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News Archive

July - December 2004

Robots site updated

The official Robots site has been updated with wallpapers, a Tetris-like game and other goodies. Check it out!

Thanks to Mary for the heads up!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Tuesday, December 28, 2004 // 09:52 p.m.


Stay U.S. release date

According to Variety (subscription required), Stay is scheduled to be released in the U.S. on March 11, the same day as Ewan’s Robots.

Thanks to Sandi for the information!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Monday, December 27, 2004 // 09:47 a.m.


Long Way Round Event at BMW, London December 13th

The invitation:

This was the first in a series of promotional events in conjunction with BMW to launch the DVD and CD of the Long Way Round. It was a LOT different to the Glasgow book launch, being held at the BMW showroom, in that Ewan was not there and the audience was very male, mostly biker enthusiasts.

They showed about 20 minutes of clips from the series, all of which seemed very familiar. It included lots from the off-road training (and we were standing next to they guy who trained them during the screening/Q&A), Mongolia and Siberian bike stuff and the mosquito bites (well I guess they couldn’t pass by an opportunity to show Ewan’s bum!!!). There was no new footage.

Russ Malkin and a Ewan suited biker!

Russ Malkin, the producer, was there and introduced the clips and Charley. He said that Ewan couldn’t be there as he’s in LA, but that although he’s busy filming, he’s very preoccupied with the trip still, and always phoning up to ask about his bike (?) and how the book is selling.

Incidentally he also said they had raised £200,000 for UNICEF including the £85,000 for Ewan’s bike, that they had to give Charley’s bike back to BMW for promotions etc. but let Claudio keep his.

Charley’s bike

We spent quite some time looking at Charley’s bike and noticed the blue ribbon tied onto the pannier box for good luck in Mongolia, the welding on the frame, the stickers… I think Charley was quite sad to give it up. Oddly enough we also came across Charley’s suit and helmet which were just in a cardboard box, looking quite worse for wear. The helmet had Boorman written on it. A woman from BMW said we could get the suit out and examine it, but I was a bit embarrassed. The bike was really massive and heavy looking. I stood right by it through the Q&A, and worried if I lent on it, it might fall over!

Linz surrounded by biker lads admiring Charley’s bike

During the Q&A, I asked about plans for his next trip. He said he is doing the Dakar Rally (not with Ewan), and their next trip together would be London to Cape Town in 2006. It sounded kind of vague, no more info than that.

There was some mention related to his shoulder (which he said is fine!) about Claudio parking his bike right up close next to him when they were in the complete middle of nowhere in Siberia with "no parking attendant in sight". I thought his shoulder thing was from trying to get bikes through those "wetlands" on the Road of Bones.

Advice to anyone going on such a trip - take wet wipes, and don’t share a tent! He revealed that he only agreed to go camping on the trip if he could share a tent, because he had a fear of camping stemming back from a bad experience as a youngster (something about rain and the torch breaking!) However they soon realised because of the snoring that he and Ewan needed separate tents, and so he overcame his fear of being alone in a tent!

He said that the best thing was meeting people, who are 99.9% nice all over the world, but it’s only our stupid politicians who "f*** it up for the rest of us."

As it was a very male environment, the tone was a bit laddish. The first question was about what was the most mind-blowing bit of the trip, "having sex with my wife at the end". The serious answer was about the Road of Bones, how they got through that, how they dug it up in places to get across rivers (it must have been SUCH a sense of achievement. Ewan looked so thrilled to be on digging team on the series).

Other biker talk was about what tyres they used (knobbly ones!), bigging it up for BMW, and rubbishing KTM. He said that when they got to Magadan, they emailed KTM to say they made it!

It was asked if they ever ran out of petrol (gas); he said that you can get fuel just about anywhere, and the tank capacity was enough for 350 miles so that was not a problem.

Charley signs for a Ewan lookalike!

The biker suits they wore that made them look like Lego men, I thought they were specially made, but no - you can buy them in the shop, and there were a couple of men wearing them which took me aback, especially because one had on the grey Ewan one and did look a bit like him from the back!

Another thing he said that his low point was coming to the end of the journey and wondering what to do next. His wife and kids came out to meet him and they had a holiday in Vermont. During that time they visited the Ben & Jerry’s ice cream factory, and on the daily tour the person who has come the furthest gets a free ice cream. Of course he said he had travelled the whole world from London, so won the prize that day!

Charley and me! Yes that man has a very red face!

Charley and Linz

At the signing, where this time pictures were allowed, I asked Charley about the Long Way Round theme song not being on the CD. He said it is going to be on Stereophonics new album. I thought it was a shame it was not on a CD which was music for the series after all, I really love that song!

- Viv

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Wednesday, December 22, 2004 // 01:28 p.m.


First Picture From Michael Bay’s The Island

Source: DreamWorks Pictures
December 21, 2004

DreamWorks Pictures has provided ComingSoon.net with the first picture from director Michael Bay’s The Island, the futuristic action thriller starring Ewan McGregor and Scarlett Johansson. Djimon Hounsou, Steve Buscemi, Michael Clarke Duncan, and Sean Bean also star in the film opening July 22nd.

The picture shows Jordan Two-Delta (Johansson) and Lincoln Six-Echo (McGregor) making a desperate escape from the facility that once housed them when they learn the real reason they exist.

Source: Comingsoon.net

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Tuesday, December 21, 2004 // 10:36 p.m.


Johansson Takes To The Island


Scarlett Johansson told SCI FI Wire that she has a tough time trying to describe The Island, an SF film that’s in production now with Michael Bay (Armageddon) directing."It’s a science fiction film, I guess, and it’s also very romantic," she said in an interview. "And it’s also an action film."

Johansson (Eight Legged Freaks) added, "Ewan McGregor and I play commissioned clones living in a ’Ray Bradbury’ sterile environment, and we are completely unaware of what our purpose is. We escape, and we’re chased through downtown L.A. It’s a huge story. There are so many different places that we go [storywise], and it’s kind of crazy, because we’re essentially playing these children, really. We’re very wide-eyed, and it’s like playing a 4-year-old child in some ways."

Johansson described The Island as a project of tremendous scope. "It is a big, big production that both DreamWorks and Warner Brothers have joined together to do," she said. "Going into it and knowing it was a Michael Bay film, that adds a whole other level of hugeness to it. … It is a huge production. I’m terrible at telling anybody what the film is about, because it’s a lot to take in, to just summarize. If I tell you the whole thing, what it’s really about, it’ll take me like 45 minutes. But I’ve never done anything like it before."

Johansson added, "With a film like this, you go into it and oftentimes you have so many questions. ’I don’t understand why this is. … How do they figure out how to clone this adult? How do we get out?’ There are a lot of ’what-ifs.’ … But this script happened to be so incredibly solid. And I’m working with Ewan, who is just absolutely delicious and a wonderful, wonderful co-star. Working with Michael, I’ve never met a more focused director in my entire life. The man walks around with a lens in his pocket all the time. You’ll be talking to him, and all of a sudden he’ll be looking at you through a lens. You’re like, ’What?’ And he’ll say, ’Move the camera here.’ He’s always thinking and in filmmaking mode." The Island, which also stars Michael Clarke Duncan, Sean Bean and Steve Buscemi, will be released on July 22, 2005.

Source: Scifi.com

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Tuesday, December 21, 2004 // 10:08 a.m.


New picture from Stay

The larger version can be found here (click on the image there to see the bigger version).

Source: iesb.net

Thanks to Barb for the heads up!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Saturday, June 30, 2001 // 11:10 p.m.


Photo Gallery: Christmas show

December 16 2004

Until Jan 9, daily (except Dec 25 and Jan 1), Second floor, Princes Square, Buchanan Street, Glasgow, free, 0141 552 4222

A new photo gallery at Princes Square is for Christmas, but not for life. For five weeks only, the work of a dozen Scottish photographers will grace the walls of this temporary space.

Black and white scenes from Wick, including two resting heather beaters, are by Kelli Abdoney, a picture editor at The Herald. Neil Davidson has produced stills from the set of Young Adam which show Ewan McGregor and Peter Mullen relaxing between takes.

Unusual angles and lighting transform Central Station in Glasgow in pictures by Ian McLean, Steve Gillies focuses on less well-known Glasgow scenes, while Robert Burns has created simple salt-printed images which look more like still-life paintings.

All pictures are for sale and prices start at £150.

Source: The Herald

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Thursday, December 16, 2004 // 12:14 a.m.


Charley Boorman Book Signing Tonight

14 December 2004

If you want to meet one of the stars from 'The Long Way Round’ TV series, then Charley Boorman is doing a book signing session at Williams BMW in Manchester this evening.

The Long Way Round book provides an intimate look into the personal thoughts of Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman during their travels through some of the harshest terrain in the world.

The photographs in the book were taken by the highly regarded photographer Julian Broad and include shots of the incredible landscapes they rode through as well as the different people they met along the way.

Charley Boorman: “The trip has been incredible in itself but it’s the people in all the countries that we’ve met that have made it fantastic.”

To celebrate the launch of the book Charlie will be signing copies and hold a Q&A session at Williams Motorcycles, Chester Rd, Old Trafford from 7.30pm on Tuesday 14th December.

A special 30-minute screening of previously unseen footage will be shown on the night and Charley’s BMW R1150GS Adventurer that he used for the trip will also be on display.

Places are limited and tickets will be distributed on a first come, first served basis.

Tickets cost £2 and are available from Rachelle Johnston at Williams on 07808 364 039 or e-mail rachelle.johnston@williamsgroup.co.uk

Source: Inside Bikes

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Tuesday, December 14, 2004 // 08:33 a.m.


Long Way Round t-shirts

December 20 update: all the t-shirt sizes have been sold out. Check with the official site in January when they will hopefully have more.

The official Long Way Round site is selling t-shirts like the one Ewan wore during his motorbike trip around the world.

The t-shirts cost £20, plus postage and handling. Payment can be made through Paypal only.

Thanks to Patty for the heads up!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Monday, December 13, 2004 // 07:13 p.m.


DVD Review: Ewan’s big adventure

12 December 2004

A 20,000-mile motorbike trip around the world isn’t something you’d expect film stars to undertake, but for biker-mad Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman it was the chance of an adventure of a lifetime.

The Sky One TV series documenting their epic journey is now available to buy on double DVD along with a companion CD soundtrack and accompanying book.

Long Way Round, the DVD, follows the pair from their starting point in London in April, to their New York destination via Europe, Ukraine, Russia, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, Siberia, Alaska and Canada.

Travelling through some of the most remote regions on the globe, where very few people, let alone motorbikes, have ventured, Ewan and Charley faced some of the most exhaustive trials of their lives.

Along the way, the intrepid pair encountered Kalashnikov-toting locals, frequent stops from suspicious police, extreme weather conditions, treacherous roads and numerous scrapes and injuries.

Although both accomplished bikers, the star pair found the journey a major test of endurance and friendship and Long Way Round is an action-packed account of the trip of a lifetime and a true portrait of friendship under pressure.

The brilliant CD soundtrack from EMI Music includes the Stereophonics title track Long Way Round and tracks by Coldplay, Radiohead, Massive Attack and Supergrass.

Sunday Life has three copies of the double DVD and three copies of the soundtrack to give away.

All you have to do to be in with a chance of winning is, send your name, address and contact number on a postcard to: Ewan McGregor Competition, Sunday Life, PO Box 2222, BT1 1BT.

Remember to state whether you would like to win a CD or DVD.

Entries must arrive by close of play on Friday (December 17).

Source: Sunday Life

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Sunday, December 12, 2004 // 09:34 a.m.


Guys and Dolls confirmed at the Piccadilly theatre from 20 May 2005

Sat 11 Dec 2004

It has been confirmed that Guys and Dolls will be at the Piccadilly Theatre previewing from 20 May, opening in June 2005, booking to 1 Oct 2005.

Public Booking opens 7 Jan 2005.

Ewan McGregor will return to the London stage to make his West End musical debut as ’Sky Masterson’ in this new production. (Further casting will be announced shortly.)

The Scottish actor was last on the London stage in 1999 in "Little Malcolm And His Struggle Against The Eunuchs" at the Comedy Theatre (following a run at the Hampstead Theatre in 1998). Ewan McGregor’s many film credits include "Star Wars"; "Moulin Rouge!"; Little Voice"; "Trainspotting".

Guys and Dolls has music and lyrics by Frank Loesser, book by Jo Swerling and Abe Burrows. It is directed by Michael Grandage; designed by Christopher Oram; choreography by Rob Ashford, lighting by Howard Harrison; and sound by Terry Jardine for Autograph.

The show is produced by Howard Panter for The Ambassador Theatre Group and David Lan for Clear Channel Entertainment, in association with the Donmar Warehouse’s own production team.

Brings to life the Broadway of the 1940’s, inhabited by gamblers, nightclub performers and members of the Salvation Army, in search of sinners to cure. The score includes numbers as ’Sit Down You’re Rocking the Boat’, ’Luck Be A Lady Tonight’ and ’Take Back Your Mink’.

Source: London Theatre Guide

Thanks to Kate for the heads up!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Saturday, December 11, 2004 // 09:39 a.m.


New pictures from The Island

Thanks to Georginita for the find!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Friday, December 10, 2004 // 07:50 a.m.


Long Way Round DVD Extracts available online

The official Long Way Round site has added goodies!

Click on the DVD on the top-right and scroll down. You’ll see:

DVD Extracts (requires Windows Media Player or Real Player):

Interview with Ewan and Charley

Interview with Ewan and Charley (Real 300k)
Interview with Ewan and Charley (Real 34k)
Interview with Ewan and Charley (Windows 300k)

The First Five Days

The First Five Days (Real 300k)
The First Five Days (Real 34k)
The First Five Days (Windows 300k)

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Monday, December 6, 2004 // 08:10 a.m.


Long Way Round tours the UK


Charley Boorman from Long Way Round will be appearing at the following BMW Motorrad dealerships in conjunction with MCN in December to promote the release of the new Long Way Round DVD and sound track going on sale as of 6 December.

Each dealership will start at 7:30pm when there will be a special screening of some Long Way Round footage, followed by a Q&A session with Charley and then an autograph session. The Long Way Round book, DVD and sound track will be on sale in each BMW Motorrad dealership.

At each event money will be raised for various charities including Macmillan Cancer Relief and CHAS (Children’s Hospice Association of Scotland), David Jefferies fund and Lord Treloar’s school for disabled children. There will be raffles, prize draws, food and drinks at various events. To book your place, call the BMW Motorrad dealerships closest to you.

Monday 13 December (starts 4:45pm)
Paul Davis
Park Lane
77 Park Lane
Tel: 0207 409 3355
* raising money for charity

Tuesday 14 December
Rochelle Johnston
Williams Manchester
326 Chester Road
Old Trafford
M16 9EZ
Tel: 07808 364039

Wednesay 15 December (starts at 7:00pm)
Louise Jefferies
Allan Jefferies
Otley Road
BD17 7HB
Tel: 01274 776077
* auction, with money going to charity

Thursday 16 December
Steve Hogg
Roy Pidcock Motorcycles
Fields Farm Road
Long Eaton
NG10 3FZ
Tel: 0115 946 2233
* raffle, profits going to charity

Friday 17 December
John Gilbride
Lower Farringdon
Nr Alton
GU34 3DJ
Tel: 01420 588 691
* buffet, free raffle, money to charities

Source: World of BMW

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Sunday, December 5, 2004 // 12:35 p.m.


North American Long Way Round DVD development

Amazon.com has a page set up for the Region 1 Long Way Round DVD (click on the link to visit it).

It reads:

Availability: NOT YET RELEASED: The studio is currently not producing this title on DVD, but to be notified when it is available, enter your e-mail address at right. You’ll also be voting for this release; we’ll let the studio know how many customers are waiting for this title.

Thanks to Georginita for the heads up!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Friday, December 3, 2004 // 07:20 a.m.


Long Way Round Offer

December 2 2004

In an exclusive (MCN) reader offer, you can order the double DVD set of the Long Way Round series, including unseen extras, plus the CD soundtrack for just £26.98.

The double DVD follows Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman as they put themselves through a 20,000-mile, 113-day, round-the-world trip. They endured conditions from dirt tracks to deserts, and sub-zero temperatures to searing heat as they passed through Western Europe, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Ukraine, Russia, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, Siberia and North America.

The double DVD retails for £16.99, and includes every episode, plus plenty of extended scenes and unseen footage. The CD soundtrack is £12.99 and features music from the series, including songs by Radiohead and Massive Attack.

* You can get the double DVD on the entire series, plus the CD soundtrack for just £26.98. To order, simply click here.

Plus, you can win yourself a BMW R1150 Adventure. To be in with a chance, visit here.

Source: Motorcycle News

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Thursday, December 2, 2004 // 07:38 a.m.


Good news for the North American DVD of Long Way Round

Bravo in the U.S. is airing a slightly abridged version of Long Way Round. UK’s Sky One is airing seven episodes whereas Bravo is only airing six. Fans who have seen both versions have reported numerous missing scenes in the American version.

