‘X-Men: First Class’ Gains Rose Byrne, Oliver Platt and Jason Flemyng

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Jason Flemyng (Azazel), Rose Byrne (Moira MacTaggert) and Oliver Platt (The Man in Black)

There’s been a lot of movement on Matthew Vaughn’s X-Men: First Class in the last couple of days as three new names have joined the cast of Fox’s return to the X-Men franchise, which spawned three hit films from 2000 through 2006 as well as the X-Men Origins: Wolverine spin-off in 2009.

First off, Rose Byrne (“Damages”) has joined the cast as Moira MacTaggert, a scientist and an authority on genetic mutation. MacTaggert also serves as a love interest of the mutant telepath Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) whose story serves as the film’s main plotline as it follows his relationship with Erik Lensherr (Michael Fassbender) as they go from being close friends to archenemies beginning the eternal war between Magneto’s Brotherhood and Professor X’s X-Men.

Next, Oliver Platt will play anunfamiliar non-mutant character The Man in Black, while BFI’s Movie-Con revealed Jason Flemyng will be playing the role of Azazel, the father of the teleporting mutant Nightcrawler, a character played by Alan Cumming in Bryan Singer’s X2 in 2003. Flemyng will be familiar to most audiences for his role as Calibos in Clash of the Titans as well as Benjamin Button’s father Thomas from David Fincher’s The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.

Previously announced members of the large ensemble cast include Alice Eve as Emma Frost, Nicholas Hoult as Beast, Jennifer Lawrence as Mystique, Caleb Landry Jones as Banshee, Lucas Till as Havoc, and Edi Gathegi as Darwin and Kevin Bacon as the unspecified villain (rumored to be Sebastian Shaw).

Additional news out of Movie-Con comes via ComicBookMovie.com who caught up with First Class co-writer Jane Goldman who told the site, “I watched a bunch of pre-viz yesterday and went home feeling so excited. We start shooting in about three weeks.”

The movie is expected to begin shooting at Pinewood Studios in London in September for a June 3, 2011 release.