Ewan McGregor, co-star of the "Strar Wars: Episode III" Movie!
Ewan McGregor rocketed to prominence over an impressively short period of time, thanks to a brilliant turn as a heroin addict in Trainspotting and the good fortune of being hired to play the young Obi-Wan Kenobi in the Star Wars prequel Star Wars Episode One: The Phantom Menace, which was released with much hoopla in 1999. Thanks to his casting in the new trilogy, a great deal of media attention was directed toward the young actor, who, coincidentally enough, followed his uncle, Denis Lawson (who played pilot Wedge Antilles), into the Star Wars universe. McGregor was born in the Scottish coastal town of Crieff on March 31, 1971. After the normal run of school, he joined the Perth Repertory Theatre and then went on to train at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. His studies at Guildhall led to a key role in Dennis Potter's 1993 Lipstick on Your Collar, a musical comedy set during the Suez Crisis. He also appeared in Scarlet & Black, another 1993 historical adaptation, this time taking the lead. The same year, McGregor made his big-screen debut playing a bit part in Bill Forsyth's episodic Being Human. He continued to turn up on television on both sides of the Atlantic until late 1996; some of his more notable work included his turn as a beleaguered gunman in an episode of E.R. and the Cold War episode of Tales From the Crypt.
The actor's breakthrough in motion pictures came with Shallow Grave (1994), a stylish, noir-influenced feature directed by Danny Boyle, in which McGregor essayed the role of Alex, a journalist who finds himself in a horrendous position after a murder. He quickly went on to appear in the British surfing parable Blue Juice and Peter Greenaway's The Pillow Book before losing almost 30 pounds and shaving his head for his turn as heroin addict Mark Renton in the critically acclaimed Trainspotting, working, once again, with Danny Boyle. Having gained the attention of critics and audiences worldwide with this performance, McGregor proceeded to take something of a stylistic left turn by taking the role of Frank Churchill in the elegant historical comedy Emma (1996).
McGregor continued working at an impressive pace after Emma, appearing in Brassed Off (1996), Nightwatch, The Serpent's Kiss (1997), and yet another feature for Danny Boyle, the 1997 fantasy A Life Less Ordinary. This latter film concluded on a raffish note, with an animated puppet of McGregor dressed in a kilt, apparently in the McGregor tartan. In 1998, the actor began his work on the Star Wars prequels and appeared in Todd Haynes' Velvet Goldmine, in which he played an iconoclastic, Iggy Pop-like singer during the glam rock era of the '70s. In 1999, along with his role in Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace, McGregor appeared as infamous financier Nick Leeson in the biopic Rogue Trader, and had a full slate of projects before him. Some of these projects included several for his own production company, Natural Nylon, which he co-founded with fellow actors Jude Law, Sean Pertwee, Sadie Frost, and fellow-Trainspotter Jonny Lee Miller.
In 2000, McGregor could be seen in one of Natural Nylon's projects, Nora. Based on the real-life relationship between James Joyce and Nora Barnacle, it starred McGregor as Joyce and Susan Lynch as the eponymous Nora. The actor stayed in period costume for his other film that year, Baz Luhrmann's Moulin Rouge! Set in 1899 Paris, it starred McGregor as a young poet who becomes enmeshed in the city's drugs, and Can Can scene and enters into a tumultuous relationship with a courtesan (Nicole Kidman). Following a turn in Black Hawk Down (2001), McGregor would reprise his role as a young Obi-Wan Kenobi in the eagerly anticipated Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones.
In 2003, McGregor would star in director Tim Burton's Big Fish, in which he played the role of the young Edward Bloom, a man whose son, William (Billy Crudup), only really knows through tall tales, vividly brought to life in flashbacks. In David Mackenzie's erotic drama Young Adam, which was shown at the 2003 Cannes Film Festival, McGregor played one of two barge workers unlucky enough to dredge up the nearly naked corpse of a young woman. The young actor also starred alongside Renée Zellweger, who, fresh from the success of Chicago, played the unlikely love interest of McGregor's preening, sexist Catcher Block in Down With Love, director Peyton Reed's homage to '60s romantic comedies. In 2004, McGregor will work with Bob Hoskins in Marc Forster's upcoming thriller Stay, while 2005 will once again find McGregor playing Obie-Wan Kenobi in the sure-to-be-a-blockbuster release of Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith.
Ewan Gordon McGregor was born on March 31, 1971 in Crieff, Perthshire, Scotland, UK .
