In a puff of smoke and the blink of an eye, Kodi Smit-McPhee has
teleported in time from child prestige actor to superhero tent-pole
The 18-year-old Australian actor has been cast
as the blue-hued, dimension-hopping mutant Nightcrawler in “X-Men:
Apocalypse,” director Bryan Singer announced on Instagram late Tuesday.
Smit-McPhee, who said in his own Instagram post
that he was “humbled and honored to be joining this incredible
project,” is best known for quiet, haunting performances in grim, arty
dramas such as “Romulus, My Father,” “The Road” and “Let Me In.” He
also voiced the main character in Tim Burton’s 2012 animated movie
“ParaNorman” and had a small role in the 2014 summer blockbuster “Rise
of the Planet of the Apes.” But joining the “X-Men” franchise,
which has grossed more than $3 billion in worldwide ticket sales, is a
significant leap for a young actor who’s largely undefined in the public
imagination. Smit-McPhee will be exposed to a large international
audience, although he’ll likely be acting through indigo-complexioned
makeup and possibly even prosthetics, if the comic book incarnation of
Nightcrawler is any indication. In that sense, he’s in a similar boat as
fellow “X-Men” newcomer Oscar Isaac, who is on board to play the gray-skinned, shapeshifting villain of the film’s title.
Although “Apocalypse” looks primed to boost a new generation
of young actors, including Sophie Turner (as Jean Grey), Alexandra
Shipp (Storm) and Tye Sheridan (Cyclops), there’s only so much screen
time to go around, and the principal cast is already stocked: James
McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Hugh Jackman, Nicholas
Hoult and Rose Byrne are all reprising their roles from previous “X”
installments. Part of the fun of Nightcrawler’s character, of
course, is that one can never be sure where he’ll turn up next. For now,
the same could be said of McPhee.
“X-Men: Apocalypse” is due in theaters May 27, 2016.
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