Flags of Our Fathers actor Benjamin Walker will play Hank McCoy -- the Beast -- in Matthew Vaughn's X-Men: First Class, Showbiz411 reports.
He'll join James McAvoy, who stars as Professor Xavier in Fox's reboot of the lucrative X-Men franchise. Centurion's Michael Fassbender is rumored to be a favorite for to play a young Erik Lensherr (aka Magneto). First Class returns to the beginning of Marvel's X-Men saga, to a time when Xavier and Lensherr were close friends, discovering their powers and working together to stop the greatest threat the world has ever known.
Bryan Singer conceived the story and will produce the film along with Lauren Shuler Donner and Simon Kinberg. Singer initially was set to direct, but Fox’s eagerness to push the film into production led to a scheduling conflict with his Jack the Giant Killer.
Walker, 28, has appeared in several stage productions, including Inherit the Wind and Les Liaisons Dangereuses, and currently stars in Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson.
X-Men: First Class is set to open on June 3, 2011.