It has been confirmed by the official Long Way Round site that the DVD that will be released in North America will contain all seven episodes. The only downside is that they don’t know when it will be released in North America other than "it should be some time in the New Year".

Thanks to Barbara for the info!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Tuesday, November 30, 2004 // 01:01 p.m.


McGregor Finances Mongolian Orphan


Scottish actor Ewan McGregor is funding a three-year-old Mongolian orphan he met during his recent round-the-world motorcycle ride.

The Star Wars star tried to adopt parentless Jamiyantsetseg, but was rejected because of complicated Mongolian law. Instead he will finance the girl’s living and schooling expenses till she is at least 16.

The father of two was moved by her plight during his 16-week bike adventure with close friend Charley Boorman.

Police doctor Enkhmaa Jamsrangiin, who McGregor first approached with Jamiyantsetseg, says, "He asked me to find a good orphanage for the child and said he would be responsible for the cost.

"He later went to the orphanage and told them he would pay the bill for this little girl every month.

"He spent a lot of time there playing with the kids and seemed really sad at their situation.

"He talked about his own kids. He seemed to be really moved and looked close to tears at one point."

Source: Contact Music

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Sunday, November 28, 2004 // 11:14 a.m.


Jedi Star Flies High: May The Force Be With Doo

By Himaya Quasem

Here’s the first glimpse of Scots Star Wars hero Ewan McGregor flying high in his next epic role.

The 33-year-old provides the voice for a tiny but brave wood pigeon in the title role of Walt Disney’s £27 million epic cartoon Valiant.

Disney have been keeping images of the blockbuster - due out in spring 2005 (in the UK, 2006 in North America) - under wraps.

But the Sunday Mail has been able to get a sneak preview, with pictures of Valiant, his mentor Sarge and best pal Bugsy.

The story sees the young bird become an RAF hero during World War II.

It is based on the true story of the pigeon service used by the British to communicate with the French Resistance.

Plucky pigeon Valiant survives brutal attacks from vicious German falcons to become a war hero.

The youngster faces a gruelling training schedule to be a Royal Air Force Homing Pigeon and is knocked into shape by strict but kind-hearted Sarge.

Ewan, originally from Crieff, Perthshire, will know all about the stresses of life in the air force - his older brother Colin is an RAF pilot.

Appearing alongside Ewan - who plays Jedi knight Obi-Wan Kenobi in Star Wars prequels The Phantom Menace and Attack Of The Clones - are Oscar-winner Ben Kingsley, Jim Broadbent and The Office star Ricky Gervais.

Broadbent plays Sarge, while Kingsley provides the voice of German falcon leader, General Keyserlingk. Gervais will play Bugsy --Valiant’s cheeky best pal.

The film’s executive producer Barnaby Thompson said: ’In a sense, it’s a true story, as about 30 pigeons were given the Dickens medal for bravery in World War Two.

’We’ve got Ben Kingsley playing the evil falcon, as Germans did breed falcons to catch the pigeons.’

The film - the most ambitious cartoon to be made outside America - is being created at Ealing Studios, London, which is undergoing a £30 million refit.

Animation Almost half a century after Sir Alec Guinness and Peter Sellers filmed classic movies such as The Ladykillers and The Lavender Hill Mob at the west London complex, financing has been agreed to build a new animation studio.

Ealing is now looking to take on the major American film studios.

Valiant will be their first project and producers hope it will prove even more successful than Dreamworks’ 2000 hit Chicken Run.

An industry insider said: ’The phenomenal success of Chicken Run saw everyone at Disney in a flap, so to speak.

’They were determined to tap into the audiences’ love of cuddly feathered creatures.

’It was a Godsend when they discovered the story of the World War pigeons.’

Source: Sunday Mail

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Sunday, November 28, 2004 // 11:06 a.m.


Lipstick on Your Collar screening at London’s NFT

The tenth anniversary of Dennis Potter’s death provides an opportunity for a celebration and re-appraisal of the work of the writer largely regarded as the most significant ever to choose television as his medium. To complement the forthcoming general DVD releases and television documentaries, the NFT will screen some of Potter’s rare television work.

Among those works shown will be the first episode of Lipstick on Your Collar, which was Ewan’s very first professional acting role.

Go see a fresh-faced Ewan at the NFT2 Thursday, December 16 at 6:15 pm and Friday, December 17 at 8:40 pm.

You can book tickets online using this link: tickets.bfi.org.uk

Source: National Film Theatre

Thanks to Violet for the find!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Thursday, November 25, 2004 // 06:09 p.m.


Valiant trailer online

mymovies.net has the trailer for Valiant, an animated film featuring Ewan’s voice as the title character.

Thanks to Mary for the find!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Thursday, November 25, 2004 // 02:46 p.m.


New pictures from The Island

On the day she turns 20 (November 22nd), Scarlett Johansson finds herself working on her birthday alongside Ewan McGregor at a location in downtown Los Angeles on the Sci-fi thriller ’The Island’. The crew had thoughtfully provided a large cake to mark the occasion whereupon Scotsman McGregor wasted no time in devouring a large portion in between takes washed down with swigs of coffee.

Thanks to Georginita for the pics!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Tuesday, November 23, 2004 // 05:41 p.m.


Nat Gets ’Closer’ to Clive, Jude and Ewan

23 November 2004

Natalie Portman enjoyed a dashing escort from three of Britain’s hottest acting talents when she stepped out in Los Angeles on Monday. The pretty actress was accompanied by Jude Law, Clive Owen and Ewan McGregor when she took to the red carpet for the screening of her latest flick.

Jude was his usual stylish self in a brown velvet suit over an open-necked shirt, while Clive was looking dapper in a sharply-cut navy ensemble. The two Englishmen star alongside Natalie in the romantic drama Closer, while Ewan joins her in the forthcoming Star Wars adventure Revenge Of The Sith.

Dressed in an elegant purple gown with plunging neckline, Nat seemed to be thoroughly enjoying the company of her leading men.

The three performers get the opportunity to show off their thespian skills in the new movie, which was directed by renowned filmmaker Mike Nichols. The flick, which also features Oscar-winner Julia Roberts, tells the story of two couples whose relationships are under strain. But its glamorous stars seemed to be getting on just fine when they set the flashbulbs blazing in Hollywood this week.

Source: Hello

Thanks to Barbara for the find!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Tuesday, November 23, 2004 // 12:57 p.m.


IMAX to power up ’Robots’

Anthony Langlois

The folks at Cinescape broke news that IMAX Corporation is about to announce they made a deal with 20th Century Fox to release an IMAX DMR version of the upcoming CG comedy Robots, simultaneously with the theatrical release on March 11, 2005.

The DMR process consist of computer-analyzing 33mm film to tweak the colour and re-shape the audio in order to code it for IMAX’s 70mm films and six-channel sound system. The same process was use to convert ’The Matrix Revolutions" and ’Harry Potter and The Prisoner Of Azkaban’.

According to Cinescape’s source, either Fox or IMAX should make the announcement soon.

Directed by Chris Wedge (Ice Age), Robots is set in a world entirely populated by robots. One young Genius known as Rodney wants to make robots better, but is challenged a corporate tyrant and many sneaky enemies. Ewan McGregor, Halle Berry, Greg Kinnear, Mel Brooks and Robin Williams provide lead voices.

Source: Elites TV

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Tuesday, November 23, 2004 // 12:54 p.m.


Ewan on Tartan TV

As reported on the Ewan News TV Spottings page, some American PBS stations are airing Tartan TV: Crieff Highland Games which features Ewan when he was chieftain of the Games in 2001.

The Tartan TV website has a clip from the show.

Thanks to mrlzbth for the find!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Saturday, November 20, 2004 // 12:20 p.m.


Two new videos at Bravo

Bravo has added two new videos: an episode 4 bonus and an episode 5 preview. Click on the Bravo link to check them out!

Thanks to Patty for the heads up!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Friday, November 19, 2004 // 07:49 a.m.


’Blubbing’ with Ewan and Charley


UPDATED AT 7:31 AM EST Tuesday, Nov 16, 2004

The movie actors giddily share with ELIZABETH RENZETTI the thrills of their four-month motorcycle journey through some of the world’s most dangerous countries

LONDON -- All great journeys must start with a single step, it is said. That’s in an ideal world. Some great journeys start with a 250-kilogram motorcycle, laden with all the equipment needed to keep a man happy and mobile over 32,00 kilometres, falling on top of that man. Repeatedly.

It was here, on a street in Shepherd’s Bush, London, that Charley Boorman found himself underneath his BMW as the world, it seemed, looked on: cameras, family, friends, and his riding companion and fellow actor, Ewan McGregor. If you ask Boorman about that rocky start, he looks momentarily as if he’s swallowed a dirty sock.

"Ah, Charley," says McGregor, full of mock sympathy. "It’s not fair that was one of the first questions. I’m sorry."

But the shame is clearly far enough in the past that Boorman can view it with equanimity. "It was this huge realization that I was leaving my wife and children," he says, tipping his chair back. "Suddenly all the energy drained from my body and I couldn’t ride the bike, I was wobbling all over the place." His ruddy face breaks into a smile. "So that’s my excuse. It’s good, don’t you think?"

"It’s almost working," McGregor says. "I bought it."

They have a nice patter, these two. Travel with anyone for long enough, even in the most luxurious circumstances, and you need to develop heightened social graces and a bountiful sense of humour. Travel with your combustible friend over some of the wildest, most pot-holed, dangerous country in the world, where the final meal of the day will sometimes be bull-testicle soup, and hey, you’d better be Peter Cook and Dudley Moore.

In fact, McGregor and Boorman often fall about in giggles, like a couple of oddly hirsute schoolgirls. The actors, who met in 1997 while making Serpent’s Kiss in Ireland, decided last year that they needed to take their mutual love of motorcycles on the road. "London to New York -- the long way round," writes McGregor in their newly released book of those travels, predictably called Long Way Round.

There’s a map on the wall of their office/garage in Shepherd’s Bush that marks their trip: Western Europe, Slovakia, Ukraine, Mongolia, Siberia, leap across the water, Alaska, Canada, across the United States -- in coloured yarn. Their giant BMWs, still covered in decals and dirt two months after their return, sit in a corner. McGregor, who’s alternating between a bran muffin and full-strength Marlboros, often leaps up to indicate a particular adventure on the map.

A television series about their trip is currently airing on Bravo, although they’re almost unrecognizable from the grimy beasts the camera caught in the wilds. (They were followed by camera operator Claudio Von Planta, also on motorcycle.) McGregor is as shiny as a new penny, his blond hair flopping over one eye, and Boorman (son of director John Boorman) looks like he’s lost about 10 kilograms since the journey’s start.

For McGregor, the trip offered not just an adventure but a way to escape, if only for four months, the control-freak atmosphere of moviemaking, even though Von Planta’s camera was trained on them throughout the trip. In one town, a young man thought he recognized McGregor from films -- porn films, that is. Another semi-fan, a market vendor in Ukraine, mentioned one of the actor’s personal favourites, Big Fish. "Not so nice," the Ukrainian said. One night in Siberia, they returned to their hotel to find the words "Ewan" and "Charley" scrawled in lipstick on the pavement, obviously a big thrill for the town’s teenage girls.

"It was like a wee fan club," McGregor says.

"It was lovely," he says, of hiding in the doorway from fame. "It’s not something I feel I need to escape from, but it’s nice to meet people who don’t already have an idea of who you are."

Before McGregor and Boorman set out, they had to persuade BMW to give them bikes (not difficult) and prepare for the countless vagaries of man and nature (a little more challenging). To that end, they took a three-day course on "hostile environments" from a super-efficient, if enigmatic, Englishman named Jamie Lowther-Pinkerton. The actors were convinced that Lowther-Pinkerton, who liked to show his students photos of horrendous casualties by way of warning, is a former member of Britain’s elite Special Air Service (SAS).

He taught them at least two valuable lessons. First, always to approach a border slowly, with respect, and second, that everywhere in the world people would understand two English words: a certain Anglo-Saxon expletive, and "Beckham." This turned out to be good advice, as they ran into a couple of policemen, or "rozzers," as Boorman calls them, who shouted "Arsenal! Chelsea!" and then told them recent football scores.

The survival training came in handy on a couple of occasions. Igor, a local bigwig in Ukraine, made his money in appliances (McGregor draws air quotes around the word appliances) and treated his two guests to a dangerous evening of booze, guns and song.

The second episode, and perhaps the only time McGregor came close to losing his life, occurred not in Igor’s madhouse, or on the rickety bridges of Siberia, but on the highway near Calgary.

Travelling at 100 kph, McGregor was forced to slow suddenly. Behind him was a teenager in a red Honda who couldn’t hit the brakes quickly enough and hit McGregor’s bike instead, causing him to go out of control,. So the star of Moulin Rouge almost ended up road kill in Alberta, and this only a day after Boorman’s wallet had been stolen. "God bless the Canadians," McGregor laughs. "Thieving maniacs!"

Despite of the challenges, they’re keen to embark on a boys’ own adventure, part II. They’d like to perhaps do another trip in Africa, or South America, and continue the work they began with UNICEF, which saw them visiting an orphanage for the children of Chernobyl in Kiev, Shanyrak and homeless kids living in tunnels under the streets of Ulan Batar. The book concludes with a plea urging readers to support the charity.

The journey itself ended with McGregor and Boorman being escorted into Manhattan across the George Washington Bridge by members of the Orange County Choppers motorcycle club. The friends, who are each married with two daughters, had spent months pining for home, and the combination of riding triumphantly into New York and the prospect of seeing their families unmanned (although not unseated) both of them.

"We blubbed like babies going over the bridge," McGregor says. "It was incredibly moving."

"We blubbed a lot going around the world, actually," Boorman says.

"Blubbing around the world," says the star of Trainspotting, with a theatrical flourish, "with Charley Boorman and Ewan McGregor."

Source: The Globe and Mail

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Tuesday, November 16, 2004 // 07:52 a.m.


Young Adam sweeps board at Scots BAFTAs

Mon 15 Nov 2004

Key points

  • Young Adam wins best film, director, and actor and actress
  • Paula Sage wins best first performance with Afterlife
  • Brian Cox wins outstanding achievement in film award

"Scotland should think big and this shows it is thinking big. It also shows we don’t always have to go to London to do everything" - Billy Boyd, actor

The film Young Adam swept the field at the BAFTA Scotland awards last night, as stars of the big and small screens celebrated the best in Scottish film and television.

Not only was it declared best film, it also won best director for David MacKenzie, best actor for Ewan McGregor and best actress for Tilda Swinton.

The awards ceremony, at the Radisson SAS Hotel in Glasgow before an audience of 550, was pitched to invest new glamour into the small but thriving world of Scottish film.


But the undisputed star of the night was Young Adam. Based on the novel by the cult Scottish writer Alexander Trocchi, it tells the story of Joe, a rootless young drifter ensnared in the mystery surrounding a body floating in the Union Canal between Edinburgh and Glasgow.

MacKenzie had struggled for years to bring the book to the screen and was praised for creating a film laden with atmosphere and sexual energy.

Young Adam was always the clear favourite for best film - even though it premiered at the Edinburgh Festival in 2003 and went on general release in the UK more than a year ago, which means that it is unlikely to benefit commercially from the award.


The BAFTA event was the biggest in the organisation’s history and the decision to make it an annual event from now on is seen as a signal of growing confidence in Scotland’s film industry. The evening was hosted by GMTV presenter Lorraine Kelly.

Lord of the Rings actor Billy Boyd, who presented the best actor award, said: "Scotland should think big and this shows it is thinking big. It also shows we don’t always have to go to London to do everything."

Talking up the industry, Texas lead singer, Sharleen Spiteri, said: "As far as Scottish film making goes we are in an international arena. Scotland definitely does have talent with the actors, directors and writers - especially like Ewan."

The TV presenter Jenny Falconer said: "The BAFTA is such a wonderful event for the UK. It’s great that there is a Scottish BAFTA."

In a political aside before the event, the writer and actor Peter Mullen said the Scottish Executive had to look at funding for films. "It’s banging the same old drum, but they have to give us some form of tax incentive.

"We need to get the funding, and subsidy and tax breaks are the only feasible means for that to happen," he said.

Source: The Scotsman

Thanks to Barbara for the find!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Sunday, November 14, 2004 // 10:20 p.m.


New pictures from The Island

Thanks to SFGrl and Patty for the find!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Saturday, November 13, 2004 // 12:23 p.m.


Another Ewan meeting!

I met Ewan McGregor! He was so nice, he said he liked my shirt. It is a close up of Obi-Wan when he is talking to Jango in Jango’s apartment. Ewan had his picture taken with me. He put his arm around my shoulders. As he put his arm around me he said, "All right, here we are darling."

