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“X-Men: First Class” enlists Beast, Banshee and others

UPDATE: According to Entertainment Weekly, Lucas Till (Walk the Line, The Spy Next Door and next spring's Battle: Los Angeles) has joined the cast as Alex Summers aka Havok, although the magazine warns that the character as well as others might be intentional misdirection to keep fans on their heels. Havoc is the younger brother of Scott Summers, or Cyclops, who is rumored to be played by Aaron Johnson, a rumor that EW claims is not true.

After a slight lull, today brings three new cast updates for Matthew Vaughn's upcoming film X-Men: First Class. Brit Nicholas Hoult and Americans Aaron Johnson and Caleb Landry Jones are the latest mutant recruits on a list that includes James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender and Alice Eve.

Hoult will be playing Beast, according to Deadline, a role we originally reported belonging to Benjamin Walker. The British actor has received critical acclaim for his roles in About a Boy (his film debut)Wallander, and A Single Man. Although he doesn't have much experience with action films, Hoult's most recent project was Louis Leterrier’s action blockbuster Clash of the Titans, and he is currently slated to star in George Miller's Mad Max: Fury Road.

Johnson, long-rumored to be attached to the film in some capacity, is in talks to play young Scott Summers aka Cyclops. Ain't It Cool News got 
a tip-off from one of its insiders, so the news isn't official just yet. Johnson worked with Vaughn on Kick-Ass, in which he starred back in April. Although he was great in that film, Kick-Ass was more of a satire of the superhero genre. Could he work just as well in an actual superhero film? Johnson next stars in the John Lennon biopic Nowhere Boy, which was released in Britain last year.

Jones is the unknown of the group although his first film won a Best Picture Oscar (he gave his shirt to Javier Bardem to use as a sling in No Country for Old Men). The 20-year-old from Texas will play Sean Cassidy aka Banshee, the mutant whose scream paralyzes enemies and also allows him to fly.

The cast list for the film so far is certainly an interesting read. Instead of going for fresh-faced Hollywood A-listers, Vaughn seems to be more interested in actors that have a decent background in critically acclaimed projects: Fassbender’s most high profile role to date might be his brief role in Inglourious Basterds, and McAvoy’s biggest roles so far have been in the Oscar-winning films Atonement and The Last King of Scotland. With a small background in film right now, Eve is the only true exception, even though reviews for She's Out of My League weren't terrible.It is not at all a predictable cast, so Vaughn is definitely making a risk. That in and of itself is admirable. Whether or not these cast choices of a unique nature happen to be coincidental is one thing, but it should certainly make for a quite enjoyable X-Men film, or at least an interesting one.


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