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James McAvoy for 'X-Men: First Class'

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James McAvoy at 'The Last Station' premiere

© Rex Features

James McAvoy has signed on to play the role of Professor X in the upcoming X-Men: First Class.

The film, which will serve as a prequel to previously released X-Men movies, is to see the actor portraying a young version of the well-known Charles Xavier, reports The Hollywood Reporter.

“[First Class will] chart the epic beginning of the X-Men saga," read a press release.

"Before Charles Xavier and Eric Lensherr took the names Professor X and Magneto, they were two young men discovering their powers for the first time. Before they were archenemies, they were the closest of friends, working together, with other Mutants (some familiar, some new), to stop the greatest threat the world has ever known.

"In the process, a rift between them opened, which began the eternal war between Magneto's Brotherhood and Professor X's X-Men."

Matthew Vaughn is directing the feature for Fox with a tentative release date of June 2011.

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