[Minor spoilers for The Island] They were filming in Detroit for eight days. Now the long story, five of us watched filming in the morning. One scene where Ewan falls off the hood of the car after his stunt double gets hit, which they filmed first. Then Scarlett helps Ewan up and they run. Later they filmed the running scene where they run all the way up the block. They were filming in the street so we were only separated by the window of the building we were in and the sidewalk. A little farther back when we were on the sidewalk on the side of the building, but they ran right past us.

When they stopped filming, we moved to the sidewalk between the trailers and the set. After seeing Ewan and not being able to say a word, the other girls, not me, had this idea to make signs that said "Ewan" "We think you are gorgeous". I think it was "But we are tongue-tied" "And a bit pathetic." We thought he would at least get a good laugh, but when he walked right by us with the director on the same sidewalk we were sitting and standing on not a word from any of us and no one even thought to hold up their sign.

Now we are telling everybody we meet who works on the film, well at least a couple of guys who work on the film and a security guard, our sad tale and they all said Ewan was super nice and talks to everyone, the crew and the security guards. We knew that, but when I was that close to the one person in the whole world that I would most like to meet, I could only sit there with my mouth open and stare. So my son went up to Ewan about a half a block before Ewan got to us and said, "Would you say hello to my mother, she watches Star Wars all the time." Michael said Ewan was really nice and shook his hand. Ewan came over and had his picture taken with everyone, and signed everything we wanted signed. I am so happy. There are no words.

Thank you Barbara!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Thursday, November 11, 2004 // 09:28 a.m.


Three more lucky fans meet Ewan!

November 6, 2004

Today was a day full of misses, and near-misses. This morning Dawn called me at 9:00am saying she would be free to get together earlier than I thought. So I raced out of bed, ate breakfast, got dressed and was out the door and to her house by around 12:30pm. We left immediately for downtown Detroit, and arrived just as the cast and crew were breaking for lunch. We saw people milling around the streets where filming had been taking place, eating and chatting and getting set up for the post-lunch filming.

Dawn and I noticed that filming was taking place directly down the street from where all of the trailers were. We decided to hang around that area for a bit when we ran into our friend Dave that we had first met on Tuesday evening at the Central Depot. He was one of the crew for the movie, and the nicest guy we had met over the past week. He had told us where to go to see Ewan on Wednesday (when I got my Ewan wave!) and was determined to help us meet Ewan today. He told us Ewan was in his trailer right now, and would be walking past us to get to the area they were filming at. He told us that eventhough Ewan had the choice to be driven to set and back, he preferred to walk by himself. Dave also told us that Ewan was so incredibly down to earth and nice to everyone. He would ride from his hotel to set in the van that drove the extras back and forth, and he would sit down and eat with them as well, eventhough the main cast had their own eating area. Yay Ewan! He’s such a sweetie. Ewan!

Dawn and I met a very nice couple named Lisa and Andy, who were also waiting to see Ewan. (Well, Lisa was the big fan and her husband was being a good sport, lol.) Lisa had the gray and blue Pringle scarf on, and that’s how I began talking to her in the first place--it’s a really gorgeous scarf!

So we’re waiting, and lunch is ending. We waited for over an hour, and then Dave called us over across the street telling us he had talked to security and they would allow us to watch filming as close as the extras, crew, and security would go. This was very nice of him since no "regular" people were allowed near the street they were filming on. So Dawn, Lisa, Andy and I all followed Dave to the street where filming was going on. We stood there for awhile wondering if Ewan had already been driven up after all, and tried to spot him in the crowd of people getting ready for the first post-lunch shot. We saw his two doubles over and over again (which kept giving me a heart attack because from the back they looked JUST like Ewan!) but we couldn’t find Ewan himself. (Scarlett was on set though, and someone had brought her little dog up to keep her company in between takes. It’s this hyper tiny "Taco Bell"-type dog, lol.)

So Andy and Lisa had to leave, and I had to answer the call of nature so Dawn and I decided to risk not seeing Ewan and find a bathroom. Dave had told us we could use the bathroom in the building where the cast and crew ate lunch, so we walked inside the building (which was right near the street by the trailers) and found a bathroom. This is where our first "miss" of the day happened. While we were walking to the bathroom, we met up with Barb and Fiasco, and three other people (I think three) that I can’t remember or didn’t know. Barb told us that Ewan had walked RIGHT by them on the way to set. He had walked by them just as we had left to watch filming!!! I couldn’t believe we had missed Ewan!!!

Anyways, after walking back outside a few minutes later, our "near-miss", yet ultimately wonderful moment occured. I stepped outside and started walking back to the set to watch filming again when…I saw him! It was Ewan, just crossing the street and disappearing down the road to his trailer. I freaked, thinking I was going to miss him yet AGAIN and turned back to Dawn yelling, "No! Dawn, it’s him! Oh no!!!!" She yelled at me to run and catch up with him, and even though I was worried I would look like a stalker running after him, I took off and raced across the street, my heart pounding.

Thank God Barb and Fiasco and everyone had stopped him. When Dawn and I turned the corner we saw him signing someone’s LWR book, and beginning to take pictures with them.

I didn’t even know what to think. I just looked at him in awe thinking, "OMG. It’s Ewan. OMG stay calm. He’s right there." I was shaking, and I lost the ability to form complete sentences. I took my camera out, and waited until it was time for me to take my picture with him. Then I remember him looking around wondering who was next and I piped up, "Ewan, can I have a picture?" He said, "Sure!" and went to put his arm around me. I remember trying to hand Dawn my camera, but Fiasco was telling me to use her camera, and that she’d send me the picture. I was overwhelmed and didn’t know what to do so I handed Dawn my camera anyways, and turned to Fiasco. She mentioned that her hands were shaking, and Ewan laughed a bit. I remember feeling the leather of his jacket with my hand, and feeling his arm around my waist. I just couldn’t believe it--I was right up against him! And I had so much I wanted to say to him, but I couldn’t think!

Before I knew it, Dawn was getting her picture and then we were all saying "thank you!" as he smiled, waved, and started walking back to the trailer. I stood by Dawn and saw Dave had come back. He smiled at me and said, "Did you finally get a picture?" I told him, "Yes! OMG I can’t believe it!" Then he saw I was still holding my Ewan Sisterhood t-shirt that I had wanted Ewan to sign, and he asked "Did you get your shirt signed?" I told him no, and said there hadn’t been enough time and Dave said, "Well Ewan is still there, go ask him." I looked, and sure enough we could still see Ewan walking away, and no fans were by him. I hesitated, not wanting to bother him again since he had looked and sounded a bit tired--it had been a looong morning of shooting for him (and a 6:00am call time)--but with Dave and Dawn encouraging me to go, I found myself running toward him for the second time that day.

"Ewan!" I called out, running into the trailer area. He didn’t turn around. OMG I’m bothering him I thought. But I tried again, "Ewan!" He turned around. This was my chance. (By the way, the conversation is as close to what I can remember as possible. I was not eloquent or anything, but oh well.)

Me: I don’t mean to bother you again, but I was wondering if you could sign my shirt.

Ewan: Oh yeah sure! (I handed him the shirt, and he unfolded it and spread it out over the back of a wooden back to a trailer while I fished around in my pocket for my Sharpie marker.)

Me: I got this shirt because every year a group of Ewan fans that I belong to donate money to CHAS for your birthday. And last year I got this shirt as a thank you for donating.

Ewan: Yeah I’ve heard about that before. That’s really lovely.

Me: I’m so happy to finally meet you; I’ve been here all week. (He starts trying to sign my shirt with a pen.) Oh wait here--I have a better pen. (I hand him the Sharpie.)

Ewan: (laughs a bit) Oh really? All week?

Me: Oh well, not really all week but I was here all day Tuesday. But I couldn’t stay all week because I had to go back to classes.

Ewan: Oh, do you go to university here?

Me: Yeah, I go to [name of school].

Ewan: That’s great! (Finishes signing shirt, and then stands up smiling at me, handing me my shirt and pen.)

Me: Well thank you so much for everything. I admire you so much, and you’re so kind to your fans, so thank you so much. (I was saying thank you on repeat, lol!)

Ewan: Well thank you. (Smiling at me, he held out his hand. I broke out into an even bigger smile, and took his hand. He squeezed my hand softly, and then let go and started walking away.)

I think I may have yelled thank you again, but I don’t remember! It’s weird--I didn’t act at all how I thought I would. As he was signing my shirt, you’d think I’d be looking at him since he was SO close to me, but I didn’t. I kept staring at his hands as he signed my shirt. And even when he shook my hand and said goodbye, I looked up at him but was so in shock that I didn’t really see him…does that make any sense? I was just floating, but in a dream! Also, for those of you who like details, I just have to say I loved it when he held my hand. His hand was warm and slightly dry because of the wind and being outside, yet still soft. (Hard to describe, but lovely. Plus I remember he was smiling at me then as well. Very lovely moment.)

Of course, when I walked back to Dawn and Dave and was showing them my shirt, Dawn asked me if I had given Ewan the letter I had spent a LONG time writing. I had included pictures and everything, and spent a very long time trying to figure out exactly what I wanted to tell him. I had had the PERFECT opportunity to give it to him--he had been walking right to his trailer, and it was just him and me talking--but I blanked. I’m really sad I forgot to give that to him, but I DID get a picture and my shirt signed, so I suppose I’ll just send my letter and hope he reads it someday soon.

After meeting Ewan, the rest of the day is just a blur. We talked to Dave a bit more, and a few minutes after that, Ewan walked by again. And I just didn’t want to bother him, so I didn’t say anything. He was walking with Scarlett and as we all watched him walk up the street, she put her arm around his shoulders…gaaah to be her!!! Then Dawn and I got some lunch at Subway. A few hours later, after filming wrapped for the day, we saw Ewan walk back to his trailer yet again, but he looked like he was in a hurry and wasn’t looking in my direction at all, so I just stared and didn’t say anything. (Another chance to give him my letter! AAAH!)

We eventually went back to Dawn’s house and I ended up leaving to go back home pretty late.

It’s still sinking in. I still can’t believe it.

Today was crazy, but today was amazing. I hope Ewan knows how much he means to me, even without the letter. Hopefully someday I’ll get the chance to tell him, but for now I’m SOOO happy.

-Alissa :+}

Thank you Alissa and Dawn!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Wednesday, November 10, 2004 // 07:39 p.m.


Long Way Round official site updated

The official Long Way Round site has been updated with a new main picture and a new picture in the Image Gallery of Ewan, Charley, Russ and David.

In addition, the "press" section has been revamped, removing the menu (since the book/TV details had been moved to the top-right of the screen). Several new articles were also added!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Wednesday, November 10, 2004 // 08:00 a.m.


Another lucky fan meets Ewan!

Lisa sends us her story of meeting Ewan:

I think I’m the luckiest person alive! I got to meet Ewan twice!

Saturday, after spending about 4 hours waiting around the set of "The Island" in Detroit, I finally met Ewan!!

When I first arrived downtown, I met a man who worked on set and he got me and two other girls on the closed set. I could see Ewan and Scarlett, but they were too far away for me to really be satisfied. Anyway, after waiting and waiting, I finally decided to leave. My husband and I walked back to our car and saw a bunch of people watching the filming on the opposite side of where we had been all day. We decided to join them.

Ewan and Scarlett started walking away from the action and my husband thought they were going back to their trailer, so, on a whim, we raced back to the trailers and lo and behold, across the street from me was Ewan.

He looked right at me and smiled. I said, "Ewan!" and he stopped. I walked across the street and asked him if I could get a picture with him. He said, "sure".

He put his arm around my shoulder and I told him I was wearing my Pringle scarf. He said, "That’s great"

Then my husband took the picture and I asked Ewan if we could take another and he said it was fine.

Then Ewan said, "I can feel your heart beating through your shoulder!"

I said (like an idiot), "Im so nervous!" and he said, "It’s okay."

Then he shook our hands.

As I walked away he yelled, "Thanks for buying the scarf!"

Unfortunately, my eyes were closed in both pictures, so I was determined to try and meet him again, and my son Drew, who is 11 and a huge Star Wars fan wanted an autograph.

So, on Monday I took my son down to the trailers so he could get an autograph. Someone in the crew talked to us for awhile and then left.

When he returned he said to my son, "I talked to Obi-Wan and told him you were out here. He told me to tell you that if you wait here he’ll sign your card for you."

Two hours later Ewan came out and walked across the lot over to us. He signed my son’s Obi-Wan postcard and let us take a couple pictures.

Thank you, Lisa!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Tuesday, November 9, 2004 // 07:14 p.m.


McGregor to star in musical

John Ezard
Tuesday November 9, 2004

Ewan McGregor is to play the romantic lead in a musical revival of Guys and Dolls in London in the late spring, it was announced yesterday.

McGregor, one of Britain’s biggest international film stars, has committed himself for six months in the part of Sky Masterson, a gangster playboy in the show based on Damon Runyon’s tales of the New York underworld.

He has not sung on stage professionally before, though he sang and danced in Baz Luhrmann’s film Moulin Rouge. The show - a new production by Michael Grandage’s company based at the Donmar Warehouse, London - is planned with full orchestra in a theatre not yet chosen.

Source: The Guardian

Thanks to ParisRouge for the find!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Monday, November 8, 2004 // 10:03 p.m.


Pictures from Friday’s filming in Detroit

Jeff, who works in Detroit in a building right where filming is happening in front of it snapped more pictures from Friday’s filming and posted them on the atdetroit.net message board.

Thanks to ParisRouge for the heads up!


Beatty sees stars - briefly

November 5, 2004

Hollywood came to Beatty last weekend for filming of DreamWorks and Warner Brothers’ science-fiction and action feature, "The Island," starring Ewan McGregor "Star Wars: Episodes I and II," and "Moulin Rouge," "Big Fish" and Scarlett Johansson "Lost in Translation," and "Girl With a Pearl Earring," under the direction of Michael Bay "Armageddon," and "Bad Boys I and II."

The story is set about 20 years in the future. Lincoln Six-Echo (McGregor) and Jordan Two-Delta (Johansson) are residents of a controlled-environment facility hoping to be chosen to go to "The Island," supposedly the only uncontaminated spot left on earth.

Then he discovers the truth, that they and the other residents are clones awaiting "harvesting" to be used for spare body parts.

The two of them escape, and are pursued by the forces behind the institute that created them. Djimon Hounsou "In America," and "Gladiator" is the head of the team sent to hunt them down. Steve Buscemi "Ghost World," "Armageddon," "Big Fish," "Fargo," and "The Usual Suspect" is an institute employee who befriends them, and Michael Clarke Duncan "The Green Mile," and "Armageddon" is a fellow clone who is selected to go to "The Island."

Filming began Oct. 25 at Eagle Mountain, near Palm Desert, Calif. While in Beatty, the crew of approximately 125-150 helped fill every available motel and hotel room in town. They filmed in Death Valley, at Rhyolite, at the Cind-r-Lite mine near Lathrop Wells, and on Farm Road in Amargosa Valley.

After leaving Beatty, filming was scheduled to move to downtown Detroit.

Access to the closed-set production was tightly controlled, and visitors to Rhyolite were turned away during filming. While at Rhyolite, the crew used the Barrick Bullfrog site as its base camp.

Those familiar with the Cook Bank Building, the tallest of the ruins in Rhyolite, will notice a change in its facade. Wood and plaster trim and metal railings that were added for another movie "The Reward" back in 1964 were removed for the DreamWorks production, returning the windows to their original appearance.

Caretakers had worried for years that the window dressings might fall and injure or kill a visitor. Oddly enough, when they were removed, the one that looked most likely to fall was found to be firmly anchored, and the one that looked secure practically fell into the workman’s arms when touched.

The Beatty area, Rhyolite, and the Amargosa Valley have been used by many movie crews over the years, among them (with years they were released) "Air Mail" (1925), "Rough Riders Round-Up" (1939), "The Reward" (1964), "The Hitcher" (1986), "The Arrogant" (1987), "Cherry 2000," "Midnight Run," and "Homer and Eddie" (1988), "Never Leave Nevada" (1990), "Delusion" (1991), "Ultraviolet," "Painted Desert" and "Ramona!" (1992), "Tall Tale" (1995) and "Strip Show" (1996).

There have also been a number of student films, TV commercials, documentaries, and other productions shot in the area, including an HBO comedy special with Steven Wright.

Source: Pahrump Valley Times

Thanks to ParisRouge for the find!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Saturday, November 6, 2004 // 10:14 a.m.


Minnesa meets Ewan

Minnesa managed to take a great picture of Ewan yesterday (scroll down past a few articles to see it). Today she returned to the streets of Detroit in the hopes of meeting Ewan a second time.

She wrote:

Hello Ewan McGregor fans!! Can you belive my luck? I went back down today to see if I could get another Picture of him, (with my friend Julie ) And God love him I yelled to him sign my shirt, and he waved us over!!!!!!!!!! My shirt has a picture of him on it that says "Love is Ewan McGregor" He asked me where did you get that shirt?, Did you make it? I said no, I got it on the Internet, and I have another one look. I pulled it out of my bag, He said that’s great and showed his friend standing by him. Anyway, here are those pictures enjoy!!!!!!!!! (I’m the one with the glasses).

