Nicholas Hoult as Beast, Kevin Bacon to play Mr. Sinister? X-MEN: FIRST CLASS casting updates...

(Apologies in the slowness of this news. I've been in London for Inception stuff, and I wasn't able to post Arvindh's articles on this. What you see below is a matching of mine and his writings over the recent X-Men casting developments). Matt Vaughn is having to move quickly to round up his X-Men: First Class team with shooting in London around a month away. Over the last few days a few more names have been added to his roster and after some uncertainty over some key roles, things are starting to look a lot clearer now. We told you on Thursday that Aaron Johnson was now 100% locked in to play Cyclops, joining James McAvoy (Prof X), Michael Fassbender (Magneto) and Alice Eve (now confirmed as Emma Frost). On Friday they were joined by Brit youngster Nicholas Hoult who had been cast as the acrobatic and incredibly agile Beast. You may remember him as the young knipper from Hugh Grant's About a Boy or his turn opposite Colin Firth in A Single Man. Some Brits might remember his as one of the leading players of the Channel 4 show Skins. He was set for a major role in George Miller's two-film Mad Max epic, but production has recently been delayed until February 2011 and Vaughn has swooped in to benefit. Hoult replaces Benjamin Walker, who's saga as Beast we have well documented, and who was ultimately culled because of his age. Walker, who had a terrific physical look for Beast is 28 - whilst Hoult is 20 - Fox's perfect age for the X-students which they think makes sense of the generation gap between Magneto/Xavier (McAvoy 31, Fassbender 33) and the students. Hoult is a decent actor who never quite plays his characters the way you expect him to, a little left field, and although he'll probably have to get a lil' bulkier, CGI will do the rest in terms of swinging off trees and bouncing off walls and whatnot. We also wonder if he had been training for Mad Max as much as Hardy, which means he could be way bigger already. We kinda liked Walker for the part, but with the age thing - we concede that it wouldn't work. Deadline say joining Hoult on Friday was Caleb Landry in the role of Sean Cassidy, aka Banshee, though we had known that since June 29th. Further announcements were made on Saturday when Deadline, reported that Kevin Bacon was in negotiations to play the main villain role, reminding us that First Class begins with Magneto as Xavier's ally, before turning to the dark side.... Fleming doesn't mention who Bacon would be playing, but it's widely speculated it'll be Mr.Sinister. He was a big villain in the late 80's, introduced by writer Chris Claremont who was "tired of just going back to Magneto and the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants and the same old same old" for his stories- which is kind of reminicint of this franchise I guess. Minister Sinister is a Darwin obsessive who experiments with genetically modifying human cells as part of his research on evolution. After the untimely death of his four year old son, he grows more and more keen to push his experiments to the next level - which eventually spirals to him conducting experiments on mutants to give himself their powers, a vast array of superhuman abilities. Which on film, pretty much allows him to be shaped in anyway Vaughn see's fit. His aging process has been altered, and he was born in the mid 19th century, which could make for a cool opening scene (death of son catalyst style) and Bacon is the kind of actor who will make you sympathise with him after such a moment, even when he is doing dastardly deeds later on. There's also a cool side-note to Sinister that he became obsessed with the Summers bloodline and family tree. He thought of it as being a 'radically-supreme' gene, and if my readings are correct, tried to make Scott Summers and Jean Grey conceive a child who would be a perfect specimen. This could be an interesting avenue to explore (though we wonder if at 20 years-ish age of Cyclops, this will be too much for audiences to take) - though there is also word from EW (and seemingly confirmed by Deadline) that Lucas Till, 19, from Hannah Montana - is circling a role as Havoc. This is interesting as Havoc is the younger brother of Cyclops, who has so far not appeared in the franchise, hinting that this storyline could indeed play a part in this movie with severe consequences. We'd definitely be up for a Bacon-villain in First Class, and it would be cool to see him stand opposite James McAvoy's Charles Xavier and his band of teenage-mutant students. Though just don't go making him a boring Senator or something, as we have been there and certainly done that. In a matter of 74 hours we've got wind of who will play leader of the pack of gifted youngsters, we know who'll pull-off wicked acrobatics and eventually become a furry blue professor who likes to hang upside down while reading books (I hope you're familiar with X-Men if not that sentence must've been incredibly bizarre for you), and we've learned who'll be screaming glasses to pieces and sonic-booming doors wide open. And potentially, who is the bad guy of all it all. What do you guys think? Other roles are still up for speculation of course... and he's an update on the situation; Here's the state of play right now with the X-cast; Confirmed castings.... James McAvoy (31) as Prof. X - - Michael Fassbender (33) as Magento Aaron Johnson (20) is Cyclops Nicholas Hoult (20) is Beast Alice Eve (27) is Emma Frost Caleb Landry Jones (21) is Banshee. In talks... Kevin Bacon (52) as the main villain, probably Mr. Sinister Lucas Till (19) as Havoc And then we hit rumour territory and we should remind ourselves that we haven't had an update on many of these since June 18th, so the landscape may changed dramatically... We believe Rosamund Pike (31) has been offered the role of Dr. Moira MacTaggert, Prof X's assistant. Kevin Pennington (23), Avengers News believe has been offered the role of Multiple Man. Andrew Garfield (27) we think had been offered the role of Angel, before Sony swooped in and stole him as Peter Parker. When they re-cast, expect the actor to be around 20 years of age. Amber Heard (24) was heavily linked with playing Mystique. Though, when Erica Hossesini revealed she auditioned for the role of Willow (instead of Mystique), we kinda got confused on this whole situation. We doubt both characters would be in the movie? Jack Huston (27) (we believe, but not confirmed) has been offered the role of Mastermind. Eddie Redmayne (28) (we believe, but not confirmed) has been offered the role of Toad. Remarkably we've heard NO NAMES AT ALL linked with the Jean Grey part (who surely must be part of this) and Storm. Filming will begin next month on X-Men: First Class, a 'George Lucas' style prequel to Xavier and Magneto's relationship. Matt Vaughn (Kick-Ass, Stardust) directs, based on a pitch by Bryan Singer (X-Men 1, 2), that was turned into a script by Jamie Moss (Street Kings), that was later re-written by Jane Goldman (Kick-Ass). The movie will be in theatres June 3rd, 2011.

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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.