Intrepid Scotsman Ewan McGregor has been named Ambassador for GO Campaign, as announced today by Founder and CEO Scott Fifer. McGregor joins actor Robert Pattinson, who was also recently named GO Campaign ambassador. GO Campaign was founded by Fifer and co-founded by Vicki Kennedy, Daryl Offer and Jill Goldman.
Ewan has been a world traveler like no other, riding his BMW bikes with his friend Charley Boorman all over the world, and now he is taking on North and South America with bike maker Moto Guzzi for his next “Long Way Down” adventure.
He tells Motorbikewriter.com, “I’ve got some early 70s bikes that I love to ride around. I’ve got a Norge, really for my dad to ride around when he came to visit me, but I’m riding that all the time as well. I seven have a 1974 Eldorado police bike with a siren on it. Mine is a bit distressed – it looks like it came out of a river.
“I like nothing better than once the children are in bed, getting down to working, tinkering with my bikes.”
The website reported that Ewan might even take his French-born wife, Eve Mavrakis, who learned to ride a motorbike and joined him on a stage of the African adventure.
Continuing his quest to investigate all things worldwide, as the new GO Ambassador, McGregor will help raise international awareness of the non-profit organization and support their fundraising endeavors throughout the year.
McGregor, who has been involved with the charity since 2007, will continue to host GO Campaign events, introduce GO Campaign to new people and companies interested in learning more, and raise the international profile of the organization as they head into their 10th year next year.
GO Campaign improves the lives of orphans and vulnerable children around the world by partnering with local heroes to deliver local solutions. The organization connects donors to grassroots organizations that provide children and young adults with critical services. GO Campaign provide shelter, food, clean water, medical care, education, vocational training and income-generating activities.
From East L.A. to East Africa, GO Campaign has impacted over 76,000 children across 20 countries since its inception in 2006.
“I’ve been involved with the GO Campaign from its early days, from hosting Scott Fifer at our flat in London whenever he was in transit from L.A. to Africa, to hosting their first Hollywood Gala in 2008 and several event since. I’ve seen the organization grow, and I’ve met a number of the Local Heroes that GO champions. It’s inspiring. I’ve seen first hand the lack of opportunities and the lack of resources for too many children around the world. It’s a cause I care deeply about. Stepping into the role of official ambassador for GO Campaign is a natural progression and one I’m happy to make”, stated McGregor.
McGregor has hosted several of GO Campaign’s annual Galas and is set to host this week’s Gala in Beverly Hills. McGregor and his wife, Eve, have been on GO Campaign’s Advisory Board for a number of years and are very active in the organization’s more high-profile fundraising events.
This year’s annual gala is scheduled for November 12 at the Montage Hotel in Beverly Hills and will honor Abel Barrera Hernandez, Mexico’s leading human rights activist/educator; Favio Chavez and the Recycled Orchestra from Paraguay who play instruments made out of trash; and Neema Namadamu, a disabled community activist fighting for the rights of girls and women in the Congo. 100% of Gala ticket proceeds fund GO Campaign’s grantmaking for local heroes here at home and around the world.
Ewan McGregor to Get Acting Award at Los Cabos Film Fest
11/9/2015 By John Hecht
Los Cabos International Film Festival has selected Ewan McGregor to receive its annual excellence-in-acting award.
McGregor also will present a special screening of Last Days in the Desert alongside writer-director Rodrigo Garcia, son of Nobel Prize-winning author Gabriel Garcia Marquez.
Other Hollywood talent slated to attend the festivals 4th edition are Liam Neeson and Oscar winner Jared Leto, who will take part in a tribute to Canadian filmmaker Jean-Marc Vallée. Leto won his first Academy Award in 2014 for his performance in Valleés Dallas Buyers Club.
Founded as a platform to unite filmmakers from Mexico, the U.S. and Canada, Los Cabos has emerged as one of Mexicos top-tier festivals. This years edition, which runs from Nov. 11-15, closes with the Danny Boyle biopic Steve Jobs.
Among the several films making world premieres this year is Gonzalo Lopez-Gallegos The Hollow Point, a drug cartel-themed thriller featuring Patrick Wilson, Lynn Collins and Ian McShane.