Ewan and Minnesa:

Ewan and Julie:

Holding the shirt:

Signing the shirt:

Minnesa, Julie and Ewan:

Thank you, Minnesa!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Friday, November 5, 2004 // 06:44 p.m.


Ewan signed for Guys And Dolls

November 5, 2004


FURTHER to my story last week about Megan Mullally’s desire to be in Guys And Dolls in London next year, I can tell you that Ewan McGregor has now officially signed on to play Sky Masterson in the musical that Michael Grandage will direct in the West End late next spring.

This will mark Ewan’s London stage musical debut, re-creating the role Marlon Brando played in the film version.

Producers Howard Panter and David Ian are hoping other star names will join the show, and I’m hearing of a very interesting name who has been approached to play Nathan Detroit.

The show is being seen as a Donmar production (where Grandage is artistic director) but it will be staged in a big West End theatre.


Source: DAILY MAIL (London) via Lexis-Nexis

Thanks to neemers for the find!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Friday, November 5, 2004 // 06:20 p.m.


Stars Put Their Sparkle on Charity Christmas Cards

Thu 4 Nov 2004
By Sherna Noah, Showbusiness Correspondent, PA News

Ewan McGregor, Sir Ian McKellen and Jamie Oliver are among the stars who have created these Christmas cards for charity.

Hulk star Eric Bana has drawn a Christmas scene more familiar in his Australian homeland than in the UK – a figure sunbathing on a hot beach.

Humorist Stephen Fry has sketched a Santa Claus with a sackfull of goodies, while ballet dancer Darcy Bussell has simply depicted a Christmas hat.

EastEnders star Pam St Clement, who plays Pat, has depicted a large pair of lips and earrings, a look seen on her soap character.

Novelist Jilly Cooper has drawn a Robin with the word Noel in a speech bubble.

Actor Michael Gambon has sketched a grumpy looking Santa Claus with the words Father Christmas After Paying the Congestion Charge.

The one-off, hand-drawn cards, have been created by figures from the worlds of sport, film and entertainment and will go under the hammer to raise cash for cot death research.

Other celebrities to contribute to the project, organised by the Foundation for the Study of Infant Deaths, include Countdown host Carol Vorderman, comic Frank Skinner and Turner Prize winning artist Grayson Perry.

Cards by Helena Bonham Carter, Kenneth Branagh, Robbie Coltrane, Joanna Lumley, Emma Thompson and former TV gardener Alan Titchmarsh will also go under the hammer.

They will be auctioned on November 15 at Kensington Town Hall, west London.

There are 355 cot deaths a year in the UK. It is the leading cause of death in babies over the age of a month old.

Source: The Scotsman

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Thursday, November 4, 2004 // 10:34 p.m.


Set Pics from Bay’s Island

November 04, 2004

We’ve got some cool "spy photos" from the set of Michael Bay’s forthcoming futuristic actioner, The Island, for ya today! The images below are from the on-going location shoot in Detroit, Michigan.

The DreamWorks film stars Ewan McGregor and Scarlett Johansson (whom you’ll see in the pics below) as members of a utopian community who try to escape. McGregor is a "harvested being" who suddenly becomes self-aware. Johanson plays a woman from the community, pregnant with her "sponsor’s" child. Actors Steve Buscemi and Djimon Hounsou also star.

Bay is directing from a script by Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci (The Legend of Zorro) are writing the script based on a spec by Caspian Tredwell-Owen.

The Detroit Free Press points out that shooting will take place in at least six locations around Motor City: The Michigan Central Depot, Michigan Theatre, Johnny Rockets restaurant, Michigan Avenue and Washington Boulevard, Griswold and West Larned streets. We hear tomorrow’s filming will involve a helicopter crash scene, so, local film fans should be on the lookout!

The images below are pretty self explanatory, but in case you just can’t figure it out… we’ve got Ewan McGregor and Scarlett Johnsson (working the bleached blonde look) walking down the street, a cool futuristic car (our source says it’s a real car with California plates), a futuristic police motorcycle, future bus, police actors and various other set pieces.

Click on the link below for large versions of the pictures!

Source: Film Force

Thanks to ParisRouge for the find!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Thursday, November 4, 2004 // 09:37 p.m.


Revenge of the Sith teaser trailer online

Starwars.com Hyperspace members can preview the new trailer for the last episode in the Star Wars saga, Revenge of the Sith. Totally awesome!

Moreover, a webdoc paying a lovely tribute to Ewan called Becoming Obi-Wan is also available to Hyperspace members. It will become available to non-paying visitors of starwars.com in a few weeks.

Thanks to Barb for the heads up!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Thursday, November 4, 2004 // 08:04 p.m.


Ewan fan meets …Ewan!

Minnesa sent us her story:

I live near Detroit, and I’m a huge Ewan McGregor fan! I took this picture of him in between sets of the filming of The Island on Wednesday November 3. He actually drove right up to me let me take his picture!!!!! What a awesome guy. He loves his fans!

I waited outside of his trailer for an hour while they were putting his makeup on (blood on his head) when he came out I yelled his name and a security guard grabbed me and pushed me. Ewan saw this and had his driver drive to me, he stopped right in front of me, rolled his window down and said hello! I went to take the picture, and he even waited for my flash! He was genuinely pleased to see a fan. It made my day!

Thank you, Minnesa!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Thursday, November 4, 2004 // 06:31 p.m.


Cool photos of The Island filming online

Detroit.net has a public forum that contains two threads filled with pictures from the filming of The Island. The pictures do not feature of Ewan but they are still incredible to look at. The futuristic cars are especially cool.

Discuss Detroit » Lights, Cameras…
Discuss Detroit » Rolling…

Thanks to ParisRouge for the find!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Thursday, November 4, 2004 // 11:10 a.m.


Six new pictures from The Island

Dark Horizons has 6 large images from the filming of The Island. Visit the site to see them!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Thursday, November 4, 2004 // 08:00 a.m.


Actor Ewan McGregor on Globe-Spanning Motorbike Adventure

Mark Kirby
National Geographic Adventure
November 3, 2004

For some Hollywood stars, the greatest hardship faced while crossing continents is choosing between Cristal and Dom Pérignon. Ewan McGregor (Moulin Rouge, Star Wars: Episodes I and II) is a bit more open to roughing it through multiple time zones.

In April, with a handheld camera and the occasional support crew in tow, McGregor, 33, and actor-friend Charley Boorman, 38, set out from London atop matching BMW motorcycles. The pair crossed the English Channel by train and began a three-and-a-half-month eastward tear through Europe, Russia, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, Alaska, and Canada. This adventure ended July 29 in New York City.

A six-episode TV series, Long Way Round, based on their epic journey, marked its debut October 28 on the Bravo channel. This month a book of the same title, drawn from McGregor and Boorman’s trip diaries, hits shelves. National Geographic Adventure magazine grabbed a few minutes with the actors to talk about the open road, cranky border guards, and essential roadside hygiene.

Traveling 20,000 miles (32,000 kilometers) in three-plus months is a remarkable feat. But is this a trip that someone without a team of personal assistants could make?

Ewan McGregor: Absolutely. We had a short window of time and were lucky to have help with setting up, [but] there are lots of people out there doing this on their own. A trip of this scale takes an enormous amount of planning, though. You’d really need a year or two to plan it.

How did you prepare for mishaps?

Charley Boorman: We learned mechanics, did an off-road training course on the motorbikes, took a medical course, and did what’s called environmental and hostile training … [which ran] through everything we could possibly come up against: border crossings, checkpoints, and dealing with officials. It turns out that to disarm an AK-47-toting drunk, you just kick him very firmly in the [groin].

What kind of rhythm did you fall into?

McGregor: We would ride for two weeks without a break, from morning to night, all day, every day. We never stopped anywhere for more than two or three days. We had music that we could listen to, but we only did early on. It was much more satisfying to just sit with your own thoughts. Once we were off paved roads, what occupied us most of the time was trying to keep our bikes on two wheels.

Where did you come closest to giving up?

Boorman: Mongolia. There were no roads, just tracks that wandered off in different directions. When you asked someone for directions, they’d say, "Go down that valley, and at the second valley on your left, turn left. Then you’ll come across two clumps of trees atop a hill. When you see them, you’re headed the right way." Even worse, we had every condition of weather imaginable and countless rivers to cross. At one point it took us three days to travel 100 miles [160 kilometers]. It was grueling, but it was also the most beautiful landscape I’ve seen in my life.

McGregor: The people in Mongolia were incredible. We would ride for hours and not see anyone. Then one of the bikes would break down. We’d get out our tools, and three people would suddenly ride up on horseback or a group would show up in a jeep. They’d help us fix the bike or give us food or whatever else we needed.

What was the loneliest stretch of highway you encountered?

McGregor: The emptiest stretch of road was between Irkutsk and Magadan in Siberia. It’s called the Road of Bones because of its history, its remoteness, and its state of disrepair. Stalin sent [countless] political prisoners to die building that road. At the time of year we rode it, the permafrost was melting, so there were trees, bogs, bears, washed-out river bridges—and absolutely nothing else. Except for really [screwed-up] roads.

Riding a motorcycle around the world seems like the ultimate midlife-crisis trip. Did it change your life?

McGregor: My feeling about seeing the world is that it’s going to change you necessarily, just the very fact of being out there and meeting people from different cultures and different ways of life. People in cafés and small towns and rural areas, people looking after their kids. Meeting those people has given me a real optimism about the future.

If someone else were to make the same trip, what’s the one item you’d recommend they bring?

McGregor: Wet wipes. They’re just very handy on a trip like this.

Source: National Geographic

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Wednesday, November 3, 2004 // 09:28 p.m.


Long Way Round DVD and CD details

DVD and CD released December 6, 2004

DVD spec

Format: Double DVD
Cat No: VTDVD 693
Audio option: Dolby Digital Stereo
Screen : 16:9
Regions: All
Disc Type: DVD-9
Running Time (approx): 5 hours 15 min (main content) extras tbc 40 mins
No. of Discs: 2
Subtitles: none


Photo Gallery
Trip Preparation
The First Five Days
I Just Can’t Do It
Glacier Plane Ride
Wrong Way Round!

The soundtrack (on CD) containing music from the series will also be released on December 6.

Source: Long Way Round official site

Thanks to PMMP for the heads up!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Wednesday, November 3, 2004 // 07:29 a.m.


Hollywood Comes To Detroit For Movie Production

Detroit Streets Transformed Into Los Angeles Streets

POSTED: 2:55 pm EST November 2, 2004
UPDATED: 3:41 pm EST November 2, 2004

DETROIT -- Sections of downtown Detroit have been transformed into downtown Los Angeles by Hollywood filmmakers in the Motor City.

Steven Spielberg and DreamWorks Productions are in town this week to film scenes for the upcoming movie "The Island." The stars of the film -- Ewan McGregor and Scarlett Johansson -- are also in Detroit, playing hunted human clones in the film, Local 4 reported.

Griswold Street was transformed into a Los Angeles street Monday with futuristic cars and police cruisers passing by crowds of people, Local 4 reported.

"We scouted a lot of cities all over the country and found Detroit offered us the closest match to Los Angeles," said movie producer Ian Bryce.

Local extra Carolina DiCesre said she is loving her six days of Hollywood work.

"This is excellent. This is awesome. Especially since it’s in our hometown," said DiCesre.

Livonia resident Melissa Hanses brought her binoculars to stargaze, but said she was unsuccessful.

"I wanted to see Ewan McGregor," said Hanses.

DiCesre and another movie extra, Debby Shultz, said they saw the actors, and realized they may have been a little too close at lunch. They said they saw fancy food and the actors, and realized they were probably in the wrong line.

The movie crew is expected to remain in Detroit for the rest of the week. Additional shooting locations were not available, but there were reports that the crew was scouting the Michigan Central Depot for a scene.

The movie is scheduled to be released in July.

Click on the link below to see a video of the story. Ewan can be glimpsed in action!

Source: Click on Detroit

Thanks to ParisRouge for the find!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Tuesday, November 2, 2004 // 07:21 p.m.


First photos of Ewan from The Island

Ewan McGregor and Scarlett Johansson filming scenes of their new movie The Island. The pair are currently on location in Detroit which is being used as a back drop for post apocalyptic Los Angeles.

Thanks to Georginita for the find!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Tuesday, November 2, 2004 // 03:51 p.m.


Gun It, Obi-Wan!

On a madcap lap of the planet, Ewan McGregor and his wingman, Charley Boorman, burned rubber for 20,000 bumpy miles

November 1, 2004
By Patrick Symmes

When Scottish actor Ewan McGregor (Big Fish, Star Wars: Attack of the Clones) set out for New York last April, he opted to take the scenic route. He and a friend, British actor Charley Boorman, left London on BMW GS R1150 Adventure motorcycles and rode east for 108 days, crossing Europe, Central Asia, Siberia, Alaska, Canada, and the Midwest. On July 29, after almost 20,000 miles, the duo pulled into Manhattan, trailed by a convoy of 50 fans on motorbikes. They recount the journey in Long Way Round (Atria Books, $26), on sale November 2, and in a six-part television documentary airing October 28 through December 2, on Bravo. Shortly after the weary riders dismounted, PATRICK SYMMES cornered them in the Mercer Hotel, where, sunburned and bearded, they demolished a bread basket to its crumbs.

OUTSIDE: All right, rat on each other.
McGregor: There’s not a lot of that.

You just spent three months together and you still get along?
M: Yeah.
BOORMAN: Ewan is the brother I always wanted as a kid.

Now that you’ve ridden all the way around the planet, how big is it?
M: It’s too early to say. Initially, you think the world is going to shrink. The first couple of weeks take you right across the Second World War. It makes you wonder. You think, Jesus, in the forties this was a disaster zone, a mess. And how easily we rode across it in a couple of weeks! Then things start to broaden out. You get to Kazakhstan, which is an enormous country, but still you’re crossing it in three weeks. I don’t know if it feels like a big world or a small world. The strongest impression I have, at the moment, is that people along the way are 99 percent of the time incredibly interested, friendly, helpful, reliable, trustworthy.

Any screwups?
M: We had far too much stuff: two of everything—two full tool kits, two gas stoves, two water purifiers. We had cameras mounted on our helmets, and we had walkie-talkie systems, and phone cradles for our mobiles. By the time we got to Russia, all of it had broken—rattled to pieces. We pared down so we had only one of everything. And we got rid of a lot of clothes.
B: At some point you realize that . . . this "necessity"—you really don’t need it.

What were your toughest times?
M: The first few days in Mongolia were unbelievably difficult. We’d look at a map, and Ulan Bator was still a thousand miles away. We just couldn’t get any closer.
B: We were riding for 18 hours a day and only achieving sometimes 20 or 30 miles. You’d have punishing days and not get anywhere.

I take it the dirt roads gave you a beating.
M: When you had to stand up on the pegs all day, you got jelly legs.

How about wind and rain?
B: In Mongolia, I don’t think we got fast enough to feel any wind. Getting into fourth gear was a revelation.
M: We had some hellish days in Kazakhstan. You were resisting the wind with your head at 45 degrees and would end up with terrible pains down your back, as if someone was pushing your head all day. That was tough. But over the trip, cumulatively we spent less than a day in the rain. Unbelievable.

If you could go back to one place, what would it be?
BOTH: Mongolia!

Any crashes?
M: A lot. I was rear-ended about 60 miles north of Calgary. I suddenly heard a screech of tires, and bang! Luckily, the front end of the bike lifted up, then back down. We had a bit of a wobble around and then came to a stop. A very close call.

What about a transcendent moment?
M: In Kazakhstan. It was the most perfect evening to ride. The temperature was absolutely beautiful, and the sun was just hanging there in the lower part of the sky. I got this complete sense of, This is where I was meant to be at this moment. I belonged on the back of the bike, on this trip. It was absolutely what I should be doing at this moment. Everything was fine at home. Everything was good on the road. I was struck by that feeling of complete contentment. Quite unusual.

I understand that you consulted a nutritionist and were going to live on organic lentils and fish that you caught along the route. How’d that work out?
M: Never caught a fish the whole journey. Not one.

M: Never opened. I left them in Siberia.

Source: Outside Online

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Monday, November 1, 2004 // 11:20 p.m.


Book of the Week: Long Way Round

November 01, 2004
Ian Johns

Radio 4, 9.45am/12.30am

Ewan McGregor reads from the newly published account of his 15-week, 20,000-mile journey on souped-up BMW bikes with his friend Charley Boorman. The trip included the hairier parts of Mongolia, Kazakhstan and Siberia before they eventually arrived in New York with beards worthy of Grizzly Adams. It’s a tale of hubris, hardship, horsepower and Ukrainian after-dinner entertainment involving firearms.

Source: The Times

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Sunday, October 31, 2004 // 10:40 p.m.