At 16, he left Crieff and Morrison Academy to join the Perth Repertory Theatre. His parents encouraged him to leave school and pursue his acting goals rather than be unhappy. McGregor studied drama for a year at Kirkcaldly in Fife, then enrolled at London's Guildhall School of Music and Drama for a three-year course. He left right before graduating after snagging the role of Private Mick Hopper in Dennis Potter's 1993 six-part Channel 4 series Lipstick on Your Collar (1993) (TV). His first notable role was that of Alex Law in Shallow Grave (1994), directed by Danny Boyle, written by John Hodge and produced by Andrew MacDonald. This was followed by The Pillow Book (1996) and Trainspotting (1996), the latter of which brought him to the public's attention. He is now one of the most critically acclaimed actors of his generation, and portrays Obi-wan Kenobi in the first three Star Wars episodes. McGregor is married to French production designer Eve Mavrakis, whom he met while working on the TV show "Kavanagh QC" (1994). They married in France in the summer of 1995 and have two daughters, Clara Mathilde and Esther Rose. McGregor has formed a production company with friends Jonny Lee Miller, Sean Pertwee, Jude Law and Sadie Frost. Called Natural Nylon, they hope it will make innovative films that do not conform to Hollywood standards.
More fun stuff about Ewan McGregor
Former roommate of Jude Law.
Ranked #36 in Empire (UK) magazine's "The Top 100 Movie Stars of All Time" list. [October 1997]
Was originally up for the lead role in The Beach (2000), which would have reunited him with director Danny Boyle and screenwriter John Hodge who collaborated with McGregor on Shallow Grave (1994), Trainspotting (1996) and A Life Less Ordinary (1997). The role went to Leonardo DiCaprio. While McGregor blames studio influence for the casting descision he has not spoken to either Boyle nor Hodge since.
Originally auditioned for the role of Mercutio in the 1996 film Romeo + Juliet (1996). He later got his chance to work with "Romeo" director Baz Luhrmann when he was cast as Christian in Moulin Rouge! (2001).
In the film Moulin Rouge! (2001) McGregor sang alongside Nicole Kidman.
Was presented with an honorary doctorate from the University of Ulster at a graduation ceremony in Belfast, Northern Ireland. [5 July 2001]
His first name is pronounced "you-in".
Ewan says that he was inspired to get into show business by his uncle, actor Denis Lawson. Lawson played Wedge Antilles in Episodes 4-6 of Star Wars.
Daughter Esther Rose born 7 November 2001 in London, England, UK.
Ewan was slated to start filming 'Nautic' in Jamaica with Heath Ledger in a couple of months. However Ted Demme, who was picked to direct the film died suddenly at the age of 38 from a heart attack while playing basketball.
Early career dedicated almost exclusively to indie, low-budget, and non-feature films. When cast as Obi-wan Kenobi in Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace (1999), an interviewer reminded him of his "aversion" to major films, and he replied "I know what I said, but, hey! This is Star Wars!"
Ewan MacGregor ranked eighth in the 2001 Orange Film Survey of greatest British actors.
His brother Colin is a Royal Air Force pilot
Parents are James & Carol McGregor - both are teachers
Studied Alec Guinness' films in preparation for his role as Obi-Wan Kenobi in Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace (1999) and to ensure accuracy in everything from his accent to the pacing of his words.
Received the Film Actor Award for Moulin Rouge at The Variety Club Showbusiness Awards 2002.
Was a student in the year-long theatre arts program at Kirkcaldy College of Technology in the fall of 1988.
In 1987, after leaving school at age 16, he worked as a stagehand at Perth Repertory Theatre and had small roles in their productions.
Ranked #9 on '100 Greatest Movie Stars' Channel 4 (UK)
He is a personal friend of Texas lead singer Sharleen Spiteri.
His brother Colin is part of the RAF's Tornado display team who are based at RAF Lossiemouth in Scotland.
He and his uncle, Denis Lawson, have worked with two of the same directors. Both have been in Star Wars films, directed by George Lucas. His first film, Being Human (1993), was directed by Bill Forsyth, who also directed Lawson in Local Hero (1983).
Both he and Harrison Ford have worked for director Ridley Scott between Star Wars films. Ford made Blade Runner (1982) after Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (1980), but before Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi (1983). McGregor made Black Hawk Down (2001) shortly after filming Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones (2002), and thus before Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith (2005).
Embarked on a motorcycle trip around the World along with his friend and fellow actor Charley Boorman. 
Was voted #9 in the Greatest Movie Stars Of All Time (Channel 4)
Recently completed a trip from London to New York 'The Wrong Way' by riding a motorbike east, via Europe, Aria, Alaska and Canada.
Was the original choice for the role of Jim in 28 Days Later... (2002), directed by Danny Boyle who has worked with Ewan three times previously (see above).
Ewan and his wife Eve have the same initials, even with her maiden name.
Ewan's personal quotes:
"Actually, I really want to play Princess Leia. Stick some big pastries on my head. Now, that would be interesting."
"I'm doing my bit for the women's movement. The women have always been naked in movies and now I'm just desperate to take my clothes off as much as possible."
