I'm too old to be nervous: James McAvoy on playing Lord Asriel in 'His Dark Material'

Los Angeles, Nov 14 (PTI) Actor James McAvoy says he was not at all nervous about portraying Lord Asriel in HBO's 'His Dark Material' as he liked the character's boldness and ruthlessness.

Based on Philip Pullman's three-part epic series about two children -- Lyra Belacqua and Will Parry -- who embark on a magical adventure through parallel universes in which science, theology and magic are entwined.

McAvoy said Lord Asriel is against the concept of organised religion where the belief systems and rituals are systematically arranged and formally established.

'I'm never nervous about doing anything anymore, I'm too old for that. I was more filled with the excitement of getting to play him and getting to do something that'sactually quite bold and dangerous in mainstream entertainment, which have a very strong viewpoint on organised religion.

'There’s no hiding from it: Asriel’s against it and not only is he against it, he thinks it is holding us back, that it is actually a form of abuse and torture against humanity. It's a pretty clear and emphatic thing to go after and that's something that I was excited by because we don't get to do that very often,' the actor said in a statement.

'His Dark Material', which also features Dafne Keen and Ruth Wilson, premieres on Indian Television only on Star World on November 24 at 9 pm.

McAvoy said he particularly loved the ruthless side of Lord Asriel.

'I love the character. I love how ruthless he is, how glamorous he is, how full of life he is. He's more alive than half of the people I've ever met in my life. He's got a touch of destiny about him.

'Playing that kind of person in a world that does truly embrace the magical, as well as the science and the theological, that's pretty cool. Again, I'm not nervous about it because I love him so much. I feel so lucky to be a part of it,' he added.

The 40-year-old actor said the best thing about Pullman's books was that it was not 'lore-heavy' like the 'Lord of the Rings' and 'less whimsical' than the 'Harry Potter' world.

'Philip Pullman is such a brave and fearless storyteller that he knows, no matter how crazy things get and how wild his imagination makes the story go, he's a good enough storyteller that the audience are going to want to follow Lyra, and they're going to want to follow Roger, and they're going to want to follow Will along that journey to discover what the hell is going on and why we're all acting so terrified and afraid, when really, we should just all be happy to be alive,' he added. PTI RB BK RBRB