Onscreen for nearly a decade at the time he was cast in director Kevin McDonald's The Last King of Scotland, Glasgow-born actor James McAvoy seemed to many an overnight sensation. The fact is, however, that the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama alumnus had already formed the foundation of an enduring career at the time he was charged with holding his own opposite the formidable -- and, eventually, Oscar-winning -- Forest Whitaker.
McAvoy's parents divorced when he was just seven years old. In the aftermath, he and his mother would go to live with his grandparents in Glasgow's housing projects, with the youngster's notable interest in stage and film work eventually leading him to study at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama. At 16, McAvoy made his professional acting debut in the child abuse drama The Near Room, with a role in the long-running British crime drama The Bill following in short order. On the heels of a part in 2001's Emmy Award-winning WWII miniseries Band of Brothers, McAvoy caught the eye of critics in the small-screen adaptation White Teeth before being cast in a pivotal role in the sci-fi effort Children of Dune.