"I've been waiting nearly twenty years to have my own light saber. Nothing's cooler than being a Jedi Knight."
"Isn't Halle Berry the most beautiful woman? I have a film I'd like to be in her with. I mean, I'd like to be with her in." - At the 2002 Golden Globe Awards commenting to Melissa Rivers on Halle Berry, who just walked by.
"It's a great feeling of power to be naked in front of people. We're happy to watch actual incredible graphic violence and gore, but as soon as somebody's naked it seems like the public goes a bit bananas about the whole thing."
"I won't buy into the Hollywood thing...I want to be in good movies."
I was with a friend of mine recently who was dying and while he was lying there with his family around his bed, I just knew that was it, that was the best you can hope for in life - to have your family and the people who love you around you at the end.
I fight cynicism. It's too easy. It's really boring. It's much harder to be positive and see the wonder of everything. Cynicism is a bunch of people who aren't as talented as other people, knocking them because they make them feel even more untalented.
"[My fans] say, 'I've seen Star Wars and Moulin Rouge!. What else should we try to see you in?' I always tell 'em to get The Pillow Book (1996). That would be a bit of an eye-opener for them, wouldn't it?"
My uncle would appear back from London, where he lived in the 70s, in sheepskin waistcoats and beads and no shoes. As an actor he had something about him that I liked and wanted to have. So that's one element: to be like my uncle, to be different
My brother is two years older than me and he was brilliant at everything, it seemed. He was captain of the cricket and rugby teams. We had this rather archaic system of head boys and prefects at my school. I was in my fourth year - in Scotland we finish school in our sixth year - and my brother had become head boy and brilliant at everything: academia, sports. In fact, all the things I wasn't good at. Then he left and I couldn't get my head round anything, so I became depressed and got in trouble a lot. I remember my mother driving me one night through heavy rain, with the windscreen wipers going. It was the first half term of my fifth year and she said that she'd spoken to my dad and that I could leave school if I wanted to. I'd only assumed that I'd have to stick it out until I was 18, but here I was being offered the chance to leave at 16. My whole world opened up. I couldn't believe it. And I was out, as soon as she said those words.
It taught me a lesson which was an actor should not say, "I won't do that." Once you've agreed the script, you must be willing to go as far as it needs to go on set. With some directors, you do the scene and they say that it's fine, but you think to yourself, "Is that really enough? Is there not more?"
It's not my job to try and alter the director's style - he's in charge, and I'll always give him my trust. I think what happens is that you learn how to deal with it if you're not getting the support you need or if you're not being pushed. Occasionally you're doing two jobs at once: you're fooling the director into thinking you've taken his note while doing what you think is better. It hasn't happened very often, but it's an awful thing when you lose your trust in a director. But it's not for me to say.
...as an actor there's nothing better than a great moody moment to play with nothing to say. It's so much easier to do because you can really get inside your head.
That was my challenge - to be a young Alec Guinness. People would come up and say to me, "You sound a bit like Alec Guinness. Did that just happen?" No! It's my job, you know? The thrilling bit about it was I immersed myself in Alec Guinness movies, and I found this great one called The Card. God, it's a brilliant film.
Then I watched the first episode of Star Wars over and over again. I loved it as a kid. It was a bit funny to be paid for it. I'd say to my wife, "I've got to go and watch Star Wars again, Sorry. I just haven't quite got it..." Brilliant.
Doing the second one was interesting, because I'd never had to go back to play a character again. It was three years between the two episodes. It was a bit easier because I was more used to the technical demands. In other films you rehearse, crack the scene and shoot it. In Star Wars, that's not the case. It's a very different process with an enormous amount of blue-screen work. It's very difficult - you play scenes with people who aren't there. [on 'Attack of the Clones']
Acting to mid-air is odd. There's a perverse pleasure to it when you get it right, but often you don't. Aliens are really hard. On the second one [Star Wars: Episode II] I was doing the scene with those tall ones - actually, I quite fancied the female one - and they've got actors there who will actually be providing the voices for the characters. They wore blue hard hats with cardboard cut-outs of heads taped on top of them. So you've got to remember not to talk to the people but to talk to the hats.
I love talking to kids about it, because they have great questions about how things work: "Do you have your lightsabre with you?" [on Star Wars Episode I & II]
Ewan McGregor happier with newest 'Star Wars' film
Actor Ewan McGregor, who plays Obi Wan Kenobi in the "Star Wars" movie prequels, said the fights are much better in "Episode III: Revenge of the Sith."
McGregor found the fighting "unsatisfactory" in the 2002 release "Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones" and described its 1999 predecessor, "Episode I: The Phantom Menace," as both "disappointing" and "flat," the Daily Mirror reported.
However, McGregor told Total Film magazine he made up for that in the final prequel in which the story line predates the "Star Wars" movie series that began in 1977.
