James McAvoy stars in BAM's "Cyrano de Bergerac" in Brooklyn

James McAvoy stars in BAM’s “Cyrano de Bergerac” in Brooklyn

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NEW YORK — Actor James McAvoy stars in an athletic revival of a classic play opening Thursday night in Brooklyn.

Known to many fans as Professor Charles Xavier in the “X-Men” movies, McAvoy reinvents the warrior-poet Cyrano de Bergerac.

There’s no fake nose, period costume or elaborate staging in this production, and the unconventional love triangle between Cyrano, Roxanne and Christian is brought to audiences with beatbox, rap and a poetry slam.

McAvoy spoke to CBS2 about what it takes to make this familiar story feel fresh and how he approaches his character.

“It’s a classic story, just not told classically. It’s told modernly, and it’s told vitally,” McAvoy said. “I think there’s anger in the original character … You can’t fight that much, you can’t fight as much as he does without wanting to. And that’s the thing, he wants to hurt himself. I think he’s one of those guys, doesn’t fight because he likes punching. He fights ’cause he likes getting hit and because he hates himself.”

“Cyrano de Bergerac” is at the BAM Harvey Theater in Brooklyn through May 22.

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