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July - December 2003

First picture from Stay!

comingsoon.net has the first picture from Ewan’s upcoming film, Stay. Click on the link to check it out!

Thanks to Velours Rouge for the find!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Friday, Friday, December 26, 2003 // 02:51 p.m.


Transcript of Ewan’s KROQ interview

Here’s the transcript of Ewan’s interview on KROQ on 12/16/03. Ewan was interviewed by three DJs (Kevin, Beene and a female).

Ewan at KROQ

DJ - What about Ewan McGregor showing up at KROQ here this morning and being early, too? What about that? I know. I’m impressed.

E - Morning.

DJ - How are you, Ewan?

E - I’m excellent. You?

DJ - Early

E - Yes

DJ - Our guests don’t come early, Ewan. They all come late.

E - Well, it’s not very rock-n-roll of me, but there we are.

DJ - (laughing)… That is the difference, I think. Ewan McGregor is in town doing publicity for the film "Big Fish" that we’re going to spend a lot of time talking about in the next few minutes. I guess you did the Jay Leno show last night. You take advantage of the open bar at the Tonight Show when you do their program, Ewan?

E - Yeah, no, not last night, no. They do wheel ’round a cart of the Jay Bar, I think it’s called.

DJ - That’s the way it should be.

E - Yeah. I didn’t notice one here this morning.

DJ - Would you like? We have. We’ve got the kegorator in the other room with Guiness on tap, if you want some of that.

E - No, not this early (muttering Jesus Christ)

DJ - That’s how you can tell that he’s Scottish and not Irish by the way. He looked at his watch and said "no."

E & DJ - (laughing)

DJ - Just then he looked at his watch. Exactly. Alright. So Big Fish is out in theaters right now. Is this the one with all the posters, with the tree thing on it or whatever it is?

E - Yeah

DJ - A tree with a? What the hell is that?

E - That’s a big tree and that’s me in the big tree.

DJ - What am I supposed to take away from that poster exactly?

E - Exactly your reaction. So you go and see it, you see.

DJ - Ohhhhhhh, I see

E - Wait a minute? What is that all about? (laughing)
Well, it’s kind of a Tim Burtonesque forest, you know, that kind of gothicky looking forest.

DJ - Right.

E - I don’t know. I like it. I think it’s a beautiful poster.

DJ - It looks cool, but I always drive by it and go, What do they want from me exactly when I see that?

E - Singing what is…

DJ - Do they want me to say…

E - Ten bucks

DJ - (laughing) yeah, I have no problem giving that to them. But, you know, it’s funny because, uh, it’s sad that this is true, but half the game with movies these days is how well you can get across what the audience should expect when they go see it. And there are some films that are pretty straightforward. You can see a commercial for the movie and go, "yeah, I can totally see what that one’s all about and I’m going to go see it." And then there are movies like yours that are a little more of an abstract concept. And it’s kind of difficult in 30 seconds to really put an ad out, even, that’s going to tell people what Big Fish is all about because it’s about so many things.

E - I know, it’s true. And it’s become a huge part of the business, you know, how it’s sold.

DJ - Huge

E - Very often it’s terrible..very often you see the whole movie in the trailer, you know, and there’s really no point in going. You’ve seen all the good bits.

DJ - Yeah. Probably half the time.

E - Yeah, a lot of time.

DJ - Yeah, that’s the case. And they don’t give you anything that surprises you after you already saw the trailer.

E - Yeah, I remember. Or they try and dumb it down so much so that they have to… I remember with Moulin Rouge. They cut a trailer together that had no music in it, no singing in it.

DJ - Are you kidding? Because they thought that would scare people away?

E - Yeah, so they thought, well, people don’t want to go see a musical, for goodness sakes. So, let’s pretend it’s not a musical.

DJ - So they want to trap them into being in there?

E - How long is it going to take them before they realize it’s a musical, you know?

DJ - (laughing) You know what, that’s true, though. So much true that we have our entertainment reporter does a movie review show on Friday based only on the commercials.

E - Oh, really?

DJ - Just on what we see from the commercials.

E - Alright.

DJ - Because that’s pretty much how people make their decisions.

E - Yeah

DJ - Not yours, I mean. He watched yours and loved it. But I’m just saying for the most part.

E - Well I suppose… (laughing)

DJ - How do you describe it to people, you know, when they ask, and of course they’re asking you a lot this week what’s Big Fish about. If we haven’t read the book, what do you tell people?

E - I think it’s purely a story about a Father and a son..

DJ - Father and a son

E - Whose relationship has been severed. The father’s a great storyteller and he tells these huge fantastical stories about his own life.

DJ - Lies… exaggerations

E - Well, kind of… exaggerations, yes, tall tales, I guess. And the son has become just frustrated by hearing these stories all through his life to the point where his dad’s at the son’s wedding, his dad’s standing up in front of everyone telling a great big story about himself, you know. So their relationship’s been..for three years they haven’t spoke and then the father becomes ill. And it’s a film about this son reconciling their relationship or trying to find out about who his father is.

DJ - And you play the son?

E - I play the father in those stories, you know.

DJ - Oh, you’re the k… father when he was younger.

E - Albert Finney plays the old Edward and I play him in the fantastical stories of himself. So, you know, it’s really got Tim Burton’s brushstrokes on it, my part of the story. It’s the slightly larger-than-life stuff that Tim does really beautifully.

DJ - Yeah

E - But what’s new, I guess, for Tim is the father and son story, the contemporary story. It’s so beautiful and moving, you know. He’s really…

DJ - It’s very, very touching. And I’ll tell you, I’m a big fan, of course, of Billy Crudup. I think he’s an amazing actor.

E - Yeah, he pronounces, it’s CrUUUdup, he always tells people, "is it Tom Cruise?"

DJ - (laughing) Yeah, that makes sense. I apologize. Crudup then. He’s an excellent actor, but I will tell you, as much as I’ve always admired Albert Finney, and I mean, I remember being an Albert Finney fan, you know, when I was little kid, seeing him on things like, Murder on the Orient Express, and things like that, I mean he’s an amazing actor, I think this could be one of the best things he’s ever done. He is incredible. And I thought about you, Ewan, when I was seeing the movie on Sunday because you’re one of the only people in the movie that doesn’t really get to act with him because you are him..you’re playing his character.

E - Yeah, that’s right, that’s absolutely right. But it was a huge honor to… It’s a huge honor to meet Albert Finney because he’s a legend, you know, and he’s..and when you do meet him, he’s a beautiful man. He’s a really sweet guy and I got to play him, you know. So that was a bit of an honor for me.

DJ - That’s kind of strange, isn’t it?

E - Not with him, I didn’t say with him.

DJ - No, no. I didn’t say with him… (muttering) Jesus

E - (laughing) I just said played him.

DJ - And it’s kind of weird that you also play Alec Guiness, too, in the Star Wars movies and now you are playing Albert Finney. I mean, that’s kind of a… that’s an odd niche for an actor to have.

E - Yeah, I’m looking for a Michael Caine part, maybe a Sean Connery…

DJ: You can play all the old guys. What the hell is going on with you?

E - …there’s a whole career ahead of me playing other guys.

DJ - Alright, we need to take a break. The young Sean Connery. YOU should be James Bond’s son. It should be James Bond, Jr. They should hire you. That would be awesome!

E - (imitating Sean Connery as James Bond) Yes, I’m just waiting for the call..

DJ & E -(laughing)

DJ - We’ve got so much we want to talk to Ewan about. We’re going to try to squeeze in as much as possible. But I have to ask you a couple more things about the movie real quick, because it is one of the more extraordinary experiences in a theater this year because it is Tim Burton and it is so odd. Tell everybody, and I saw the movie, but tell everybody about the famous elephant poop scene because this is something that you don’t see in any movie, ever.

E - I’ve never seen a scene that featured an elephant actually crapping before. (laughing) I think it’s a first. I’m sure we can look it up. Someone maybe can get it…

DJ - (laughing) We’ll accept that as a given.

E - Anyway we were shooting a scene where I’m cleaning out some elephants. Well, not cleaning THEM out.

DJ - I was going to say

E - Cleaning out a big elephant colonic. Now that’s never been on screen either.

DJ - No, it hasn’t. That’s for the DVD only

E - No, no. (laughing) Bonus scenes: Elephant Colonic! Um, so I’m cleaning out their area, right? And we’d done the wide shot - they’re facing away from us - so it’s a nice shot of me and two massive elelphant bums. And then as we were setting up the close shot on me, this elephant lifted, and we all went, "QUICK!" So they pulled the cameras back and turned the cameras over and I played the scene again. And so we kind of got the medium shot where the elephant is pooing right behind my head.

DJ - Ooooooooooo

E - It’s fantastic! It’s like something you’ve never seen before. It’s a moment.

DJ - Was the smell overpowering?

E - Noooooooo, they’re elephants.

DJ - No, it’s not? Really? I don’t know what that means, they’re elephants?

E - Have you ever smelled elephants poo before?

DJ - Elephant smell

E - They kind of eat hay and stuff, I think, grass. It’s not… They don’t go out and have a filet mignon and white fila beans. It’s not like that.

DJ - Do you think I’m crazy to ask that question?

E - Well, I don’t know… Yeah

DJ - But Ewan, there was no part of you that thought, "Elephant pooing must get away now!" Your thought was, "Hey, get this on film. This is going to be cool."

E - No, I thought, yeah "Turn over, turn the cameras. Get them running."

DJ - (laughing) That is a true professional. That was oddball. Of course now you’ve got a witch in the movie with one eye. You don’t see that everyday. You’ve got the most unbelievable giant I’ve every seen in a movie.

E - Yeah, yeah, yeah

DJ - And I don’t know how you did it. How tall is the actor who played the giant and how did you make him?

E - Matthew’s huge. He’s 7 foot 2, I think, Matthew. And, so he’s a big guy already. What was lovely about this film. Now I’ve done a lot of blue screen work. You maybe noticed?

DJ - right, uh-huh

E - The Star Wars trilogy. I’m very often acting in front of a blue or a green screen. So I know all about that stuff. And what was really nice about Tim is that when we did special effects, he’d try and do them in the camera, you know. He’d try and set them up in the camera so that we didn’t have to do that.

DJ - So set up at an angle so that he looked even taller?

E - Yeah. So we used kind of false perspective so I would stand further away from the camera.

DJ - Oh, I see

E - And Matthew would just be nearer the camera, and we’d cheat our eyeline so it looks like we’re looking at each other and we’d work it out. And it’s much more satisfying for us to do it that way.

DJ - It’s unbelievable that this guy isn’t real because he looks 14 feet tall about, was my guess. And he just interacts with everybody in the movie. And you put your hand in his and it looks like, you know, you’ve got a little bird’s claw or something. It’s really visually…

E - Yeah, we had a little guy called… everyone called him "Mini E" because he was a look-alike.

DJ - Mini E? Mini Ewan

E - He was my look-alike. But, you know, he’s like an eight-year-old kid or something and he had a little version of my costume. And if we were shooting behind me onto Matthew, we’d slip him in, you know, and it would make him..

DJ - Oh, I see, that makes sense.

E - So if you look, you can see, there are a couple of shots where maybe that’s his hand and it’s not my hand.

DJ - I got you

E - You know what I mean? Yeah, it’s quite nice.

DJ - Tell us about working with a guy like Tim Burton because he’s got such a vision and we always hear these stories about how he’s manic. He never slows down for a minute. Is that the reality of working with him on a set?

E - Yeah, I mean, he is on the move all the time and he’s a great pacer, you know, and his hair is all over the place because he spends a lot of time kind of pulling it out of his head, you know?

DJ - Right, right

E - But I watched him being…it’s not an impatience. It’s just an energy. He just can’t sit down because he’s got so much going on.

DJ - It’s kind of a nervous energy?

E - Or a creative energy, I would think. Whereas he could get very frustrated waiting for a crane. We were shooting in Alabama which was beautiful down there. But the weather sometimes was a problem or it would be cloudy and then sunny. You’ve got to have some continuity and that stuff. So we’d often be waiting for the sun to come out or waiting for the cloud to cover the sun. And in those moments, you know, the pacing would get quite erratic. And in fact, he had a little stat monitor on his belt towards the end of the film and he clocked up like 16 miles a day…

DJ - Is that right?

E - just pacing around… Yeah, yeah

DJ - Oh my god!

E - But when it came to the time to do the scenes, you never ever felt rushed as an actor or he was never impatient with us. It was just about… He just wanted to get on with it, you know?

DJ - He’s one of those directors where we see and we go, "Oh, he does interesting stuff. We want to see that movie" automatically just because he’s involved.

E -Yeah, yeah, and as an actor, he’s one of the very few you would kill to work with, you know. He’s up there.

DJ - Yeah, I was wondering if that was part of the draw for this film, was to get a chance to work with Tim Burton.

E - Yeah, definitely. I mean, I think you can’t take, well, as soon as you get the script and your agent says, "this is a Tim Burton movie," you can’t help that influenced your reading of it. So the kind of fantastical elements of the script, you know, you can see them already because we know..we’re familiar with Tim’s kind of..the look of his films.

DJ - Right. The movie is called Big Fish and it’s opened now at Century City and Los Angeles, the Grove. Would you mind sticking around for one more break?

E - Sure, I’d love to.

DJ - We want to talk to you about quitting acting and going on the road. That’s what’s happening next for Ewan McGregor.

DJ - If the National Enquirer is listening right now, get the headline right, Ewan McGregor turns his back on acting forever.. Spits in the face of Hollywood. That’s the story that we’re breaking right now. Ewan McGregor is our guest in studio. The film in theatres right now is called Big Fish. Checked it out. But Ewan, for 2004, really don’t have anything but road trip on the schedule, right?

E - (Sarcastically) I’ll never act again.

DJ - I says to Ewan, I says, how far… don’t indulge them

E - (Sarcastically) That’s it! I through with this. It’s a nasty business and I’m getting out while the going’s good.

DJ - I asked him during the commercials how far out does he plan? How many movies does he have already in the schedule? He said, "none, I’ve cleared it all. I’m going on a road trip."

E - Yeah

DJ - But this is a first, right?

E - This is a…can I just say that was brilliant watching you do that road traffic report.

DJ - Thank you so much. I appreciate that.

E - I’ve never seen anyone do that before.

DJ - Thank you. It’s a challenge

E - No, I loved it. It was flawless. It was flawless.

DJ - And the reason is… Complimented from a Jedi Knight, that does not happen everyday on this show.

E - If I was to try and do that, I… I… force… there’s a… car… part… somewhere… in the… where is it?… hang on a minute (rustle of paper)… wait a minute…

DJ - Let me find it… So, you’re going on a road trip. You’re going to take a motorcycle trip around the world.

E - Yeah, yeah. I’m doing this with my friend, Charlie, and Charlie and I have done a lot of motorcycling together and we’ve been planning this trip for awhile. And it kind of grew out of a smaller trip, but we’re riding around the world, so…

DJ - Tell us the route.

E - In April, we leave sometime in April. We’re going to ride from London, across Europe through Poland, the Ukraine into Russia. And then across Russia, across Kazakstan, Mongolia, cut the corner of China, back into Russian into as far east as you can go to a place called Magadan is as far as what kind of roads there are there. They end in Magadan. And from there we can put the bikes on an aircraft and we fly to Alaska to Anchorage, and we cross Alaska, cross the whole of Canada and drop down to New York. So we’re riding from London to New York, basically, the wrong way around.

DJ - The long way around. Can you, as a westerner, do you have unfettered access to Russia and China? Can you get on the highway and go wherever you want to go without any kind of interference from the government?

E - No, you have to clear all this stuff before you go, so basically from January to April is our… [problem with recording]

E - Hopefully not be too bad. I think, I mean that’s when it thaws out, but the problem with Eastern Siberia is insects. When it thaws, for the period of time it has thawed out, you can hardley see for the mosquitos….

DJ - Cool, you’re going to get knocked right off your bike. I heard that about Alaska, too.

E - Yeah.

DJ - You just get attacked. So how long is the trip going to take?

E - 15 weeks.

DJ - Wow! 15 weeks on a Harley!

E - No, not really, no, no. But we’re not sure what bikes we’re going to be… Big trail bikes. We haven’t decided which.

DJ - Is there a reason why you do motorcycle instead of a car?

E - I’ve ridden bikes since I was 18…19, and I’m much happ… I’m much better on a bike. I always crash cars, for some reason. (laughing)

DJ - (laughing)

E - They’re too wide for my vision or something. Whereas on a bike, I’m much more aware of things, you know.

DJ - Well, you’re going to see so much more now, too. Now, will you be… are you filming any of this, or making some record of it?

E - Yeah, I mean we’re going to try. We’ll have cameras in our helmets and on the bikes. But we’re going to… instead of traveling with a film crew, I wanted a document of it and we’ll try to couple together a kind of tv show, if you like. But I didn’t want it to interfere with our, with my experience of me and Charlie doing this trip.

DJ - Right. Right.

E - So what we plan to do is to meet a television crew at specific points along the way. So maybe every two weeks, or every 10 days, we’ll meet the crew, shoot in that place of interest and then we’ll get…

DJ - I got you

E - …on the way again.

DJ - That’s cool. And your family, too. You’ll fly them in and you’ll meet them somewhere.

E - I think we’ll… I’ll definitely try to meet them maybe two or three times along the way…

DJ - That sounds like fun.

E - …’cause it’s three months, you know.

DJ - And then in September, you have what lined up?

E - Nothing!

DJ - Nothing at all! He’s done!

E - No.

DJ - And he’s not worried.

E - So if anyone’s got a script, you know…

DJ - (laughing)

E - …don’t send it in to me. (laughing)

DJ - Don’t send it. You’re on the road. This is one of those things that people talk about with their friends, when they’re teenagers, and they go, "Wouldn’t it be fun if we could just chuck it all and jump on a motorcycle and ride around the world?" But you, actually, are carving out the time as a grownup…

E - Yeah.

DJ - …as a family man, you’re saying, "I still want to do this and it’s important for me to do it."

DJ - But he’s also a Jedi Knight. I mean, that’s a step ahead of most of us.

DJ - Yeah, that’s true. I guess you can’t take that away…

E - I’ve got that sense of what might be…

DJ - That’s right. That sounds like fun.

E - No, you’re absolutely right. But it’s just that it’s an opportunity that we thought that if we don’t do it now, we’re not going to do it, you know?

DJ - Right.

E - We could wait for the kids to grow up and leave home, but then we’d be too…

DJ - The perfect time, and there isn’t. And you’d be old.

E - Too comfortable on my sofa.

DJ - Let me ask you this, Ewan, because you’ve been separated from the world for periods of time when you’ve been filming in remote locations, I mean. Are you the kind of guy who will go crazy if you can’t follow your sports teams or follow the news or anything like that? Because you’ll be out there for weeks at a time and really have, essentially, no idea what’s going on in the world.

E - No, no.

DJ - Would that bother you or would that be fine?

E - I think that’s partly, the idea is to go and meet people who live, you know… What is it like for somebody who lives in a shack in central Mongolia or in eastern Siberia, you know?

DJ - It sucks. (laughing) I can tell you that. You should urge them to move. I don’t need to go there to tell you that. But they might not know that.

E - It’s different. No, but it’s just different. It sucks for us living here with what we’re used to…

DJ - I know, I’m just kidding

E - …but it’s just a different way of life and I’m fascinated to find out what goes on there and… You know, I don’t imagine they’ll have seen too many guys passing through in bikes.

DJ - True, probably not.

E - So, it’ll be interesting to see what…

DJ - You’re right about that, and did you see Last Samurai by the way, Ewan?

E - I haven’t had a chance to pick that one up yet, no.

