Benjamin Walker is an X-MEN: FIRST CLASS drop out

As expected, Benjamin Walker has told 20th Century Fox that he no longer has any interest playing Beast in X-Men: First Class and will instead spend the rest of his summer taking his musical Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson to Broadway. We reported on Friday that Walker was axed from the X-prequel when Fox got nervous over the short age gap between leads James McAvoy (31) and Michael Fassbender (33) (Prof X, Magneto) compared to the 28 year old, who was suppose to be one of the students. They then scrambled around to find three young actors they could screentest on Thursday to replace him and not being pleased with any of them, they went crawling back to Walker (despite the age problem still being an issue) and offered him his original deal (despite already paying off his original contract to not do the role). Walker, like most actors who have been messed about, has declined the offer. Note to Fox: next time, find a replacement before paying an actor off! So, with production around 4-6 weeks away from principal photography, director Matthew Vaughn only has Fassbender and McAvoy confirmed, with Alice Eve (27) in talks for Emma Frost but apart from the small parts (we think) of Banshee and Multiple Man, the rest of the names we spoke of recently have had no movement since June 18th, so God knows what's going on with them. Roger Freidman (who has been a good X-source) has revealed that Fox checked the availability of Taylor Lautner (for what role is anyone's guess) over the last few days after the huge success of Twilight: Eclipse, and they may look to pick off some names from that franchise (or similar, emo style tweeny actors). And as Freidman says, no shit are Fox nervous about X-Men: First Class right now. After three financial dissapointments in a Tom Cruise summer vehicle, a reprisal of The A-Team and a usually solid dog movie in Marmaduke - they will probably be keeping a close eye on all their upcoming tentpoles. How close an eye will depend on whether Matthew Vaughn says on to direct. He won't take too much studio interference, and he's bailed on the X-Men franchise before in a similar situation (he had cast Kelsey Grammar, Vinnie Jones and a few others on X-Men 3: The Last Stand and then quit nine weeks before filming), and he won't be afraid to do it again. This time we are around 4-6 weeks, maybe 7 weeks, and this time production in his home of London. At this point, the June 3rd, 2011 date is in tact.
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Matt Holmes is the co-founder of What Culture, formerly known as Obsessed With Film. He has been blogging about pop culture and entertainment since 2006 and has written over 10,000 articles.