Los Cabos main competition section includes the Venice Golden Lion winner From Afar, the Tim Roth-starrer Chronic (best screenplay winner at Cannes) and Sundance Audience Award winner James White.
The GO GO Gala benefits orphans and vulnerable children around the world. This years evening will celebrate Mexicos bold human rights activist Abel Barrera Hernández, Paraguays visionary Favio Chavez and the children of the Recycled Orchestra of Canteura, DR Congos inspirational changemaker Neema Namadamu and the work of local heroes around the world.
This years event will be held on Thursday, November 12, 2015 at the Montage Beverly Hills in California. It will be hosted by Ewan McGregor with a musical performance by The Recycled Orchestra.
American Pastoral filming ends with bang in Harmony: Fake post office set ablaze in scene
October 7, 2015 By Amerigo Allegretto
Smoke and flames are seen during filming of an explosion Friday at a fake post office built in Harmony for the movie “American Pastoral.”
HARMONY — The final day of shooting a movie in the borough ended Friday with a bang.
The borough was the setting last week for work by Lakeshore Entertainment for its film “American Pastoral,” starring Ewan McGregor, Jennifer Connelly and Dakota Fanning.
Friday's filming in the downtown area included the controlled compression explosion involving a fake post office that was built for the film. The post office, which also serves as a gas station and a general store in the movie, took eight days to build on an empty gravel lot across from the fire station.
The explosives detonated about 6:30 p.m. Friday. Air compressors and a few flame bars were used in the explosion, breaking the glass windows. Water was sprayed around the building before filming to prevent accidental fire.
Another scene with a local actor walking into the store was shot before that.
The post office, called “Hamlins” had makeup work done to it last Monday for a post explosion look. For last week's filming, the building was reverted back to a “clean” appearance.
The borough volunteer fire department was on hand Friday for safety.
“They're well prepared,” Fire Chief Neal Nanna said of the film crew. “They spent a lot of money. It's very good for the area.”
Main Street and Mercer Road were closed for all three days of shooting, with about five crossing guards controlling traffic flow. Street signs were taken down to create the illusion of another town.
Some of the movie takes place in a fictional New Jersey town called Old Rimrock.
Harmony Mayor Cathy Rape said while filming was “very nice,” there were some difficulties with traffic.
Actor Ewan McGregor drives a car for a scene from the movie “American Pastoral” in Harmony. Camera equipment was attached to the hood and roof of the car for filming.
She said some school buses on Monday morning were unaware of the filming and they had to take detours around town, delaying their schedule.
Rape also said scheduling with film crews could be hard to pinpoint.
“The times changed hourly for what they (film crew) wanted to do or what they would use,” she said.
Along with that, there were concerns that the weekend flea market would have problems setting up in the Harmony Museum. The flea market takes place each year in the museum where film crews set up base camp for the week.
However, the borough was able to work with the film crew to organize setup for the flea market.
“It taught us about better communication,” Rape said.
The week's work of filming was supposed to have been done by Wednesday. However, rain on Monday delayed shooting and work was postponed to Thursday and Friday.
On Friday evening McGregor, who also is directing the movie, thanked spectators for letting him and the film crew use the borough.
By the weekend, the rubble was cleaned up and the film crew were gone from the borough. McGregor and company will be in downtown Pittsburgh later this month to shoot more scenes.
McGregor was in town for all three days of shooting. Connelly and Fanning were also in town for their scenes.
The movie is based on the 1997 Philip Roth novel of the same name that won a Pulitzer Prize.
“American Pastoral” is scheduled to be released in 2016.
Ewan McGregor’s Faith-Based ‘Last Days in the Desert’ Bought by Broad Green
September 8, 2015 By Dave McNary
Broad Green Pictures has acquired Rodrigo Garcia’s “Last Days in the Desert,” starring Ewan McGregor in a dual role as Jesus and the Devil, for a 2016 release.
The film also stars Tye Sheridan, Ciaran Hinds and Ayelet Zurer. Producers are Bonnie Curtis and Julie Lynn of Mockingbird Pictures and Wicks Walker of Division Films.
“Last Days in the Desert” premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. It follows Jesus in an imagined chapter from his forty days of fasting and praying in the desert, including a battle with the Devil over the fate of an ordinary family in crisis.