DJ - In Last Samurai there’s this village that Tom Cruise, who’s a captured American soldier, spends six months in, or something like that through the winter. And it’s a tiny village of people who really, I mean, we would look at them and say they have nothing. You know, they’re basically sleeping on mats and they’re working in the fields all day. And they spend their time just thinking and doing yoga and training, and teaching the kids and stuff like that. They look like they have very full happy lives…

E - Yeah.

DJ - …and it’s a completely different experience than anything that any of us have and I think that’s the kind of thing that you’re talking about as you see these insulated societies where they have different priorities and different schedules…

E - Yeah, that’s right.

DJ - …it works out great for them. They’re happier, happier than we westerners are.

E - That’s right. It would be just fascinating to see…

DJ - They’re faking it.

E - (laughing) They’re faking it, yeah. There’s no Starbucks there. How on earth could they be happy, for goodness sake?

DJ - There’s no possible way!

E - No, they can’t be.

DJ - How could they be happy if they don’t live just like I do?

E - (laughing)

DJ - Well, that sounds like a plan, man, that’s awesome. I’m glad you’re doing that.

E - Well, I’ll come back and tell you how it went.

DJ - Do! Seriously, we’d like to have you back.

E - Yeah, yeah, yeah.

DJ - Yeah, and then if you ever get another movie again, you could….

E - Yeah, maybe.

DJ - Ewan McGregor won’t ever work again.

DJ - The movie is Big Fish. Go see it. He’d like the money to tour the world. Ok.

E - Thanks very much.

DJ - Thank you, Ewan.

E - Thanks, guys

DJ - Bye, now.


Thanks to Melinda for the transcript and Melanie for finding the picture!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Sunday, December 21, 2003 // 01:27 p.m.


Big Fish nominated for Golden Globe Award

Big Fish was nominated as "Best Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy", along with Bend it like Beckham, Finding Nemo, Lost in Translation and Love Actually.

Big Fish’s other nomations include: Albert Finney as best actor in a supporting role, Danny Elfman for best original score for a motion picture, and Man of the Hour by Eddie Vedder.

Source: Hollywood Foreign Press Association

Thanks to Autre and Dawn for the heads up!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Thursday, December 18, 2003 // 12:21 p.m.


Lucky fans meet Ewan after The Tonight Show

Members of the Ewan Sisterhood were thrilled when Ewan stopped the vehicle he was in to sign autographs and pose for pictures as he was leaving The Tonight Show.

Thanks to Melanie "TheMeems" for the picture!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Tuesday, December 16, 2003 // 10:00 a.m.


Young Adam’s North American Release Date

According to Sony Pictures Classics, Young Adam will be released in North America on April 16th, 2004.

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Sunday, December 14, 2003 // 05:20 p.m.


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 than 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.

Source: about.com

Thank you ParisRouge for the heads up!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Thursday, December 11, 2003 // 09:09 p.m.


Detroit fans: Win Tickets To Movie ’Big Fish’

ClickOnDetroit.com, Local 4 and Columbia Pictures are giving you and a guest the chance to see a special preview of the new movie "Big Fish".

Enter to win two tickets to the preview set for Monday, Dec. 15 at 7:30 p.m. at AMC Forum, 44681 Mound Road, Sterling Heights.

To enter to win, fill out the form on the site.

The film is rated PG-13, for a fight scene, some images of nudity and a suggestive reference.

See the contest rules and enter by going to Clickondetroit.com.

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Thursday, December 11, 2003 // 07:19 a.m.


Fish Stars Were Matched Set

Ewan McGregor, who plays the young Edward Bloom in the upcoming fantasy film Big Fish, told SCI FI Wire that he shared the same physical and voice training as Albert Finney, who plays an older version of the same character. In the film, old Edward (Finney) tells stories of his youthful adventures, and McGregor enacts those flashbacks.

"We worked with the same voice coach, and I think the fact that we had the same voice does an awful lot of work for it," McGregor said in an interview. "We learned to fish together. We were taught how to fly-fish together just so we could do that similarly."

McGregor added that he did not specifically study Finney’s dailies. "To play the younger version, there was very little copying or studying Albert’s stuff going on," he said. "It was so lovely to get to know Albert that that was enough. [Director] Tim [Burton] didn’t demand any more."

In a separate interview, Finney complimented McGregor’s work. "I think Ewan’s very good," Finney said. "I think he’s engaging as an actor. He’s very honest and direct, and he seems to have a very good time. I think he’s a joy as a young man, so I was delighted that he was playing it."

For Finney, the physical resemblance was a surprise. "They say we look alike," he said. "The [producers] had two photographs when they were casting the film, one of mine in [the film] Tom Jones and one of Ewan now. So they thought we looked alike." Big Fish opens Dec. 10 in limited release, expanding to more theaters on Dec. 25 and Jan. 9, 2004.


Big Fish Messes With Truth

Tim Burton, director of the fantasy film Big Fish, told SCI FI Wire that he liked the way the film explored different levels of reality. The film stars Billy Crudup as a man who has listened to his father’s (Albert Finney) tall tales his whole life and wants to know the truth.

"This story was interesting to me, because [of] the themes of what’s real and what’s not real," Burton said in an interview. "I’ve always been interested in [that], because I’ve always felt what some people call ’unreality’ can feel real to somebody else. What I liked about this story was that [we see] what’s unreal, what’s real and, in the end, it’s all kind of real."

Burton added that the film is about basic emotions, even though its tales feature giants, witches and werewolves. "I always treat it as kind of an emotional detective story," he said. "Really, it’s about that unique relationship that parents and children have, no matter what age they are. If the parent’s one way, the child is almost the opposite. It’s a fairly common dynamic, and you just bring up all this stuff that’s hard to put into words. I felt the film for me was a way to explore that." Big Fish opens Dec. 10 in limited release, expanding to more theaters on Dec. 25 and Jan. 9.

Source: Scifi.com

Thanks to Writestuff for the heads up!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Wednesday, December 10, 2003 // 10:33 p.m.


How to spot a family man

Famous for playing a junkie, today Ewan McGregor’s addicted to work and being a dad

Tuesday, December 9, 2003 - Page R1

NEW YORK -- Ewan McGregor was worried about what the doormen in my building were saying about him. Since September, you see, McGregor has been living with his wife and two daughters in the penthouse of my apartment building while in town to film the thriller Stay. The first few weeks of production were filled with night shoots, which meant that he would regularly roll in just before dawn.

"I suddenly thought, ’What do they think of me?’ " he said with a laugh the other day, while drinking Earl Grey in a hotel on the east side of Manhattan. "I said to one of them, ’D’you know I’m working? I’m not just dragging my ass in at 6 in the morning, with the kids upstairs.’ It’s not a good look, is it?"

Maybe not, but it’s a look that’s patently Ewan McGregor, or used to be. Flip through some of the glossy profiles since he broke in 1996 with Trainspotting and you’ll see journalists pushing McGregor through the prism of his character in that junkie pic, spinning endless variations on him as an alienated rebel without a cause, an old-fashioned hell-raiser who scraps with his mates while raging away the nights in one giant piss-up after another. (Indeed, his language during this interview is far more colourful than this expurgated version might suggest.)

That may even be part of what attracted the producers of Big Fish, the new Tim Burton movie, to McGregor. In the film, which opens tomorrow, he is the young version of Edward Bloom, a self-mythologizer who is played in later life by Albert Finney. In person, McGregor exudes the same scampish air as Finney’s irrepressible Tom Jones, a quality that was also exploited in last summer’s Down With Love.

But if you’re looking for a manic drinking mate, you’ll have to go somewhere else. (Maybe Colin Farrell is free?) At 32, McGregor has grown up, settled down, embraced his lot. He’s become a boring family man.

"Running around looking for a good time in a bar with people you maybe don’t know, and drinking -- it was miserable for me," he reflects. "I used to like playing that up in interviews, and we’d always drink during them, and I suppose in an insecure sort of way I would become my persona during interviews, this mad drunk. And a smoker," he adds. "I don’t need to do that anymore, you know?"

He’s wearing large black glasses and an untucked, rumpled shirt, the same one he wore (similarly unironed) in October at the gala New York Film Festival premiere of his drama Young Adam. One sleeve is rolled up to the elbow. His chin sports a couple of days’ growth. His hair is in a high and possibly unintentional pompadour, which tilts stiffly at various angles whenever McGregor throws a lazy hand through it.

He continues to talk about those youthful pub days. "It just got in the way of everything else. I couldn’t keep it up, basically.

I couldn’t be the successful actor trying to be a good father and husband, and a really good drinker as well. I couldn’t keep the three balls in the air, so I dropped one. It’s all I ever wanted, is what’s left: my work, but more importantly, my family.

"It’s much better now and it’s much simpler. I work, and I love my work and I’m better at my work, and I go home and I’m much better at home. I’m much more present in the household and I’m a much better father than I was before, and now it’s manageable."

He views his past with a measure of indulgent mirth. "I was talking with my director on Stay, Mark Forster, about the passion of being young, and how when you’re young, you’re right and everyone else is wrong, and everything -- especially as a young actor -- is crap, everything. You should interview drama students, just to find the most negative people in the world. I remember [in drama school], nobody knew how to do it right, but us.

"Mark thought that maybe we get jaded, or we don’t care so much and I said, D’you know, I don’t think that’s true. I think we just learn to be more comfortable in the world, you know? It’s such hard work to be so angry with everything. It’s just that we’re more economical with our passions."So what if the Father Knows Best image doesn’t sell magazines and bring people screaming to the theatre? Unlike Big Fish’s Edward Bloom, who spends his life telling thrilling picaresque tales about himself that may or may not have happened, McGregor is at the point in life where he doesn’t want to self-mythologize.

During an earlier press conference, a few painfully amateur journalists pressed him to reveal something unknown they could retail to the world. One, bringing up the fact that Bloom keeps some things secret from his family, asked McGregor if there were any dark secrets in his own family while he was growing up. "Like I’d tell you," he snapped back. "What’s the most romantic thing you’ve ever done for a girl?" asked another. "I’d rather not answer that if you don’t mind," McGregor replied. He added, "it’s such a silly question."

In the hotel suite, he explains his reasons for clamming up. "Sometimes it’s just not anyone’s business. I don’t want to tell stories about romantic things I’ve done with my wife, because they’re our things and they don’t belong to anybody else," he says. "I don’t feel I should be responsible, because the film is romantic, to talk about my own romantic antics. It’s got nothing to do with anything, really."

But look between the lines of what he’s saying, and do some simple math, and you’ll find hints about his relationship with his wife, Ève, a French-born production designer. They’ve been married eight years, a span that encompasses his time in the public eye, doing all that raging and drinking, as well as the occasion of those spurious rumours about him and Nicole Kidman.

Their eldest daughter is seven, which suggests that Ève was at home through most of McGregor’s nights on the town. Dwell on that, and you might understand why McGregor says the aspect of Big Fish that touches him the most is the indulgence shown toward the elderly Edward Bloom by his wife, played by Jessica Lange. Edward chafes at being a big fish stuck in a small town, yet his wife accepts him with all of his flaws and understands his need to throw himself against the world. It couldn’t have been easy being Ewan McGregor’s wife for all those years.

On Sunday afternoon, I was sitting in the lobby preparing to brave the winter chill when McGregor emerged in a chaotic thrum from the elevator with his wife, children and some friends. The kids babbled as McGregor rushed about the lobby. His hair was sticking up again, and he may even have been wearing that same rumpled shirt: just another New York father gathering his family around him. He flashed me a quick, contented smile.

Source: Globe & Mail

Thanks to Perditum for the heads up!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Tuesday, December 9, 2003 // 12:57 p.m.


Carnival Time

December 7, 2003
Richard Johnson

TIM Burton’s fantastical new flick, "Big Fish" - featuring giants, Siamese twins and a malevolent tree coming to life, as well as fine performances by Albert Finney, Ewan McGregor, Billy Crudup and Jessica Lange - earned a rousing ovation at Thursday’s world premiere at the Ziegfeld. And the carnival-themed after-party at Hammerstein Ballroom was every bit as memorable. A Dixieland band played as fire-breathers, juggling stilt-walkers and strongmen strolled a makeshift midway and partygoers munched on fried chicken, honey-glazed ham and other Southern treats.

Source: New York Post

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Sunday, December 7, 2003 // 10:47 a.m.


Big Fish official site updated

The well-made and utterly charming official Big Fish web site had received a major update and is well-worth visiting!

Wallpapers, tall tales, cast and crew bios, a script-to-screen feature and a picture gallery are among the goodies that have been added.

Thank you Perditum for the heads up!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Saturday, December 6, 2003 // 11:25 p.m.


Call him 006 1/2

Dec. 5, 2003. 09:16 AM

Ewan McGregor ready, willing and Scottish enough to be the next James Bond

NEW YORK—No wonder Ewan McGregor’s name keeps coming up as one of the possible contenders to be the next James Bond.

Nothing seems to rattle him.

The intrepid Scots actor is running an hour late for an interview. And when he finally shows up, grinning broadly and accompanied by two stressed-out publicists, it’s discovered that the hotel room being used for press one-on-ones has inexplicably been turned into a luggage storage area.

The publicists begin to stress even more. A journalist helpfully offers to conduct the interview standing up in the hallway. McGregor has a better idea.

"Let’s go downstairs and find a room," he says.

He leads the way through a fire exit, down several flights of stairs to another floor being used by Columbia Pictures for its promotion of Big Fish, the new Tim Burton movie starring McGregor that opens on Wednesday.

A spare interview room is found, but there’s another problem. The hotel’s plastic card key won’t work in the electronic door lock.

The publicists start stressing again. "I’m going to call security!" one says, snapping open her cell phone.

"No, wait!" McGregor says. "I think I can get it!"

He fiddles with the card, patiently moving it this way and that. The door eventually opens.

"There it is!" McGregor grins again.

The room is obtained, but not yet secured. The interview has barely commenced, with McGregor relaxing on a couch, when there’s a knock on the door. A room service clerk is delivering a large silver tea tray loaded with goodies. The clerk wants a signature, and McGregor obliges, even though the high-priced talent is not supposed to be fussing over such mundane details.

"Would you like a cup of tea?" McGregor asks his guest.

With this kind of roll-with-it attitude, McGregor would seem to the ideal choice to play Bond, James Bond, once Pierce Brosnan holsters his Walther PPK — which is expected to happen sooner rather than later. McGregor’s name often comes up as a possible contender, alongside such obvious competition as Hugh Jackman and Colin Farrell, and McGregor makes no secret he’s interested.

He’s the right age — 32 — and certainly has the right accent, since fellow Scotsman Sean Connery still tops every poll for the fans’ favourite Bond. And since McGregor has already proven himself as one pop icon, playing the young Obi-Wan Kenobi in three Star Wars prequels, why not add Agent 007 to his lifetime to-do list?

"There has been talk of it, but not with the people that matter," McGregor says. "I believe Pierce is either doing his last (Bond film) or he’s doing one more.

"It’s interesting. It’s a fun thing to talk about when it’s not really even on the cards. In the same respects, I’m not sure what would happen if it cropped up. You’d have to really think about it. I think you’d have to really think about it in the same way that I did with the Star Wars films. I really thought about it and spoke to people I knew and in the end I just wanted to do it more and more, the closer it got.

"I think it would be the same with Bond. It might take a bigger man to turn it down."

Probably a better dressed man, too. McGregor is still wearing the same ultra-casual clothes he wore hours earlier at a Big Fish press conference.

He’s dressed down in blue jeans with no knees, a well-worn red print shirt over a white undershirt and black-rimmed eyeglasses that look more Michael Caine than Sean Connery.

And then there’s all the sex. Could he hold up Bond’s end in that department?

This may be a rhetorical question for a man who steamed up Cannes this year with his love scenes with Tilda Swinton in the sex drama Young Adam, which is still awaiting a North American release.

"There’s not very much sex in them anymore, anyway," McGregor parries. "There is more sex in Young Adam than there was in the last five Bond films."

There’s also a lot more nudity, full frontal even, which is why Young Adam has been delayed reaching these shores: American censors are worried. McGregor recently groused about the situation to the British press: "You can blow thousands of people’s heads off with a semi-automatic machine gun but you can’t show a picture of my willy."

His willy stayed sheathed in Big Fish — unless you count his birth scene — but that’s about the only thing that is restrained in the film. McGregor plays the younger version of an adventurer and storyteller (read: liar) named Edward Bloom, who gets into all manners of scrapes. (Albert Finney plays the older version.)

Bloom’s travels team him with a one-eyed witch, a friendly giant and a gorgeous pair of conjoined twins. And that’s just the first half of the movie. The role is tailor-made for a guy like McGregor, who has landed himself many unusual assignments in his 10-year career.

Since first gaining attention in the mid-1990s in the Danny Boyle films Shallow Grave and Trainspotting, where first he played a conniving journalist and then a charismatic junkie, McGregor has tackled all manner of characters. In recent years, he’s played a wild rocker in Velvet Goldmine, a dashing Obi-Wan in two Star Wars prequels (the third and final one is due in 2005), a musical author in Moulin Rouge, a determined U.S. soldier in Black Hawk Down, a Cary Grant clone in Down With Love and now a teller of tall tales in Big Fish. This list barely scratches the surface of his many roles.

It seems as if his career has proceeded almost by accident, due to his willingness to give anything a go.

"Not by accident," he counters, "but on my gut instinct as opposed to by design. I don’t make decisions based on any idea of career. I don’t think of it in career terms, like this would be a really good film to do now. I just go with my instinct.

"When I have made decisions based on career, I don’t think I’ve been very good. Choosing to do something because I thought I should be seen doing something different from Trainspotting isn’t a good enough reason for me."

He has a point. Not all of his films have been successful. The year after Trainspotting came out to rave reviews, McGregor appeared in the period drama The Serpent’s Kiss. The film premiered in competition at Cannes in 1997, but it went nowhere after that. He’s also had trouble with romantic comedies, such as when he made A Life Less Ordinary with Danny Boyle, also in 1997. More recently, he saw Down With Love do less-than-stellar box office, despite the fact he was teamed with Oscar-winning actress Renée Zellweger.

He blames the failure of Down With Love on marketing.

"Because it opened with The Matrix Reloaded," he scoffs. "I think the counter-programming argument is valid to a point, but what (the studio marketers) ignore is the fact that The Matrix comes with a tidal wave of publicity which will swamp yours for anything. We can’t hope to match the publicity for it. So people don’t get to hear that it’s on.

"But you can’t blame it all on that," he continues, softening his rant. "I have no idea why Down With Love didn’t work. Maybe people didn’t get it. I don’t know."

One thing he does know is that he wanted to work with Tim Burton, which is why he happily took up the Big Fish assignment. It required him to work on getting a southern American accent — no big deal for a lad who grew up watching Yankee westerns on TV — and to spend weeks in Alabama during the filming.

McGregor says he normally bases his decisions on the quality of the role, not on who is making the movie. But in the case of the highly creative Burton, he was happy to make an exception.

"If get a script from Tim Burton, it’s going to play some part in your reading of it. You can’t help but let it affect the way you see the film in your head as you read it. Because you know Tim Burton’s style and therefore it colours it.

"But I’m fascinated by stories, really, and I don’t particularly go out of my way to look for something different. I just suppose that the ones that I’m interested in are the ones that I haven’t done before."

At the press conference earlier, McGregor spoke of how much Edward Bloom reminded him of his father, a schoolteacher with the gift of gab who would constantly stop to chat with people he met. It used to drive young Ewan and his siblings mad.

"I thought a lot about my dad when I was (making the film)," McGregor said.

"It used to frustrate us in our childhood. It took us hours to get anywhere. He was liked, though, so it wasn’t a problem at all."

His dad used to worry about him, wondering if he’d ever get a proper job.

But his parents helped him get into acting school, and "when I started getting work, he was very happy."

McGregor jokes about his success.

"I’m amazed. I’m a terrible actor."