"We fight our a--s off in that film," McGregor told the magazine about Episode III.
The final prequel features a battle between McGregor's character and Darth Vader, played by Hayden Christensen.
Ewan McGregor: 'Cloning makes perfect sense'
Scottish actor Ewan McGregor has become inspired by his new sci-fi movie about human clones - and loves the idea of cloning himself for "spare parts"
McGregor appears with actress Scarlett Johanssen in The Island, which is due for release later this year.
The Moulin Rouge star, 33, says, "I like the story, the exploration of human cloning and the idea of people having clones made of themselves essentially for spare parts.
"If they need any organs then they can take it from their clone. In a way, it makes perfect sense."
Ewan McGregor quit boozing to survive in Hollywood! (Entertainment)
Entertainment News, London, Mar. 2 : Ewan McGregor has said that dumping booze has saved his career in Hollywood after he started drinking heavily following his first success with British film 'Trainspotting'.
McGregor, who gave up drinking over four years ago, has said that besides bringing up Hollywood success, he is having much more fun as a teetotaller.
"I think, if I didn't have already I would soon have got a reputation for being a drunk actor and therefore not get any work, so I really felt it was time to give up. I find life in general is much more fun now," Femalefirst quoted Ewan as saying to Britain's Total Film magazine in an interview
When Ricky met Ewan McGregor
IT’S hardly the way you expect two of Britain’s biggest stars to greet each other.
But The Office funnyman Ricky Gervais has revealed how Star Wars actor Ewan McGregor’s first words to him on the set of their new animated movie Valiant were not the sort he would repeat in front of his mother.
Ricky, 43, revealed: “I was rubbish for the first hour of making Valiant. Being a computer-generated over-the-top cockney carrier pigeon was so alien to me.
“I went to the toilet for a wee, all down in the dumps, and Ewan came in.
“I said: ‘I just don’t think I’m any good at this. it’s the shouting I can’t do.’
“And he replied: ‘Aye, I know what you mean. You don’t want to feel like you’re a **** do you.’
“I went: ‘That broke the ice!’
“So that was my meeting with Ewan McGregor – in a toilet.
“After that I started adlibbing and things got much better. I was told I was the only person to ad lib, but then it’s pointless getting a comedian if you don’t want them to be funny.
“And it must have turned out really well, because they seem to have kept all my lines in the final edit.”
In the movie (certificate U) Ewan plays Valiant - a little wood pigeon with dreams of becoming a hero - while Ricky stars as overweight con-pigeon Bugsy, who somehow gets taken along for the ride.
It was made by Vanguard Animation at the historic Ealing Studios with a cast of A-list UK stars including Tim Curry, John Cleese, John Hurt, Jim Broadbent, Hugh Laurie, Olivia Williams and Rik Mayall.
So was working on a movie made over here and boosting our film industry an attraction for Ricky?
The double Golden Globe-winner jokes: “Definitely not. Usually the first thing that turns me off a role is someone saying it’s a British film.
“Because that means it’s going to have a couple of awful TV actors and one old boy who had a part in an international movie in 1969.
“It’s going to be a gritty tale about getting a hockey team out of the fourth division.
“And it’s going to be advertised on the side of buses for one week and then go straight to video.
“So no, ‘it’s a British movie’ was not a big selling point for me!
“But with Valiant I thought the script was great and they said the magic words, ‘it’s near your house and you can burp and make it up as you go along’.”
Ricky has famously turned down £10million worth of Hollywood roles, including a part in smash-hit movie Pirates Of The Caribbean.
But they are choices he says he doesn’t regret.
He told us: “If I’d done Pirates Of The Caribbean I would’ve had to go to LA and the Caribbean and spend six months in a Winnebago for two minutes on screen.
“Whereas with Valiant I had to go 10 minutes down the road to a studio for four days and my fat face not appear in the movie.
“I was offered a lead role in a Hollywood film after the first episode of The Office.
“But I said to them: ‘I wouldn’t go and see a film that I was the lead in. Who do you think is going to watch this? You want to hire John Cusack instead.’
“They couldn’t believe it - that just doesn’t happen in America. They thought I was mental!
He added: “Everything I do that isn’t writing and directing something with (The Office co-creator) Stephen Merchant is nothing more than a fun diversion.
“I could spend the next three years going around America popping up as the butler in every sitcom.
“But so what? I’m much more interested in doing something I can be proud of. I want to leave a legacy.
“The more I appear in panel shows, bad sitcoms and bad movies, the less people will want to see my new project that I’ve put 100 per cent into.”
Ricky and Stephen’s new project is the eagerly awaited comedy series Extras, which starts on BBC2 this summer.
Ricky plays Andy Millman, a wannabe actor who has given up his day job to follow his dream of becoming a movie star.
