James McAvoy is 'a weird, feral dude' in 'Atomic Blonde'

The "X-Men" actor tells us how a broken hand didn't stop him from taking on Charlize Theron in the ice-cool espionage thriller.

Richard Trenholm Former Movie and TV Senior Editor
Richard Trenholm was CNET's film and TV editor, covering the big screen, small screen and streaming. A member of the Film Critic's Circle, he's covered technology and culture from London's tech scene to Europe's refugee camps to the Sundance film festival.
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Richard Trenholm
2 min read
Jonathan Prime
Watch this: James McAvoy spies insane action in 'Atomic Blonde'

The name's McAvoy -- James McAvoy. The actor turns his hand to retro espionage action in new movie "Atomic Blonde", playing the spy who loved Charlize Theron.

We caught up with McAvoy to find out what it was like shooting the film's frenetic action and finding out how a real-life injury fed into his character.


For your eyes only: Charlize Theron and James McAvoy are shady spies in "Atomic Blonde".

Jonathan Prime

The Scottish actor is known for playing the cultured, intellectual Professor X in the "X-Men" movies. His character in "Atomic Blonde", Cold War-era spy David Percival, is a stark contrast: McAvoy calls him "A weird, feral dude" who's been caught up in the chaos of 1980s Berlin for so long that he's "rushing towards the gates of hell".

Based on comic "The Coldest City" by Antony Johnston and Sam Hart, the film is directed by David Leitch, one of the guys behind the insane action of "John Wick". McAvoy and Theron both have their share of action, with Theron in particular throwing herself headlong into a succession of brutal, bruising long-take fight scenes. "She's amazing," marvels McAvoy. "You need to see it to believe what she does."


Charlize Theron kicks ass in "Atomic Blonde".

Jonathan Prime

 "Atomic Blonde" is a cool cocktail of espionage elements with lashings of sex and drugs and 80s music, and even a broken hand sustained on his previous movie "Split" couldn't hold back McAvoy from getting involved. "It was fun actually," he laughs, "getting to use a plaster cast to smash people's faces."

"Atomic Blonde" is in theatres in the US from 28 July, Australia from 3 August and the UK from 9 August.

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