‘My Son’: James McAvoy Didn’t Have a Script for Peacock’s Upcoming Kidnapping Thriller

Most movies have lines that the actor improvises. Not every piece of dialogue you hear is in the film’s initial or shooting script. However, STXfilms and NBCUniversal’s latest venture, My Son, takes the improvised movie concept and turns it completely on its head. 

Claire Foy and James McAvoy in 'My Son'
Claire Foy and James McAvoy in ‘My Son’ | Peacock

‘My Son’ is a remake of the 2017 French film

In October 2020, French director Christian Carion announced that he would be writing and directing an English remake of his film, also titled My Son. The 2017 thriller starred Guillaume Canet as a geologist as a desperate father looking to find his son who disappeared on a camping trip. 

Estranged from his child and ex, Canet’s character tries not to let his guilt derail his search. He soon takes matters into his own hands and starts to take action outside of the law. 

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Canet improvised his scenes to make his reactions as authentic as possible. His scenes were shot in order, so Canet did not know what he was shooting next. 

James McAvoy was not given a script for ‘My Son’

Carion is looking to capture that same energy in his My Son remake. Around the same time as the film’s announcement, actors James McAvoy and Claire Foy were cast.  McAvoy stars as the geologist who returns to his former town to question his ex-wife and find his missing son. 

Foy is playing McAvoy’s ex-wife. 

Every actor was given a script, except McAvoy. Carion also refrained from feeding him dialogue while on set. The actor only knew the bare minimum of his character’s arc. Everything else he made up and reacted to on the spot. 

“I get to have an experience that no actor gets to have,” McAvoy says in My Son’s trailer, which claims that “both actor and audience uncover the mystery at the exact same time.”

Though they knew their dialogue and where the story was going, the cast had to have good timing not to step on any of McAvoy’s improv. 

“I hope we’ll give the audience something really tangible that they can hang on [to] as this thriller rattles along,” McAvoy said in the trailer’s introduction.

James McAvoy will star in the English remake, which will stream on Peacock

Mark Barrett, Owen Whitelaw, and Paul Rattray also star in the film. 

Filming took place in Scotland in October 2020. My Son will premiere on NBCUniversal’s app Peacock on Sept 15. The official synopsis is as follows:

“Driving in the heart of the Highlands, Edmond Murray (James McAvoy) receives a call from his ex-wife (Claire Foy), in tears. Their 7-year-old son went missing from a campsite. Soon it becomes clear that the child was kidnapped and the parents give way to despair.”

James McAvoy and Claire Foy have had successful careers

McAvoy rose to prominence playing Steve on the original British version of Shameless. He has since starred in such films as The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, The Last King of Scotland, Penelope, Atonement, Becoming Jane, and It Chapter Two

He famously played Professor Charles Xavier in X-Men: First Class, X-Men: Apocolypse, and X-Men: Dark Phoenix. McAvoy most recently appeared in the coronavirus (COVID-19) lockdown film Together. He currently has a leading role on HBO’s His Dark Materials. 

Claire Foy gained attention for her portrayal of Queen Elizabeth II in the first two seasons of The Crown. She has also starred in The Girl in the Spider’s Web and First Man. Foy will be seen next with Benedict Cumberbatch in The Electrical Life of Louis Wain.

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