James was mentioned in this interview his Starter For 10 co star and friend, Benedict Cumberbatch did with Metro while promoting Sherlock Season 2 which aired on PBS recently. James was actually briefly mentioned in New York times article which lead to the discussion below:
I was going to give you a third option: The Tolkien and “Star Trek” fans.
I don’t know — it’s interesting. The New York Times thing I did, James McAvoy had a quote in it, and he said, “Oh, Benedict doesn’t need to fear the media or his fans or his new profile, he just needs to fear actors who will be looking at him with envy and want to cut his legs off.” Maybe that’s the case, but most of my friends who are actors are just really, really thrilled with what I’ve got. It’s kind of humbling, actually, just to be that supported by people. People say, “It’s really nice it’s happened to somebody we’ve watched be good over the years.” And at least, you know, I’ve started at the same level with everybody. And it’s nice because I’m not as good-looking as James and there’s an awful lot I can’t do that they can do. And it’s great that just by craft you can get where I’ve gone. That’s really thrilling. I’m very grateful for the opportunities that I’ve been given.
And I think, going back to what I fear most, I kind of watched [other actors] go through [a rise in fame] and it’s … there are just ways to engage with it and not engage with it. I think that’s the trick; I think choosing your fights or your battles, as is always the case — whether it’s your day at work or parenting or being in the public, I think you just have to be very careful.
It’s come at a time as well when I’m very fortunate: I’m working at a time of mass unemployment and economic contraction, I want to say depression, not depression. …
Yes, recession, thank you. Not quite that bad yet, I hope, God, it won’t get that bad. Very grateful for that. Yeah, so I’m grateful for a time where there’s very sparse work that I’m employed. And there always is in our profession as well, which I guess is James’ point — 90 odd percent of us if not more are unemployed. [The acting pool is] a massive, massive population, and eight percent of us are working at any given time.
What was the other thing I was really happy about? [Laughs.] You were talking about the fears, weren’t you? And I was talking about … Oh, yes, so yes, so to be in the public glare. To be the focus of media and also the s—ty, schlocky media in Britain at a time when that is really coming under the microscope, when the inquiry has thrown a good media focus on the bad media focus and bad practices. I just think it’s great that someone is morally, finally, making a judgment on everything that’s happened with Murdoch and the Sun and all. But it’s not going to stop that from happening again in some other form, I’m sure of it. Journalism’s always been intrusive. And I think people have always wanted more of people in the public eye when they’re performers than they get with their characters, and you can understand why the obsession, the appetite builds.
I read profile pieces — or I used to, before now. [Pretending to read a tabloid.] “Oh, I learned something about that actor, oh he sounds a bit pompous, he sounds a bit petty, he sounds funny, he sounds lovely, she sounds great, she’s gorgeous, she’s not so pretty, she’s not who I thought she was.” Awful, judgmental s— — which, now that I’m going through it, I wish I could eat it all back.
But you know, my dear ex-girlfriend Olivia, we’re both very good friends still, but I used to berate her for reading Hello and Heat and all those rags, Grazia. I mean, I know why girls read them, of course they f—ing do. She’s a smart one, and she knew to look at it and go, “This is nonsense.” But it was entertaining, you know, hairdressing reading. I quite get why in the handbags of smart, as well as kind of pop culturally hungry girls, they’re great entertainment. But they can be really damaging because people do take them too seriously.
And it also then starts to affect people’s behavior so that this thing of image — even with men now. The pressure is always more on for girls in every sense. You have a really rough ride of it — in every single sense you have a rough ride of it. Seriously, like, actors can’t complain compared to actresses — it’s horrific. I mean, in Hollywood as well, the sanest, smartest people I know are beholden to the body image, to the f—ing aging shit. Of course we’re visual vessels to portray characters and tell stories, so of course people are going to want to see their better reflection or someone who’s dazzling or stunning or attractive. But it’s great when people like Charlize Theron can have “an ugly moment.” Then when people say, “it was just ‘unbeautifying’ her — that’s why she got the Oscar,” I just want to get up and punch them. Not only was it an incredible performance in “Monster” and a really unattractive character in “Young Adult,” where she was extraordinary, but she’s proven that actresses can have more than a shelf life, that they can have careers dependent on where they are and who they are at any given time in their life, not trying to maintain the idealized youth thing.