But he’s also a firm believer in making things happen on your own, and not being afraid to take risks.

Which is why he has no regrets about playing Obi-Wan Kenobi, even though he’s not completely delighted with the first two Star Wars prequels, The Phantom Menace and Attack Of The Clones. (The third episode, still unnamed and wrapped in secrecy, is well underway.)

"No question, I’m delighted to be in them. Just the idea of seeing the next one is quite titillating. I’m quite excited to see how it all ties up. I think it’s easy to be critical, but shift your perspective over a little bit to think of them as kids’ films and remember how you felt when you were watching (the original Star Wars films) yourself. It’s easy to enjoy them."

That being said, he still has some criticisms for Star Wars guru George Lucas and his crew.

"The focus in the three I’ve made has been the technology and that’s a mistake, I think. If what’s in the foreground isn’t as interesting as what’s in the background, you’re in trouble. Certainly on set, the energy is spent on the background. So that is maybe something where they’ve slightly gone askew."

If Lucas wants to get back to McGregor on that, he’ll have to hurry. The unstoppable Scotsman is making plans for an around-the-world motorcycle ride that he plans to start next April with his best friend Charlie Boorman, son of filmmaker John Boorman (Deliverance).

Their route will take them to such remote locations as Siberia, and to places that are dangerous enough that they’ve had to include in their planning training for how to conduct themselves in a kidnapping situation.

Why would McGregor consider doing something so risky?

"There are lots of `what ifs’ in life," he replies. "And `what if?’ is what stops you from doing stuff."

Okay, but then why Siberia? That’s where people are exiled. They don’t generally go voluntarily.

"Yeah, I know. I am fascinated to see it. They say crossing Siberia or crossing the Russian Steppes is like crossing the Atlantic because it’s the same landscape. Some people think you’d get bored, but I kind of have a goal. We’re trying to go around the world and it’s just such an obvious route on the map. We don’t have the luxury of having a year to do it and this looks like a straight line. Although, you know, once you get half way across Russia, the road system will be shite. We’ll be off-road a lot of the way."

Are McGregor and Boorman good motorcycle mechanics?

"Passable, but not good enough. We will be by the time we go. We’ll have mechanic’s training, medical training and kidnap avoidance training. We’ll be trained up so we’ll be ready to go."

That’s the kind of spirit that could land him the job of James Bond, to get back to that subject.

McGregor grins, and does his best Sean Connery:

"Not this time, Miss Moneypenny."

Source: The Toronto Star

Thank you Mary for the heads up!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Friday, December 5, 2003 // 09:42 a.m.


Big Fish premiere in New York City

Here are some pictures from the premiere of Big Fish, which took place Thursday evening, December 4th, 2003 in New York City:

Actors Ewan McGregor and Helena Bonham Carter pose at the World premiere of their film, ’Big Fish,’ in New York December 4, 2003. The film, directed by Tim Burton, opens December 10 in selected cities. REUTERS/Dave Allocca

Actors Ewan McGregor (L) and Matthew McGrory pose at the world premiere of their film, ’Big Fish,’ in New York, December 4, 2003. The film is directed by Tim Burton and opens December 10 in selected cities. REUTERS/Dave Allocca

Source: Yahoo News

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Thursday, December 4, 2003 // 11:05 p.m.


Behind-the-scenes: Big Fish

Fred Topel

Real special effects

Big Fish is a movie full of old school special effects. There are animatronics, perspective shots and camera tricks. Most of the effects are all natural, including the biggest effect of all… elephant poop. When young Edward Bloom (Ewan McGregor) gets a job working at a circus as he waits for the love of his life to return, he stands right beside an elephant unleashing his load.

“How amazing was that moment when the elephant craps on screen,” McGregor bragged. “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 closeup, 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.”

The circus is just one phase in Bloom’s grand adventure that takes him from small town hero to hidden utopia to the circus and beyond. In addition to the elephant, the circus scene has Bloom stick his head in a lion’s mouth. That, fortunately, was not real.

“They built a beautiful prosthetic lion head, which was gorgeous. That’s what I have my head in. However, the next shot is a real lion. I met the lion people and the tiger people, and they were lovely. It was a quite fascinating band of people, the people in circuses, and I was quite taken with all of them. But the lion people and the tiger people were especially interesting. The woman who was in charge and her son, he’s spent his whole life working with big cats. So they took me in with a tiger, and that freaks you out because they’re f*cking enormous, these things. I couldn’t believe how big they were. So they kind of familiarized me with a tiger and then we came to doing the shot with the lion. So the prosthetic head is the close-up, but in the next shot there’s a lion sitting about a foot and a half behind me. She said, ’Just don’t annoy it in any way.’ So I was quite happy to not annoy it. But [director] Tim [Burton] wanted it to roar. So I was busy not annoying it and a foot behind there she just kept tapping it on the head with a stick to make it roar. And I thought, ’Who’s annoying the lion now?’”

Burton recruited real circus folk for the big top scenes. “There’s a small group of circus people like in the old days,” Burton said. “There really is this group of people that still perform what they call the mud shows, which are the tents that go from town to town. I remember one afternoon we were just in Northern Florida just watching all these circus acts. The one that caught my attention though was the one that I called the suicidal cat. We’d see all these death defying acts and then this cat goes up on top of the tent and jumps onto a little pillow, and I just thought, ‘Wow, that was the best act I saw all day’ so we used that one. It’s a vanishing breed but they’re still around.”

Burton insisted on other real effects, such as parking a car in a tree. “People go, ‘Oh, we can just CG that in.’ Well no, it’s important to have the car in the tree. Actually, a few inventive people, we just took out some of the heavier engine stuff and got a crane and they hung it in a tree. One afternoon.”

Having done lots of blue screen/CGI work in a certain trilogy of films, McGregor appreciated the chance to work with practical effects on the set. “Blue screen work is very, very difficult,” McGregor said. “What was fun about this was stuff like the scenes with me and Matthew [McGrory, the giant]. We made Matthew, who is enormous anyway, look even bigger. But we did it in the camera, standing him a bit closer to the camera and me a bit farther away. We did all these tricks, but we did them there on the day. We didn’t rely on green screen. It’s fun doing it that way. You can’t do that with a Star Wars because you’re in outer space and you can’t shoot that without using computers.”

Big Fish opens December 10 in limited release, expanding wider on Christmas Day and January 9.

Source: about.com

Thank you Mary for the heads up!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Thursday, December 4, 2003 // 01:44 p.m.


7 Big Fish clips online

Comingsoon.net has 7 wonderful clips from Ewan’s upcoming Big Fish and most of them feature Ewan.

Big Fish opens December 10, 2003 in New York, Los Angeles and Toronto; then on December 25 in selected cities; and then across North America on January 9.

Thank you Kantharion for the heads up!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Wednesday, December 3, 2003 // 06:27 p.m.


Ewan McGregor to Voice Title Role in Vanguard Animation’s CG Film Valiant

Sir Ben Kingsley, Jim Broadbent, Rupert Everett, John Hurt, Hugh Laurie, and Ricky Gervais Will Lend Their Voice Artistry to Animated Comedy

LOS ANGELES, Dec. 1 /PRNewswire/ -- Ewan McGregor, star of Moulin Rouge and Star Wars, will voice the title character in Vanguard Animation’s CG animated feature film Valiant. The animated comedy tells the story of a lowly wood pigeon named Valiant, who overcomes his small size to become a hero in Great Britain’s Royal Air Force Homing Pigeon Service during World War II. The RHPS advanced the Allied cause by flying vital messages about enemy movements across the English Channel, while evading brutal attacks by the enemy’s Falcon brigade.

Sexy Beast star, Academy Award-winner Sir Ben Kingsley, will voice General Keyserlingk, the feared German falcon leader. Other actors lending their voices include Academy Award-winner Jim Broadbent (Moulin Rouge, Bridget Jones’s Diary), Rupert Everett (An Ideal Husband, My Best Friend’s Wedding), Hugh Laurie (Stuart Little), John Hurt (Harry Potter, Elephant Man), and Ricky Gervais, star of the BBC comedy hit series The Office.

Valiant, which will be completed in December 2004, is currently in production, with a staff of 95, at Vanguard Animation’s recently completed CG studio built at Ealing Studios in London, as well as continuing at its Los Angeles and New York offices. Disney is distributing the picture in North America, and Odyssey Entertainment in the UK is handling international distribution. Disney holds worldwide merchandising, soundtrack, and video game rights as well. Vanguard Animation is a division of Vanguard Films. IDT Corporation, a subsidiary of IDT Entertainment, Inc., a multinational carrier, telephone, and technology company, has a significant investment in Vanguard Animation.

The producer is John H. Williams (Shrek 1 & 2) for Vanguard Animation. Executive Producers are Barnaby Thompson for Ealing Studios, Ralph Kamp for Odyssey Entertainment, Robert Jones for the UK Film Council, and Keith Evans for Baker Street Media Finance. Co-Producers are Eric M. Bennett, Curtis Augspurger and Buckley Collum for Vanguard Animation The picture is being directed by British character designer Gary Chapman.

Valiant is a Vanguard Animation, Ealing Studios, and UK Film Council Presentation in association with Odyssey Entertainment and Take Five Film Partnerships of a Vanguard Animation Production.

Source: PR Newswire

Thank you ParisRouge for the heads up!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Monday, December 1, 2003 // 07:29 a.m.


Top Scot Awards: And the winners are…

Sun 30 Nov 2003
Fiona Leith

SHARLEEN Spiteri was in good company on Friday night as she picked up not only the Top Scot accolade at the glittering awards ceremony at Edinburgh’s Prestonfield, but also the award for excellence in music for her band Texas, presented by fellow Scots singer Ricky Ross.

The Glenfiddich Spirit of Scotland Awards began in 1998 with the aim of recognising individuals who are leading the way in Scottish culture. The awards were hosted by Fred MacAulay and Kirsty Wark. A judging panel led by John McGurk, editorial director of Scotsman Publications, John McLellan, editor of Scotland on Sunday, Iain Martin, editor of The Scotsman, Sally Gordon of Glenfiddich, and Sandy Ross, managing director at Scottish Television, drew up a short list of nominees.

The people of Scotland decided the final winners by voting in their thousands via telephone hotlines and the Internet.

Actor Ewan McGregor won the screen award but was unable to attend in person. His family was there to toast their son.

Source: The Scotsman

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Saturday, November 29, 2003 // 08:47 p.m.


Ewan video interview online

Warner Brothers has a lovely interview with Ewan!

McGregor plays Finney’s character as a young man. He told us how being the father of two dramatically changed his own life. He says, "It made me think of my relationship with my dad. It is luckily very good."

McGregor is living a clean life. He doesn’t drink, gamble, or smoke. But he says, "I swear a lot. And I got off of the cigarettes earlier this year. I’m really delighted about that because it is a real misery smoking."

No buts about it, this Scottish import is one of the most versatile actors in Hollywood, from his role as Obi-Wan Kenobi in the "Star Wars" trilogy, to making beautiful music a few years ago with sexy Nicole Kidman in "Moulin Rouge."

And although we uncovered that he once dreamt of being a rock star, he says he doesn’t plan to be singing again soon. McGregor says, "When you see a band playing, you just imagine that was you. Wow, that would be cool, wouldn’t it?"

Thank you Georginita for the heads up!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Wednesday, November 26, 2003 // 09:46 p.m.


New Big Fish photographs

The Latino Review currently has 53 photographs from Big Fish, many of them of Ewan.

Thank you Mary for the heads up!

Comingsoon.net also has a large collection of photographs from Big Fish. As of this writing, their collection contains 57 photographs, many of which feature Ewan.

Thank you Kate for the heads up!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Tuesday, November 25, 2003 // 07:59 p.m.


’Big Fish’: The Movie to Beat in 2003

Tuesday, November 18, 2003
By Roger Friedman

Tim Burton’s "Big Fish" is the best movie I’ve seen in all of 2003. If "Cold Mountain" and "Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King" don’t live up to expectations, I’m willing to say now that "Big Fish" is headed for the Best Picture award. It will most definitely be nominated in that category and many others.

What a pleasure to finally see a film that encompasses all the attributes of a Best Picture. I was starting to fret that the group of candidates already screened — including "Mystic River," "Master and Commander," "Seabiscuit," "Lost in Translation," "Mona Lisa Smile," "House of Sand and Fog," "The Missing," "The Human Stain" — were going to be fighting for awards they didn’t quite deserve. Not to say there’s anything seriously wrong with any of them. They are all well-made, entertaining films. But each of them is seriously flawed and not quite “there.” For mid-November, this isn’t good news.

But then yesterday all that changed. I attended an afternoon screening of “Big Fish,” a film based on a short novel by Daniel Wallace currently ranked at number 17,556 on amazon.com The movie had good buzz but had not been over-hyped. I should have guessed that this would a case similar to "American Beauty" since the same team — Bruce Cohen and Dan Jinks — produced it. "Big Fish" comes from that sensibility of high drama, sharply drawn characters, impeccable acting, and — very importantly — a self contained logic. "Big Fish" actually reminded me more of "The Cider House Rules" in a way than "American Beauty." It’s a whole piece of art, developed from a single vision, and conveyed with that coherence. I loved it. So will you.

Albert Finney — a cinch for Best Supporting Actor, although it would be great to see Sony/Columbia put him in lead — plays a dying, eccentric patriarch named Edward Bloom. Jessica Lange is his loving and understanding wife, but Billy Crudup — also doing some of his best work ever — is his doubting, critical son, Will. What Crudup is critical of is Finney’s penchant for fantasy and exaggeration. He is not much for the father’s lyrical sense of embroidery. And Finney, in this movie, is a storyteller with no shame. His anecdotes, by now family lore, weave themselves around carnivals, circuses, bank robberies, witches, and giants. Will is so exasperated by Edward that when the movie begins he hasn’t spoken to him in three years.

Burton has made a lot of movies. Some of them were good ("Batman"), some of them were great ("Beetlejuice"), some were exercises in excess ("Sleepy Hollow"). Visually, he’s always been arresting ("Edward Scissorhands"). But nothing he’s done before really indicated that he could make "Big Fish." He cuts back and forth between Edward Bloom’s present and his past, using Ewan McGregor and Alison Lohman to play the younger versions of Finney and Lange. All of the campy stuff that McGregor worked on in "Moulin Rouge!" and "Down With Love" finally comes to fruition here; it’s as if we had to endure those performances to enjoy this one. He’s extraordinary, at last.

But it’s Burton’s movie in the long-run, and he really surprises even the most jaded viewer with "Big Fish." There are echoes of "Forrest Gump" certainly, and "The Wizard of Oz." But they are just echoes. "Big Fish" also thrives in the same area, coincidentally, as Denys Arcand’s marvelous "Barbarian Invasions," with its father-son conflict. But these are just references within the shadows. "Big Fish" is its own creation. It’s a four-hanky affair, so bring lots of Kleenex. My advice to Sony is hold the house lights off well into the end credits so the wiping of tears can go in private. There was sobbing at yesterday’s screening. I haven’t seen tears like that since "Ordinary People."

I’ve mentioned the main cast, but I should tell you that there also very fine supporting turns by Steve Buscemi, Robert Guilliaume, Helena Bonham Carter, most importantly, Danny DeVito, who gets the role of his life and runs with it. The only negative there is that you get to see more of him than you ever wanted, but after all, we’re seasoned pros, we can take it.

"Big Fish" probably knocks "Seabiscuit," "House of Sand and Fog," and "21 Grams" out of the big awards races simply because it is the premier drama of the season. It also may do damage to "Mystic River," as "Big Fish" gets the lump-in-the-throat payoff that the Clint Eastwood movie misses by going on long past the moment when someone should have yelled “Cut!”

Source: Fox News

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Tuesday, November 18, 2003 // 07:35 a.m.


Photo ban won by actor McGregor

Wednesday, 12 November, 2003, 11:24 GMT

Actor Ewan McGregor has successfully won an injunction to stop an agency re-printing pictures of his two children taken on holiday in Mauritius.

The Scot sought the action against French picture agency Eliot Press, which did not defend the action.

The judge said he would decide on damages for breach of confidence and invasion of privacy at a later date.

Another agency, Fraser Woodward, is defending the original publication of the Dec 2002 photos.

The pictures were taken during a family holiday.

McGregor recently launched a blistering verbal attack on the paparazzi, saying: "They shouldn’t be shot, but they should be severely beaten up."


He saved particular venom for celebrity magazine Heat, after it published pictures of his daughter Esther Rose, calling it "filthy".

He took legal action after a general request not to publish pictures of his children were ignored by the media.

McGregor’s solicitor Mark Thomson, of Carter-Ruck and Partners, said the action was taken against Eliot Press and Fraser Woodward, which acted as a broker for the pictures.

The injunction prevents Eliot Press from publishing the holiday photos and any similar pictures of the children.

Fraser Woodward, owned by paparazzi photographer Jason Fraser, is contesting claims of breach of privacy under the Data Protection Act.

BBC Radio 1 DJ Sara Cox received £50,000 in a damages settlement in June after nude photographs of her on her honeymoon were published in The People newspaper.

She argued the unauthorised photographs had invaded her privacy.

Source: BBC News

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Wednesday, November 12, 2003 // 07:38 a.m.


McGregor injunction over children’s photos could raise damages stakes

Clare Dyer, legal correspondent
Wednesday November 12, 2003
The Guardian

The actor Ewan McGregor yesterday won a high court privacy action against a photo agency over snatched paparazzi photographs of his children playing while on holiday in Mauritius last December.

Mr Justice Eady granted an injunction against Eliot Press SARL, banning further publication of the photos, which have appeared in English and Scottish newspapers.

He ordered damages for breach of confidence and compensation under the Data Protection Act to be assessed at a later hearing. The agency did not contest the claim.

The case could prove to be a signpost for the levels of damages that courts will award for straightforward invasions of privacy.

In the Naomi Campbell case, the courts held that there was a public interest in revealing her drug problems, and in the Hello! case Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones had sold the rights to their wedding photos, but neither applies in the latest case.

In an out-of-court settlement last June, the Radio 1 DJ Sara Cox and her husband Jon Carter accepted £50,000 compensation from the People for publishing nude photos of them on honeymoon in the Seychelles.

Mr McGregor, star of the film Trainspotting, had requested the media generally not to publish pictures of his two children.

His solicitor, Mark Thomson of Peter Carter-Ruck and Partners, said after the hearing: "The courts are moving more to protecting the privacy of individuals and children and using the law of confidence to do it."

Mr Thomson added: "I think there will be more of these cases involving paparazzi photographers."

Last May, Mr McGregor attacked the media over its treatment of celebrities, calling Heat magazine a "dirty, filthy piece of shit" and urging a boycott of the magazine.

In an interview on the London radio station LBC, he said: "They [the paparazzi] shouldn’t be shot, but they should be severely beaten up mainly. They don’t have the right to intrude on people’s lives, I really don’t think they do."

"Especially with my children, I’ve always felt that as a parent, it’s my right to protect my children and everyone would agree with that.

"If a guy comes up and asks me, ’Can I take a picture of your daughter?’, that’s one thing.

"But if he’s hiding behind a bus and he takes a picture of me and my daughter, he’s legally allowed to publish that photo in the press and I have no rights to stop him, and I think that’s wrong," he said.

Source: The Guardian

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Wednesday, November 12, 2003 // 07:37 a.m.


Tim Burton Screenings

November 9, 2003

A genius of modern-day Gothic sagas and animated devilry, Tim Burton has sustained one of Hollywood’s most antic careers, evoking a fabulist terrain populated by grade-Z horror icons, freaky folktales and comic-book psychodrama - all guided by the rampant id of childhood imagination. The American Museum of the Moving Image honors the auteur of "Ed Wood," "Beetlejuice," "Edward Scissorhands" and the immortal "Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure" with a retrospective. It continues Sunday and next Saturday and Sunday with two afternoon screenings each day. The series concludes Nov. 19 with a special preview of Burton’s latest, "Big Fish," a cinematic tall tale starring Albert Finney and Ewan McGregor. Burton will grace the stage after the 7 p.m. screening to engage in one of the museum’s series of Pinewood Dialogues.