Around the world with Ewan McGregor

Jerry Graham
October 31, 2004

I spent eight years of my life traveling the back roads of California and beyond for a weekly television program. At no time did I ever envision a back roads adventure like the one on the new Bravo series, "Long Way Round," which began Thursday and continues for five more weeks at 10 p.m.

This is a real reality show.

Don’t worry if you missed the first episode. It is recapped at the beginning of next Thursday’s program, and I’ll fill in the rest of the blanks.

"Long Way Round" is about the motorcycle journey of British actors Ewan McGregor ("Moulin Rouge") and his pal Charley Boorman ("Excalibur.") They met on a movie set several years ago and found they both loved tooling around on their bikes.

McGregor shared his longtime fantasy of taking a world tour over some of the largest landmasses on earth. The 20,000-mile trip would take them such places as England, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, Siberia and China. They would then fly across the Bering Straits to Alaska, Canada and end up in New York.

The fantasy became a reality as the two actors turned producers. They put together a production team to document the trip and develop a TV series that would pay for the four-month trip.

Episode one was all about the preparations. Because of the grueling ride ahead, McGregor and Boorman had to train like athletes, learn first aid, master enough new languages to get by in foreign countries and learn the Zen of motorcycle maintenance.

Once BMW agreed to give them road bikes on which they mounted video cameras, and they found a cameraman who could ride with them, they were ready to roll. A production crew would follow in two vans.

None of this came easy. They were warned by experts that the trip was doomed to fail, that they would find impossible off-road conditions, thieves, gangsters and hostile border guards. Still, they shrugged off the danger and pressed ahead.

Next Thursday’s episode is when the adventure actually begins as they say goodbye to tearful families and head out, much like the adventurers in the current movie about Che Guevara’s early life, "The Motorcycle Diaries."

The scenery is spectacular as they take us on a tour through places we are unlikely to ever visit, like the eerie cathedral of bones in Slovakia. Even more interesting are the people they meet along the way. Watch for the friendly Russian who insists they stay at his house. His friends come to meet the visitors bearing guitars and machine guns.

Aside from the adventure, what makes the program work is the charm and spunk of the two actors. These are not spoiled Hollywood types. They are guys you would want to get to know: funny, self-effacing and a little bit crazy.

Make that a lot crazy.

Source: Santa Cruz Sentinel

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Sunday, October 31, 2004 // 08:25 a.m.


And the Bafta for most improved nation goes to Scotland

Sun 31 Oct 2004

IT’S easy to forget just how far Scottish film has come. In the course of a single generation, film-making in Scotland has grown from the endeavours of a few hardy pioneers to a profession that consistently produces world class work.

Inevitably, there are disappointments, frustrations and failings, but the landscape of opportunity is almost unrecognisable in the 20 years that have elapsed since Local Hero and Comfort and Joy.

It is a sign of that growth and consistency that Bafta Scotland is now celebrating the achievements of homegrown talent with an annual awards ceremony that initially takes place in Glasgow next month, with Lorraine Kelly hosting.

A dedicated supporter of indigenous film-making, Bafta Scotland was previously responsible for hosting a series of biennial awards honouring new talent from May Miles Thomas to Lynne Ramsay and Gillian Berrie.

The new awards will recognise Scottish achievement at all levels, as well as acknowledging developments in short films, new media, animation, documentaries and new technology.

The first set of awards have the advantage of drawing from the past two years of film releases, which means at least a dozen major feature films have been in contention for the top prizes. David Mackenzie’s powerful adaptation of the Alexander Trocchi novel Young Adam leads the field with five nominations in the categories of best film, best director, best screenplay, best actor for Ewan McGregor and best actress for Tilda Swinton.

Fellow best film contender American Cousins, a gentle, old-fashioned comedy, was also nominated for screenplay and best director, while the award-winning, low-budget drama Afterlife has been recognised for screenplay, first time director Alison Peebles and first time performer Paula Sage. Other films with multiple nominations included Richard Jobson’s striking, semi-autobiographical directorial debut 16 Years of Alcohol, Beirut hostage drama Blind Flight and heartwarmer Dear Frankie.

The greatest sign of how much the industry has matured is the fact that none of the awards is a foregone conclusion. There is no category with an obvious runaway winner where everyone else is just there to make up the numbers. McGregor might well be a worthy best actor winner for his charismatic performance in Young Adam, but the same could be said for Kevin McKidd’s performance in 16 Years of Alcohol.

Ian Hart and Linus Roache were extraordinarily touching as hostages Brian Keenan and John McCarthy in Blind Flight, which also puts them in strong contention for best actor in a Scottish film. All four contenders gave performances of real stature, and that’s before we consider some of those who didn’t even make the nominations list, including Jamie Sives for Wilbur Wants to Kill Himself and Peter Mullan for Blinded.

Once upon a time, the industry might have been hard pushed to provide a sufficient number of nominations in each category to lend the awards some validity. That hasn’t been a problem this year, although the announcement of just two nominations in the best actress category does perhaps reflect the way in which Scottish film has failed to provide a wide diversity of challenging roles for its female performers.

Eva Birthistle’s fiery schoolteacher in Ae Fond Kiss and Tilda Swinton’s steely mother and lover in Young Adam will provide plenty of food for thought for the jury, but surely the hard-working Shirley Henderson deserved at least one nomination for American Cousins or Wilbur Wants to Kill Himself.

The awards, to be held on November 14, are not a coming of age for Scottish film, that happened a long time ago. They are another step in building self-confidence and reflecting the great range of work and talent that is produced within this country.

Bafta Scotland is even confident enough to let the public have its say with an audience award that has been sponsored by UGC Cinemas, in which filmgoers can vote from 12 contenders, including Young Adam, Dear Frankie and The Purifiers. Film-makers throughout the land will no doubt be encouraging friends and family members to vote as often as they can.

The awards also have the advantage of providing a platform where a lifetime’s contribution to the Scottish industry can be recognised. In the past Bafta Scotland presented special awards to actor Ian Bannen and inspirational all-rounder John McGrath. This year, there is the promise that a recipient of similar stature will be honoured.

The problem will be in maintaining the sparkle of this year. Indigenous production has been going through one of its quieter spells in recent months, with Annie Griffin’s ensemble comedy Festival one of the few high profile projects to film this year. The resourcefulness of Scottish film has always managed to surprise us in the past, and that’s where the challenge lies for the future.

The Bafta Scotland Awards 2004 take place at the Radisson SAS Hotel in Glasgow on November 14.

Source: The Scotsman

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Saturday, October 30, 2004 // 09:38 p.m.


There’s No Business Like BMW Show Business

29 October 2004

From 4-14 November an estimated 200,000 visitors are expected at this year’s International Motorcycle and Scooter Show at the NEC in Birmingham. And for BMW Motorrad there has never been a more appropriate time or place to showcase its important new products and full range of current models. A visit to the BMW stand may well provide motorcyclists with a glimpse into the future.

BMW Motorrad’s first superbike, the K1200 S, will make its UK show debut at the NEC. All four colour options will be on display as well as technical demonstrations of the engine, chassis and duolever capabilities. This will enable enthusiasts to have a closer look at the radical new technology and philosophy incorporated in this exciting new concept machine.

Currently being transmitted on Sky One, Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman’s global odyssey – the Long Way Round – will be featured in detail on the BMW Motorrad stand. Visitors will be able to see the BMW R1150 GS Adventure motorcycle that was actually ridden on the journey – and Charley Boorman will be there for an exclusive Long Way Round question and answer session on Press Day (4 November). There is also a Long Way Round book-signing session scheduled for each weekend.

The first UK viewing of selected items from the 2005 BMW Rider Equipment collection will also be on display at the show. BMW has continued to innovate and develop new technology that is characteristic of its textile clothing. A good example can be seen in the introduction of the new Streetguard 2 suit and ProRace collection. But that’s not all. The new System Helmet 5 – with impressive Bluetooth technology for wire-free, inter-bike communication – will also be previewed alongside a comprehensive selection of other new products.

A ’must-have’ item, while at the show, has to be the 2005 World of BMW Activity Brochure. The new publication, which is considerably larger than last year’s publication, gives detailed information on BMW Off-Road Skills courses and worldwide touring programme. Also included is information about BMW’s new track days at Rockingham and the Direct Access courses that will be run throughout the year.

A wide range of specialist advisers will be available on the BMW Motorrad stand to provide technical information and after-sales service advice, and support. This will cover a variety of specialities including: BMW Motorrad, World of BMW, financial services and insurance.

The BMW Motorrad stand is T6 and can be located in Hall 6.

For additional information, customers should call the BMW customer information line on 0800 777 155, or visit www.bmw-motorrad.co.uk

For more information about the World of BMW activity programme visit www.worldofbmw.com or call 08000 131 282.

Source: Inside Bikes News

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Friday, October 29, 2004 // 07:56 p.m.


Long Way Round DVD

The Long Way Round 2-disc DVD is available for pre-order at amazon.co.uk £13.49. It ships November 29th.

Thanks to Debi for the heads up!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Thursday, October 28, 2004 // 11:26 p.m.


Bravo adds videos, message board

Bravo’s Long Way Round site has added 2 new videos and a message board. Click on the link to check them out!

Thanks to Georginita for the heads up!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Thursday, October 28, 2004 // 11:18 p.m.


Hollywood invades Detroit for futuristic film

October 28, 2004

Julian Scott doorman Kenneth Lewis of Detroit watches set construction of a futuristic taxi stop on West Fort Street in downtown Detroit on Wednesday. Part of the Hollywood movie "The Island" will be filmed in Detroit next week, including a big-budget car chase.

The bus shelter with a built-in ATM looks routine enough. It could be just another piece of Detroit’s never-ending Super Bowl makeover.

But the subway entrance?

No way. Not here. We don’t do subways.

Don’t worry. It’s not the work of a politician gone mad. It’s Hollywood calling.

Thanks to a $100-million feature film called "The Island," two blocks of West Fort Street in the heart of downtown Detroit are about to double as Los Angeles, circa 2044.

In all, the film is shooting in six locations in and around downtown, including:

•Michigan Central Depot.
• Michigan Theatre (now a parking structure).
• Johnny Rockets restaurant (next to the Fox Theatre, exterior only).
• Michigan Avenue and Washington Boulevard.
• Griswold and West Larned streets.

The epicenter of shooting is West Fort Street between Washington Boulevard and Griswold Street. On Monday, director Michael Bay ("Pearl Harbor," "Armageddon") and his crew are scheduled to begin filming an elaborate, big-budget car chase there, with plenty of crashes and possibly a few explosions.

But this week, you can see the emergence of a new cityscape. A 14-person crew from Los Angeles has installed the subway entrance, a taxi stand, a giant sign covering the front of the Comerica branch building at Shelby Street and West Fort and an enormous steel truss spanning all six lanes of West Fort that soon will carry signs directing drivers to the Hollywood and Pasadena freeways, among others.

Predictably, the action is drawing gawkers.

"I work on the 40th floor of the Penobscot Building, and the rumors are flying," said Katie Woodruff, 20, of Grosse Pointe Woods, an office clerk at Rutledge Manion Rabaut Terry & Thomas PC, a law firm. "We knew something was going on, but we weren’t sure what it was."

It also has attracted its share of diehard film aficionados.

By day, Richard Ingalls, 25, of Grosse Pointe works in the radiology department at Bon Secours Hospital. But the rest of the time, he is an independent filmmaker.

When he popped by the set on Tuesday, he was carrying a loose-leaf copy of his newest screenplay, "Waiting for Tomorrow."

"You never know when you’ll have a chance to show it to someone," he said.

Most of the film’s 80-plus-day shooting schedule will take place in southern California. But Bay was unable to find all the locations he needed on the West Coast. So in stepped Detroit.

Interestingly, it wasn’t the urban decay or the disrepair of the old train station that appealed most to Bay.

"What really caught the director’s eye was the period architecture at Shelby and Fort," said Al Fields, Detroit’s deputy chief operating officer, who worked for several months to draw the production to Detroit.

Ewan McGregor stars as a man who takes flight after he learns he is a "harvested being" living in a manmade utopia.

The movie also stars Scarlett Johansson, Steve Buscemi and Djimon Hounsou. All but Buscemi will be involved in local filming.

If you’re a film buff -- or a person of a certain age -- you may recognize this plot as similar to that of "Logan’s Run," a 1976 film.

"The Island," which is being produced by DreamWorks SKG and Warner Bros., is scheduled to be released next summer. The film will shoot here for eight days between Monday and Nov. 9, with a day off on Sunday, Nov. 7. No one would venture what economic impact the project might have on the city, but normally, movies of this size hire dozens of metalworkers, carpenters, electricians and drivers.

One little bit of present-day Detroit has injected itself into the L.A. of the future. Despite the tight overnight security, one of Detroit’s notorious graffiti artists has managed to tag the front of the taxi stand being erected just east of Shelby with his spray-painted moniker.

Source: Detroit Free Press

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Thursday, October 28, 2004 // 06:30 a.m.


Bravo’s new series captures actors’ traveling adventure

By Laura Urbani
Wednesday, October 27, 2004

One night on "The Tonight Show," actor Ewan McGregor told host Jay Leno about his plans to ride around the world on a motorcycle.

"We’re going to ride from London to New York, going east, the long way around," McGregor said.

The trip began as a jaunt with his best mate, actor Charley Boorman. But, as with most big plans, the trip became bigger and bigger until a full camera crew was hired to travel along and film the pair’s adventures.

According to Boorman, the film crew was enlisted "so when we’re sitting at 60 years old with our grandchildren we can have a bit of a giggle."

The result is a hilarious film that will amaze, and impress, viewers with the men’s daring and tenacity. McGregor and Boorman are fun guys who make you wish you were along for the ride.

Bravo’s six-part series "The Long Way Round" shares the fun and the terror as McGregor and Boorman ride 20,000 miles through 12 countries over a four-month period. The men know how to have fun, like when they visit local festivals in Kiev, Ukraine. They love to joke, and no one is spared. They even laugh about the rifle-carrying Ukrainian host who welcomes them to his mansion. The boys can’t help but laugh while they wonder if they will be "knocked off" by the Russian mafia.

The first episode lays the foundation for the trip and examines the immense preparation that was essential to the journey’s success.

McGregor and Boorman did their best to be prepared. They spoke with experts from each country to discuss the best routes to take and what traveling conditions to expect. They hired a fitness trainer, a hostile environment consultant and first-aid instructor. They even studied the Russian language.

Despite the preparation, the men have trouble with everything from finding the right motorcycles to hiring a cameraman. The cameraman leaves his passport at home and doesn’t have a motorcycle license. Then there are the border crossing guards to deal with and some health hazards. At one point, the trip is threatened when McGregor gets petrol splashed in his eye. They deal with loneliness, bad weather and machine problems.

McGregor and Boorman do not offer a lot of historical or cultural information. They are tourists determined to have a good time on a life-changing adventure. This is one vacation video that is worth watching.

Source: Pittsburgh Live

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Wednesday, October 27, 2004 // 07:32 a.m.


A remarkable journey

Monday, 25 October, 2004

In a HardTalk Extra interview screened on 22 October, Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman told Mishal Husain about their three-month motorcycle trip across some of the world’s most remote terrain.

What inspires two actors to take four months out of their careers to travel across some of the most remote parts of the world on motorbikes?

Mishal Husain asked Ewan McGregor (better known to movie audiences as the young Obi-Wan Kenobi) and Charley Boorman (star of the movie The Emerald Forest and son of the legendary director Sir John Boorman) why they decided to travel from London to New York the long way round.

Ewan explained that the trip was born purely out of "our desire to ride motorbikes for a very long time".

The two men met on a film set and immediately bonded over their love of bikes. A dream trip like this was just a natural extension of that.

The two started their journey in London in April 2004, and crossed over to mainland Europe.

They then travelled France, Belgium, Germany, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Ukraine, Russia, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, Siberia, Alaska before riding into New York City¿s Battery Park in late July.

Falling off

Their journey took them across some of the world¿s most remote areas as they crossed the border into Mongolia, roads became tracks and distances measured in hours¿ travel.

Falling off their bikes became part and parcel of the trip. "I think we started counting how many times we fell off in the first week," explained Charley, "and then we gave up because we did fall a lot."

But there was little doubt that travelling by bike allowed the two friends to see far more of the country they were covering.

"The thing about riding a bike as opposed to being in a car is that you’re really part of the landscape on a motorcycle and you travel slowly across, the landscape changes round about you and you become more part of it as a result," Ewan told the programme.

The pair described Mongolia as one of the highlights of the trip, "the furthest away from our culture that we witnessed."

Being recognised

Travelling on large bikes and with a cameraman on board, the actor pair weren’t exactly inconspicuous, and they did encounter some media interest.

They described waiting at the Ukrainian border for fourteen hours signing autographs before being allowed to pass through.

Ewan recalled a "terrifying" incident in Kazakhstan where he and Charley were held at gunpoint by a man in a car - who then laughed and drove off. But overall, the reception they faced was very warm.

"I felt that there was such generosity shown towards us across the way, and interest, and we represented to people maybe in some of the smaller towns in Siberia .. a kind of freedom to those people."