The cinematographer is Emmanuel “Chivo” Lubezki, who has won the last two Oscars for best cinematography for “Birdman” and “Gravity.” Garcia worked with Lubezki on “Things You Can Tell Just by Looking at Her,” which was awarded Un Certain Regard at the 2000 Cannes Film Festival.
Broad Green Pictures will release the film through do-it-yourself distributor Tugg, the first time the two companies have partnered on a release following Broad Green’s investment in Tugg last year. “Last Days” will also be supported through specialty marketing agency Different Drummer.
“‘Last Days in the Desert’ is an ambitious and unique film that deserves an equally-as-unique release plan and pattern,” said Dylan Wiley, Broad Green’s president of specialty releasing.
The deal was brokered on behalf of the filmmakers by WME Global, while Wiley and Christopher Tricarico handled for Broad Green Pictures. Hanway Films is handling international sales for the film.
Ewan McGregor goes on stage to talk about his career in this exclusive EIFF 2015 event. Highlights from his conversation with Edith Bowman cover a wide range of topics, from his biggest movies - Star Wars, Moulin Rouge! - to building a relationship with directors, plus the one dream role he never got to play.
Ewan McGregor Interested in Star Wars, Trainspotting 2
6/22/2015 By Simon Brew
As well as returning for Trainspotting 2, Ewan McGregor confirms his interest in playing Obi-Wan Kenobi again in more Star Wars films.
Rumours were swirling around a few weeks ago that Ewan McGregor may be lured back to the Star Wars saga, to reprise the role of Obi-Wan Kenobi. McGregor played the role in George Lucas’ prequel trilogy of movies, and given that Gareth Edwards’ Star Wars Anthology: Rogue One (due in 2016) is set between Revenge Of The Sith and A New Hope, there had been talk of crossing some actors over.
Chatting at the Edinburgh International Film Festival, McGregor said that "I’d be happy to do the story from episode three where I finish up and Alec Guinness started."
"It’s not a fanatical thing," he said. "I’m really pleased I’m part of the legacy of it and happy to see it, and I’ve seen the trailer and it looks like they’ve absolutely nailed it."
Furthermore, McGregor - who was promoting his latest film, The Last Days In The Desert - has also confirmed he’s enthusiastic about reprising the role of Renton in Trainspotting 2. Of his well-reported rift with director Danny Boyle (which came about when the latter replaced McGregor with Leonardo DiCaprio in The Beach), he said that "I’ve met with Danny a few times recently and everything is great between us."
As for Trainspotting 2, "we don’t have a script yet, and nothing has been determined, but it would make sense for the sequel to be made in 2016, the 20th anniversary of the original."
Roger Moore, Ewan McGregor and Stephen Fry lend their voices to educational mobile app for kids
Thursday 18th June 2015 By Adrian Collins
Some of the world’s leading actors have joined forces in a new children’s educational project called GivingTales.
It aims to produce engaging and entertaining versions of popular children’s fairy tales, while helping to teach and educate children worldwide, and is committing 30% of its revenue to Unicef to help children around the world.
Developed in association with Roger Moore, Goodwill Ambassador for UNICEF and featuring the voice talents of world-renowned actors including Ewan McGregor, Unicef UK Ambassador, Stephen Fry, and Dame Joan Collins, Hans Christian Andersen’s timeless fairy tales have now been modernised and condensed into colorful illustrations that capture the enjoyable life-lessons that are synonymous with Andersen’s stories.
Available for free download starting today on Apple, Android, and Windows Phone 8 mobile devices, the app comes with The Princess and the Pea (Sir Roger Moore, KBE), and each additional story is available for download for $3.99 each. Other available stories in the first series include: The Emperor’s New Clothes (Dame Joan Collins, DBE), The Little Match Girl (Ewan McGregor, OBE) and The Ugly Duckling (Stephen Fry).
Speaking about the launch, Moore said "I’ve been a long time admirer of Hans Christian Andersen’s work, and I think it’s a wonderful collection of fairy stories for children and adults alike", while Stephen Fry highlighted that Andersen’s tales deal with many universal issues, such as bravery, selflessness and compassion: "The Ugly Duckling is the primal story about bullying and self belief - it is a marvelous tale".