Ricky revealed: “I spent three years of my life making sure The Office was just right and I’m doing the same now with Extras.
“David Brent was an exaggerated version of me and Andy also has my face, hair and talks a bit like I do.
“I consider it my mission in life to goof around as a fat bloke on telly. It’s my calling.
“I don’t applaud people who can put on nine different wigs and do 10 different voices. I just want to do one character well.
“Extras is set in the film world. Each week a film is being made and I’m an extra on it.
“My character is always trying to get a part in the movie, schmoozing an A-list celebrity and generally just trying to make it in this world.
“We’ve got Samuel L Jackson, Kate Winslett, Jude Law, Ben Stiller, Ross Kemp and Les Dennis. They all play absolutely twisted versions of themselves.
“Les is incredible, when you see that episode you will not believe the things he is willing to say about himself.
“And you’ll never see Kate Winslet speak like this anywhere else in the world.”
Despite Extras hitting our screens almost two years to the day since Ricky completed the finale of The Office, he admits he’ll probably never escape the image of boss from hell David Brent.
He said: “There’s not a day goes by where there’s not a mention of David Brent in the papers.
“It can be a story on anything. It can be a thing about a new EU directive on desks and there’ll be a picture of David Brent.
”There was one where there was a big picture of David Brent with a woman saying ‘my boss groped me’.
“I thought: ‘Don’t put a picture of me – put a picture of the bloke who groped her!’
“The dance I did was voted the top TV moment of the last 75 years, beating the moon landing, the Iranian Embassy siege and the fall of the Berlin wall. Oh dear.
“I very nearly didn’t do the dance, as I thought it was a bit over the top. But we did the whole thing working backwards so it didn’t look contrived. I’m so glad we did it now.
“People ask if I’ll ever overcome the shadow of David Brent, but what’s the worst thing that can happen? People thinking that’s the best thing I’ve ever done.
“I put everything I had into The Office and, even if it comes back to haunt me, I’ll still always be proud of it.”
Ewan McGregor: Robots
Software has rarely made hardware look as attractive as it does in Robots, the new animated feature from Chris Wedge (Ice Age). Among the creatures in the computer-generated alterative universes offered by Hollywood, we've seen ants, fish and ogres. The choice of robots seems overdue: animated, three-dimensional, yet as familiar as kitchen appliances, they're a compelling combination of familiar and strange.
The movie is a science-fiction-based children's comedy, but neither the story nor the jokes are important. The real coup of Robots is that it brings to life a world where fire hydrants talk, giant Slinkies patrol the streets and every paint chip, dent and loose bolt looks as though you could touch them. Like the upcoming Japanese animated feature Steamboy, and Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, the movie is steeped in a nostalgia for a once-imagined future held together with nuts and bolts, rods and pistons, valves and gears and cantilevers.
Rodney Copperbottom (Ewan McGregor), is delivered to his parents one day, and, after 12 hours of labour, he's fully assembled and starts life as a robot baby in the small burg of Rivet Town. A few years later, he heads off to Robot City to make his fortune as an inventor and meet his hero: Big Weld (Mel Brooks) is a benign Big Brother robot figure (a kind of Walt Disney character) who rules all the other robots and broadcasts his accomplishments on television. Soon, however, Rodney finds that the robot world isn't run by the benign corporate dictatorship as he thought it was.
Like most of the proletarian robots in Rivet Town, Rodney is an assemblage of spare parts: his forehead looks like a thirties' toaster, his trunk is from an art-deco refrigerator. His father works as a dish washer and Rodney's aim, paradoxically, is to automate the process -- so he's invented a new slave robot that looks like a combination of a coffee pot and a helicopter.
When he reaches the gates of Big Weld Industries, he is rebuffed. Robot City, it turns out, is under the control of Big Weld's profit-obsessed replacement, Phineas Ratchet. Ratchet, in turn, is under the control of his evil mother, Madame Gasket, who is busy destroying outmoded bots in an infernal assembly line (music by Tom Waits) unless they agree to a pricey upgrade.
In ways that are both good and bad, the movie itself is a compendium of spare parts: There's a street scene that evokes Frank Capra's idealized small-town America in It's a Wonderful Life; later, a sinister factory brings to mind Fritz Lang's Metropolis. Then a Rube Goldberg-type device hurtles the robots through the town.
Sometimes the sources are close enough at hand to look like theft: An obese thick-lipped evil mother robot (the voice of Jim Broadbent) resembles Ursula the Sea Witch from The Little Mermaid; Ratchet (Greg Kinnear) is derived from Gaston of Beauty and the Beast. From Disney's Aladdin comes, of course, Robin Williams as the motor-mouthed sidekick (and prototype to the characters Eddie Murphy has voiced in Mulan and Shrek).