The project which began as two friends making an epic journey snowballed - the whole trip was filmed and has now become a documentary and a book.

But Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman agree that the experience was everything they’d hoped for - two best friends on their motorbikes, travelling across the world.

HARDtalk Extra can be seen on Fridays on BBC World at 03:30 GMT, 08:30 GMT, 11:30 GMT, 15:30 GMT, 18:30 GMT and 23:30 GMT

It can also be seen on BBC News 24 at 04:30 and 23:30

Note: There is a streaming video clip of the full HARDtalk interview available on the BBC Website.

Source: BBC

Thanks to Emila-Wan Kenobi and TheForce.net for the find!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Tuesday, October 26, 2004 // 11:00 p.m.


Stars win Scots ’Oscars’ nominations for city films

Tue 26 Oct 2004

Screen stars Ewan McGregor and Kevin McKidd were today shortlisted for Scottish industry "Oscars" for film roles shot in Edinburgh.

The ex-Trainspotting actors are among the nominees for best actor in the British Academy of Film and Television Arts Scotland awards.

McGregor has been nominated for his role in Young Adam, while McKidd’s part in 16 Years of Alcohol secured his nomination for best actor in a Scottish film.

Young Adam, based on the controversial novel by Scottish writer Alexander Trocchi, tells the story of a young drifter who becomes embroiled in a murder mystery while travelling on a barge between Glasgow and Edinburgh.

It was shot in both cities, as well as on the Union Canal, and was a huge hit among critics at the Cannes Film Festival last year.

Richard Jobson’s directorial debut 16 Years of Alcohol, starring McKidd and Ewan Bremner, was shot at various well-known sites in the Capital, including Victoria Terrace, the Caledonian Brewery, Bristo Square, Edinburgh’s Art College and the Central Bar in Leith.

In the best actress category, Eva Birthistle has been nominated for Ae Fond Kiss, while McGregor’s co-star Tilda Swinton has received a nod for her role in Young Adam.

Jobson has received a best director nomination for 16 Years of Alcohol, while David MacKenzie has also been nominated for Young Adam.

In the best film category, Young Adam, American Cousins and Wilbur (Wants to Kill Himself) have all received nominations.

At today’s announcement of the nominations in Glasgow, Lord of the Rings star Billy Boyd called on the Scottish Executive to help launch a film studio for Scotland. The actor, who played hobbit Pippin Took in the trilogy, called on ministers to take advantage of the "rebirth" of the Scottish screen industry and harness movie talent north of the Border.

"It would be lovely to see a studio up here at some point," he said. "That would be a great step forward. There are so many films that want to use Scotland, so whatever we can do to push that forward would be a good thing. I’d like to see [the Executive] do more."

The glittering awards ceremony is to be held in Glasgow on November 14.

Source: The Scotsman

Thanks to Melinda for the find!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Tuesday, October 26, 2004 // 12:45 p.m.


McGregor and Boorman Go the ’Long Way Round’

Monday, October 25
By John Crook

Actors Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman knew they were putting their friendship to a strenuous test when they left London and began their motorcycle trek around the world in April.

The pair’s grueling odyssey is chronicled in "Long Way Round," a six-part limited series premiering Thursday, Oct. 28, on Bravo.

"Oh, yeah, I knew this would either cement our friendship forever or we would come out of it never speaking to one another," Boorman recalls several weeks later, a few days after the pair reached their destination in New York. "And I can tell you very confidently today: I’ll never speak to Ewan McGregor again."

The 38-year old Boorman breaks into giggles at his own ridiculous notion. He and McGregor, 33, best friends since they worked together on the 1997 drama "The Serpent’s Kiss," are weary but thrilled after completing the three-month, 20,000-mile trek that took them through Eastern Europe, the Ukraine, Russia, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, Siberia, Alaska and Canada, followed by a final extended leg across the northern United States.

"To tell the truth, I still can’t believe that we actually made this dream come true," McGregor says. "I think there were times when both of us wondered whether we’d be able to keep going. Parts of it were just very, very tough -- but I’m really touched to the core when I think of some of the people and places we saw together.

"Any excuse to spend that much time on a motorcycle is great for either of us," Boorman agrees, "but as Ewan says, it was just the friendliness and overwhelming generosity of everyone we met that made this trip so unforgettable. That’s something we can’t forget, especially given all the trouble that’s going on in the world right now.

An outgrowth of the two friends’ casual plans to make a bike trip to Spain with their wives, the journey that ultimately would take the "long way round" from London to New York started out as McGregor scanned a world map, pondering a bike trip to China, where his wife grew up.

"Then I noticed when I got to Mongolia, that if I turned and headed north into Siberia instead of going down to China, it wasn’t that much farther east to the edge [of Asia]," he explains.

Ah, but what appears to be a short distance on a map can translate into exhausting. patience-testing days when that area consists of only half-charted regions in which roads are crude at best.

"Mongolia was unbelievable," Boorman recalls. "Great parts of it are completely untouched by modern development, but the roads, when you could even call them that, were terrible and we’d find ourself on the wrong route without any warning. There were no signs to speak of, and we had to rely on our [navigating] systems."

The first hour of the series chronicles the extensive preparation and training that McGregor and Boorman underwent in the weeks leading up to their April departure. In addition to exercise sessions to improve their fitness levels, they also had to endure daunting advice from a "hostile environment team" that spelled out the hazards the two men will face: crooked border guards, crossing war zones, surviving frigid temperatures, even bear attacks.

In an interview he gave before departing on the trip, McGregor told a reporter he was most worried about the danger bears posed. What may sound a little silly now was actually a matter of serious concern, he explains later.

"They told us that we would be going through regions where bears outnumbered humans," he says. "And some of the time the only place we had to sleep was right there on the roadway itself. You just feel very exposed in a situation like that."

Halfway into that preparatory period, the entire project was threatened after one skeptical consultant contacted the motorcycle company that had offered to provide bikes for the trip and told executives he expected Boorman and McGregor to fail on their journey. The company immediately withdrew its support, but fortunately BMW stepped in with its own equipment.

At times, the complicated logistics of the project threatened to overwhelm what McGregor and Boorman wanted to be an intimate experience between two friends.

To keep the experience as "pure" as possible, footage of the trip was filmed mainly by the two stars via cameras on their helmets and bikes, plus director of photography Claudio Planta, who traveled with Boorman and McGregor for most of the journey. The trio met with additional crew members only at border stops, where they exchanged their used film for fresh stock.

"Claudio really was the person who made this whole thing work as well as it did," Boorman says. "He truly was the third cameraman, but he was never intrusive, so Ewan and I really did feel for a lot of the trip that we were alone together on the road."

"We know this was a once-in-a-lifetime experience," McGregor adds, "and I’m just totally thrilled that we have this really incredible ’home movie’ of it."

Source: Zap2it

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Tuesday, October 26, 2004 // 07:33 a.m.


Robots international release dates

The official Robots site has been updated with international release dates.

Thanks to Fuumin for the find!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Tuesday, October 26, 2004 // 07:17 a.m.


Spielberg to invade streets of Detroit

Monday, October 25, 2004
By Tom Greenwood / The Detroit News

Depending on the roads you travel, it’s either "Boo" or "Hooray for Hollywood" in downtown Detroit over the next few days.

A number of roads are going to be closed this week and next while crews for DreamWorks studio (think Steven Spielberg) can shoot scenes for "The Island," a science fiction film that will star Ewan McGregor, Scarlett Johansson, Michael Clarke Duncan and Steve Buscemi.

Is the entire film going to be shot in Detroit? Nope, not even close. But a week’s worth of shooting will tie up a number of Detroit streets and freeways. Here’s what to expect:

One lane of southbound Griswold, between Jefferson and Larned, will be closed on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Fort will be closed between Shelby and Griswold on Saturday.

Larned, between Shelby and Woodward, and Griswold, between Congress and Jefferson, will be closed Nov. 1.

The intersection of Bagley and Cass will be closed Nov. 2 and Sixth Street will be closed Nov. 3-4.

Fort, between Washington and Griswold, and Shelby, between Lafayette and Congress, will be closed Nov. 5-6.

On Nov. 8, the following streets will also be closed: Congress, between Cass and Second; First, between Fort and Congress; Michigan, between Griswold and Washington; plus the intersection of Griswold, Clifford, Woodward and Washington.

Finally, the intersection of Woodward and Montcalm will be closed Nov. 9.

Travel is starting to look pretty sticky on Interstate 75 just north of Metro Detroit.

The Michigan Department of Transportation has started work at 46 bridges on I-75 in the Saginaw Bay area, which is going to mean slowdowns due to lane closures.

The work - joint replacement, crack sealing and patching to the freeway - is expected to last for at least two weeks, which isn’t good news for leaf peepers headed north to see the colors change.

Expect to run into double-lane closures on I-75 at: the railroad bridge just south of M-46, the railroad bridge just south of M-81 and the railroad bridge just south of M-13, all of which are in Saginaw County. The work will force traffic to shift to the shoulders on both north and southbound I-75.

MDOT plans to have the lanes reopened this Friday and Saturday, and restart on the other side of the bridges Oct. 31.

In Livingston County, the entrance ramp from M-59 to southbound U.S. 23 will remain closed until Wednesday. Motorists should use the following detour: U.S. 23 to Clyde and then back to southbound U.S.23.

Source: Detroit News

Thanks to ParisRouge for the find!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Monday, October 25, 2004 // 07:35 a.m.


International Robots trailer available online

The international trailer for Robots is now available from apple.com. Click on the link to see it!

Thanks to nutbar for the find!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Saturday, October 23, 2004 // 11:21 a.m.


Long Way Round video preview at Bravo

Bravotv.com has a nice long preview of the upcoming Long Way Round. Click on the link to see it!

Thanks to Georginita and angelvelvet for the find!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Friday, October 22, 2004 // 11:26 p.m.


Film ’The Island’ needs locals for November shoot

October 22, 2004

You and your car could be in a Hollywood movie.

Casting directors will be in Southfield on Saturday in search of hundreds of extras for a futuristic sci-fi movie starring Ewan McGregor and Scarlett Johansson. Directors also are looking for about a hundred cars made in 2000 or later for a traffic sequence in the movie.

A portion of "The Island" is scheduled to be filmed in Detroit from Nov. 1 to Nov. 9. McGregor and Johansson are expected to be in Detroit for all nine days of shooting. Most of the movie will be shot in southern California.

The movie is directed by Michael Bay, who made "Pearl Harbor" and "Armageddon." It’s about a man -- played by McGregor -- who goes on the run after he discovers he is actually a "harvested being" and is being kept along with others in a utopian facility.

Folks from the DreamWorks SKG movie studio, which was cofounded by Steven Spielberg, were scouting the Michigan Central Depot and other Detroit locations last week.

Other stars in the movie are Michael Clarke Duncan ("The Green Mile"), Djimon Hounsou ("In America") and Steve Buscemi ("The Sopranos").

About 175 extras of varying sizes and ethnicities are needed for each day of filming. They must be between 18 and 80.

The filmmakers are particularly looking for people who work in law enforcement or serve in the military -- or look like they do, said casting director Tracy Dixon.

Depending on the part they are chosen for, extras could work 6 to 9 days for filming and clock 8 to 14 hours a day. Salary will match that of nonunion extras in Hollywood, which is $54 for the first eight hours of work. After that, it’s time and a half. After 10 hours, it’s double overtime.

The movie takes place in 2044, so extras will need to be fitted for costumes as soon as they are chosen. Interested people should bring a photo of themselves with their contact information attached.

The casting call will be held noon to 4 p.m. at the Detroit Marriott Southfield, 27033 Northwestern Highway, Southfield.

For more information about the movie or other casting calls, monitor the recorded hot line at 313-438-0489.

Source: Detroit Free Press

Thanks to Barbara for the find!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Friday, October 22, 2004 // 09:29 a.m.


Don’t forget HARDtalk Extra!

Don’t forget to watch BBC World’s HARDtalk Extra which airs Friday October 22, throughout the day, and is repeated several times during the day.

This channel is available around the globe. Check the BBC World website for the schedule in your part of the world.

Thanks to Heike for the heads up!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor onThursday, October 21, 2004 // 10:30 p.m.


Ewan McGregor in Talks to Star in London Guys and Dolls

By James Inverne
21 Oct 2004

Donmar Warehouse boss Michael Grandage doesn’t mess around. If he says that it’s time for another London Guys and Dolls (following the immensely successful Richard Eyre production at the National — so good that nobody has dared to touch it in Theatreland since), then he’s going to get a headline-making cast.

Talks are nearing conclusion for Ewan McGregor to play Sky Masterson, with an announcement expected imminently.

McGregor last appeared on the West End stage in 1999, when he starred in David Halliwell’s Little Malcolm and His Struggle Against the Eunuchs at the Comedy Theatre. But he’s never braved a singing role onstage. However, McGregor has sung on film, in the cult hit “Moulin Rouge.”

That film saw him play opposite Nicole Kidman, a Donmar veteran after her famous performance there in David Hare’s The Blue Room. Guys and Dolls is scheduled for some time in 2005 (McGregor wanted the show put back to accommodate his filming schedule) and is the first production that the Donmar is producing outside of its Covent Garden home.

Source: Playbill

Thanks to ParisRouge for the find!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Thursday, October 21, 2004 // 06:51 p.m.


Ewan Causes a Stir on American TV

21/10/2004 02:24

Scottish actor EWAN McGREGOR caused a stir on American TV on Tuesday night (19OCT04), when he spoke candidly about masturbation.

During an appearance on comedian JAY LENO’s chat show, the MOULIN ROUGE! star explained that upcoming roles in THE ISLAND as a clone and the man he’s cloned from meant he got to "play with" himself.

He then cheekily added, "I played with myself, in this instance, just before I came out (on the show), actually!"

McGregor proceeded to tell the audience about his 2000 movie NORA, explaining, "There was a scene where I have to sit and have a w**k reading one of these (sex) letters. It’s the funniest feeling. I remember walking to set knowing that I was about to have a w**k in front of all these people. It’s a really weird one. You just hope that nobody’s really paying attention."

And just to ensure the audience knew what he was talking about, McGregor made masturbatory gestures as an explanation.

Source: Contact Music

Thanks to Melinda for the find!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Thursday, October 21, 2004 // 10:00 a.m.


McGregor Almost Quit Bike Trek

20/10/2004 21:14

EWAN McGREGOR and pal CHARLEY BOORMAN almost parked up their motorbikes halfway through their round-the-world trek and called the adventure off - because they were missing their families.

The actors admit their wives urged them on when the pair called home from remote Mongolia, insisting their global bike ride was too much.

The three-month trek had already fallen well behind schedule, and Boorman and McGregor both knew they’d struggle to make up time.

Boorman says, "We were desperate to get to our wives."

McGregor adds, "They told us to stick it out and if it takes a bit longer, it doesn’t matter."

The pair eventually rode into New York in July (04) after completing more than 32,000 kilometres (20,000 miles) in 113 days.

Source: Contact Music

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Thursday, October 21, 2004 // 09:44 a.m.


Ewan’s Chopper Embarrassment

19/10/2004 02:24

Movie star EWAN McGREGOR’s round-the-world motorbike trek was almost a costly affair when the actor backed a $70,000 (GBP38,900) chopper into a wall.

The actor and pal CHARLEY BOORMAN were concluding their three-month adventure in New York in July (04) when the stars of American reality show AMERICAN CHOPPER urged them to go for a ride on two custom-made bikes.

But Ewan quickly went from hero to villain when he reversed the 3.6-metre (12-foot) long chopper into a wall.

He recalls, "Not realising it had a big mudguard at the back, I dinged it into the wall… I was mortified.

"Fortunately, I hadn’t taken a little chip out of the beautiful paint job."

Source: Contact Music

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Thursday, October 21, 2004 // 09:43 a.m.


Episode III Teaser Trailer Preview for Hyperspace Members

October 20, 2004

The highly anticipated teaser trailer for Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith will make its theatrical debut with Pixar’s The Incredibles in the U.S. and Canada on November 5.

However, members of starwars.com Hyperspace can see it before then as the full teaser will make its world-wide debut on starwars.com the early afternoon (U.S.) of November 4. This exclusive member-only preview will be in high-quality QuickTime format.

Lucas Online is pleased to have partnered with AOL and Moviefone.com to provide starwars.com readers with fast and reliable access to Episode III video content. Subscribers to AOL will be able to see the trailer in streaming video formats starting November 4. Also look for the trailer on television the evening of November 4.

If you want to be among the first in the world to catch the first Revenge of the Sith teaser trailer, be sure to avoid the rush and sign up today to ensure your access is in place. starwars.com Hyperspace brings you daily updates from the world of Episode III, providing unprecedented insider access including a webcam, set diaries, post-production reports, exclusive photos and artwork, behind-the-scenes documentary videos and much more.

Stay tuned November 8th for the public debut of the trailer on starwars.com, and keep checking back for exciting Episode III announcements between now and then.

