King of Scotland

What does James McAvoy make of all the adoring Web sites dedicated to his pale, Scottish baby face, his lucid blue eyes and--oh yeah--his acting skills? "I do think, f---ing hell, guys, I hope I'm worth it," says the 27-year-old heartthrob. He certainly appears to be. Fresh off a critically acclaimed turn as Idi Amin's doctor in "The Last King of Scotland," McAvoy is set to star in two big movies next year: the film adaptation of Ian McEwan's best-selling book, "Atonement," in which he plays the unfairly accused Robbie Turner opposite Keira Knightley's Cecilia, and alongside Anne Hathaway in the Jane Austen biopic "Becoming Jane." He also just snagged the lead in Universal Pictures' next sci-fi action blockbuster, "Wanted."

That's an apt description of the busy McAvoy. He got his start in 1995, when director David Hayman offered him the part of a pimp's son in his film "The Near Room" after McAvoy coolly approached him following a speech at the boy's Glasgow school. McAvoy followed up with formal training at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, earning a living icing cakes at a nearby Sainsbury's supermarket. His first big breaks came in television, with roles in the HBO mini-series "Band of Brothers," "Children of Dune" and the adaptation of Zadie Smith's novel "White Teeth." In 2003 he returned to celluloid in "Bright Young Things," in which he played the intellectual partygoer Simon Balcairn, and earned a reputation as "the next Hugh Grant."

Since then, critics and audiences alike have taken note. He won best-actor nominations from the London Film Critics Circle for his roles as the furry faun Mr. Tumnus in "Chronicles of Narnia" and the wheelchair-using punk Rory O'Shea in "Inside I'm Dancing," as well as one from the British Independent Film Awards for "The Last King of Scotland." Earlier this year, he won the BAFTA Orange Rising Star Award as well as the Elle Style Award for Best Television Actor. But the recently married McAvoy, ever modest, is quick to chalk it all up to good timing. "I've always been the kind of actor who wants to work," he says. "I don't want to sit around waiting for the good s--t if there's no good s--t there."

Critics love McAvoy's charisma and ability to turn every character he plays into someone the audience can empathize with. His dream role? "I'd love to play Jesus Christ," he says. Seriously? "Nah," he replies mischievously. "I'm not being serious." Maybe not, but Hollywood is certainly serious about him.