This time Williams plays Fender, a robot that keeps losing pieces. Williams, typically, cycles through his menu of gay, foreign accents and riffs on everything from Britney Spears to Singin' in the Rain.
Williams isn't alone in making Robots feel a bit like a gag-delivery system: Playwright David Lindsay-Abaire and gag-men for hire Lowell Ganz and Babaloo Mandel (City Slickers, Father's Day) solder the plot together with one liners. After a while, the jokes begin to feel like part of the background clatter.
Consistent with the sci-fi premise, Rodney eventually finds himself leading a revolution against Ratchet and his hench-bots. His allies include Fender; a character called Diesel who's looking for a voice box; slinky former Big Weld executive Cappy (Halle Berry); tomboy robot Piper (Amanda Bynes); and Aunt Fanny (Jennifer Coolidge), who runs a dilapidated rooming house and appears to have a giant vacuum-cleaner canister for a rear end. Together they must band together to give the social order an overdue tune-up.
Sure, it's a bit mechanical, but what did you expect? The important thing is that the characters and jokes don't prevent you from grooving on the pleasures of the moving parts -- the contraptions collapsing, the dominos toppling, and the rollercoaster rolling and coasting.
Ewan McGregor slams 'Hollywood effect' on European talent
Scottish actor Ewan McGregor has hit out at Hollywood for snapping up the cream of European movie film-makers and then preventing them from doing what they're good at.
Scottish actor Ewan McGregor has hit out at Hollywood for snapping up the cream of European movie film-makers and then preventing them from doing what they're good at.
The Star Wars hunk blames the Hollywood system for neutralising the edgy talents of the likes of Danish director Ole Bornedal, and then dropping them in favour of someone new.
He says: "Hollywood's good at picking up people who are hot, you know what I mean? Someone's hot in Europe, they try and put them to good use.
"Very often they're brought over here and not allowed to do what made them great in the first place and they disappear - I'm thinking about the guy that directed Nightwatch, Ole Bornedal, who I made the remake with.
"Miramax started messing around with the end and they took all the interesting things out of the movie. Nightwatch ended up a spooky but bland movie, whereas the original is really weird and terrifying."
Ewan McGregor Wants To Make 'Moulin Rouge 2'
Ewan McGregor says he would love to make a sequel Moulin Rouge 2, according to Ananova.
McGregor says he was so impressed by the surreal filming experience created by director Baz Luhrmann, he is keen to reprise his 2001 role as poet Christian opposite Nicole Kidman.
He said: "I've never done anything like it. There's never been anything like it. The opportunity to sing and dance and be part of a company like that. It felt like we were in the circus.
"It was an extraordinary experience going to work every day - the colour, the music, the crazy Baz. It was fantastic. I'd do it all again tomorrow. I'd be quite happy to make Moulin Rouge two."
Ewan McGregor Fuels Bond Rumors
Actor Ewan McGregor is touting himself for the vacant James Bond role--because he loves stirring up rumors.
The Scottish star--a strong contender for 007--admits he's eager to don a tuxedo and succeed Pierce Brosnan as the suave secret agent, but he also finds the growing media interest in the next Bond thrilling.
And he's only too happy to fuel the speculation by announcing his desire to star in the 21st Bond installment, Casino Royale.
He says, "I'd love to be Bond, but I can't say any more than that. Actually, the truth is I just love the rumors and this one has more mileage in it yet."
Ewan McGregor and Scarlett Johansson Star in "The Island"
"The Island" Movie Synopsis: Michael Bay (“Armageddon,” “Pearl Harbor”) directs the futuristic action thriller “The Island,” starring Ewan McGregor (“Star Wars: Episodes I and II,” “Moulin Rouge!”) and Scarlett Johansson (“Lost in Translation,” “Girl With a Pearl Earring”).
Lincoln Six-Echo (McGregor) is a resident of a seemingly utopian but contained facility in the mid-21st century. Like all of the inhabitants of this carefully controlled environment, Lincoln hopes to be chosen to go to the “The Island”—reportedly the last uncontaminated spot on the planet. But Lincoln soon discovers that everything about his existence is a lie.
He and all of the other inhabitants of the facility are actually human clones whose only purpose is to provide “spare parts” for their original human counterparts. Realizing it is only a matter of time before he is “harvested,” Lincoln makes a daring escape with a beautiful fellow resident named Jordan Two-Delta (Johansson). Relentlessly pursued by the forces of the sinister institute that once housed them, Lincoln and Jordan engage in a race for their lives to literally meet their makers.
Rounding out the main cast of “The Island” are Oscar® nominee Djimon Hounsou (“In America,” “Gladiator”) as the head of the security team sent to hunt down Lincoln and Jordan; Steve Buscemi (“Ghost World,” “Armageddon”) as a man who befriends Lincoln despite working for the institute; and Oscar® nominee Michael Clarke Duncan (“The Green Mile,” “Armageddon”) as another resident who is unaware of his fate when he is selected to go to “The Island.”