Source: starwars.com

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Thursday, October 21, 2004 // 07:50 a.m.


Long Way Round DVD News

I received an Email from the official Long Way Round site which informed me that the DVD will be available on December 6. No other details were given except to say to watch the official Long Way Round site.

Update: Thanks to Patty, who found out through the official site that the DVD release will contain the full series and that it will also contain unseen footage and many other DVD extras!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Wednesday, October 20, 2004 // 01:03 p.m.


Ewan McGregor was ’forced to eat animal testicles’

October 20, 2004, 11:55:59

Ewan McGregor was forced to eat animal testicles while on his round-the-world motorbike trip.

The ’Star Wars’ star completed the amazing 20,000-mile journey across Europe, Russia and North America earlier this year with best friend and fellow actor Charley Boorman.

During the road-trip, the pair were invited by a group of Mongolian nomads to join them for an unusual dinner which took them both by surprise.

Boorman said: "They took the lid off their pot and there, boiling away, were 200 testicles from sheep, goats, bulls and yaks. They’re a delicacy there during the summer."

However, despite being prepared to try anything on the trip, Charley admits they both found the experience revolting but were too polite too refuse to eat the cooked genitals.

He explained: "Mine got halfway down my throat before I threw up.

They taste very gristly. Ewan swallowed his, but we only had one each."

Source: femalefirst.co.uk

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Wednesday, October 20, 2004 // 07:16 a.m.


Ewan on The Tonight Show

Ewan looked positively gorgeous on The Tonight Show!

If you missed it, The Tonight Show usually gets repeated during the week, so check your local listings!

Ewan discussed his and Charley’s trip around the world and in the second segment, Charley joined Ewan and Jay Leno. They talked about eating bulls’ testicles (yum-yum) and Ewan being hit by a car near Calgary, Canada (the story was posted on July 29, 2004 and is in our archives -- look for the story "Long trek over for Ewan").

A bit of footage from the mini-series was aired and it looks very exciting! Don’t miss it!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Wednesday, October 20, 2004 // 01:04 a.m.


Ewan comes in 4th in Xfm challenge

The votes have all been cast and counted and on Monday October 18, Christian O’Connell announced the winner of the Xfm Bounty Hunter Competition. Despite stiff competition from Dame Judi Dench and her early Christmas IKEA shopping, Zammo Maguire (a.k.a. Lee MacDonald), a cheery chat with will Young and a positively rude Ewan McGregor, in the end Kate Winslet nabbed the most votes. So congratulations to Emma, who wins the £10,000.

Ewan McGregor 4th place entry in Xfm’s Bounty Hunter Competition! Ewan McGregor’s entry came in 4th in Xfm’s Christian O’Connell’s annual Bounty Hunter Contest, where members of the public get celebrities to call into the Xfm Breakfast Show to win themselves £10,000.The ever-vigilant Breakfast Show listeners scoured the Celebrity Community for friendly famous folk to call into the show. Stars were spotted in the street, at bars, restaurants, and award ceremonies - even in their own homes! Hear the results for yourself by clicking on the link below.

Following Kate Winslet, in second place was Dame Judi Dench. Third was Zammo Maguire (a.k.a. Lee MacDonald) followed by Ewan. Charlize Theron, Chris Martin, Tiffany, Angelina Jolie, Pete Doherty and Will Young rounded out the top 10 vote-getters.

Source: Xfm

Thanks to Nina Dufmats of Xfm for the heads up!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Tuesday, October 19, 2004 // 05:29 p.m.


McGregor sobbed as he completed bike trek

19/10/2004 - 10:29:02

Ewan McGregor was glad his face was covered by a helmet as helicopter crews filmed the end of his historic 20,000-mile (32,187-kilometre) round-the-world motorbike trek - because he was "crying like a baby".

The Scottish actor and pal Charley Boorman took over three months to cross Europe, Mongolia and Russia, before arriving in Alaska and biking down to New York.

And McGregor was so relieved as he completed the trip, he rode into New York sobbing.

He says: "A helicopter was flying level with us… a cameraman hanging out of its door, and I was gone.

"I burst into tears, crying like a baby, the tears rolling down my face and I blubbed into my helmet and pulled a V for victory sign to the helicopter swooping nearby."

Source: Ireland Online

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Tuesday, October 19, 2004 // 07:31 a.m.


Hounsou and Buscemi plan ’Island’ retreat

Oct. 18, 2004

Djimon Hounsou and Steve Buscemi are headed to "The Island" for DreamWorks and Michael Bay. Hounsou, who was nominated for an Oscar for his performance in Jim Sheridan’s "In America," will play the head of security for the utopian community where the story takes place. No details were available on the Buscemi role. The film stars Ewan McGregor and Scarlett Johansson in a story penned by Caspian Tredwell-Owen about a harvested being who becomes self-aware and tries to escape the utopia where he is being kept. Johansson plays the only person he can trust and the carrier of the sponsor’s child. Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci also co-wrote the script. Marc Haimes is overseeing for the studio. Hounsou, whose other recent credits include "Beauty Shop" and "Constantine," is repped by the Gersh Agency and Brillstein Grey. (Liza Foreman)

Source: The Hollywood Reporter

Thanks to ParisRouge for the find!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Monday, October 18, 2004 // 11:03 p.m.


Ewan gambles and treads the boards

October 19, 2004

Ewan McGregor is to appear on stage for the first time in a decade. McGregor, who through films such as Trainspotting and Young Adam has established himself as one of the most important figures in British moviemaking, is in talks to star in the Donmar Warehouse’s revival of Guys and Dolls.

McGregor is being lined up to play Sky Masterson, the chronic gambler who falls in love with a missionary, in next year’s production by the Donmar’s artistic director, Michael Grandage.

The part was immortalised by Marlon Brando in the 1955 film. For McGregor, the role would mark a significant turning point in a career dominated by film and television.

McGregor’s last stage appearance was in 1999 at the Comedy Theatre, in Little Malcolm and his Struggle Against the Eunuchs.

The actor has become a household name through a string of leading roles in successful British independent films such as Shallow Grave, Brassed Off and A Life Less Ordinary.

More recently the role of Obi-Wan Kenobi in the new Star Wars films has cemented his reputation as an international star and one of Scotland’s finest exports. He has even been tipped to take over the role of James Bond from Pierce Brosnan.

An announcement could come within days on the casting of McGregor, which would be a coup for the Donmar and Grandage, who took over from Sam Mendes in 2002. It shows that Grandage can match his predecessor’s ability to attract top names to the theatre. In 1999 Mendes persuaded Nicole Kidman to strip on stage in David Hare’s The Blue Room.

It may well be Kidman who encouraged McGregor to make the Donmar the setting for his return to British theatre — they were lovers in the successful 2002 Baz Luhrmann film Moulin Rouge.

Source: The Times

Thanks to ParisRouge for the find!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Monday, October 18, 2004 // 06:27 p.m.


MADE IN THE UK - Brit stars in Hollywood

Indian audiences are increasingly enjoying the new generation of British actors who have becoming big Hollywood stars. At the same time, many UK movies are enjoying international acclaim. With thanks to ’hotcourses’, Connecting here charts some recent success of the British film industry

It is a decade since Four Weddings and a Funeral became a hit around the world. The UK film introduced Hugh Grant – who has gone on to star in films such as Notting Hill and Love Actually – and portrayed the UK as a land of floppy-haired charmers and rolling green countryside. It heralded the start of a wave of films and film stars that has kept UK cinema in the international spotlight ever since – and not all of them projecting such an idealised view of UK life.

There are costume dramas such as The Madness of King George and Shakespeare in Love; romantic comedies such as Bridget Jones’s Diary; and children’s fantasies such as the Harry Potter films. There are also gritty dramas – films such as Trainspotting, about heroin addicts in Edinburgh, Scotland, and starring Ewan McGregor; The Full Monty, about a group of unemployed steelworkers who decide to make some money by becoming strippers; Billy Elliot, about a boy from a poor family who struggles to fulfil his dream of becoming a ballet dancer; and Secrets and Lies, a moving film exploring multiracialism in the UK.

The success of UK films has also brought several UK actors to the attention of film-makers in Hollywood and elsewhere in the world. Examples of UK actors in non-UK films include Orlando Bloom and Sir Ian McKellen in the Lord of the Rings trilogy; Kate Winslet in Titanic; Catherine Zeta Jones in Chicago; Jude Law in The Talented Mr Ripley and this year’s Cold Mountain; and Ewan McGregor in Star Wars and Moulin Rouge. Here we celebrate the creativity of UK actors and film-makers.


Ewan McGregor

Born in Crieff, Scotland in 1971, Ewan McGregor is impossible to pigeonhole as an actor. Is the former student of Fife College and Guildhall School of Music and Drama an action hero (Black Hawk Down), or a serious actor (Young Adam)? Is he a stalwart of popular British films (Trainspotting) or a romantic Hollywood lead (Down With Love)? Or is he an all-singing musical star, (Moulin Rouge) or iconic light sabre-swinging Jedi (the Star Wars prequel trilogy)?

The multi-faceted McGregor has shown unequivocally that he is all of the above and more, which is why he is one of the most successful screen actors that the UK has ever produced.

Source: British Council India

Thank you ParisRouge for the find!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Sunday, October 17, 2004 // 10:05 a.m.


Michael Bay’s The Island Filming Locations

Source: Robert October 16, 2004

We’ve received word on the locations that will be used for director Michael Bay’s Summer 2005 sci-fi thriller The Island, starring Ewan McGregor and Scarlett Johansson.

The DreamWorks project follows a "harvested being" who makes a bid to escape the utopian facility where he is being kept. Johansson will play a woman who is the only one that McGregor’s character can trust. She also is pregnant with her "sponsor’s" child.

The Island will be shooting mainly in the Los Angeles area and in Detroit for one week. The crew will also head down to Australia to shoot some scenes. Principal photography starts on October 25th and will run through February 24th.

The Detroit Free Press has also published an article on the Detroit shoot. Here’s several clips on that:

The tall, spooky 91-year-old Michigan Central Depot soon will play a cameo role in a major science fiction film starring Ewan McGregor and Scarlett Johansson.

Folks from the DreamWorks SKG movie studio were scouting the station and other Detroit locations on Tuesday for a film called "The Island," Alex Worman, the movie’s Los Angeles publicist, confirmed Tuesday.

About a half-dozen people from DreamWorks, which was cofounded by Steven Spielberg, donned hard hats as they navigated the train station. The structure, on Michigan Avenue southwest of Tiger Stadium, has been empty for about 17 years and is a favorite attraction for urban explorers despite the no-trespassing signs and barbed wire.

Source: Comingsoon.net

This is the Detroit Free Press article they are referring to:

Michigan Central Depot’s new role: Movie set

October 13, 2004

One of Detroit’s biggest symbols of urban decay is going Hollywood.

The tall, spooky 91-year-old Michigan Central Depot soon will play a cameo role in a major science fiction film starring Ewan McGregor and Scarlett Johansson.

Folks from the DreamWorks SKG movie studio were scouting the station and other Detroit locations on Tuesday for a film called "The Island," Alex Worman, the movie’s Los Angeles publicist, confirmed Tuesday.

"The Island" will be directed by Michael Bay, who also directed "Pearl Harbor," "Armageddon," "The Rock" and "Bad Boys."

Worman would not say when production for "The Island" would start but said that McGregor and Johansson would be in Detroit for filming. Daily Variety, the Hollywood trade paper, has reported that the movie will start shooting on Oct. 25.

Worman said most of the movie will be shot in southern California but that Detroit beat out several cities for other scenes that are to be filmed.

About a half-dozen people from DreamWorks, which was cofounded by Steven Spielberg, donned hard hats as they navigated the train station. The structure, on Michigan Avenue southwest of Tiger Stadium, has been empty for about 17 years and is a favorite attraction for urban explorers despite the no-trespassing signs and barbed wire.

A representative of Detroit International Bridge Co. -- which owns the depot -- accompanied the crew but declined comment. Company president Dan Stamper did not return phone calls.

According to the Internet Movie Database Web site, the movie is scheduled to open in 2006. The site says the movie is about a man -- played by Ewan McGregor -- who "goes on the run after he discovers that he is actually a ’harvested being’ and is being kept along with others in a utopian facility."

It is uncertain whether the depot will be that utopia. Most of the windows of the 18-story building are broken and the structure is surrounded by overgrown weeds. But the building -- with its Greek façades and marble floors -- was once an architectural masterpiece.

In March, Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick announced that the city would look into spending $100 million to $130 million to buy the depot and turn it into a state-of-the-art police facility. It’s unclear whether that project will still happen.

Mayoral spokesman Howard Hughey said he was unaware of plans to film a movie in Detroit but called the production a great opportunity.

"Without knowing exactly what they are shooting in Detroit, it’s still very exciting to know that people from Hollywood have an interest in our city," Hughey said. "When they are here we certainly hope to show them how magnificent our city is."

Source: Detroit Free Press

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Saturday, October 16, 2004 // 05:25 p.m.


Ewan McGregor Launches Book on Motorbike Tour video

Cox.net for Hampton Roads has a video of Ewan and Charley at the book launch where they talk about their efforts to raise money for charity. Scenes from the Long Way Round mini-series are shown.

Scroll down two-thirds of the way down for the link to play the video.

Thanks to Patty for the find!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Saturday, October 16, 2004 // 10:26 a.m.


Long ride to self discovery

Judith Woods reports on the motorcycle diaries of round-the-world duo Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman.


To those of us unlikely ever to dine on pigs’ testicles in a Mongolian ger or spend the night drinking vodka and firing Kalashnikovs with Ukrainian mafia, Long Way Round, a new travelogue by Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman, presents an entertaining window on to a reassuringly remote world.

But while this aspect of the book is fascinating, the real story is about how close friends get on when a 15-week journey forces them to get even closer.

Their unflinchingly honest, and at times unflattering, portrayal of themselves and each other - as recorded in their daily diaries - serves, at the very least, as a cautionary tale to anyone who thinks there would be nothing more marvellous than ditching our families for a few months to hang out with our best mate on a grown-up gap year.

"Ewan had a tendency to impose his moods on everyone surrounding him," wrote Boorman, 38, after a particularly tiresome day in Kazakhstan. "One minute he was up, the next he’d hit the bottom of a deep trough. The best thing was to accept it and wait for him to get over it. He could snap out of a bad mood as quickly as he entered it. But it was a pain in the arse."

In Russia, McGregor, 33, found Boorman’s bossiness difficult to endure. "Charley had a tendency to want to lead," he grumbled. "I was happy with it most of the time, but there were times when I had enough of traipsing along at the back. I don’t want to spend this trip being led around the world."

Before embarking on their three-month motorbike ride from London to New York, heading east, the pair received survival training from Jamie Lowther-Pinkerton, the ex-SAS expert.

But while they may have been well schooled in how to avoid "scrot rot" in their underpants, deal with bear attacks and talk their way out of a kidnap attempt, they were ill prepared for sleeping side by side under canvas. By Ulaan Baatar, they were desperate to swap their joint tent for two one-man shelters.

"We’d come to realise we couldn’t be in each other’s hair 24 hours a day," wrote McGregor. "It was too much. We needed some privacy if we were going to maintain our sanity."

When I met the two actors in the garage of their west London production office, there was an air of intimate - and rather exclusive - mateyness about their camarad-erie.

After sharing the tribulations and triumphs of a 22,345-mile round-the-world trip, it’s little wonder they describe themselves as "brothers". Having spent many months planning their Boy’s Own adventure, then enduring its privations together, they unconsciously echo each other’s body language as they light cigarettes and share in-jokes. When they listen to each other’s stories, it is with rapt attention.

They met in Ireland in 1996, on the set of a film, The Serpent’s Kiss. A shared passion for bikes was the foundation of the friendship and they began riding together, as well as holidaying together in Cornwall with their families.

At the outset, the pair agreed that the purpose of the trek was to savour the journey, rather than hurtle blindly towards their destination. But it took many days for them to acquire the ability to slow down and live in the moment.

"We would try to reach a town by nightfall," said McGregor, "but grew to realise that, if we didn’t, and something held us up, that was what would make the journey. I really believed the delays and aggravations were what made the trip interesting. It wasn’t solely about sitting on the back of a motorbike. The bike was just the means by which we’d chosen to get from one experience to another."

He and Boorman felt Mongolia was the undisputed highlight of their trip; its rugged beauty created many frustrating challenges, but the rewards were rich, in terms of both scenery and people.

"Once we stopped and began to meet real people," said Boorman, "it was refreshing to realise that everybody is pretty much the same and wants the same things: a house to live in, food to eat, a better future for their children."

Children - both men have two daughters - were a recurrent theme of the trip: McGregor is a goodwill ambassador for Unicef, the United Nations Children’s Fund, and he and Boorman stopped at various projects, which will feature in Long Way Round, the television series on the trip that begins on Monday.

Again and again they marvelled at the kindness shown to them by individuals and communities with, to Western eyes, few material possessions. In every minor crisis, from repairing a damaged engine to fording a flooded river, they were invariably helped by the locals.