It’s at 35th Avenue and 36th Street in Astoria; No charge for the screenings; they’re part of the $10 ($7.50 seniors and students) museum admission. The "Big Fish" preview is $18. Tickets, 718-784-4520; information, 718-784-0077 or www.movingimage.us.

Source: Newsday

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Sunday, November 9, 2003 // 08:06 a.m.


Young Adam star snaps up Scots oil painting… but only just

By Liam McDougall, Arts Correspondent
02 November 2003

Actor Ewan McGregor has snapped up a painting by a Cumbernauld artist after seeing it hanging above him in a Glasgow restaurant.

But the star of Trainspotting and Star Wars nearly missed out on clinching the deal because he first had to consult his wife about whether it would look good in the kitchen of his London home.

McGregor had spotted the huge work, The Labyrinth by Gerard Burns, when he was staying at the exclusive Saint Jude’s hotel and restaurant during the filming of Young Adam last year.

But despite McGregor making positive noises about the artwork at the time, he said he could not make the deal before speaking first to his wife, former film designer Eve Mavrakis. However, just two days before McGregor finally called the artist to buy the £12,500 artwork, another Glasgow collector had contacted Burns and bought the piece.

Then, against all the odds, the collector phoned a few months later to say his circumstances had changed and he no longer wanted the painting, clearing the way for McGregor to buy the 8ft x 6ft oil for his house.

“At the time he was in Australia filming Star Wars and because of the time difference I had to leave a message for him saying that unbelievably it was back for sale,” said Burns. “The first thing that he did when he woke up the next morning was phone me to say that he was delighted and still wanted the painting.”

It is the second time that The Labyrinth has brought good fortune to Burns. Earlier this year the painting won the artist £20,000 after it beat 10,000 entrants to take the inaugural Not The Turner Prize.

Burns, 41, a former art teacher at Glasgow’s St Aloysius College, now plans to take the work, which is still hanging in the restaurant, to McGregor in London at Christmas. He hopes to show it with other works during his show in London’s Air Gallery from December 16.

“What I’d like to do is show it at my Christmas show and perhaps him and his wife would come and see it there,” he said. “It has been fantastic dealing with Ewan McGregor and who knows where this might take me?

“He doesn’t play the superstar at all. He was as level as anything, which was a testament to the man. It’s amazing hearing him on the phone. You kind of know the voice.

“I have three sons and the oldest is a real film buff. My street cred with them has gone through the roof because of this.

“There was one night when this was all ongoing, we were getting ready to go out to a function in the local golf club and my mobile went. My oldest son answered the phone and wandered up the stair. As cool as you like he handed it to me and said, ‘Dad, it’s Ewan.’ It was totally amazing.”

Burns says that the painting, which shows a white bull being led by a girl from a forest, depicts how masculinity can be tamed by the supposedly weaker and more vulnerable sex. According to Burns, the painting will now take pride of place in McGregor’s kitchen.

“God only knows what size his place must be but he said that it was earmarked for his kitchen,” he said.

“The whole thing has been a good experience because it’s not as if it’s going somewhere that he’ll never see it. It’s a painting that they’re going to live with and will be with them every day that they are in the house. It’s a big commitment having a piece on that scale. But he was very sure about it. He really wanted the work.”

Source: Sunday Herald

Thank you Mary and Perditum for the heads up!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Sunday, November 2, 2003 // 11:30 a.m.


Faster US Tour Starts November 7 in San Francisco

Faster, which Ewan narrates, will be screening alongside the Cycle World International Motorcycle Show in 13 US cities over the coming months. The Cycle World Shows attract hundreds of thousands of motorcycle enthusiasts and we’re delighted to be bringing some extra entertainment to the event with the help of the show organizers Advanstar.

Faster will have a stand at the show and the movie will play at a venue nearby. Tickets will be available at the Faster stand and at the venue.

The dates and locations are:

San Francisco Nov 7-9
Dallas Nov 21-23
Seattle Dec 5-7
Long Beach Dec 12-14
Denver Dec 19-21
New York Jan 2-4
Washington Jan 9-11
Atlanta Jan 16-18
Ohio Jan 30-Feb 2
Chicago Feb 6-8
Detroit Feb 20-22
Daytona March 3-7
Minneapolis March 26-28

Our first screening will be on Friday November 7 at 9pm at the San Mateo Expo Center. Faster will screen again on Saturday 8 at 9pm and on Sunday 9 at 5pm and 7.15pm. We will add late screenings each night subject to demand.

We will post details of screenings in other cities as soon as we have them.

A share of the proceeds will go to the charity Riders For Health. Visit www.riders.org to find out more about RFH.

We won’t be selling DVDs and videos yet. These will be available next year.

Faster release in other countries

We are making good progress and will have release dates soon. Faster will be in cinemas in several countries and available on DVD and video all over the world. We will publish news as soon as we have it. Thanks for your patience.

Thanks for your support

Mark Neale
Faster Director


Thank you Melanie for the heads up!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Thursday, October 30, 2003 // 07:12 a.m.


’Big Fish’ premiere to benefit charity

News staff writer

The Ronald McDonald House should get a big boost from the movie "Big Fish."

Producer Bruce Cohen and novelist Daniel Wallace will come to Birmingham in December to attend a premiere of the made-in-Alabama film, which director Tim Burton shot in the Montgomery and Wetumpka area earlier this year. It is adapted from Wallace’s book.

The special screening, which will be Dec. 13 at Carmike Cinemas’ Summit 16 theater, will benefit Ronald McDonald House Charities of Alabama. The movie opens nationwide on Christmas Day.

Roberta Shapiro, the charity’s executive director, contacted Cohen more than a year ago seeking his support for the Ronald McDonald House, which provides temporary housing for needy families who travel to Birmingham for pediatric health care.

"I called him up and said, ’This is going to be a great film. It’s going to make a lot of money. I think we are the right charity to be affiliated with this film in Alabama,’" Shapiro recalled Wednesday. "And he said yes."

While he was in Alabama filming "Big Fish," Cohen came to Birmingham in February to tour the Ronald McDonald House. Cohen, who won an Academy Award for producing "American Beauty," signed autographs for some of the children at the house, and he left promising he would come back for a benefit screening before "Big Fish" opened.

Cohen also provided two tickets to the New York premiere of "Big Fish," which raised $2,200 for the Ronald McDonald House in an auction, Shapiro said.

Tickets to the Birmingham screening will cost $55 and should go on sale late next week through Ticketmaster, according to John Montgomery of Big Communications, the event’s publicist. VIP tickets, which include a post-screening party with Cohen and Wallace, will cost $125. To order, call 715-6000.

About 500 tickets will be available, Montgomery said, and everyone who buys a ticket also will receive a movie poster and a copy of Wallace’s book "Big Fish: A Novel of Mythic Proportions." Wallace, who lives in Chapel Hill, N.C., is a Birmingham native and graduate of the Altamont School.

The movie revolves around the relationship between a dying father and his estranged son, who tries to learn more about the man he never knew by piecing together the myths and tall tales his father shares with him. Albert Finney, Ewan McGregor, Billy Crudup and Jessica Lange are among the stars.

Shapiro said the "Big Fish" screening could raise enough money to pay for about 150 families to stay at the Ronald McDonald House.

"We have a family that’s been with us almost a year and a half with a very sick 3-year-old," Shapiro said. "These are families who cannot afford to have extended hotel stays."

Source: al.com

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Wednesday, October 29, 2003 // 07:09 a.m.


Young Adam release date

According to Greg’s Preview at Yahoo Movies, Young Adam will be relased on April 16th, 2004 in Los Angeles and New York, and will expand to other cities at later dates.

Thank you ParisRouge for the heads up!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Sunday, October 26, 2003 // 06:02 p.m.


Big Fish closing credits song performed by Pearl Jam

Friday, October 24, 2003
ERNEST A. JASMIN; The News Tribune

Regarding the newest song, "Man of the Hour", Vedder - wearing a gaudy, blond perm look that was more shocking than the mohawk he sported a while back - explained that director Tim Burton had sent him a copy of his upcoming flick "Big Fish" in hopes Pearl Jam would write music for the closing credits.

"It was a moving film, so it was easy to write for," Vedder said as the band eased into the achingly melancholy "Man of the Hour."

"The man of the hour has taken his final bow," he sang, "as the curtain comes down I feel that this is just bye for now."

Source (and full article): tribnet.com

Thank you Mary for the heads up!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Friday, October 24, 2003 // 07:05 a.m.


Elixir, Image to go ’Long’ with docu

Mipcom 2003 Brief


Elixir Films and Image Wizard TV are to shoot docu-series "Long Way ’Round" featuring Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman motorbiking around the world.

The show will shoot from January to August next year and comprise 10 one-hour or 13 half-hour programs.

McGregor and Boorman, son of director John Boorman, have been pals since meeting on the set of 1997’s "The Serpent’s Kiss." They will cover 20,000 miles in less than three months, starting in London and riding to New York via the Russian steppes, Siberia, Kazakhstan, Mongolia and Alaska.

The program will be available next fall.

Source: Variety (site requires subscription)

Thank you Perditum for the heads up!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Wednesday, October 15, 2003 // 07:24 a.m.


Young Adam to be released in North America uncensored

After last night’s 41st New York Film Festival’s presentation of Young Adam, during the Q&A, I was able to ask whether Young Adam would be released uncensored in the U.S.

Co-producer Alexandra Stone replied that it would indeed be released uncensored! This elicited quite a fun reaction from the crowd!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Thursday, October 9, 2003 // 09:27 a.m.


Big Fish trailer & official site online!

apple.com/trailers has the trailer for Big Fish in a variety of sizes in Quicktime format!

The official site for Big Fish is also up and running, though it doesn’t offer much information yet.

Thank you Mary and Alyse for the heads up!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Monday, October 6, 2003 // 07:42 p.m.


Get On Down With Love

Oct 2 2003
By Lindsay Clydesdale

Ewan and Renée put their screen romance on record

SAVE CINEMA sweethearts Ewan McGregor and Renée Zellweger loved acting together so much, they insisted on recording a love song duet. Filming the romantic-comedy, Down With Love, Texan beauty Renée followed the long list of Ewan’s leading ladies who’ve fallen for the sexy Scots actor.

Nicole Kidman, Cameron Diaz and Kelly MacDonald have all praised Ewan’s talent and been smitten by his cheeky charm.

"That’s why I love that guy," says Renée. "He’s hilarious. That’s why working with him was so easy we had a mutual work ethic that included having fun."

Following his role in the musical, Moulin Rouge, and Renée’s in Chicago, they decided to record the slushy duet, Here’s To Love, for the film.

"It was our idea to record it," says Ewan,"even though the film’s not a musical. But we had to work quite hard to persuade the powers that be."

The pair first met six years ago as Ewan, regretting an earlier outburst at a fellow actor, hid backstage at a celebrity awards show.

"We met at the rehearsals for the MTV Awards," says Ewan. "It was the year A Life Less Ordinary came out. I was there with Cameron Diaz to present a prize for the best screen kiss and I bumped into Renée backstage. I was hiding from Will Smith’s bouncers. You see, I’d just been quoted as saying I wouldn’t taint my soul with s**** like Independence Day, and the director should be f***ing ashamed of himself.

"And when I asked who I was going to be giving the award to, they said, ’Will Smith’. So all afternoon I was cacking it because he was surrounded by the biggest guys you’ve ever seen and I imagined getting my head kicked in. But Will was very gracious. I had a big f***ing gob on me then."

Renée was already a fan and declared him the best actor of his generation. For several years she looked for a script that would suit them both. Her chance came when she was offered Down With Love, a homage to the Doris Day/Rock Hudson films of the Fifties, released this week.

Ewan plays Catcher Block, a serial seducer of women, who falls in love with the no-nonsense Barbara Novak, played by Zellweger.

Despite being linked to George Clooney, Matthew Perry, Jim Carrey and Jack White of rock band the White Stripes, Renée claims she’s single but, like her Bridget Jones character, she’s desperate to fall in love.

"The press seem to think I have a big roster of celebrity boyfriends," says Renée. "Little do they know I’m often just sitting on the couch with my dogs,watching TV. Having said that, I’m a hopeless, hopeless romantic sucker.

"I’m a bit like Bridget in that I’m a believer. I believe in love. I saw it in my parents. They are best friends, totally love each other and share everything.

"But my happiness isn’t contingent upon romance. It’s about embracing what’s good when it shows up."

WHILE she’s still looking for Mr Right, Ewan’s private life couldn’t be more different from serial-dater Renée’s.

"True happiness is being at home with my wife, Ève, and children Clara Mathilde and Esther Rose," he says.

"Just lately I was watching the children playing it was the first time we let Esther into the garden on her own to play with her big sister and it was the happiest moment I’ve ever known.

"I’d never had that kind of emotional experience before. And now everything has become simpler because of it. Don’t get me wrong it’s not pipe and slippers time, although I have bought a garden shed it’s just that I’ve learnt what true happiness is."

Now an international film star, Ewan works constantly, splitting his time between big-budget hits like the Star Wars films, and smaller independent films like Young Adam. But he admits his fame has sidelined Ève’s career.

"It only works because my wife travels the world with me, at the expense of her own career," he says. "She’s beautiful, strong and straightforward, and an incredible mother. I remember being attracted to her when we were working on Kavanagh QC.

"She was dressing the set and was so in charge I’ve always found that kind of sexy. Nobody was giving her any shit, and I think that’s so cool in a woman."

Of his frequent nude scenes, Ewan said he didn’t understand the fuss.

"People should get out more. Not worry if I get it out," he says. While he gets annoyed about the attention given to his manhood, Renée’s bugbear is her weight. As soon as she signed up for the second Bridget Jones film, Edge of Reason, even her £14 million pay-cheque was overshadowed by the amount of food film insiders said she was set to consume to fill out for the role.

"I hate the way the press is only interested in the weight issue," she says. "It superficialises the experience, which is so disappointing.

"I need to have an authentic experience and all that entails. It’s a journey and it’s not one that lasts an hour and a half of screen-time. It lasts nearly a year and I don’t want a phoney year.

"Acting is a job that sometimes requires a little more attention. Like a little Italian attention, a little French attention, a little pancake and pasta attention. In fact, playing Bridget again is going to be one of my hardest challenges in a long time because, creatively, I don’t like to repeat myself. But now Bridget has a different story to tell, the character is new to me."

While Renée takes her Hollywood job very seriously, Ewan has a reputation as a joker and is "very naughty", at least according to Trainspotting director, Danny Boyle.

He’s admitted doing Scottish country dancing to the Bucks Fizz Eurovision hit, Making Your Mind up, when he was younger to get the attention of a girl.

"Yes, I did it to impress a girl called Carol, who I was desperately in love with," says Ewan. "My publicist does say I’m the naughtiest person she’s met and that’s because dirty, rude things always make me laugh. And silly games. Like she and I do this thing where before I go on a chat show, like Jay Leno, she gives me a stupid phrase that I have to slip in, no matter what, like colostomy and collosal squid."

For all his hobnobbing with Hollywood stars, the handsome young actor from Crieff is having no problems keeping his feet on the ground.

Down With Love is out tomorrow in the UK.

Source: Daily Record

Thank you xcbug for the heads up!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Wednesday, October 1, 2003 // 08:46 p.m.


Pictures from Big Fish online

Yahoo Movies has several pictures from Ewan’s upcoming film, Big Fish.

Visit the site to see more!

Thank you Georginita for the heads up!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Wednesday, September 24, 2003 // 10:59 p.m.


Young Adam nominated for 4 BIFAs


The nominations for the British Independent Film Awards were announced this morning and Stephen Frear’s gritty thriller Dirty Pretty Things leads the board with no less than six nominations for everything from Best British Independent Film to Best Director.

Following hard on Frear’s heels comes Buffalo Soldiers which garned a fabulous five nominations, while Young Adam, Stephen Fry’s Bright Young Things and Wilbur Wants To Kill Himself all bring up the third place with four nominations apiece.

There’ll presumably be some diappointment over at Figment Films that Danny Boyle’s 28 Days Later only scraped a miserly two nominations – this despite a review from Empire dubbing it ’The best purely British horror/science-fiction film in decades,’ and the film’s surprising turn at the US box office. The $8 million film reaped a whopping $44 million in America after receiving almost universal praise from stateside critics.

The winners will be announced at the BIFA Awards which take place in London on 4 November 2003. BIFA Head Elliot Grove says of his shortlist: ’We are the only awards ceremony to celebrate independent British film. It is an immense privilege and huge challenge to narrow down and select the very best work that this country produces.’

The full list of nominations is available on Empire’s website.

Best British Independent Film
1. 28 Days Later
2. Buffalo Soldiers
3. Dirty Pretty Things
4. Magdalene Sisters
5. Young Adam

Best Actor
1. Paddy Considine (In America)
2. Chiwetel Ejiofor (Dirty Pretty Things)
3. Ewan McGregor (Young Adam)
4. Kevin McKidd (16 Years of Alcohol)
5. Joaquin Phoenix (Buffalo Soldiers)

Best Actress
1. Kate Ashfield (This Little Life)
2. Helena Bonham Carter (The Heart of Me)
3. Samantha Morton (In America)
4. Tilda Swinton (Young Adam)
5. Olivia Williams (The Heart of Me)

Best Director
1. Danny Boyle (28 Days Later)
2. Stephen Frears (Dirty Pretty Things)
3. David MacKenzie (Young Adam)
4. Jim Sheridan (In America)
5. Michael Winterbottom (In This World)

Source: Empire Online

Thank you Perditum for the heads up!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Tuesday, September 23, 2003 // 05:28 p.m.


Video Clip of Ewan at London Young Adam Premiere Online

Check out Scotland Today for a short article and a link (near the bottom) to see a video clip of Ewan at the London premiere of Young Adam.

Thank you Roxanne for the heads up!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Monday, September 22, 2003 // 08:06 p.m.


Pleasing himself
Look out for…’Young Adam’

Graham Fuller
September 21, 2003

One of the standouts of the recent Toronto International Film Festival was "Young Adam," starring Ewan McGregor, Tilda Swinton (both pictured) and Emily Mortimer. Although the dark, sexually charged drama won’t be released here until April, early birds will get a chance to see it at Alice Tully Hall on Oct. 8 (at 6 p.m.) and Oct. 9 (9:15 p.m.) when it plays in the 41st New York Film Festival (Oct. 3-19).

The movie follows the journey of Joe (McGregor), a would-be novelist, sometime barge worker and serial seducer, on and around the Clyde River in mid- ’50s Scotland: He is an amoral drifter who seeks no redemption for his emotional crimes. It was adapted by writer-director David Mackenzie from the subversive underground classic by the Scottish beat writer Alexander Trocchi.

Other highlights of the NYFF include "Elephant," "21 Grams," "Dogville" and the documentaries "Stalingrad," "The Fog of War" and "Mayor of the Sunset Strip."

Source: New York Daily News

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Sunday, September 21, 2003 // 09:31 a.m.


Still Sexy – Despite the Beard

Fri 19 Sep 2003
By Nell Raven, PA Features

Actor Ewan McGregor proves he’s still a magnet for female attention even when he’s sporting a rather unkempt-looking chin.

The 32-year-old star had ladies clamouring for his autograph when he arrived at the premiere of his new movie Young Adam in London yesterday wearing a smart black coat and an unmistakably gingery beard.