Ewan McGregor and Alison Lohman Pair Up on Screen in "Big Fish"
Interview with Ewan McGregor and Alison Lohman
Ewan McGregor and Alison Lohman play the younger versions of Albert Finney and Jessica Lange in the fantasy/drama “Big Fish,” directed by Tim Burton and based on the Daniel Wallace novel, “Big Fish: A Story of Mythic Proportions.”
The filmmakers were inspired to cast Ewan McGregor and Albert Finney as Edward Bloom at different ages after seeing a photo of McGregor and Finney side by side at the same age. Producer Bruce Cohen recalls, "There it was, the same smile, the same dimple, the same sparkle in the eyes. They looked eerily and brilliantly alike."
On casting Alison Lohman and Jessica Lange to play Sandra, producer Dan Jinks feels fortune smiled on the production twice. Who could wish for two better actors to play Sandra, and who could deny the similarities - the cheek bones, the smile, the same feminine physicality."
What do you think of two British actors playing an American?
EWAN McGREGOR: I think we're all players and that we should get to play whatever. I didn't question that it was two British people playing an American guy. To be in a film with Albert Finney at all would be a huge honor, but to get to play him was insane, in my thinking. Although we didn't get to act together, it was such a beautiful experience getting to know him because he is a diamond. He's a lovely man.
Can you remember the moment when you began to think of your parents as people, not just parents?
ALISON LOHMAN: I think it's just gradual but you don't really notice it. For me there wasn't one big moment. You kind of change and grow together, and things change. I don't know.
How tough was getting the accent down?
EWAN McGREGOR: You worked hard on this (indicating Alison). For me, as a Scot, it's a much easier accent to do then a standard American accent because you can really hear it. You can get your teeth into it. Standard American is much harder because…
ALISON LOHMAN: It's more lyrical, isn't it?
EWAN McGREGOR: Yeah, there's just sounds in it that my ear recognizes more than in a straight American. It seems to be a bit tougher. But it's a really lovely accent to use. I loved listening to especially older people down there in Alabama. There's a real beauty in the way they use not just the sounds, but the way they use words. It's really lovely [and] comforting.
ALISON LOHMAN: The perfect accent to tell stories.
EWAN McGREGOR: Yeah, I think that's right. It's probably no mistake that it's set down there. I met this great old farmer, ropin' old cattleman down there, a f**king real cowboy, this guy who was in his - he's called Bubba and he was maybe in his '70s. We just met him and we had a party at his farm. He had all my kids and all the local kids around. He threw this big party for the children, really, and he was lovely. He's really flirtatious with my mother-in-law, which was hilarious, I remember. But he was a real old cowboy and just a man of the earth. He was fantastic.
Was he working on the movie?
EWAN McGREGOR: No, he wasn't working on the movie. He's just a guy down there, a rancher from down that way, a nice bloke.
Why should people see “Big Fish?”
EWAN McGREGOR: I think it's a rather beautiful story about a father and a son.
ALISON LOHMAN: It's a Tim Burton movie.
EWAN McGREGOR: And it's a Tim Burton movie, yeah. It's not a hugely explored relationship in movies. It can connect to all of us because whatever our relationship is or has been with our parents, we can all relate to that. And it's a reparation of a severed relationship. It's hugely moving and it's a beautiful, simple tale.
Did you feel the sense of whimsy while filming, or was it just technical?
ALISON LOHMAN: I think Tim was great with that, like the daffodils. He actually had all those daffodils, so he makes it very realistic for you. The actor doesn't really have to work. You're not acting. He tries to make it as genuine as he can.
How did the finished film compare to what you imagined it would?
EWAN McGREGOR: It matched exactly. It kind of matched how I saw it frame by frame almost, because you're familiar with Tim Burton and his work and his style. When I read the script, it was no surprise to me that he was directing it. I couldn't have imagined anyone else directing it, you know. So none of it came as a surprise. The fish looked like I imagined the fish would look like. Before you start reading the script, you've got that because you filter through [Tim Burton’s] visual sense. None of it came as a surprise.
Can you talk about the circus scene and the elephant poop?
EWAN McGREGOR: Genius. How amazing was that moment when the elephant craps on screen? We'd shot the wide shot where you see the two elephant's bums and then me. We'd shot that and we'd moved in to do a close-up, so they were setting the camera here, so you just see a bit of elephant's leg. You didn't see his bum or anything. And as we were setting that up, it lifted its tail and we all went “QUICK,” and they widened the camera out. I got ready and there was no turnover. They just turned the camera on and I played the scene as it dumped next to me. Genius, and none of us thought it would make it to the film but it's genius that it did. There's not many elephants pooing on the big screen that I can remember.
