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Kelsey Grammer to play Beast in ''X-Men 3.'' Possibly joining the erstwhile Frasier Crane for the next installment in the franchise: ''Lost'' star Maggie Grace

The Beast is in — and he's listening. Matthew Vaughn, director of the forthcoming X-Men 3, hinted that he might add new mutants to the mix, including fan-favorite Beast. But who knew he'd be able to convince TV star Kelsey Grammer to don a blue monkey suit?

According to Variety, Grammer has signed on to play Dr. Hank McCoy, an esteemed, pacifist genetic researcher whose mutant alter ego, Beast, is a 355-pound tough guy covered in blue fur. ''Kelsey was born to play the role,'' producer Avi Arad told Variety. ''When we met with him, you can see that Kelsey has that you-better-have-a-dictionary-handy intelligence.''

Also ready to join the pack: Vinnie Jones (Snatch) will play the villainous Juggernaut, and Maggie Grace (Lost's Shannon) is in talks to play Kitty Pryde, a beautiful mutant who can walk through walls. X-Men alums Hugh Jackman (Wolverine), Famke Janssen (Jean Grey), and Anna Paquin (Rogue) will return for the third movie; still in talks are Halle Berry (Storm), Patrick Stewart (Professor Xavier), and Ian McKellen (Magneto). X-Men 3 will hit theaters in May 2006.

Originally posted May 19, 2005