His facial furniture is not the result of laziness or the precepts of some newfangled religion, but a requirement for his part as Obi-Wan Kenobi in Star Wars Episode III, which he is currently filming.

Despite his undoubted ability to make facial hair look sexy, most of McGregor’s female fans will probably be relieved to find he is clean shaven for his part in Young Adam.

Based on Alexander Trocchi’s debut novel, the film tells the story of an amoral young Scottish drifter who works on the barges between Glasgow and Edinburgh and attempts to escape his humdrum existence through drink and sex.

In popular culture at large, beards have been the height of fashion amongst young male film stars for a while, thanks to Russell Crowe, Brad Pitt, Vincent Gallo, and more recently Guy Pearce.

Source: The Scotsman (Photos from Yahoo News)

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Friday, September 19, 2003 // 07:53 a.m.


McGregor’s Private Parts Face Chop in U.S.

Thu 18 Sep 2003
By Pat Hurst, PA News

Scots superstar Ewan McGregor poked fun at America at the UK premiere of his new film tonight – for leaving his finest part on the cutting room floor.

McGregor is worried his raunchy new film, Young Adam, which includes a full frontal nude scene of himself, will not pass prudish sensors on the other side of the Atlantic.

McGregor said: “They are cutting me off in America. You can blow thousands of people’s heads off with a semi-automatic machine gun but you can’t show a picture of my willy.

“I believe they’re cutting the scene out.

“They’re a bit worried about willies in the States, they are a bit worried about seeing my old chap.

“It’s not something I am worried about terribly much.”

McGregor plays a ruthless, bed-hopping young drifter in a film described as shockingly dark and erotic, which includes violent sex scenes.

It has one infamous passage where McGregor erotically smothers co-star Emily Mortimer with custard and ketchup.

The film has received rave reviews at a one-off industry screening and scooped the best new British film award at the Edinburgh Film Festival earlier this year.

The 32-year-old Hollywood heart throb was accompanied to the film’s premier in Leicester Square, London by his wife, Ève.

McGregor added: “I think it is really good and it is an important film. I have always thought that film should reflect life. I am nude all the time at home.

“It’s a real hard-nosed film.”

Heavily pregnant Emily mortimer, whose baby is due in just two weeks, added: “Doing any of those scenes is a bit like going to the dentist, the run up to it, the anticipation is not very nice, but it’s not as bad when you actually do it.”

The film is based on a book by Scots author Alexander Trocchi, a debauched sex-crazed, drug addict who lived in 1950s Glasgow.

A rebel, exiled and addict Trocchi died of pneumonia in 1984 in London, after a colourful life.

Tilda Swinton, 42, plays the wife of barge owner Peter Mullan and has an affair with McGregor.

Cambridge-educated Swinton, who has acted alongside Leonardo DiCaprio in The Beach and Nicolas Cage in Adaptation added: “It felt like real life to me, not that that’s my life, but I felt it was about loneliness. It’s so important people realise we are all just humans, scared little animals.

“When you go into something you really want to do, you can’t worry what other people are going to say.”

Hundreds of film fans queued outside the cinema to get a glimpse of the stars.

Other celebrities who attended included Michael Sheen, who stars in Underworld with Kate Beckinsale and Jerry Butler from Tomb Raider and who has just secured the lead in a film version of Phantom of the Opera, opposite Minnie Driver.

Source: The Scotsman

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Thursday, September 18, 2003 // 10:21 p.m.


McGregor song mocks tragic heroes


Trainspotting star Ewan McGregor has recorded a song which raps the fast-living lifestyles of rock stars, it emerged today.

In the satirical rap song, the actor will mock famous people who died young such as rock stars Jimi Hendrix, Sid Vicious and Marc Bolan.

The song has been penned by avant garde composer Simon Boswell and attacks the hedonistic excesses of tragic stars, the Sunday Times reported.

The expletive-laden lyrics of the song refer to the line by Pete Townshend of The Who in the Song My Generation: “I hope I die before I get old”.

McGregor, who comes from Crieff, Perthshire, sings: “F*** Pete Townshend and the song that he sung / I don’t wanna die while I’m still young.”

The song continues: “Don’t wanna be Sid Vicious, be a c*** and OD / Or get it on like Marc Bolan, wrap my Mini round a tree / Don’t wanna take a jet and have some terrorist bomb it / Don’t wanna be like Jimi Hendrix and make a meal of my vomit.”

McGregor, who played a heroin addict in Trainspotting, also attacks The Doors singer Jim Morrison, Kurt Cobain and Hollywood star James Dean in the song.

Nirvana frontman Cobain, 27, was found dead by his wife Courtney Love in 1994 after he committed suicide using a shotgun.

Morrison died, also aged 27, from a heart attack in a bathtub in Paris in 1971 while Rebel Without A Cause star Dean died aged 24 in a California car crash in 1955.

In the rap song, McGregor sings: “Don’t wanna be Jim in the bath singing this is the end / Or James Dean in a Porsche saying ‘s*** here’s a bend’ / Don’t want my wife to be like Courtney, find my brains on the floor / Or be found hanging like a raincoat on the back of the door”.

The song, which also features British actor Ray Winstone and may also feature Hollywood star Kevin Spacey, is due to be released later this year.

Source: Irish Examiner

Thank you, Joy for this bizarre find!

While the above news item sounds totally far-fetched, the article was originally published in the London Times which should be a credible source.

The song’s composer, Simon Boswell, has a website which states:

Simon is also finishing his own album, Settling Old Scores, reassimilating some of his film scores into new forms which veer wildly between orchestral, pop and dance. The album features Ewan McGregor and Ian McCulloch (Echo and the Bunnymen) with drums and bass from Dave and Alex of Blur. The album will include ‘Time to Die’ the remixed version of the theme from Photographing Fairies as performed live at London’s Purcell Room in February, as part of the Tate Britain celebration of William Blake. ’Time to Die’ are Rutger Hauer’s dying words as a replicant in Bladerunner and a mumbled aside by Jimi Hendrix on Axis Bold as Love. ‘Desperate Town’ was originally written for the end titles of AmericanPerfekt; ‘In the Loft’ starts with the original theme to Shallow Grave and mutates into a dance remix with vocals by Ewan McGregor; ‘Vampires’ is a love song set to the theme of Hackers and ‘Tripping the Dark Fantastic’ is based on the music of Perdita Durango. The album was produced by Simon Boswell and Geoff Foster at Air Lyndhurst in London.

So… we’ll just have to wait and see!

Thanks to Perditum for the additional research!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Sunday, September 14, 2003 // 11:37 a.m.


Young Adam soundtrack review

Album Title: Lead Us Not Into Temptation: Music From the Film "Young Adam"
Producer(s): David Byrne
Label/Catalog Number: Thrill Jockey 133
Release Date: Sept. 2
Source: Billboard Magazine
Originally Reviewed: September 20, 2003

Mostly composed of obliquely lyrical chamber music, "Lead Us Not Into Temptation" is the album realization of David Byrne’s score to David Mackenzie’s film "Young Adam" (starring Ewan McGregor and Tilda Swinton). And by any judge, this is lovely chamber music indeed; the intimate, blue-hued arrangements are abstractly evocative, with aching, then arching string melodies. The urbane cover of jazz titan Charles Mingus’ raucous "Haitian Fight Song" seems incongruous here, even if it’s ideal for the film. But the main cues have a nicely haunting quality, and the hymn-like vocal tracks "Speechless" and, especially, "The Great Western Road" will please fans of the erstwhile Talking Head’s more pensive side. An Academy Award winner for his contribution to the score to "The Last Emperor," Byrne obviously has his soundtrack bona fides. Still, this disc’s instrumental invention does surprise. It’s one of the year’s dark-horse gems.—BB

Source: Billboard Magazine

Thank you Perditum for the heads up!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Sunday, September 14, 2003 // 11:31 a.m.


McGregor the brave

(Filed: 13/09/2003)

For his latest film Ewan McGregor has dropped his winsome, million-dollar grin to play a selfish, brooding, promiscuous drifter. And, by the way, he’s taken his clothes off again.

He spoke to Nigel Farndale

The restless, jiggling knee, the repetitive tapping of cigarette over ashtray, the way he keeps saying ’yeah, yeah’ - loudly, impatiently, running the words together - all give the impression that Ewan McGregor has been, somehow, overwound. He even strains forward in his seat, as though about to spring up for a quick lap of the room. He can, it seems, hardly contain himself, his energy, his confidence.

Perhaps this is how someone behaves when they are struggling to keep their ego in check - trying to come to terms with being, at the age of 32, an international film star who flies by private jet, earns £5 million a film and finds himself cast as the love object of characters played by, among others, Nicole Kidman, Cameron Diaz and Rachel Weisz. Actually, it’s a good question: how does Ewan McGregor keep his ego in check? ’I’m not sure I always do,’ he says with a Perthshire burr and a lupine grin. ’Perhaps I don’t.’

With his dimpled chin and wide blue eyes, he is good-looking, no question. But he hasn’t had the mole on his forehead removed, or his manly nose narrowed and prettified. And he doesn’t have expensive teeth, or Hollywood muscles. He is a lean, 5ft 10 1/2in and, if anything, in tank-top and white, snakeskin shoes, he looks a bit dorky today. Or perhaps natural is the word. And this may explain why he never had to go through a starving-in-a-garret period.

’No, I never starved. I wish I had had that, in a way. I’d have liked to have had the time to read the classics and reflect about things. But I was in such a rush. Such a rush. I was hungry for success. I really was.’

He landed his first starring role - in Dennis Potter’s television drama Lipstick on Your Collar - in 1993, shortly before graduating from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. Soon afterwards, aged 23, he won a leading role in Shallow Grave (1994), the acclaimed film directed by Danny Boyle. In Boyle’s next film, the even more acclaimed Trainspotting (1996), he shaved his head, shed two stone and was given the lead as a lovable junkie.

By then he was being talked of as the most exciting and dangerous British actor since Gary Oldman, the most versatile and subtle since Daniel Day-Lewis. A mixed bag of films followed - some charming, small and British, such as Brassed Off (1996), Little Voice (1998) and Rogue Trader (1999): others, well, with greater commercial appeal, such as Star Wars (The Phantom Menace, 1999, Attack of the Clones, 2002), and Moulin Rouge! (2001).

His latest two offerings, released this autumn, reflect his almost bizarre eclecticism. Down With Love, in which he co-stars with Renée Zellweger, is a frothy homage to the Rock Hudson/Doris Day romantic comedies of the 1960s. Young Adam, based on a novel by the Scottish existentialist writer Alexander Trocchi, is a dark, erotic thriller in the style of Hollywood films noirs of the 1940s and 1950s.

McGregor plays the anti-hero Joe, a selfish, brooding, promiscuous drifter who works on the canals around Glasgow. He emotes without words, seduces without feelings - the character he plays is so unsympathetic it was a struggle finding financiers to back the project. If it hadn’t been for McGregor’s persistent lobbying of the UK Film Council, the film wouldn’t have been made at all.

’It’s the story of a man’s moral decline,’ he says. ’That’s what attracted me to it. I felt it either had to be made authentically, without any compromises, or not made at all. I’m only interested in playing characters; playing someone who isn’t an all-out good guy doesn’t worry me. I like the film because it’s fucking edgy. It’s strong.

’There was a pressure to shoot a final scene where Joe walks towards a police station and hands himself in, but I wouldn’t do it because it would have made a mockery of the film. Young Adam wouldn’t have been made in Hollywood. They just don’t make films like this. They don’t.’

A leitmotif which runs through Ewan McGregor’s work, from the BBC costume drama Scarlet & Black (1993), his performance in Joe Orton’s What the Butler Saw at Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester, in 1994, and Peter Greenaway’s The Pillow Book (1996), to the glam rock film Velvet Goldmine (1998), is full-frontal nudity.

The actor is, it seems, very, very proud of his willy, as well he might be given that Elle magazine once described it as ’incredibly handsome’. I tell him that it almost came as a relief when the thing finally put an appearance in Young Adam - it meant that the audience could relax and concentrate on the story.

’Yes, thank goodness,’ he says with a laugh. ’The film wouldn’t have been right without it. I felt it was slightly underused.’

Being naked in public is, for most normal, vulnerable men, the stuff of anxiety dreams. Why is he so relaxed?

’I’m not blasé about it in everyday life, but on a set it doesn’t bother me. I like the idea very much. Being naked on set is like swimming naked - it makes you feel powerful.

’I think it adds to the realism of a film, because we are showing people’s private lives. Part of private life is nudity. It’s very effective if you have two actors lying naked on a bed having a chat. It makes their relationship very real if you glimpse their genitalia. It’s a short cut to making it clear that here are two people at ease with themselves, who are lovers.’

Does he blank out the film crew when doing a sex scene?

’No, I’m never aware of the crew anyway. You shouldn’t be. I could have a sound man lying under the bed and I wouldn’t notice him. My only concern when I’m doing a sex scene is that I don’t get my arsehole in shot, also that my penis doesn’t show when I’m supposed to be having sex with someone - because that would be a bit of a giveaway, wouldn’t it?’

But what if…? I raise my eyebrows. He grins.

’That doesn’t happen. Not sure why. Because it’s not real, I suppose.’ He shakes his head. ’Actually, it has happened to me. I’m not pretending there haven’t been moments.’

So how does he, um, cope?

’I just take a few moments. You know, the director says, "Let’s try that again," and I say, "No, give me ten seconds." It happened to me [with Alice Krige] on Scarlet & Black. I had to lie on top of her and because they wanted to see me and her naked, we couldn’t wear underwear. It was a bit awkward. I’ve heard that Stephen Fry taped his to his tummy for a love scene in Wilde. I wouldn’t fancy doing that. I mean, having to pull the tape off afterwards. Quite painful.’

I suspect that, in the age-old Hollywood tradition, film publicists encourage rumours about Ewan McGregor and his female co-stars, but they are without foundation. He married Eve Mavrakis, a French set designer and producer, when he was 24. They have two young daughters, Clara (seven), and Esther (nearly two), and the family always travels with him on location. For all his nonchalance about sex scenes, McGregor seems quite puritanical about sex, or at least depictions of sex in inappropriate contexts.

’Sex is so out-there these days,’ he says, his knee jigging up and down furiously. ’In every shite magazine. Magazines for 14-year-old girls in which they are told how to give a blow job. Fucking outrageous. I think it’s all wrong, seeing six-year-old kids with boob tubes and miniskirts. It’s wrong. Just wrong. I think their parents should have a fucking good look at what they are doing. Really, I do.’

Is it because he has daughters?

’Yes, perhaps. I probably feel more protective. I’m sure that is it.’

Were his parents broadminded about sex?

’I kind of left school before I started, so I wasn’t having sex aged 14. Once I’d left home I’d left home, so I didn’t have to bother my parents with it.’

He and his elder brother, Colin, were raised in the small town of Crieff, in Perthshire. They attended Crieff and Morrison Academy, a public school where their father, Jim, was the games master; their mother, Carol, is also a teacher, of special needs children in Dundee. The young Ewan was regularly hauled before the headmaster for antisocial behaviour, and he now thinks he felt depressed at school because he found it hard to live up to his brother.

’There was some sibling rivalry, I guess. Not fighting as such. But, well, Colin was academic and sporting, you know, captain of the rugby and cricket teams, and those were the most important things at our school. Music and artistic studies, the things I was interested in, were deemed wasters’ activities. Copping out. We are different in every way.’

His uncle, Denis Lawson, the actor best known for Local Hero (1983), would visit Crieff from London. Often dressed in flares and an Afghan coat, he would leave a trail of glamour in his wake. Does McGregor think he would have become an actor if he hadn’t had a cool uncle making a big impression on him as a teenager?

’I think I would have been drawn to music and art. I was in the school pipe band and the choir [McGregor has Grade 7 French horn.] ’I also became the drummer in a school band. I wanted people to call me Bones. No one did. I can see now I was wanting to perform. Ever since I was tiny I would mime to songs at my parents’ parties, aged four or five, putting on a show. I had a huge hankering for old films at the weekend on BBC2, anything black and white and romantic.

’And pantomimes were hugely erotic experiences - I always became sexually excited about the principal boy, who was a woman in fishnets. Does that sound dodgy? I would fall in love with her during the performance and dream about her when I got home that night.’

McGregor left school at 16, joined the Perth Repertory Theatre and then enrolled on a one-year drama course at Kirkcaldy College of Technology. The theatre must have seemed a bohemian place compared to tweedy Crieff.

’Rep was quite bohemian, yes, but I was too young to realise. I was rather shocked because I came from a tiny town. I met a gay man for the first time, also the first couple having an [extramarital] affair. I was going, "Fucking hell, what is going on? Does his wife know?"

I did get swept along a little in the high campery, the "darling" thing. It was the world I had secretly always wanted to be in. There is a magic to theatre. You don’t want to find out the actors are real people. You don’t want to meet them in real life. When I take my eldest daughter to shows I often get asked backstage, and it’s a shame because I don’t want to be rude and not go and say hello, but I also don’t want to shatter the illusion and mystery for my daughter. Already she knows how it all works because she has been on film sets. She has seen how much of it is an illusion. Believe me, as one who has appeared in Star Wars, which has the most acting to a bit of tape on a stick in history, I know all about the illusion side of it.’

How much of an illusion was it when his character took heroin in Trainspotting? Had he actually tried the stuff in real life?

’I don’t know what it feels like to shoot smack because I’ve never done it, but I do know what someone looks like when they do it, because I watched a lot of people who did. At one point I did discuss trying it. I thought me and Danny should do it together and John [Hodge, who wrote the screenplay], being a doctor, should administer it, to make sure we didn’t die.

’We thought it should be done properly in a hotel room. Then we started working with heroin addicts and I just thought it would be hugely disrespectful to do it. I’m glad I didn’t. I don’t think it would have helped bring depth to the performance, but it would have been an excuse to try it.’

Has he ever caught himself using his actorly gifts, the skills of the illusionist, to manipulate people off-screen?

’I’m sure I did in my youth, but you learn to be truer to yourself as you get older. It never made me feel good about myself so I wouldn’t do that now. If you are acting in an everyday situation to get your own way, you are lying to the people around you. If you want to be straight with your wife, it’s better to say: "I just don’t want to change that nappy," or whatever, rather than to lie.

’But I don’t mind changing nappies. I changed Clara’s more than I change Esther’s. I don’t know why that is. It’s not that I am repelled by the dirty nappies. Maybe I’m just lazy. Maybe I’m lazy in that respect. There is an element of me seeing myself as the breadwinner.

’Eve brings other things to the marriage. She is a much better organiser than me, for instance. We’ve just been on location for five months [in Alabama, filming Big Fish, directed by Tim Burton] and she is the only one who can get all the arrangements right for moving a family for that long. If it was left to me, we would get there and not have anything we needed.’

He uses the tip of the Marlboro he has just finished to light up another one.

’Five months would have seemed a lot longer if they hadn’t been there with me. It would have been unbearable. I have a great family and I am at my happiest when I am with them.’

After Alabama McGregor went to Australia to work on the next Star Wars film. He and his family have not spent much time at home in Belsize Park in London this year - or indeed in the past five years. I ask McGregor if he has considered sending his children to boarding school when they are older, if only to give them some stability?

’Definitely not. They will have to change schools if I am away on location. That will be much better for them. I can’t see any benefit in being separated from your parents.’ (In part, McGregor’s policy of always taking his family with him on location was prompted by a near-fatal illness Clara suffered as a baby. She spent three weeks in hospital with meningitis. McGregor flew back from America where he had been appearing in an episode of ER. ’I was shaken by that experience,’ he says.)

One of his recent films, Black Hawk Down (2002), filmed on location in Morocco, is said to be a personal favourite of President Bush. It has gritty action scenes and, to prepare for his role, McGregor trained with the US Rangers, something he revelled in. Has he ever fantasised about being a manly soldier rather than an effete actor? He laughs.

