy said it was not Irvine Welsh or Stephen King. He starred in the 2013 adaptation of Welsh’s 1998 novel Filth, and the 2019 sequel to the film adaptation of King’s 1986 horror novel It.

“Nah, Irvine loved that,” said the actor of Filth.  Of It, he said: “Stephen was really nice and I didn’t know what to expect from him. I love his books and I think he’s f***ing amazing.”

He was then questioned as to whether it was Ian McEwan, for Joe Wright’s 2007 adaptation of Atonement in which McAvoy starred opposite Keira Knightley.

“He wasn’t disparaging,” recalled McAvoy. “He just gave me… nothing. And I was a bit devastated. Then he said I was a bit small – because my character Robbie, was meant to be this 6ft tanned Adonis, and I was a 25-year-old pasty Glaswegian who’s 5ft-nothing.”

McAvoy said the other writer to criticise his casting in their work was Zadie Smith.

 (Relativity Media/AP)
(Relativity Media/AP)

In 2002, McAvoy starred opposite Naomie Harris and Om Puri in a TV adaptation of Smith’s 2000 novel White Teeth.

“She didn’t say I was bad at playing the part,” explained McAvoy. “She told me I was the wrong casting because I was too little – the character should have been more overweight.”

“I was like: ‘Oh, you could have said: ‘Nice job, thought you did great, I never saw him as a skinnier guy.’ It was just: ‘You’re not overweight enough,’” he recalled. “Ah, great, OK, no worries…”

The Independent has contacted representatives of Smith and McEwan for comment.