Not enough, actually. I'm trying to bring it back.
There were other animals there too. Working with the elephant was a real treat. You don't meet elephants every day and that elephant was around [a while]. We were shooting the circus stuff for a couple of weeks. It was lovely that big elephant lumbering through. It was just beautiful and you got to go up and give it an apple.
You bonded with the elephant?
EWAN McGREGOR: Yeah, it was nice. We all did. They're incredible animals. It's a real treat. I loved the circus people we worked with. I found them really interesting that there was a gypsy quality in their lives that's not dissimilar to ours, in a way, when it's on the move. I liked meeting the lion people, the big cat people. They were interesting. She was an Englishwoman. She spent her life with big cats and her son, who trained some of the tigers and stuff, since he was a kid he's been working with big cats.
Was any of that down with CG?
EWAN McGREGOR: No. See, this is the lovely thing about Tim is that we did most of it in the camera. There was very little effects stuff. WE did all the making Matthew bigger than he is, even though he's a very big guy, it was all done in the camera with forced perspectives. We didn't do green screen stuff. We did camera tricks, but we did them on the set there. And the special effects people built a beautiful lion's head. It was absolutely beautiful to look at, which is the lion's mouth my head is in is a prosthetic head. And then when you pull out for the wider shot, that's the real lion.
What was shooting in Alabama like?
EWAN McGREGOR: I loved it. I really did like it. I have very fond memories of working down there. My wife and my children were with me, and there's a great neighborliness about the South. People did come over with pies when we arrived. It was quite genuine. That's the way it is down there. I'd come home from work and there'd be [people] everywhere. All the neighborhood kids would be kicking around in backyards. That's how I grew up in Scotland. You'd come home from school and you'd just kick about the streets with all your mates. In London we can't do that [and I] certainly don't know that most people do that here.
How much could you relate to the parenting theme of this movie?
EWAN McGREGOR: I responded more as a son as opposed to as a father, I think. I think it's about a father and son relationship and so therefore I thought a lot about my dad while we were doing it. My father isn't dissimilar to Edward Bloom in that he's very gregarious and he loves telling stories, my dad. He doesn't tell huge stories about his life like Albert's Edward Bloom does, but he loves telling stories. If you were to go back to my hometown with him, he wouldn't be able to walk down the street without (telling old stories). He used to frustrate us in our childhood because it would take us so long to get anywhere, because he'd always be stopping to speak to someone - it would take hours to get anywhere.
There was a rumor your wife was going to make a movie but she wanted Johnny Depp to star in it, not you.
EWAN McGREGOR: No, such nonsense. It was a funny story about [how] my wife adapted a Spanish novel, wrote a script, and said that she would like Johnny Depp to play [in it]. But it was such a small joke between me and my wife, I don't know how it ended up in a magazine.
Will you miss working on “Star Wars?”
EWAN McGREGOR: It is over. It'll never be over because I'll always be in them. I'll always have been in them, so it's not something that's gone. It's something that the third one will come out in 2005 and I'll always be very happy to have been in them. I won’t miss the blue screen experience. I won't miss making them because I find them very difficult to make, but I'll always be glad to have been in them.
Travel-Adventure By Actors Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman
Judith Curr, Executive Vice President and Publisher of Atria Books, today announced the acquisition of "LONG WAY 'ROUND" by Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman. Acquired by Atria Books VP and Editorial Director Tracy Behar, the authors were represented by Scott Waxman on behalf of Robert Kirby at Peters, Fraser & Dunlop of London for publication in the late fall of this year.
The travel-memoir, to be written by the two actors and best friends, will be a first person account detailing the events of their upcoming 2004 transcontinental motorcycle ride. Currently training in the UK for this event, McGregor and Boorman will begin their journey hitting the road in late April. Starting in London, the duo plan to arrive at their final destination of New York City, by the end of July. The manuscript will be submitted in chapters and pictures, from the road beginning in May. Little, Brown UK will publish in tandem with a television series, details to come. A version of the series will air in conjunction with the Atria Books publication in the US, set for October.
McGregor, known best for his movie roles in "Moulin Rouge" and the "Star Wars" series, stars in the current feature "Big Fish," for which he has just been nominated for a Golden Globe Award as best actor by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association. Boorman, the son of famed director John Boorman, is also a movie veteran with a multitude of screen credits including "Deliverance," "Excalibur," "The Serpent's Kiss," "The Bunker," and many more.
"LONG WAY 'ROUND" will show the famous actors in a way the world has never seen them before, following their adventures and left to their own devices, in a quest for fulfillment of a personal dream for both men. Their journey is destined to be one of the greatest travel accounts on record as they embark on a journey in which they will traverse over 20,000 miles in circumnavigation over the longest continuous landmass on earth.