’Yeah, yeah, whenever we watched the war coverage from Iraq my wife had to keep reminding me that I’m not a soldier. I did go through a period of thinking acting was a stupid thing to do, but that may have had more to do with a feeling I had at the time that I was stupid.’

He flicks ash from his cigarette, and misses the ashtray.

’My brother is a fighter pilot in the RAF and I’m an actor. You can’t think of two more diverse professions. We are close, though. I love him very much. He took me up in his Tornado once, we did a lap of Scotland, and I’ve never experienced anything like it in my life.

’The hatch closed and I could just see a slither of my brother’s helmet as we were taxi-ing down the runway and I felt such pride. He’s seen all my work and I’d never seen his. He was doing such a manly thing, a proper job for a man. He fucking flies at 500 miles an hour 200ft above the ground. Incredible. Whereas I wear make-up for a living.’

Tellingly, McGregor likes to test his courage on his motorbikes, namely a powerful Ducati 748 SP.

’It’s truly my passion, my real passion. From the moment I first rode on a race track something happened. The bike leapt ahead. It was so exhilarating. Made me feel more alive.’

Is it that he appreciates not being cosseted and mollycoddled by over-anxious film executives for a few hours when on the track?

’Yes, you have complete control of the machine and where you go. No one can bother you. I don’t wear a phone piece in my helmet. There’s something that happens on long journeys. I love it. It represents independence for me. You are making your own decisions on a bike, and, as an actor, when you’re working, your decisions are made for you. You are met by drivers and your breakfast is always waiting for you, just as you like it, and you have people telling you when you have to go where.’

Sounds like a hard life. He laughs.

’I know, I know, poor me. And before Christmas I had to have a four-month holiday.’

I ask what happens when he bumps into old friends, who don’t fly by private jet and get paid to kiss Nicole Kidman. Do they smile the frozen smile and mutter "jammy bastard" under their breath when he leaves? ’I think it’s "fucker" they mutter. "Jammy fucker." I suppose it’s hard, oh God, this is going to sound crap, I suppose your real friends aren’t affected by it.

’But that can’t be true. Everybody is. It’s hard. Going back to Crieff, going back to the pub, I don’t do that any more. I wish I could but…’ He laughs. ’Yeah, yeah, I know what you’re thinking. I’ll shut up now.’ l

Source: telegraph.co.uk

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Sunday, September 14, 2003 // 11:17 a.m.


Down With Love DVD preview

The Stats:

Fox // PG-13 // $27.98 // Release date: October 7, 2003
Review by Jason Bovberg | posted September 9, 2003

How’s it look?

Fox presents Down With Love in a wildly colorful anamorphic-widescreen transfer of the film’s original 2.35:1 theatrical presentation. I was impressed by the level of fine detail here, but the biggest challenge of this transfer is the way it handles the film’s saturated color palette—it does so with verve. Perhaps a little too much verve. The deep, vivid colors—which have been digitally color-timed—have created something of an artificial monster.

In some places, the image itself seems so saturated with itself that it’s muddy. Blacks are a bit too deep, giving the film a too-dark look at times. And watch those opening credits, which are all primary colors and snazzy, dancing titles. The expanses of color are alive with compression artifacts. However, as the film went on, I noticed no artifacting, and only the slightest traces of edge enhancement.

How’s it sound?

The disc’s Dolby Digital 5.1 track is quite immersive. The soundfield is as alive as the image, offering fluid ambience, particularly with the score. Surround channels are quite active with music. The front soundstage is also wide, providing good directional dialog with character movement. And the dialog itself is clear and free of distortion.

What else is there?

Fox has put together a pretty thorough special edition for Down With Love. The extras span the supplement spectrum, offering an extensive but curiously fluffy behind-the-scenes peek at the making of this unusual film.

First up is an Audio Commentary by Director Peyton Reed. This guy gives good commentary, as he did for Bring It On. I enjoyed this commentary more than I enjoyed the film. He has an infectious exuberance as he talks nonstop about his lofty goals for making the film. He talks about how intensely he studies those 60s sex comedies, and he scores points with DVD geeks by saying that he purposefully shot wide 2.35:1 compositions, not caring about any eventual pan-n-scan hackjob.

The "Here’s to Love" Original Network TV Performance is a full-frame presentation of the likeable musical number that McGregor and Zellweger perform over the end credits.

The "Down With Love" Deleted Scenes are 5 scenes, totaling 5 minutes, and they add up to very little. You can choose to view them with commentary by Reed

"Guess My Game" Featuring Celebrity Mystery Guest Barbara Novak – Original Network Broadcast is exactly what you think it might be—the full-frame presentation of the television talk show that Novak appears on in the fil

"Down With Love" Hair and Wardrobe Tests is a 90-second look at David Hyde Pierce, Ewan McGregor, and Renée Zellweger trying on costumes. This materially is essentially repeated in the later HBO Special, so you can skip this one with no regrets

"Down With Love" Blooper Reel is actually an entertaining collection of flub and goofs involving the principal actors. It’s surprisingly lengthy and will make you laugh. You can definitely tell that they had fun on this set.

Next is a section called the "Down With Love" Documentaries, a collection of six tiny featurettes. (To call these little trifles "documentaries" is something of a joke, but they are educational.) First, On "Location" With "Down With Love" (3 minutes) talks about the film’s impressive digital-matte work. Second, Creating the World of "Down With Love" (3 minutes) covers the 60s style that’s been re-imagined as though through a movie of the time period. Third, The Costumes of "Down With Love" (2 minutes) talks about the film’s outrageous attention to costume detail. Fourth, The Swingin’ Sounds of "Down With Love" (2 minutes) covers the scoring by Marc Shaiman. Fifth, "Down With Love," Up With Tony Randall (2 minutes) talks about how much of a 60s icon Tony Randall was and how honored the cast and crew are to have him in this film. Sixth, "Down With Love"—Split Decisions (2 minutes) is a look at the split-screen techniques used to comic effect in the film.

The 12-minute HBO Special is a fluffy, ADD-paced promotional piece.

The "Down With Love" Testimonial is a 30-second fake advertisement for Barbara Novak’s magazine Now.

Finally, the Music Promo Spot is a soundtrack advertisement.

Source: DVD Talk

Thank you Ewan Rocks Webmistress for the heads up!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Wednesday, September 10, 2003 // 09:59 p.m.


Better hunt those film festivals if you live in North America and want to see this film uncensored!

Ewan faces the snip

By Baz Bamigboye, Daily Mail
Friday, Sep 5th

Ewan McGregor is facing the chop… and it’s going to be painful. Those shy and retiring American film censors are insisting that a fullfrontal shot of Ewan in the award-winning film Young Adam must go under the knife.

In the scene, he and actress Tilda Swinton are seen in bed, and ever-ready Ewan gives us a flash of his most intimate private part. But it has to go.

Sony Classics, who are releasing the film in the U.S., have been in discussions with the film’s acclaimed director David Mackenzie and producer Jeremy Thomas about down-sizing Ewan’s moment of full glory - or chopping it altogether.

The movie, based on Alexander Trocchi’s 1950s exploration of existentialism, tells the story of a drifter who finds work on a barge in Glasgow but runs into trouble as a result of his dalliances with two women, played by Ms Swinton and Emily Mortimer.

As Ewan told me on the set: ’There’s a lot of sex in this film.’ But, importantly, Mackenzie and his cast never romanticise it. In keeping with the story, the sexual situations are gritty and raw - and the performances are sublime.

The movie opens in Britain on September 26, and audiences will get to see the scenes being kept from Americans. No one complained when Young Adam was screened at the Cannes and Edinburgh film festivals.

Producer Thomas also faces problems with another film, Bernardo Bertolucci’s brilliant The Dreamers. That picture contains very explicit sex and the puritanical Americans want, as Bertolucci put it, ’to mutilate the film’.

European cultural sensibilities are more liberal. The film has been cleared by British censors uncut as the work of art that it is.

Source: femail.co.uk

Thank you Mary for the heads up!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Friday, September 5, 2003 // 07:44 a.m.


Ewan in Toronto next week?

Vanity Fair and the Holt Renfrew retail store celebrate editor Graydon Carter during the Toronto Film Festival September 9. An entire street will be closed for this exclusive, red-carpet, "Oscar-style" bash. The guest list already reads like VF’s famous Mortons party -- Nicole Kidman, Ewan McGregor, Nicolas Cage, Meg Ryan, Gina Gershon, Val Kilmer and Chloe Sevigny. More and more films are being made in Canada, so it’s about time our northern friends partied like the movie Mecca they are!

Source: PlanetOut

Thank you Mary for the heads up!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Thursday, September 4, 2003 // 07:30 a.m.


Young Adam picked up by Sony Picture Classics for distribution

September 1, 2003


Sexual entanglements that complicate and ruin lives could also be found in David Mackenzie’s jabbing, intense noir "Young Adam," which was such a surprise it was not even on the schedule, something it shared with a handful of other feature films. But "Young Adam" was also a rarity of a different sort: it was announced as a new acquisition by Sony Picture Classics during Telluride.


Source: New York Times

Thank you Ellie for the heads up!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Monday, September 1, 2003 // 10:10 a.m.


From the "not again!" department:

Tim Burton’s ’Big Fish’ Out of November Waters

Wed August 27, 2003 10:01 PM ET
By Gregg Kilday

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - Director Tim Burton’s new film "Big Fish," about a man coming to terms with his dying father, is being held back from wide release by two months to give the marketing campaign more time.

The film had originally been set for a wide release Nov. 26 to take advantage of the Thanksgiving holiday, but Sony Pictures now plans a platform release in New York, Los Angeles and Toronto beginning Dec. 18. It will eventually go into wide release in 2,500 theaters Jan. 23.

"We’re tweaking our original plan," said Jeff Blake, president of worldwide marketing and distribution at the Sony’s Columbia TriStar Motion Picture Group.

"When we took an early look at the film, we couldn’t be more excited, and at the end of the day, we wanted to do what was right for the picture. This way, we’ll have lots of time to screen the film in its completed state and have all the time we need to market it properly."

"Big Fish," reportedly eyed at one stage as a vehicle for Steven Spielberg to direct, stars Billy Crudup and Albert Finney. Burton’s recent films include "Planet of the Apes" (2001) and "Sleepy Hollow" (1999).

Sony’s holiday schedule also includes the wide releases of "Radio," starring Cuba Gooding Jr. and Ed Harris, on Nov. 31; "Something’s Gotta Give," starring Jack Nicholson and Diane Keaton, on Dec. 12; and "Mona Lisa Smile," starring Julia Roberts, on Dec. 19. In addition, Sony will introduce "The Missing," starring Tommy Lee Jones and Cate Blanchett, with a platform release Dec. 10 and a wide expansion Jan. 9.

Because "Fish" bows on a Thursday, it will be sandwiched between the scheduled Dec. 17 opening of New Line Cinema’s "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King" the day before and "Mona Lisa Smile" the day after.

Source: Reuters

Thank you Mary for the heads up!

Brilliant move by Sony. Down With Love got killed at the box office because it came out at the same time as four other blockbusters. Now they’re releasing Big Fish against a huge blockbuster. Where are their heads?!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Wednesday, August 27, 2003 // 10:59 p.m.


Moustaches may be ’uncool’ but they will be making milk sexy

Tue 26 Aug 2003 SHARON WARD

SCOTLAND’S dairy industry is to introduce an advertising campaign this autumn, based on the successful American "milk moustache" initiative.

By using a host of famous faces from the world of pop, sport, film and TV, they are hoping to make milk-drinking among Scots sexy.

Famous names in the frame for the campaign include Ewan McGregor, Sir Sean Connery, Sharleen Spiteri and Rod Stewart, but the Glasgow-based ad agency, Merle, is determined to add celebrities from outwith Scotland to develop their £500,000 campaign.

In America, stars who sported the famous milk moustache have included Britney Spears, Nelly, Naomi Campbell, Angelina Jolie, the Hulk and Serena and Venus Williams.

The organisers of the Scottish campaign are promising some big UK stars when the new campaign launches in September, but say it will be peppered with some dry Scottish humour.

Sandy Wilkie, the chairman of the Scottish Dairy Marketing Company, said: "The American Got Milk campaign has been a fantastic success, not only in the United States but all over the world, with the milk moustache becoming an icon in itself.

"But while the US campaign has worked tremendously well in its current form, we’re really looking to put our own distinctive slant on it by injecting some of the tongue-in-cheek humour Scots are famous for."

The celebrity photographer Annie Leibowitz captured most of the images for the US campaign, and ads were featured in Vogue and Vanity Fair.

While shooting rockers Eddy and Alex van Halen, Alex poured an entire milkshake over his head, and this was used to front the campaign.

The US adverts also featured film director Spike Lee, Mike Myers as Austin Powers and magician David Copperfield.

The Scottish effort is a joint initiative between the Scottish dairy industry and the Milk Development Agency.

The lead slogan will be "The White Stuff Milk Moustache", following in the footsteps of the American "Got Milk" campaign - which led to an increase in milk sales.

Mr Wilkie added: "We have been lucky enough to secure support from some fantastic names from the world of showbiz and sport.

"While I am not at liberty to disclose them at this stage, I can promise that the campaign will really have something for everyone, from mums and kids to dads and grandads."

The campaign has a serious aim, not just to increase sales, but to highlight the health benefits of milk, with selected ads carrying specific messages regarding the calcium and vitamin A benefits of the product.

Mr Wilkie said: "While the celebrities will add a sense of fun to the campaign, there is obviously a serious message to get across here as well, and we believe that will be best achieved by the use of such humour. With one of the highest rates of fat consumption in Europe, there is certainly a job to be done educating Scots about the importance of looking after your body, and while we are aware that this will not take place overnight, we hope the campaign will help start to achieve a real difference on people’s consumption habits."

The rise of the controversial Atkins Diet, which does not allow the consumption of milk, has also had an impact on sales.

The consumption of milk and cream, including whole and skimmed milk, fell by 7 per cent in 2001-02, according to a government-backed study of eating habits released in April.

Jill Eisberg, the chief executive of the Dairy Council, said: "We are aware milk consumption is down. We think there is a general misconception about the fat content of milk, and this is turning people away."

She added: "Young women who embark upon dairy-free diets, because they wrongly perceive milk to be high in fat, risk problems with bone health later in life, because they may not be consuming sufficient calcium."

Source: The Scotsman

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Tuesday, August 26, 2003 // 07:34 a.m.


Ewan’s lightsaber

Ewan McGregor is taking a piece of the Star Wars world with him after filming the last episode of the blockbuster epic. The Scot has asked to keep the lightsaber prop he wields as Obi-Wan Kenobi. An insider said: "Ewan has already told George Lucas. He wants something to pass down to his grandchildren."

Source: The Daily Record

Thank you xcbug for the heads up!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Monday, August 25, 2003 // 09:38 p.m.


’Young Adam’ Tops at Edinburgh Film Fest

Sun August 24, 2003 08:01 PM ET
By Ray Bennett

EDINBURGH, Scotland (Hollywood Reporter) - "Young Adam," an erotic thriller starring Ewan McGregor and Tilda Swinton, was named best new British feature at the Edinburgh International Film Festival Sunday.

The unanimous jury decision cited "outstanding craftsmanship, high-quality screenwriting and the understated intensity of the performances." Swinton accepted the award for director David McKenzie’s Cannes favorite.

Director Alison Peebles’ "AfterLife," a low-budget drama about a young woman (Paula Sage) with Down’s syndrome whose mother has terminal cancer, won the audience award.

The new director Award went to Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini for "American Splendor." The film’s subject, Harvey Pekar, and Paul Giamatti, who played Pekar in "Splendor," accepted.

Other winners included "She Toon: City of Bingo" (short documentary), "Love Me or Leave Me Alone," (best British short film); "Small Avalanches" (Sma Skred) (European Short Film Award); "Spiritual Rampage," (special commendation); "Pullin’ the Devil by the Tail," (new British animation).

Reuters/Hollywood Reporter

Source: Reuters

Thank you Athenia for the heads up!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Monday, August 25, 2003 // 07:31 a.m.


Young Adam will be shown at upcoming film festivals

Young Adam will be shown at the upcoming New York Film Festival. The festival runs from October 4-20 and is open to the public.

Source: New York Film Festival

Young Adam is also set to be shown at the Toronto Film Festival, where it will have it’s North American premiere. That festival runs from September 4-14. Ewan is expected to attend the Toronto Film Festival if his filming schedule permits. It’s also quite possible he may be available to attend the New York Film Festival, where Young Adam will have it’s U.S. premiere, as he’ll be in New York for the filming of Stay.

Source: Toronto Film Festival

Posted by ewanspotting.com on Monday, August 18, 2003 // 12:53 p.m.


Young Adam review

You can hear a review of Young Adam at BBC Radio 4’s Saturday Review by clicking here. The review contains spoilers.

The review begins about 2:18 into the show. You get to hear a big chunk of dialogue from Ewan right at the beginning.

The link above may not work after next Saturday. However, by going to the programme’s web site, you may find a link to it.

Thank you Perditum for the heads up!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Sunday, August 17, 2003 // 03:06 p.m.


McGregor to miss premiere

Wed 13 Aug 2003

Ewan McGregor will not be attending the UK première of his latest film, Young Adam, in Edinburgh tonight, it has been confirmed.

Staff at the UGC cinema in Fountainpark, where the British première will be held, say they have been swamped with fans desperate to catch a glimpse of the actor.

But McGregor is currently filming the latest Star Wars epic abroad and has been refused permission by George Lucas to head home to Scotland for the event.

A spokeswoman for the International Film Festival said: "Ewan couldn’t make it to the premiere because George Lucas couldn’t give him the time off from the new Star Wars film.

"He is very disappointed not to be going."

Source: The Scotsman

Thank you Mary for the heads up!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Wednesday, August 13, 2003 // 07:47 a.m.


Erotic Revelations and Motorbikin’

Erotic Revelations:

Having a chinwag with The Independent, Ewan McGregor shared (perhaps a little too much) information on filming Young Adam’s steamier scenes. "In the same way that in Moulin Rouge we were using music to tell the story, here we were telling the story through sex. We were intent on pushing the sex as far as we could go into an area that was really realistic for the audience so it wasn’t movie sex any more but it was sex like we all have sex, where you don’t always come together…which in my experience is the case. I had never met Emily [Mortimer] before. I had been rehearsing all morning with Tilda [Swinton], then Emily arrived. We were introduced and maybe an hour later, I remember I was telling her, ’OK, I’ll pull you up by the hips like this and kneel up behind you and take you from behind’…whereas that would be a really weird thing to do with someone you met on the street, it is your job as an actor." Indeed.


And speaking of everyone’s favourite Jedi, Ewan has been given a talking-to by studio heads on the set of Episode III for riding his motorbike to work. Seems the insurance bods at the Fox Studios in Australia aren’t too happy that Ewan’s been taking this unconventional form of transport to the set every day and would prefer him to be like any other star and take the chauffered limo instead.

Source: Empire Online

Thank you Mary for the heads up!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Friday, Saturday, August 9, 2003 // 08:55 a.m.


Young Adam trailer online

Well, maybe not right away. You have to register to see the Young Adam trailer, but it’s free, and it’s DEFINITELY worth it!


Thank you Kate for the heads up!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Thursday, August 7, 2003 // 02:17 p.m.


Ewan’s celluloid playboy

7 August 2003

Ewan McGregor and his wife Ève in Sydney. Picture: Chris Pavlich

HIS playboy character, Catcher Block is like "James Bond without the espionage" - and he loved every minute of creating him.

Ewan McGregor’s new movie Down with Love premiered in Sydney last night, with hundreds of fans turning up to meet the bearded one. (Audio: Ewan McGregor in Sydney)

"[It gave me] the chance to be a bit like my kind of movie heroes from that era," he said from the red carpet.

