James McAvoy health: ‘It nearly killed me’ – the star’s life-threatening infection

James McAvoy apologises to Ball for being late and swearing

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Appearing on BBC’s The Graham Norton Show tongith (Friday, January 28) to promote his latest film, My Son, which the 42-year-old appears in alongside Claire Foy, James revealed one big twist regarding his latest project – he was not given a script, meaning he had to improvise all of his dialogue. With all the other actors knowing the script and story, McAvoy’s reactions that audiences see on screen are genuine, and was purposely done in order to emulate the shock and surprise a parent would experience when dealing with a traumatic event such as losing a child. As an actor, McAvoy is always trying to push boundaries in order to give the best performance he possibly can. Yet, when filming the sequel to 2016 film Split, where McAvoy plays multiple different personalities, McAvoy spent a considerable amount of time in hospital.

After going for a medical check-up just before his 40th birthday, an X-ray found a shadow on the star’s lung. In order to rule out the possibility of a number of diseases a biopsy was taken.

Luckily, nothing serious was found after the biopsy, but the wound left behind from the surgery suddenly became infected, and the infection was serious.

“It nearly killed me,” McAvoy said in an interview with Men’s Journal.

“It was very scary. A terrifying f** thing to go through.”

What should have been a simple one-day procedure, turned into a three-week health battle for the star.

Even after he was recovering from the ordeal, McAvoy struggled to get answers from doctors.

When questioning them about the strange disappearance of one of his abdominal muscles, doctors replied to the star: “Hmm, are you sure it was there before the surgery?”

Admitting that the illness “shook him up”, Men’s Journal reports that the incident came at a time when the actor was considering how much stamina he had left to endure five-month-long film shoots, all while his eight-year-old son was at home.

“Don’t get me wrong, I’m not slagging off my industry,” he adds. “I love my job. Love it…. But there’s got to be more balance.

“As somebody who’s always thought I’d be happy making it to 70 years of age and then die, I think, ‘I’ve got 31 years left.

“It’s important to do what I want to do, instead of what I should do.”
Despite concerns about the industry, McAvoy agreed to shoot Glass, but after reading the script soon realised that for “three-quarters of the film” he had to be shirtless whilst portraying his character The Beast.

“I had just been in hospital, I wasn’t well, I had nearly died, there were a whole lot of things like that,” McAvoy explained.

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“I read this script and I thought, ‘Oh no, I’ve got to be The Beast not just in a tunnel in the dark at the end for two minutes, but for the entire film.’

“I was like, ‘Hi! Is that M Night Shyamalan? You’re going to need to spend a lot of money on a personal trainer and dietician who’s going to live with me for five months before we make this film.’

“And to be honest, fair play to him, he fronted up the money to get that guy and he was an amazing trainer.”

Johns Hopkins medicine explains that any surgery that causes a break in the skin can lead to an infection. Often referred to as surgical site infections (SSIs), the chance of developing an infection is a mere one to three percent.

However, for those that do, SSIs typically occur within 30 days of surgery, and can be one of three types of infection:

  • Superficial incisional SSI. This infection occurs just in the area of the skin where the incision was made.
  • Deep incisional SSI. This infection occurs beneath the incision area in muscle and the tissues surrounding the muscles.
  • Organ or space SSI. This type of infection can be in any area of the body other than skin, muscle, and surrounding tissue that was involved in the surgery. This includes a body organ or a space between organs.

Crucially, the signs and symptoms that may indicate that an individual has an infection includes redness, delayed healing, fever, pain, tenderness, warmth or swelling. In some circumstances individuals may notice puss growing around the site area.

Johns Hopkins continues to explain that most SSIs can be treated with antibiotics. Sometimes additional surgery or procedures may be required to treat a particularly bad infection.

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