Ewan McGregor secures sponsorship deal for South American road trip
Monday 8 June 2015
Ewan McGregor has become the latest Hollywood star to strike a major commercial deal, after he was signed up by a classic Italian motorcycling marque for his latest road trip.
The Trainspotting and Star Wars actor ready to tackle an expedition down to the tip of South America.
The 44-year-old Scottish actor has already circumnavigated the globe and ridden its length on motorbike, with friend Charlie Boorman, for the TV documentary Long Way Down.
However, for the star’s latest trip he has swapped his faithful BMW motorcycle for a Motor Guzzi and has become the face of the oldest motorcycle manufacturer in Europe.
Launching the firm’s California Eldorado cruiser, McGregor said he was already planning a trial run. "I’d love to do South America one day; all of it.
"But I think the next one will be Mexico or Baja.
"I’d like to explore Baja. I’ve never done it and I know a lot of bikers go there and it’s like good trails, good tracks, off road, on road.
"So I think that will be my next trip."
The Baja California Penninsula, in North-West Mexico, is over 770 miles long, and one of the country’s most in hospitable regions with four deserts, and several dormant volcanoes.
It would serve as a warm-up for the almost 7,000 miles ride from Southern California to Tierra del Fuego, in Chile.
In 2004 McGregor and his best friend Charley Boorman travelled from London to New York, The Long Way Round, in a 22,000 mile trip.
They followed it up with another epic journey, the Long Way Down, from John O’Groats to the southernmost point in South Africa.
The televisions series of the two marathon journeys - broadcast on the BBC - became a worldwide hit.
McGregor - a longtime ambassador for the children’s charity UNICEF also found a new member of his family on the road.
He and his wife Ève adopted daughter Jamiyan from Mongolia in 2006.
McGregor broke his Long Way Down journey to stop off at Moto Guzzi’s head quarters at Mandello del Lario for the first time. The company launched their own Stelvio adventure bike to rival the BMW model McGregor and Boorman rode on their journeys.
The actor, who has several vintage models of the Italian marque’s in his collection, said: "I do ride them all and I ride them wherever I am going far or going just round the corner, it doesn’t really matter.
"I’ve got some early 70s bikes that I love to ride around. I’ve got a Norge, really for my dad to ride around when he came to visit me, but I’m riding that all the time as well. I seven have a 1974 Eldorado police bike with a siren on it. Mine is a bit distressed - it looks like it came out of a river.
"I like nothing better than once the children are in bed, getting down to working, tinkering with my bikes."
The actor’s French-born wife Ève Mavrakis learned to ride a motorbike, joining him on a stage of his African odyssey.
Before then, McGregor is due to talk about his acting career as part of this year’s Edinburgh International Film Festival.
Ewan McGregor to appear at the Edinburgh International Film Festival
Wednesday, May 27, 2015
Ewan McGregor will attend this year’s Edinburgh International Film Festival (EIFF) to talk about his acting career.
The Scot’s latest film Last Days In The Desert will show at the 69th festival, whose highlights include the UK premiere of a documentary about the life of tragic singer Amy Winehouse.
Audiences will also see the Beach Boys biopic Love & Mercy, zombie drama Maggie starring Arnold Schwarzenegger and the Disney-Pixar animated film Inside Out.
The full programme was announced today by EIFF artistic director Mark Adams and includes a series of interviews on stage with leading film personalities, among them McGregor, Jane Seymour and Malcolm McDowell.
The festival, which runs from June 17 to 28, boasts 24 world premieres and 84 UK premieres.
It will host the first showing of the English-language version of Under Milk Wood, adapted from the Dylan Thomas classic and starring Rhys Ifans and Charlotte Church.
Ewan McGregor to Play Lumiere in Beauty and the Beast
April 21, 2015 By Borys Kit
Ewan McGregor is in final negotiations to light up the screen as Lumiere in Disney’s live-action version of Beauty and the Beast.
McGregor joins an all-star lineup that includes Emma Watson as Belle, Dan Stevens as the Beast/Prince, Luke Evans as the vain villain Gaston, Josh Gad as Le Fou, Gaston’s buffoonish and loyal sidekick, Ian McKellen as Cogsworth and Audra McDonald as Garderobe.
