James McAvoy plays Lord Asriel Belacqua in His Dark Materials. McAvoy was born in Glasgow, Scotland, on April 21, 1979. His mother is a psychiatric nurse named Elizabeth. His father James McAvoy Jr works as a builder. Following his parent’s divorce, James was brought up primarily by his maternal grandparents due to his mother’s poor health. McAvoy was raised Roman Catholic and attended St Thomas Aquinas Secondary School.
His acting debut was in 1995 film The Near Room. James was fifteen years old. Since then McAvoy has garnered several award nominations, including a BAFTA for his role as Nicholas Garrigan in The Last King of Scotland (2006). His performance as Robbie Turner in Atonement (2007) earned James a Golden Globe nomination and a second BAFTA nomination. He has gone on to play Professor Charles Xavier in several X-Men iterations and his starring role in the crime comedy-drama Filth (2013) earned him the Best Actor from the British Independent Film Awards.