Filth, Jon S. Baird’s adaptation of the eponymous Irvine Welsch novel Filth, starring James McAvoy. The actor, known for his roles in X-Men: First Class, Wanted and, once upon a time The Chronicles of Narnia, has definitely switched gears for this one. McAvoy plays corrupt cop Bruce Robertson, who struggles with bipolar disorder, whilst engaging in practically every vice, known to humanity. As you may have guessed, the actor’s overall nice guy persona made him a less than obvious choice for the part. However, in a recent interview with The Hollywood Reporter, which McAvoy gave at the film’s Zurich Film Festival premiere, he explained why he took on the challenge of playing so starkly against type.

Filth Poster
The poster leaves little doubt - this is going to be one of those "love it or hate it" films.

“This was simply one of the best scripts I'd ever read. In the top three, McAvoy says. “It's up there with Atonement. A beautiful and harrowing script.”

For director Jon S. Baird, the match was also quite surprising, but once he had had a meeting with McAvoy and Irvine Welsh together, things just clicked well.

Watch the Filth trailer below.


“Irvine initially had the same idea of James as I did but we soon realized that he has had this very intense upbringing, he's a very intelligent guy, very edgy, in this business for the right reason and not starry at all,” recalls Baird for the magazine. “But what blew me away was when we shared stories and we both grew up with very similar scenarios where we have quite severe experiences with mental illness. And it was then that I knew he was right for the part, that he would get all the aspects of (the role), the comedy and the depths of despair.”

James McAvoy, Filth Still
James McAvoy acts against type in this one.

While the trailers released so far don’t really give a good idea of the tragedy of McAvoy’s character, the actor himself claims that this was one of the most challenging parts he has ever taken.

“I seem to have known an extraordinary number of people who have had to deal with severe mental illness,” McAvoy adds. “So I understood this character [Bruce Robertson]. I knew how to play him. I'm not saying it was easy, but I knew I could do it.” Of course, while the premise and the casting make Filth interesting enough on paper, the critics are yet to sink their teeth into this one. The film hits UK theatres today.

James McAvoy, Filth Promo Still
McAvoy also describes the part as a challenging experience.