Lumiere is one of the movie’s major supporting roles, a suave maitre d’ who is turned into a candelabra by the curse that falls on the prince’s castle. The character appears in a number of musical numbers and has a major solo in the "Be Our Guest" showstopper.
Bill Condon is directing the movie, which begins production in May at Shepperton Studios in London.
McGregor is on screens with the indie Last Days in the Desert and will be seen later this year starring opposite Natalie Portman in Jane Got a Gun.
He has sung onscreen before, notably in 2001 in Baz Luhrmann’s Moulin Rouge!
Ewan McGregor satirises the advertising process in BT ‘Behind the Scenes’ campaign
17 April 2015 By John Glenday
Leading actor Ewan McGregor is to become the new face of BT with the star fronting the communications firm’s new ‘Behind the Scenes’ campaign, a parody of the advertising process.
Hitting screens from tonight during Channel 4’s ‘Gogglebox’ the AMV BBDO devised campaign sees McGregor onscreen alongside BT Sport Ambassadors and footballers Robin Van Persie and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, covering all aspects of production from casting, rehearsals, pre-production, post-production and voice over recordings.
Famous faces will be roped in from the worlds of acting, celebrity and sport over the coming months to satirise the process alongside recurring characters such as “BT Clients”, “The Director” and “The Ad Agency Creative”.
To kick things off BT will air ‘Big Stunt’ in which a Harley Davidson smashes through a set wall to a background of pyrotechnics with McGregor questioning the relevancy of such artistry.
David James, BT consumer marketing director, said: “BT is very excited to be launching its new marketing campaign. It follows our previous hugely popular campaigns, including Adam and Jane’s love story as well as the flatmates. The public got to know these characters and took them into their hearts. We are confident that they will do the same with our new host of intriguing characters.”
A national outdoor advertising campaign will support the TV push through April with associated social media activity on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
Ewan McGregor set for directing debut on American Pastoral
February 18, 2015 By Oliver Gettell
Actor Ewan McGregor has a new role lined up for himself: director. The 43-year-old Scotsman will make his feature directorial debut on a long-gestating adaptation of Philip Roth’s Pulitzer Prize winner "American Pastoral," Lakeshore Entertainment announced Wednesday.
McGregor was set to star opposite Jennifer Connelly and Dakota Fanning in the film, which features a screenplay by John Romano ("The Lincoln Lawyer"). Phillip Noyce ("Salt," "The Giver") had been attached to direct; Lakeshore offered no explanation as to why Noyce is no longer on the project.
Filming is scheduled to start in September in Pittsburgh.
In front of the camera, McGregor will play Seymour "Swede" Levov, a former high school athletic star who grows up to marry a beauty queen and inherits his father’s business, only to see his family life thrown into chaos by the political upheavals of the late 1960s.
McGregor has long alternated between edgy indie fare and mainstream entertainments. He recently appeared in a Broadway revival of Tom Stoppard’s "The Real Thing," the Johnny Depp bomb "Mortdecai" and Rodrigo Garcia’s Sundance film "Last Days in the Desert," in which he plays both Jesus and the Devil.
"I’ve wanted to direct for years and wanted to wait until I found a story that I ’had’ to tell," McGregor said in the announcement for "American Pastoral." "And in this script I knew I had found that story."
Ewan McGregor and Rashida Jones answer once and for all: Is Adnan guilty? Plus other stars chime in on the Serial podcast. Featuring: Keanu Reeves, Lily Tomlin, Danny McBride, Sam Rockwell, Greta Gerwig & Lola Kirke, Jason Sudeikis, Jake Johnson, Adam Scott, Chris Pine, Brie Larson, Ewan McGregor, Sarah Silverman, Mark and Jay Duplass, Thomas Mann & R.J. Cyler, Alison Brie, Rashida Jones, Rosemarie DeWitt, Chiwetel Ejiofor.
Variety to Honor Halle Berry, Ewan McGregor and More at unite4:humanity Event
February 10, 2015 By Kevin Noonan
Global philanthropy initiative unite4:good and Variety announced the honorees for the second annual unite4:humanity event on Feb. 19 at the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, Calif.
