James McAvoy has been tapped to lead a revival of Peter Barnes’s The Ruling Class in London’s West End. According to the Daily Mail, the X-Men star will play the fictional—and paranoid schizophrenic—14th Earl of Gurney in the black comedy. Directed by Jamie Lloyd, previews will begin at the Trafalgar Theatre on January 16, 2015. The production will play a limited engagement through April 11.
McAvoy was last seen in the West End in 2013 headlining Macbeth. Previous stage credits include Three Days of Rain. Probably best known for his role of Charles Xavier in the X-Men film franchise, other notable screen credits include The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe, The Last King of Scotland, Wanted, Atonement and Filfth.
The star revealed that his character “is heir to the Gurney estate and arrives wearing a Franciscan monk’s tunic of the Capuchin order.” McAvoy went on to say: “That’s just one of the many people he thinks he is…It’s about people at the top, thinking they’re God, and thinking that their power isn’t in any way limited.”
The Ruling Class won the 1969 Evening Standard best drama award and the 1972 film adaptation starring Peter O’Toole became a cult classic.