Jason Flemyng revealed today at Movie-Con in London that he’ll reunite with director Matthew Vaughn for X-Men: First Class, playing Nightcrawler’s father Azazel.
The actor, who co-starred as Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde in 2003’s The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, appeared in Vaughn’s Layer Cake, Stardust and Kick-Ass.
“Matthew showed me my costume just the other day,” Flemyng told Empire. “Now I swore I’d never be in heavy make-up again, but this role is going to involve it. But at least they said, ‘Don’t worry, we’ll add the tail in post.’ I am Azazel, and I can teleport by waving my arms [gestures like a cross between a flamenco dancer and a Bollywood star].”
News of Azazel’s inclusion in the Fox reboot will likely leave X-Men fans scratching their heads, or else pulling out their hair. A Satan analog introduced in 2003 during writer Chuck Austen’s widely vilified run on Uncanny X-Men, Azazel is a demonic mutant from biblical times who was banished by angels to the Brimstone dimension. Able only to leave his prison for short amounts of time, he fathered numerous children across the Earth — most notably Nightcrawler, with the shape-shifting Mystique. As Flemyng explained to Empire, the crimson-colored Azazel can teleport across dimensions, as well as generate devastating energy blasts.
How Azazel fits in the story of the early friendship between Charles Xavier and Erik Lensherr is, of course, anyone’s guess. Vaughn & Co. already have indicated with the inclusion of Emma Frost, Sean Cassidy, Mystique and Darwin that First Class won’t follow comic-book continuity. But the use of Azazel seems kind of, I don’t know, out there.
Flemyng joins a cast that includes James McAvoy as Charles Xavier, Michael Fassbender as Erik Lensherr, Alice Eve as Emma Frost, Nicholas Hoult as Henry McCoy, Caleb Landry Jones as Sean Cassidy, Jennifer Lawrence as Mystique, Lucas Till as Alex Summers, Edi Gathegi as Darwin, and Kevin Bacon as their as-yet-unnamed enemy.
X-Men: First Class opens on June 3, 2011.