Seven entertainment figures will be recognized for their philanthropic work, including:
Halle Berry; Creative Conscience Award for her work with the Jenessee Center, a domestic violence intervention and prevention program
Ewan McGregor; International Humanitarian Award for his work with UNICEF UK, an organization promoting the rights and well-being of children
Lauren and Aaron Paul; unite2gether Award for their work with the Kind Campaign, a documentary and school campaign working to end girl-against-girl bullying
P!nk, who will also perform at the event; Music Visionary Award for her work with No Kid Hungry, a campaign to end childhood hunger
Josh Hutcherson; Young Humanitarian Award, for his work with Straight But Not Narrow, an LGBT ally organization for straight youth and young adults
Christina Applegate; Saint Vintage Love Cures Award, for her work with Right Action for Women, her breast cancer awareness and action foundation
The event serves as a preview of the conference4:change, hosted by unite4:good, Variety and the University of Southern California’s Media Institute for Social Change at USC on Mar. 14. The conference bring together media figures including writers, directors, musicians, producers, actors and industry executives for discussion aimed at creating action for positive change.
“The mission of unite4:good is to empower people to give back and contribute to their communities through acts of kindness and service. Unite4:humanity will honor exemplary community heroes, and also recognize leaders in the entertainment arena who have used their influential voices for good while making a personal commitment to service,” said unite4:good founder Anthony Melikhov. “The entertainment industry has the most powerful reach of any in the world, and through this event and the conference4:change, we hope to inspire the industry to use its collective creative voice to highlight social causes, develop more avenues for positive content and truly unite to make a difference around the globe.”
UG4 Group is the presenting sponsor of unite4:humanity, with premiere sponsors including Champagne Piper-Heidsieck and Saint Vintage and official sponsors including Jet Edge International.
Ewan McGregor talks OBEs, kilts, Scottish man bags, and his fondness for the bagpipes
Thursday 22nd January 2015 By Sheena McGinley
There Ewan is, jovially quipping about secret zips located behind sporrans laying out all sort of visual gems for Jimmy while he seems to be on a five-second delay. Shame.
When you think about it, a zip behind a sporran (or at least some buttons less There’s Something About Mary risk of involved) would be ingenious. That way they wouldnt have to haul up their kilt while using the toilet. I’m assuming they dont pull it down... OK, heres the question of the day how do you use the toilet while wearing a kilt? Answers on a postcard please.
Watch the trailer for Humpback Whales, narrated by Ewan McGregor!
An extraordinary journey into the hidden world of nature’s most awe-inspiring marine mammal, Humpback Whales takes audiences to Alaska, Hawaii and the Kingdom of Tonga for a close-up look at how these whales communicate, sing, feed, play and take care of their young. Captured for the first time with IMAX® 3D cameras, and found in every ocean on Earth, humpbacks were nearly driven to extinction 50 years ago, but today are making a steady recovery. Join a team of researchers as they unlock the secrets of the humpback and find out what makes humpbacks the most acrobatic of all whales, why only the males sing, and why these intelligent 50-foot, 48-ton animals migrate more than 6,000 miles every year.
Humpback Whales is produced and distributed by MacGillivray Freeman Films and presented by Pacific Life. A One World One Ocean production, Humpback Whales is directed by two-time Academy Award®-nominated filmmaker Greg MacGillivray (The Living Sea, Dolphins) and produced by Shaun MacGillivray (To The Arctic, Journey to the South Pacific). Filmed in 15/70mm, Humpback Whales is written and edited by Stephen Judson (Everest, Journey to the South Pacific). The musical score is by Steve Wood (Journey to the South Pacific, To The Arctic).
Ewan McGregor is lending his voice to help educate IMAX audiences on the majesty and beauty of the humpback whale.
The actor, who was considered for the lead role in a biopic on the life of anti-whaling captain Paul Watson, has signed on for director Greg MacGillivray’s Humpback Whales, a 3-D IMAX film that promises to take audiences “to the underwater world of the far away places where humpbacks live and thrive.”
The film is the first IMAX feature captured with the format’s new 3-D cameras, with location shoots in the South Pacific, Africa, Hawaii and Alaska. The film will have its premiere at the Museum of Discovery Science’s Autonation IMAX Theater in South Florida featuring a giant 60-foot by 80-foot screen.