"I was kind of playing a movie star playing Catcher Block, it was good fun."

His wife, Ève Mavrakis, was a bit more revealing - saying there were some similarities between her husband and his character.

"He’s very seductive and he’s romantic," she said.

In Sydney filming the final Star Wars episode, McGregor, 32, stressed how much he enjoyed acting opposite his Down with Love co-star, Renée Zellweger.

"She’s fantastic, she’s a diamond, I enjoyed working with her very much and I’d like to work with her again," he said.

He is halfway through filming Star Wars.

"It’s going very well … I’ll be looking forward to shaving this puppy off," he said while caressing the beard he wears to play Obi Wan Kenobi.

The Scottish star has spent a great deal of time in Sydney with the Star Wars films plus Moulin Rouge - and he has been getting out and about.

"I go to quite a lot of theatre here in Sydney as I like it very much, there’s a really good spirit in the young theatre and some of the smaller theatre is fantastic," he said.

At the premiere were BB’s Patrick, Wayne Cooper and Sarah Marsh, The Block’s Fiona and Adam, Rove McManus and Belinda Emmett.

Source: Herald Sun

Thank you Mary for the heads up!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Thursday, August 7, 2003 // 11:21 a.m.


Ewan McGregor: The force in me

He may be a Hollywood star, but McGregor would like to get a few things straight. He’s not fabulously wealthy. He doesn’t have perfect sex. And, he tells Geoffrey MacNab, playing a drifter in the Scottish drama Young Adam gave him more job satisfaction than Obi-Wan Kenobi ever could.

01 August 2003

Thanks to Star Wars commitments, Ewan McGregor won’t make it to this month’s British premiere of Young Adam (the opening film at the Edinburgh Film Festival), but he gives every impression that he’d far rather be back home in Scotland, supporting a film he ranks among his finest, than down under in Sydney, playing Obi-Wan Kenobi for the third time. "I’m delighted to be in the Star Wars films," he says, with little seeming conviction. He doesn’t even bother to hide his frustration at being required to spend another four months acting "into thin air" for George Lucas. He confides that the special effects are so demanding and time-consuming that there’s little opportunity for improvisation or, indeed, performing with another human being. Only the action sequences stave away the boredom.

"There’ll be quite a lot of fighting in the film and I always enjoy that," he admitted shortly before he set off for Australia. Shooting was only a few weeks away but he hadn’t yet been shown the screenplay, quite an irony considering how much emphasis he claims to place on "good writing" when choosing new projects. "I imagine it [the Star Wars series] has got to resolve itself with me and Hayden Christensen [who plays Anakin Skywalker] having some big, kick-off fight."

It’s intriguing to watch McGregor around journalists. One day, he’ll look like Barry Sheene in his biker gear, roaring up on a Ducati (he has recently narrated a noisy, riproaring documentary about the Moto Grand Prix circuit called - appropriately enough - Faster), the next he’s in thoughtful and introspective groove as he explains just how he set about playing Joe, the existentialist drifter, in Young Adam. The contrast is revealing. Arguably, McGregor’s appeal as a movie star lies precisely in this clash of opposites: scrape away at the exuberant jack-the-lad persona he so often adopts and you’ll find the thoughtful, sensitive character actor lurking somewhere beneath the leathers.

"This is possibly the most introverted and complicated part that I have ever played," McGregor declares of his role in Young Adam, sounding like a surgeon who has just completed a tricky operation. Joe is certainly a quieter and more inscrutable presence than, say, the extrovert skag boy Renton in Trainspotting. Still, director David Mackenzie throws in plentiful close-ups which could easily have allowed his lead actor to strike Chet Baker-like poses, preen himself and look affectedly moody for the cameras. To his credit, McGregor avoids such narcissistic mannerisms, instead attempting to reveal the character in his full, unlikeable perversity. "I didn’t want just to do my outsider guy," he says. "I didn’t want to do my version of Paul Newman and his outsider guy. I wanted to try to understand Joe as best I could."

Joe is a restless and mercurial figure whose behaviour is impossible to predict. He’ll rescue a little kid from drowning in the canal, but a few minutes later, we’ll see him cuckolding the kid’s father (ostensibly his best friend). He always seems at one remove from his own life. Whether he’s sitting in court, watching an innocent man being condemned, or plucking a dead woman from the water, or surreptitiously stroking the legs of Ella (Tilda Swinton) under the table, he keeps his emotions in check. McGregor admits that even he didn’t always understand what motivated him. ("There was a day in rehearsal when I thought I’m just not going to be able to do it.") In the end, he simply accepted that there was an ambiguity to Joe that couldn’t be explained away.

For once, the actor didn’t have his family on set with him. Away from the cameras, he spent as much time as he could on his own. "Normally I don’t do that kind of thing, but I did feel leading up to this that being solitary would be a great help…I think this would have been a difficult film to be going home from on a daily basis."

Young Adam boasts some very graphic sex sequences. McGregor, who watched Bertolucci’s Last Tango In Paris in preparation for the movie, insists that these were never exploitative or prurient, but can’t help chuckling loudly when he describes them. "The sex was such an essential part of the story," he explains. "In the same way that in Moulin Rouge we were using music to tell the story, here we were telling the story through sex…we were intent on pushing the sex as far as we could go into an area that was really realistic for the audience so it wasn’t movie sex any more but it was sex like we all have sex, where you don’t always come together…which in my experience is the case."

In the already notorious "custard sex scene" with Cathy (Emily Mortimer), what starts as a domestic squabble quickly degenerates into sexual violence. Disconcertingly, the scene veers wildly in tone. There’s a tenderness and morbid humour at play here which undercuts the brutality. The actors started working on the scene on the very first morning they were on set together. "It was an extraordinary scene to play," McGregor remembers. "Emily and I played it from start to finish in all the takes, almost like we were on stage. I had never met Emily before. I had been rehearsing all morning with Tilda [Swinton]. Then Emily arrived. We were introduced and maybe an hour later, I remember I was telling her, ’OK, I’ll pull you up by the hips like this and kneel up behind you and take you from behind’…whereas that would be a really weird thing to do with someone you met on the street, it is your job as an actor."

"Fun is not the word, but it was not traumatising at all," Mortimer recalls. "We both got on well and trusted each other and we knew we were doing something ’out there’, something odd and shocking, which was exciting." The scene, she argues, is crucial to the movie. "The ambiguity of it really appealed to me. Relationships that are very sexual are often ambiguous in this way. Sex itself is…it’s halfway between extreme tenderness and some sort of violence." As she points out, this "extraordinarily chaotic and violent sex act" yields the "one true moment of emotional closeness" in a film in which the lead character otherwise seems incapable of expressing real feelings.

That’s not a problem that McGregor shares. No interview with the 32-year-old Scottish actor on the subject of Young Adam is ever complete without his issuing a few more angry broadsides in the direction of the British financiers who made the movie such a struggle to complete. A private investor pulled out shortly before shooting was due to begin, thereby leaving the producer Jeremy Thomas (The Last Emperor, Crash) in a desperate scramble for finance. "People in Britain who are responsible for funding British work were quite prepared for this film not to be made," McGregor fulminates, taking yet another pop at the movie’s eventual (and seemingly reluctant) backers, the UK Film Council. "The reason I was given was that the film wouldn’t make its money back, but I think we’re just about to prove them wrong on that front."

Couldn’t he have made up the shortfall himself? "I didn’t have £1.8m to put in," he protests, adding that it isn’t Jeremy Thomas’s style to ask actors to cough up money for the movies they are about to appear in. Besides, he’s not as rich as folks think. "Had I had pots of cash lying around, I would have suggested it myself, but contrary to The Sunday Times Magazine, I don’t."

The film was postponed, but McGregor lobbied furiously on its behalf until the budget was finally re-raised. "They [the Film Council] buckled and gave us the money in the end. I hope they’re glad that they did because this is a very important film for Britain."

To the outside observer, McGregor’s credentials as a champion of low-budget, independent British cinema may seem slightly compromised by his own frequent forays to Hollywood, but his passion for films "made for British people and about Britain" is self-evident. He rages against movies "pandering to the States, set in Britain and yet about American culture and not really making sense to anyone." Young directors, he suggests, should take films like Young Adam and Shallow Grave as their inspiration. He believes in the old adage that the more specific a film’s setting, the more universal its appeal.

McGregor himself was brought up in Crieff, a small, sleepy Perthshire town which no longer even has its own cinema. Privately educated at Morrison’s Academy, the son of teachers, he comes from a very different background to Renton, Begbie and co in Trainspotting, the film which made him an international name, or Alexander Trocchi, the renegade heroin-addict writer of Young Adam. Speaking about Trocchi, he sounds surprisingly censorious, calling him "a miserable bastard" and decrying the way he treated his family.

He seems to have doubts about Renton, too. Whether he’ll repeat the role in the movie version of Porno, Irvine Welsh’s follow-up to Trainspotting, remains to be seen. He doesn’t rate the novel as highly as its predecessor ("it’s the same story, there’s nothing new in there other than lots of pornography") but will wait to read the screenplay before making up his mind.

In the meantime, he’s shortly to be seen in Down With Love, a sex comedy in the Rock Hudson-Doris Day vein set in early 1960s New York. He plays louche, debonair magazine journalist, Catcher Block, "man’s man, ladies’ man, man about town." The first time we see him, he hoves into view dangling from the ladder of a helicopter, dressed in a white tuxedo and sunglasses. (He is on his way back from a night on the town.) Catcher has a bachelor pad, full of gadgets to help him seduce air hostesses. Renée Zellweger is the prim New England feminist author whom he is determined to make fall in love with him. Shot in eye-popping day-glo colours (with pinks and yellows to the fore), this is a very kitsch affair indeed, and McGregor tackles his role with commendable, self-parodic zest. Only his very tepid duet with Zellweger over the closing credits falls flat. "I don’t know if [the film] is campy," McGregor says with comic defensiveness, when asked if he’s following in Rock Hudson’s footsteps, "but it’s absolutely in the style of those 1960s sex comedies with mad colours, very obvious movie sets and shot entirely in the sound stages of Hollywood with back projection. But yeah," he shrugs, "that song is a bit syrupy."

He plays the younger version of the Albert Finney character in Tim Burton’s father and son drama, Big Fish, and may also appear in Jodie Foster’s Flora Plum, a Depression-era yarn about the relationship between a circus freak (his role, apparently) and a young orphan girl. He is attached to several other projects including Marc Forster’s Stay (about a therapist at an Ivy League college trying to stop a student committing suicide), but for the next few weeks, he is stuck in Lucas-land playing Obi-Wan Kenobi for one last time in what he refers to as "a small art house film called Episode 3." Is he fed up with Star Wars? That’s a question he refuses to answer. "It’s a technically difficult film to make," he says diplomatically, then falls silent.

’Young Adam’ opens in the UK on 26 September, ’Down With Love’ on 3 October

Source: The Independent

Thank you keroppi for the heads up!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Friday, August 1, 2003 // 07:20 a.m.


Sex, Death and Custard:

27 July 2003
Exclusive: By Peter Ross

Just three ingredients that make up Young Adam. Ahead of the film’s UK premiere in Edinburgh, stars Ewan McGregor, Emily Mortimer and Tilda Swinton and director David Mackenzie reveal how they made the Britflick of the year.

How do you make a film adaptation of a novel by a noted pornographer and junkie, in which the leading British heartthrob of the day plays a callous, callow sex addict who may or may not have murdered his girlfriend? The answer is twofold: you make it with great difficulty, and you make it in Dumbarton.

In May last year, Ewan McGregor and the rest of the cast of Young Adam decamped to the ancient Scottish town to make the movie which, after a long and complicated birth, has been given the honour of opening the Edinburgh International Film Festival. McGregor has had more physically demanding roles – on this occasion he didn’t have to warble like Elton John or pretend to be Alec Guinness – but Young Adam turned out to be the most intense film he has acted in. His wife and children usually travel with him when he goes off to make a film, but for this shoot, which took place in Glasgow as well as Dumbarton, he thought it better to be alone in his character’s headspace. All that random rutting and alienation doesn’t sit well with family life.

Isolation seems to work for him. When Young Adam had its world premiere at Cannes earlier this year, the critics declared that it was certainly his best performance since Trainspotting, perhaps his best ever. “Ewan was the obvious man for the job,” says David Mackenzie, the film’s director, who has been trying to get Young Adam from page to screen for nine years. “There’s something very exciting and mercurial about him, and it was a type of role that he hadn’t played before, a more grown up role. I needed a powerful actor who was going to give a degree of sympathy to the character. Ewan was very bold about not making attempts to soften the character, but there is something within him that still draws you in.”

McGregor plays Joe, a wannabe novelist grafting on a barge in Fifties Scotland. One day he and his boss Les (Peter Mullan) pull a dead girl out of the water. The incident coincides with the beginning of an affair between Joe and Les’s wife Ella (Tilda Swinton). As this goes on, we begin to learn – in flashback – of Joe’s connection with the dead girl and his role in her end.

The film is adapted reasonably faithfully from the 1954 novel by Alexander Trocchi, known to his admirers as Scotland’s answer to great beat writers like William Burroughs, and to his detractors – of whom he is not in short supply – as yon writer who chucked it all away on heroin. Trocchi prostituted his second wife to support his habit, pimped his own talent by writing pornography for quick cash (one edition of Young Adam was published under the proviso he insert a sex scene every six pages), claimed to be “only interested in lesbianism and sodomy”, and eventually died at the age of 59 in 1984, a year he might have appreciated for being synonymous with dystopia. Even his biographer called him a monster.

Yet we should not allow the grand guignol of Trocchi’s life to blind us to his books. Young Adam is a terrific novel, a nihilistic espresso – short, powerful and dark. As Tilda Swinton puts it, “there is an absolute Trocchi stench off this film.” David Mackenzie has not flinched from wreathing his film in this bitter aroma, and the result could not be further removed from the stereotypical Britflick; not so much Four Weddings and a Funeral as six sex scenes and a drowning. Emily Mortimer, who plays Joe’s lover Cathie, sums up the tone: “Weird and unusual and sexy and odd.”

Ewan McGregor is in no doubt that it is an important milestone: “I feel strongly that Young Adam is everything we should be doing in British film,” he says, shortly before jetting off to Australia for the final part of the Star Wars trilogy. “It’s a simple story very beautifully told. It’s moody and not crowded with dialogue. I had a feeling that I just had to be in it. We so rarely get a chance to explore a scene and let it breathe, like we did in this instance, without having to explain everything to the audience and all that unnecessary shite.”

It was a film that almost didn’t get made. Originally announced by Sigma Films in the spring of 2001, it was shelved in August that year, a month before filming started, when an investment company pulled out, taking 40 per cent of the £4 million budget with them. What followed was a labyrinthine process to make up the shortfall.

According to McGregor, the UK Film Council said they would contribute money but the film had to be made for a million pounds without any stars. This infuriated him as he had always stuck by British films, and now felt he was being let down by the very industry for which he had become a posterboy. “It seems we’re only meant to do romantic comedies with stammering, stuttering leading guys,” he told me in late 2001.

Over two years later, at Cannes, he was just as indignant. “We went to all the British film funding people and they all said no,” he stormed. “We used to have a reputation of being able to do anything in British film. And I was lucky to be involved in two films that opened the door to that, Shallow Grave and Trainspotting. But the door has closed behind us.”

The UK Film Council, who contributed £500,000, the same amount as Scottish Screen, deny asking for Young Adam to be made without McGregor, saying that all they asked was for the budget to be lowered in line with its commercial prospects. “We absolutely bent over backwards to fund a film that did not make the most compelling commercial argument,” says the Council’s Rob Jones, who took the funding decisions. “That is why it is quite galling to get the kind of criticism we have been getting, especially from people like Ewan McGregor, who were never involved in the discussions. Maybe he feels the film needs an enemy in order to get attention.”

According to Mackenzie, one reason it was so difficult to persuade financiers to part with cash was that McGregor was playing such an unsympathetic character. The paying public, the thinking seems to have gone, have no wish to see such a nice piece of ass playing a nasty piece of work. “Joe isn’t very nice because he doesn’t accept any responsibility for what he does,” McGregor sighs when I mention this, “but it isn’t a question of whether he is or isn’t a good guy or a bad guy. He’s just this guy. Young Adam is about sex. It’s about Joe’s sex life and the people who are happy to have sex with him. He’s not a great guy, but I get frustrated with the idea that everyone in movies has to be likeable. I don’t know why that is. Do we like Marlon Brando’s character in Last Tango In Paris? I don’t know.”

Bernardo Bertolucci’s 1972 movie seems to have been a touchstone for the Young Adam team, Mackenzie referring to his film informally as Last Tango In Glasgow. Both films use sex, not as titillation, but as a way of saying something about the characters and their relationships. As McGregor says, “In Moulin Rouge, the singing told the story; the sex does in this.” In some of its later scenes, Mackenzie’s film mirrors Trocchi’s novel in portraying sex as mechanical, emotionless coupling. “Which,” laughs the star, “for some reason I find very erotic. The sexual encounters really mark Joe’s decline. They just get colder and colder and colder until it’s just an act like any other. They are not just sex scenes in a movie, they are actually very powerful devices in showing this guy’s collapse.”

According to Emily Mortimer, the daughter of Rumpole author John Mortimer and an intelligent commentator on her own film, “Sex is Joe’s way of trying to jar meaning into the universe. You really get that feeling from reading the sex scenes in the book. He kind of describes it as trying to get inside someone else, really viscerally to connect with someone, and it never quite happens, and ultimately the whole thing f**ks up. Joe wouldn’t claim to be on a quest but I think he is on one. He is a massive cynic who is also a massive romantic trying to find meaning in the universe.”

Young Adam is a breakthrough film for Mortimer, the first time her talents have really had a chance to shine. She has a difficult role, fleshing out a woman who, on the page, was little more than a cipher, there to be used and abused. The key scene in the film, one which teeters between being risible and horrible, sees an argument between Joe and Cathie escalate into what could be regarded as either a sex game or a rape. When she nags him for working on his experimental novel rather than finding a job, Joe covers Cathie in custard, ketchup and sugar before beating her then finally having sex with her. And all this to a swinging jazz score. It’s an uneasy scene, you’re never quite sure what you’re looking at or how to feel about it. Is it arousing? Abhorrent? Can it be both?

“David wanted to maintain that ambiguity,” says Mortimer. “You never know whether I am crying or laughing. The ambiguity is important because the characters are ambiguous as well. It’s a metaphor for sex itself and the characters’ attitude to life, this mixture of romanticism and cynicism.”

The scene felt very realistic to Mortimer, who married the American actor Alessandro Nivola in January this year. “It rings bells for me somehow. I believe it,” she says. “We’ve all had relationships that have been dangerous. Passionate relationships are always dangerous. You feel like you are on a knife-edge of hurting each other, emotionally, not physically, at the same time as loving each other. Love and pain are part of the same equation somehow.”

Filming the scene seems to have been trauma-free. Mortimer and McGregor met for the first time a mere 90 minutes before rehearsing it, and they shot it in only two takes. “I loved it,” says McGregor with the lip-smacking air of a man who has just been asked how he enjoyed his smoked sausage supper. “I thought it was the most extraordinary kind of arc in a scene. In a very short space of time it goes from being a mundane domestic argument into a very violent sexual act. And ambiguous, like you say.

“But I think it’s a very important scene in that when he comes back to the flat and gets in bed with her and she cuddles into him and he says ‘Oh, Cathie,’ you realise at that moment, that whatever it’s been, whether it’s been rape or some dangerous kind of sex act, it’s a shared one and something that they’ve been open-minded enough to have done together. I think it says a lot about their relationship that they are sexually that explorative. It shows there’s a depth that isn’t evident in any other relationship in the movie.”