“Humpback whales are simply fascinating creatures. Audiences will get an immersive look at how these whales communicate, sing, feed, play and take care of their young on the biggest screen in South Florida,” said President and CEO Kim Cavendish.
McGregor has previously lent his voice to other environmental documentaries such as 2013’s Wild Scotland and the more recent Ice Bear.
Humpback Whales is slated for release on Feb. 13, 2015.
When the trades announced last February that Albert Nobbs director Rodrigo García was making a small indie starring Ewan McGregor in dual roles, his characters were described as a holy man and a demon. But unveiled in yesterdays announcement of Premieres for the 2015 Sundance Film Festival were the more specific details for Last Days in the Desert that said holy man and demon are actually Jesus and the Devil, in an imagined chapter from his 40 days of fasting and praying in the desert.
In the film, Yeshua—Hebrew for Jesus—is tempted by evil while alone in the wilderness. You can see the demon as the Devil, says McGregor. Or you can see him as another side of Yeshua perhaps, an embodiment of his doubt. Hes there testing him into trying to suggest that his father doesnt love him, that his fathers not interested in his struggle.
While in the desert, Yeshua also encounters a family that is experiencing its own father/son difficulties. Tye Sheridan (Mud) plays the Boy who wants to leave their bleak desert surroundings and travel to Jerusalem for a better life; his Father (Ciarán Hinds) insists he stay close to home.
Playing Jesus Christ and the Devil was initially intimidating for McGregor, who was immediately won over by Garcías spare and intimate 62-page script and the lure of working with Oscar-winning cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki. It helped to tap into the duality of Jesus and focus more on the human aspects of his character. I thought, Okay, hes a man whos struggling to communicate with his dad, says McGregor. I felt actually the pressure come off myself. Im not playing Jesus; Im playing a man whose dad is God and hes trying to speak to his dad. Its really a film about the relationship between fathers and their sons. In every scene of the film, thats at the heart of it.
McGregor played both main characters, with his longtime stunt double Nash Edgerton standing in for those scenes between Yeshua and the Devil. I played Yeshua with total conviction that he was the son of God and that his father had asked him to go on this path, which would lead him to death—to die for peoples sins—and I tried to imagine what that might be like for a man, he says. And then when I played the demon, I was trying to chip away at that conviction. The demons trying to drag him away from that.
That much is very much in line with the Biblical narrative, the story of Jesus being tempted by the Devil during 40 days of fasting in the wilderness, but McGregor is careful to leave the door wide open to interpretation. Its not a Biblical story. Its a story that Rodrigo García invented, he says. You could watch the film and not think that its Jesus. He could just be another holy guy, a rabbi, walking in the desert, looking for answers.
McGregor doesnt think this reimagining of Jesuss life will generate any controversy, like it did for Martin Scorsese and The Last Temptation of Christ. Theres nothing possibly that could upset people [in the film], other than the very nature of imagining a story with Jesus that doesnt exist in the Scripture, he says. Theres nothing offensive. Im not worried about it, because I believe very much in the heart of the film we made.
Jane Got A Gun release delayed again – now set for September
December 3, 2014
Hopefully the third time’s the charm. Relativity again has delayed the release for the Natalie Portman Western Jane Got A Gun. The troubled production now is slated to bow September 4, more than half a year later than its previous February 20 date. The pic, which has been through three bad guys, two directors and one lawsuit, initially had been scheduled to release this summer. As of now, it’s only up against Sony/Columbia comedy Kitchen Sink on the new slot.
Oscar winner Portman plays Jane Hammond, who has built a new life with her husband Bill “Ham” Hammond (Noah Emmerich) after being tormented by ultraviolent outlaw gang the Bishop Boys. She finds herself in the gang’s cross-hairs once again when Ham stumbles home riddled with bullets after dueling with the Boys and their relentless mastermind Colin (Ewan McGregor, who replaced Bradley Cooper, who had replaced Jude Law). With the vengeful crew hot on Ham’s trail, Jane has nowhere to turn but to her former fiancé Dan Frost (Joel Edgerton) for help in defending her family against certain mayhem.
Gavin O’Connor directs, having taken over after Lynne Ramsay exited the project on the first day of production.