Whatever the actors thought of the scene, it is likely to attract some criticism. The late Alexander Walker, bellicose film critic for the Evening Standard, saw Young Adam in Cannes and noted that, “It will be interesting to see whether McGregor’s fan constituency will be thinner as a result of his playing a character whose apparent love for women is gradually revealed to conceal a deep hatred of the sex and a total disregard for the moral consequences of his actions.” Walker was tapping into the feeling that Trocchi’s book is misogynistic and that the film cannot help but be so too.

“If the film is criticised for being misogynistic, I would totally disagree with that,” says Mackenzie, clearly annoyed. “Is there a character in the film who is being unwillingly abused? I don’t think any of the female characters are represented in any way that could be even vaguely described as misogynistic. That’s complete nonsense. I hate the word misogynism. It gets bandied around completely incorrectly all the time. Misogynism is about hating women. You’ve got to work quite hard at hating women; it’s not something that comes easily to people, and yet the word seems to come much easier.

“I would say though that the book written in the pre-feminist era could be read as misogynistic, but I was very conscious of not making a film that was. This misogynist thing gets my goat. Some guy has sex with more than one person because he actually quite likes women and suddenly he gets referred to as a misogynist. What’s going on with that?”

The female cast seem to agree with that. Young Adam is clearly important to Tilda Swinton. “I knew Trocchi’s work before I met David,” she says. “Although I had never read Young Adam itself, I had read Cain’s Book [Trocchi’s 1964 novel of heroin addiction in New York] and I had read a lot of the porn. I knew about Trocchi and was interested in him as a counterculture figure in Scotland.”

She believes we are entering a new ‘beat’ time, similar to the period during the Fifties when Burroughs, Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg were redrawing the literary map. This gives Young Adam contemporary relevance. “We’re post-war as well. We’re in that moment, and I think the same questions are being asked about how is it possible to exist? How is it possible to relate to a society that seems so vacuous and in thrall to something quite toxic? Those are very modern questions. Alienation is the thing.”

There is no question that Young Adam is a good film, one with things to say, but can it be a commercial success? Or will it be yet another publicly funded British film which fails to recoup its costs? McGregor is bullish. He thinks Young Adam will prove the cynics wrong and make its money back. Mackenzie is no enemy of popular taste – his brother Alastair is better known as Archie from Monarch Of The Glen – and is hopeful that it can make the leap from arthouse to multiplex. Swinton, meanwhile, slyly notes that “We’ve got Mr Lightsabre in there, so that’s one reason to be hopeful.”

But regardless of its commercial prospects, there is no doubt that Young Adam is a landmark work for Scotland, and a worthy curtain-raiser for the Edinburgh Film Festival. Three out of the four principal actors are Scottish, the director is Scottish, it is set in Scotland, filmed in Scotland, adapted from a novel from a Scottish writer, and made with a good chunk of Scottish money. This film couldn’t be more Scottish if it was wearing a tartan scarf and eating clootie dumpling with a spoon made out of William Wallace’s brass balls. Yet even though at one point we see Ewan McGregor sitting on an upturned bucket à la Oor Wullie, it completely bodyswerves parochialism.

Mackenzie and Swinton both use the word “vindication” to describe the film’s tremendous reception at Cannes, and she notes that, “The moment has come, as we felt sure it would, for credit to be claimed for perception, vision, great risk to life and limb, groovy taste and financial second sight.” That moment may be at hand, Edinburgh Film Festival director Shane Danielsen having already described Young Adam as the British film of the year. You might call that a lukewarm accolade, but Young Adam is certainly a Stanley knife of a film, all edge, and proof that we have a homegrown filmmaking culture which, given adequate investment, can rub shoulders with the best.

“For all the complexities and difficulties of getting Young Adam made,” says Ewan McGregor, finally, “the best thing is that we did it. And that proves we can make more like it.”

UGC, Edinburgh, August 13, 9pm & 9.30pm, £7.50- £10, 0131 623 8030; Glasgow Film Theatre, August 17, 8.30pm, £3.50-£5, 0141 332 8128. General release September 26

Source: Sunday Herald

Thank you Specs for the heads up!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Sunday, July 27, 2003 // 10:34 a.m.


Family life is my priority, says Ewan

Sunday 13/07/2003 15:47:17

Actor Ewan McGregor insisted today that no amount of money could tempt him to trade his family life in London for a superstar lifestyle in California.

"I think I have my priories right," said the 32-year-old Scotsman, "I don’t want to be a stranger in my own home, like so many actors, then get divorced.

"I love being a father again and a family man. I do well enough to stay in this country."

He told the News of the World Sunday magazine: "I don’t want for anything and neither do my family."

The Hollywood A-lister, who commands up to £5 million a film, said his latest project took him back to his early days of film-making.

"I’m in this wonderful position of being able to make Hollywood movies like Star Wars and then come home to Scotland to make Young Adam on a low budget and low salary," he said.

"The best thing was being back in Scotland making a movie. It took me back to the days of Trainspotting and all the early madness. It seems ages ago now."

McGregor, who lives in London with his wife Ève Mavrakis and their children, Clara, aged seven, and 19-month-old Esther, admitted the erotic thriller is the most daring adult movie he has ever made.

But his wife, who is five years his senior, is not perturbed, he said.

"She is sophisticated, stylish, absolutely not possessive and very cool," he added.

Source: U TV

Thank you Specs for the heads up!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Monday, July 14, 2003 // 07:37 a.m.


The force is with him

Sun 13 Jul 2003
Siobhan Synnot

As the curtain-raiser for a festival of film, an austere dark drama like Young Adam may seem a curious choice to mark a feel-good event. But then, the Edinburgh International Film Festival has often exhibited tone-deaf tendencies. Indeed, not so very long ago it chose to open up for business with Dancer in the Dark, where the audience slogged through a two hour indulgence that concluded with the execution of the heroine. Short of playing Hits From the Mausoleum at the post-premiere party, it’s hard to think of a better way of throwing a dampener on proceedings.

However, Young Adam, a stylish, psychosexual drama, has a few more aces up its sleeve. For one thing, it is very good. For another, it is very Scottish. And for a third, Ewan McGregor will be attending the opening of the film at the UGC Fountainpark to scatter the event with some badly-needed stardust. Last time he came to the festival, he brought Velvet Goldmine, most of his family and a palpable sense of excitement. At the post-premiere party, he flashed that familiar open-jawed grin at fans, dodged the queasy-looking canapés and queued for the loos with the rest of us.

This time, he can afford to be in even more ebullient form because Young Adam is one of his most mature performances to date. It is also a film he fought to make. Back in 2001, the film had to be abandoned on the eve of filming, when 40% of its funding disappeared and government-backed film organisations refused to help out. Eventually, the cast and crew regrouped with a £4m budget, raised from the Film Council; Scottish Screen; Warner Bros UK, which acquired the British rights; and pre-sales to Spain and Italy Not only did McGregor stay with the project, he even publicly criticised Britain’s Film Council for its reluctance to back commercially risky films.

"If it was a lightweight romantic comedy, no problem, but if it’s an edgy, visual sexy drama - as this is - then they don’t want to know," complained McGregor. The government-backed organisations were not best pleased by the criticism and called 32-year-old McGregor a spoilt kid. During this slanging match, the film was screened at Cannes to a standing ovation.

In order to support Young Adam at Edinburgh, McGregor will literally be travelling from the other end of the world, since the Edinburgh festival is bang in the middle of his shooting schedule for the third, as yet untitled, Star Wars film in Sydney. Again with characteristic frankness, he has voiced his ambivalent feelings towards a franchise that has turned him from Ewan-from-Trainspotting into Ewan-from-Star Wars. McGregor seems to regard the blockbuster series in much the same way as one would view a Scud missile: They are big and impressively put together, but you are still not very happy about what they do to you. It is not his fault that some Force seems to suck away his exuberance in these films. McGregor has not been afraid to air his sense of frustration with George Lucas, a man who makes Trappist monks look chatty and who seemed completely uninterested in directing him - "He’s happy not to talk to you at all, really."

In the past, Lucas has further hobbled his young Obi Wan by pairing him up with two youthful but lifeless Darth Vaders. In Episode 2; Attack of the Clones, a sort of Young Darth Vader in Love, Hayden Christian simmered with the concealed menace of S Club 8, yet it’s hard to see what McGregor could do, saddled with an archaic accent and some clunky dialogue - although his Obi Wan did generate the film’s biggest frisson when he snaps exasperatedly to his pupil: "I have the feeling you’ll be the death of me."

Of course, once upon a time, soon after Trainspotting, McGregor swore he would eschew event movies such as these, assuring one interviewer: "I would shoot myself through the head before I was in Independence Day." Lately there has been a softening in that attitude, saying "if being successful means going to Hollywood, then I will go to Hollywood". But Star Wars was always a special case because, famously, it has family connections. His uncle, Denis Lawson, appeared in the first film as a fighter pilot and had a walk-on role in Ewan’s childhood as an exotic figure in a sheepskin waistcoat and beads. When McGregor saw Star Wars for the first time, aged six, he was overwhelmed. At home, he stuck Star Wars posters on his bedroom wall, slept on Star Wars pillowcases, and played with Star Wars toys with his friends.

"I suppose it all began with Star Wars," admits McGregor. "Seeing my uncle up there on the screen, being blown away by the film. That’s when it probably first occurred to me that I’d like to have a go at acting - even though I had no idea what that meant."

Ewan McGregor was born on March 31, 1971, in Perth Royal Hospital, the youngest son of teachers Jim and Carol McGregor. During the early part of his life, his brother Colin seemed destined to be the favoured son; academically accomplished, a sportsman and head boy at Morrison’s Academy, he went on to become a fighter pilot. However, Ewan reclaimed attention by carving out his own path as the school wild child, clashing with teachers who complained of an attitude problem. Even at that age McGregor displayed the insolent confidence, bordering on arrogance, that is now his trademark.

But most of his friends remember him for his musical rather than his dramatic performances. He won awards for singing, and joined a pop group called Scarlet Pride, appearing on stage in skin-tight jeans and hair dyed red with poster paint. His first screen appearance was also music related - a Grampian Television crew filmed him playing the French horn. Carol McGregor was delighted, until she saw the show. Although McGregor appeared groomed within an inch of his life, he still affected a rebel-without-an-O-grade air by wiping his nose on his sleeve between each passage of Mozart because he thought it ‘looked cool’. "They had to keep cutting to the pianist," he recalls. Jim McGregor exacted his revenge however; for years afterwards, whenever Ewan brought a girlfriend home, his father would fish out the video for a private screening.

He left school early, failed an audition for Rada, but landed a place on a three-year course at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. This was to prove a turning-point, because after only two and a half years he landed a role in Dennis Potter’s Lipstick on Your Collar. Then there was The Scarlet and the Black, where he ended up as a decapitated head on Rachel Weisz’s lap. The actress remembers tears for the final scene, but these were tears of hysteria since Ewan’s head was still attached, and the other nine-tenths of the actor was lying underneath her skirts.

Shallow Grave gave him his first starring role. A surprise hit, it made him a face to watch. Then Trainspotting, from the same production team, turned him into an icon. In between, and around about, his filmography was less distinguished. Blue Juice, a surfing adventure, was a wipeout. The Pillow Book, Peter Greenaway’s film about Japanese calligraphy, established McGregor’s unselfconsciousness when it came to taking off his clothes.

And then there was A Life Less Ordinary, another collaboration with Danny Boyle, producer Andrew Macdonald, and writer John Hodge. But the wacky romantic comedy was simply Lifeless and Ordinary and when McGregor readied himself for their next film The Beach, he was devastated when the role went to a newly-hot Leonardo DiCaprio instead.

The Beach incident was the first indication that McGregor was not to be crossed. Instead of keeping quiet about his hurt, he was candid and public. "It was very badly dealt with. The film was almost irrelevant; it was a friendship issue and all of those things. It was very unfortunate and so I don’t see any of them any more," he said two years ago. When Porno, Irvine Welsh’s follow-up to Trainspotting, was mooted as a project, director Danny Boyle attempted to make peace with McGregor but the response was a cool one.

"The road to recovery in a damaged relationship isn’t bumping into someone in a restaurant," he said bluntly. Now he seems to have ruled himself entirely out of the project. Recently McGregor’s relationship with the press has also shown signs of strain. In May of this year, he attacked Heat magazine for using snatched paparazzi pictures of himself and his children, Clara, six, and Esther, one. "Heat magazine’s a dirty, filthy piece of shit and I’d like to put that on record. People shouldn’t buy it because it sucks."

He added: "If a guy comes up and asks me, ‘Can I take a picture of your daughter?’ - that’s one thing. But if he’s hiding behind a bus and he takes a picture of me and my daughter he’s legally allowed to publish that photo in the press. I have no rights to stop him and I think that’s wrong. I think we should encourage people to beat up paparazzis."

Since the age of 22, Ewan McGregor has done his growing up in public. Once he delighted interviewers with reckless observations such as Eddie Murphy’s films "‘are all rubbish" and Minnie Driver has "gone mad. She goes to the opening of an envelope". Asked whether he shared Sir Sean Connery’s views on Scottish nationalism, he sharply replied that he resented being told how to feel about Scotland, especially by someone who hadn’t lived there for 25 years. Alex Salmond was soon round to his house seeking clarification. An apologetic phone call was made to Connery.

Nowadays, regrettably, McGregor is more circumspect and his main source of stability from bigmouth to diplomat has been his wife Ève Mavrakis, a French set designer he met on the set of Kavanagh QC. "There are too many wrecked marriages in this business for mine to be one," he states. "I believe I’ll be with my wife forever and that we’ll go through everything together."

The couple have already been through a lot, including a dreadful period when his eldest daughter contracted meningitis and nearly died. While Clara was being rushed into casualty, McGregor was in Los Angeles, guest-starring (ironically) in ER. He flew home to find Clara wired up to a heart machine. "Your daughter is doing well," the doctors told him. He pulled a photograph from his pocket. "This is what my daughter looks like when she is doing well," he tearfully informed them.

Clara made a full recovery but McGregor admits he was badly shaken by the experience and Ève made it clear that she had felt angry and let down by his absence. Some retrenchment has since taken place regarding his workload and the whole family moved to Sydney for Moulin Rouge, a chaotic yet successful musical which would have done more for McGregor’s career if the focus had not been hijacked by Nicole Kidman’s spin doctors as an opportunity for the actress to showcase some post-Cruise vulnerability.

Despite his apparent candour, however, it’s hard to get a sense of what McGregor is really like. The star himself refuses to take the question seriously, although he frequently asserts his credentials as a down-to-earth chap who likes a quiet pint, his family and a few mates.

However, while making a documentary about bears, wildlife cameraman Doug Allan observed that for all his naturalness, Ewan leads a life less ordinary. "He’s a little boy lost in some ways," he noted. "Although he has travelled a lot and done a lot of filmmaking, he is a bit naive. For instance, he seemed to come over as not having a clue about how you go and buy yourself a flight and get yourself a deal on excess baggage. I think that’s because everything has been done for him. Stars have this kind of big set-up that cushions them from life in a way."

McGregor himself asserts that his ambition is to get on with making films of quality "and not be crap". "The fear of being crap, I think, is always what makes you good."

Source: The Scotsman

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Sunday, July 13, 2003 // 09:01 a.m.


Down with Love Region 1 DVD Details

Title: Down With Love
Starring: Ewan McGregor
Released: 7th October 2003
SRP: $27.98
Further Details
20th Century Fox Home Entertainment have announced the region 1 release of Down With Love starring Ewan McGregor and Renée Zellweger. The release is penciled in for 7th October 2003.

Renée Zellweger and Ewan McGregor are the toast of the town in this stylish romantic comedy. From the producers of American Beauty and the director of Bring It On comes a teasing, tantalizing battle of the sexes. When best-selling feminist author Barbara Novak (Zellweger) becomes the target of dashing playboy Catcher Block (McGregor), these sparring, would-be lovers generate enough sparks to fly you to the moon and back.

Features of this release include: a director’s commentary, 5 deleted sceens, "Here’s to Love" Music video, "Guess My Game" segment, lead actors’ screen test, bloopers, HBO special and 7 featurettes. Available on either a widescreen or full screen edition, sound wise there’s English 5.1 Surround, French Dolby Surround and Spanish Dolby Surround. With subtitles available in Spanish and English.

Source: DVDAnswers.com

Thank you Perditum for the heads up!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Friday, July 11, 2003 // 07:27 a.m.


McGregor movie set to open Film Festival

Wed 9 Jul 2003
Brian Ferguson

Scots actor Ewan McGregor’s controversial new movie Young Adam has been confirmed as the gala curtain-raiser at this year’s Edinburgh International Film Festival.

The dark drama about a young drifter who finds work on a barge travelling between Glasgow and Edinburgh was a huge hit among critics at the Cannes Film Festival earlier this year.

Shot in both cities, as well as on the Union Canal, the film is expected to create a huge stir on its release because of the graphic sex scenes featuring the Star Wars actor.

Also starring Peter Mullan and Tilda Swinton, Young Adam was written and directed by David Mackenzie, whose first feature length film, The Last Great Wilderness, was shown at last year’s festival.

His adaptation of the cult Alexander Trocchi novel Young Adam will open the festival at the UGC at Fountainpark on August 13, and the film’s cast and crew are all expected to attend.

Other high-profile premieres confirmed today include the first film directed by the former punk musician Richard Jobson, Sixteen Years of Alcohol, which is said to be a semi-autobiographical feature on his upbringing.

The movie, which was shot on location around Edinburgh last year, stars Kevin McKidd and Ewan Bremner, who made their names with roles in Trainspotting alongside McGregor.

Edinburgh-born actor Jamie Sives is set for his big break at the festival when he stars with fellow Scot Shirley Henderson - veteran of films such as Harry Potter, Trainspotting and Topsy Turvy - in the Glasgow-set drama Wilbur.

Other big-name British films to be showcased in Edinburgh next month include the gangland thriller I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead, starring Clive Owen, Jonathan Rhys Meyers and Charlotte Rampling, and the hotly tipped comedy One for the Road.

Clint Eastwood’s latest film as a director, Mystic River, a crime thriller starring Sean Penn, Tim Robbins and Kevin Bacon, will be given its UK premiere in Edinburgh, along with Ned Kelly, which tackles the story of Australia’s famous anti-hero, and Party Monster, which features Macaulay Culkin as a New York club king.

The festival will close with a showing of American Splendour, the true story of the celebrated comic book creator Harvey Pekar.

The festival has already announced gala screenings of new movies featuring the likes of Samantha Morton, Mickey Rourke, Mena Suvari and Deborah Harry.

New films from Jim Sheridan, the Oscar-winning director of In the Name of the Father and My Left Foot, and Francois Ozon, whose 8 Women was a hit at last year’s event, have been confirmed for the event, which runs from August 13-24. This year’s festival, the second under its Australian artistic director Shane Danielsen, will also feature a tribute to one of cinema’s greatest masters of suspense, Frenchman Henri-Georges Clouzot.

Mr Danielsen said: "The festival this year is not only stronger than ever, but also more diverse.

"Our programmers have travelled constantly and watched films from all over the world - there are about 42 countries represented.

"Our British section is more than ever about discovery, with seven world premieres of new work - a lot of which happen to be Scottish, and we’re obviously delighted about that."

Source: Edinburgh Evening News

Thank you Mrs. EGM for the heads up!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Wednesday, July 9, 2003 // 07:55 a.m.


Young Adam UK Release Date

According to Empire Online, Young Adam will be released in the UK on September 26th.

No word yet on when it will be distributed (hopefully uncensored) in North America or elsewhere in the world.

Thank you xcbug for the heads up!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Friday, July 4, 2003 // 02:16 p.m.



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