Strangers would appear, as if from nowhere, to weld their bikes, offer a bed for the night - with a four-hour feast and a sauna thrown in - or simply provide them with crucial information about the surrounding terrain.

For their part, McGregor and Boorman found themselves gradually opening up - to strangers and to each other. Although they knew each other well at the outset, it was inevitable that the pressures of the journey, both practical and psychological, would create strains.

"I learned it was very important to communicate," said McGregor. "Before we left, we made a pact to make sure we vented our grievances straight away instead of fuming about things for days on end. I would get depressed, which was caused by missing my family or feeling things weren’t going the way I wanted them to. But unless I communicated that, nobody knew what was wrong with me or why."

Boorman’s communication difficulties were the polar opposite. A tendency to opine a little too frequently, and too forcefully, led to heated arguments with the cameraman who travelled with them and the back-up team with whom they liaised at potentially tricky border crossings.

"I had a lot of problems at the beginning," said Boorman. "I discovered pretty early on that I needed to stop and listen to people a bit more, and that I’m not always right - hard lessons to learn." At one point, McGregor recorded in his diary, he laid into Boorman for "throwing up too much dust, riding too fast and a dozen other things, all the criticism completely unwarranted and brought on by my bad mood".

In Slovakia, where McGregor was already desperately homesick, he was oversensitive and uptight as Boorman poked fun at him. "I’m not very good at laddish repartee at the best of times," he conceded, "but now it really seemed to land a punch and I was failing to roll with it."

On another occasion, when floods had transformed the primitive track into a mudbath in which they repeatedly skidded off their bikes, Boorman was so demoralised he burst into tears. "I was blubbing like a baby, the inside of my helmet steaming up as the tears rolled down my cheeks."

But the good times far outweighed the bad; the shared sense of purpose - and indeed, shared belongings - created an intense bond. In Long Way Round, an exasperated Boorman chides McGregor for his "obsession with gear", such as a toilet-roll holder and multiple saucepans, which eventually had to be shed from their chronically overloaded 1,150cc BMW bikes.

A list of their baggage includes silk long johns, Blu-tack, mountain whistles and dental floss. The pair are adamant, however, that their most vital pieces of kit were their global positioning systems, followed by mountain equipment sleeping bags (McGregor) and baby-wipes (Boorman).

McGregor recounted listening to Wagner on his iPod as they drove through "scrappy Czech towns, along cobbled roads and down tree-lined avenues". But as they rode further on from central Europe, and the roads became more unpredictable, they found music too great a distraction.

"We learned to be happy with our thoughts as we rode along," said Boorman. "We had the time to contemplate all sorts of things, which you don’t often have when you’ve got a family and you’re wrapped up in day-to-day life." The photographs they showed me vividly capture the realities of backpacking by bike, with the two alternately larking about and glumly waiting at border crossings as their fixers wrestle with red tape.

There were incongruous shots of them dressed in their leathers alongside Mongolian herds-men and posing dutifully with heavily-armed border police - at the policemen’s insistence. Looking at a snap of his bike parked in front of a truck that had toppled into a ditch, McGregor erupted into laughter.

"We were in Siberia and we drove past a lorry that had veered off the road and had almost overturned, which wasn’t an unusual sight in Siberia," he said. "I thought I’d check there was no one inside, so I clambered up and on the front seat saw a big coat, which started moving. And this face came out and I got such a fright. I said, ’Are you OK?’ And he told me to f--- off. I can only assume he was so drunk he’d crashed his lorry and was sleeping it off."

McGregor and Boorman travelled through Europe, Russia, Siberia, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, Alaska and then across North America to New York. Their only breaks from the road were when they went under the Channel by train and flew across the Bering Strait between Siberia and Alaska.

Gruelling as their trip was, they are already thinking about another - but on a more modest scale.

"The two obvious places are Africa and South America," said McGregor. "We agree we wouldn’t do such a long journey again. I look back at the toughest times with the most fondness, but one thing we definitely learned was that three months was a long time away from our kids and our lives."

# The first episode of ’Long Way Round’ will be broadcast on Sky One on Monday, at 9pm. A book with the same title is published by Time Warner at £18.99. It may be ordered through Telegraph Books Direct (0870 155 7222) at £16.99 + £2.25 p&p.

Source: Telegraph

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Friday, October 15, 2004 // 10:48 p.m.


Ewan in Xfm Bounty Hunter Competition

The Bounty Hunter features people getting celebrities to call into the Xfm Breakfast Show. After two weeks all the calls are played out and the public vote for which call they like the most. The punter who gets the most popular call gets £10,000 while the winning celebrity gets £1,000 to give to the charity of their choice.

Just so you know, Ewan is kidding in his comments!

You can hear the interview at Xfm - London’s New Music Radio Station

Don’t forget to vote!

Thanks to Melinda and Xfm for the heads up!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Friday, October 15, 2004 // 04:13 p.m.


Zen and the art of motorcycle mania

October 15 2004

When they rolled into New York after three-and-a-half months on the road, Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman were accompanied by a third party: a beard. "I was looking at pictures of it this morning and was thinking ’it’s so bizarre’," says McGregor, now clean-shaven and paranoid that his head is too small and his face too short.

He is careful to reiterate that its growth was work-related. "I had two weeks of Star Wars re-shoots when I got back and you don’t want a false beard. They stick this monstrosity on your face and it never looks like a beard or moves like one or anything. The bike trip was the perfect opportunity to grow one and I enjoyed it. It was a big, big beard."

Indeed, its sheer mass had benefits. Not only were McGregor’s regulation road-trip ZZ Top moves made all the more authentic (specifically the one where they spin the guitars around 360-degrees), but it also meant his celebrity stopped following him. It was a welcome relief.

"We were very lucky to cross the States unhindered," he says, having grown a substantial beard by that point. "I don’t mind people coming up and saying stuff because they like my work; I’m flattered, always. But it’s the idea of celebrity which is meaningless and that’s what happened in Kazakhstan. We had a great time there, but we were plagued by police escorts and treated like some kind of dignitaries or ambassadors on tour. It was slightly manipulative, so that we sold Kazakhstan, but what they hadn’t thought through was that we would have sold it so much better had we been left alone."

Interestingly, Boorman, who doesn’t suffer the side-effects of appearing in Star Wars, is more empathetic. "We’d rung the Kazakhstan government to help us get visas and I think officials felt they wanted us to go through safely. A lot of the time, when the police wanted to escort us, I think they were doing it because they were told to do it. Some poor guy had been waiting for three days in his car because we were behind schedule."

"But we didn’t have a schedule," interjects McGregor. "I guess they knew when we’d left the last town and they waited from then on. There was one great policeman. We pulled into a lay-by and said hello, and he said ’yeah yeah, let’s go’ and he jumped back in his car because he’d been sleeping there for three days. He just wanted to have a shower and something to eat."

It wouldn’t be accurate to say McGregor went on the trip to escape celebrity; they both emphasise that it was about the bikes and the journey. Other bikers they met understood this, but not everyone did. "We got a lot of people, especially men, going ’oh yeah you’ll get away from the family and kids’ but it was never about that," says McGregor, and both agree that one of the most difficult parts of the journey was leaving behind their wives and children.

"I was never trying to get away from family life, absolutely not, but in the two years leading up to us leaving, my daydreams were always about this trip. Then riding across the Mongolian plains I was mainly daydreaming about taking the kids to the park."

There were certainly no shortage of daydreaming opportunities. Although they were profoundly affected by the people they met on the trip, biking is essentially a solitary activity, with many hours spent inside the helmet. "Being on the road highlights a lot of stuff, some which you know about yourself already, but some you need to be reminded of," says Boorman, who was forced to grapple with some of his own character "chinks", which included not listening to the ideas of the producers they met at various points en route. "You learn a lot about yourself and identify things about yourself like that. That’s a chink in my character and I should learn from it and accept that other people can have good ideas," he says, honourably. "Though I still have a problem with that part."

And the part where he threw a strop and declared they were nothing more than "w*****s on bikes"? "I was very tired that day," he says. "It was 4am and I hadn’t slept for 24 hours." Then he jokes about anger-management classes.

For McGregor, one of the most significant changes was achieving a Zen-like oneness with the journey. Until then he had been suspicious of strangers and anxious about the trip in general. "It was in Kazakhstan, coming down from a gold mine," he says. "It was the evening and it was just stunning. It wasn’t a particularly stunning landscape but the sun was really gold and we were riding into a town and I just felt fantastic. It was a moment of complete tranquillity. I was just thinking ’I don’t belong anywhere else at the moment but here on the bike’ and didn’t have any worries at all. "I think all the lessons we learned between London and New York took a long time to learn. There was a lot of change in both of us, to the point that in Siberia everything clicked and the experience of doing the journey was very natural at that point and we’d stopped thinking about the big picture.

"You can’t avoid it, when you put yourself out in the world with such a beautiful sense of freedom. Riding a motorcycle puts you in the landscape and in the environment, you’re not protected from anything and you have everything you need in the panniers. You’re bound to have a kind of spiritual experience with the people and with the landscape. You can’t help but be touched by it."

Of course, some things never change. McGregor is known for his open-minded approach to showing his penis on film. He managed to get it into their book about the trip as well. "It was during a fantastic moment in the Altai region in Russia, where it was incredibly hot and we came across a river and Charley and I just took all our clothes off and got into the river," says McGregor, neglecting to mention that the water was very cold. "You know, like one of those kind of male, get naked, drum and run about in the woods things. Our cameraman, Claudio, was filming us, not as tastefully as he might have, so that won’t be in the TV show."

That the friends have shared such meaningful experiences has only strengthened their friendship and they are already thinking ahead to their next trip, which may be a pan-African epic and involve more work for Unicef.

"You can’t take away what we went through together," says McGregor. "We talked about it towards the end of the trip, you know, if we’re ever at dinner parties or whatever, we’ll look across the table and there’ll be something that we have that we don’t have with anyone else. It’s like a war story, you know, a kind of bond."

They agreed before they left that they would be honest about any niggles or annoyances that emerged and didn’t have any major fall-outs as a result. "We constantly dovetailed each other, so if I was feeling low, Ewan was up and vice versa," says Boorman. "You can go in different ways after a trip like this; you can end up not seeing each other for a while or you can end up being even closer. We’re very close."

Source: The Herald

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Thursday, October 14, 2004 // 10:44 p.m.


Two More Videos at Sky One

If you are lucky enough to live in the UK, you have access to videos at Sky One’s Long Way Round mini-site (click on "Clips" and then "Long Way Round" to see them).

A real shame these are only available to UK residents since Ewan and Charley have fans all over the world and most of them won’t be able to watch the series on television.

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Thursday, October 14, 2004 // 09:15 p.m.


Greenpeace film wins environmental "Oscar®"

Thu 14 October 2004

The Panda Awards are the wildlife and environmental equivalent of the Oscars®, and in 2002 nearly 400 films from 35 different countries competed for these prestigious awards. This year, Greenpeace UK has won the Panda Award for best film in the Campaign category with a film narrated by Sir David Attenborough and Scottish screen star Ewan McGregor.

The Panda Awards are the world’s most prestigious accolades for films of the natural world. The Campaign Awards’ category is for the best production that covers an environmental campaign.

Our entry, produced by Greenpeace UK and screened before the premiere of Bridget Jones’ Diary in the UK, was narrated by Sir David Attenborough and Ewan McGregor. The two-minute film is about the world’s ancient forests and the threats they face from illegal and destructive logging, drawing parellels between the destruction of a suburban family’s home and the destruction of the homes of forest wildlife.

Source: Greenpeace

You can view the documentary here.

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Thursday, October 14, 2004 // 07:32 p.m.


Images from Long Way Round

This is Charley, not Ewan ;-)

Huge thanks to Georginita for the find!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Thursday, October 14, 2004 // 06:19 p.m.


The Motorcycle Diaries

We talk to the globetrotting Charley Boorman and Ewan McGregor

Actors have many talents – and when the talent is lacking, they say they can do it anyway. Peruse the CV of any star and you will see such skills as kitten juggling, bareback rhino riding and Olympic-level fencing. But there are only two actors who can back up the claim that they "enjoy globe-circling motorcycling", and they are Charley Boorman and Ewan McGregor. Now if you’ve ever thought about taking a BMW bike through Kazakhstan – and really, who hasn’t? – this is essential reading. And if you need to know more, their book, entitled Long Way Round, is out October 14. We got together with the two old friends to talk bikes, borders and friendly Mongolians.

So, was it fun?

Ewan: Absolutely. It was the most incredible experience. Fun, hard, challenging. Physically, emotionally it was fantastic.

Whose idea was it? Was it you two or did someone come to you with the idea?

Ewan: No, we absolutely did it together. It was our idea to do the round the world trip and we formed our own production company to do it. We filmed it ourselves and then got Bravo in America and Sky here to pay for it.

Charley: And the book people.

Ewan: So we managed to film the way we wanted to. We had just one rider with us, Claudio Planta.

Is it true that he couldn’t ride before?

Charley: He told us that he could ride bikes. What he failed to say was that he’d spent most of his time on a scooter and didn’t have a licence.

Ewan: But he was the right guy for the job, there’s no question of that. We’d met a lot of cameramen who wouldn’t have been right for us. It was really difficult for them to fit in to a nine-year-old friendship, but he was just brilliant.

The bikes looked great as well. Was it a boyhood dream come true to get a customised BMW?

Charley: Not really for me. We deliberated a lot about which bikes we were going to use and it turned out that BMW had experience doing this kind of trip. Once we’d decided on the bikes, then we had to get the catalogue out and start choosing the little extra bits and pieces. And then there was planning where we were going, how to get there, how long it was going to take. We had this dream workshop with bikes all over and maps and all sorts of stuff. It was fantastic.

Did it take long to plan?

Charley: Well it was two years in the thinking, but the 5th January was when we first started really planning properly. So I suppose it was actually quite quick.

Ewan: Four months full time preparation.

Was it hard to fit it in with work?

Ewan: Not as hard as you’d think. You just say I’m not working then, and then it’s pretty easy. I’m in a very fortunate position to be able to do that.

Charley: We took the gap off, but we did actually end up making seven one-hour shows and a book.

What stands out looking back?

Ewan: There’s no one moment that defines any of it. I would say Mongolia would be my favourite if I had to pick a favourite, because it was the furthest away from our culture. It was an ancient way of life, and the nomadic people there were just the most incredible people, generous spirited and very open to travellers.

Charley: One of the big things about it was we weren’t sure what people were going to be like, in all the different countries, and it just turned out that everbody was just really nice. When you turn up somewhere on bikes and you’re doing some bizarre trip, people were just really interested in what was going on. And we were dead interested in them as well. So this great friendship that would spark straight away, because we were all so interested in each other, and so we’d end up staying in people’s houses.

Did that just happen spontaneously? Wasn’t it risky?

Ewan: Not really. It took us a while to kind of lose our suspicions of people. But somewhere in the Ukraine it became evident that we were being far too suspicious of people we didn’t know, and it was starting to annoy us both.

You’re bound to be though, being so well known.

Ewan: No, it’s not an issue out there. I think it was just part of their culture, especially in Kazakhstan, Mongolia and Siberia - culturally they look after people who are travelling because it’s in their blood. They know that by looking after you when you’re passing by, then you’d look after them when they were passing through your town.

It looks like you had a lot of trouble with borders. At one time it was reported that you’d been arrested. Did that actually happen?

Ewan: It was blown out of proportion.

Charley: We had trouble getting into the Ukraine. It was our fault because we didn’t have the original papers for the cards, and they had every right not to let us in because that’s their law. We adopted the Jamie Pinkerton attitude, he was this guy who trained us, and he teaches journalists and people who go in to war zones how to behave. He said if you’re at a border, just stay there and eventually they’ll get bored and let you in.

Did you feel like turning back at any point?

Ewan: We never felt like giving up, but we thought about changing our route. When we were in Mongolia we hit a really difficult patch. Days went by and we just couldn’t get on because the roads were so terrible. At that point our spirits got very low. Later on we got stuck in Siberia but our spirits were very high so it didn’t matter.

Why was that? What was the difference?

Ewan: I don’t know. It was frightening suddenly being in Mongolia because there’re no roads, there’re no signposts. You’re sure you’re going kind of in the right direction but you’re not sure if you’re on the right road or if you’re going to hit another river that you can’t cross.

Charley: It takes three or four days every time you go to a new country to adjust to different lifestyles. It’s amazing when you do cross a border; even the landscape changes straight away and the people change. Directions in Mongolia were very funny because we’d ask how you get to this town. They’d say, "well you go down that valley there, and on the second valley on the left there’s a hill with two clumps of trees on it; turn left there and keep going straight". Sure enough you go down and there’s the two clumps of trees and there’s the road and you’re away.

Ewan: There was a day when we thought about turning north and going back into Russia, but we didn’t luckily. We toughed it out and we would’ve missed the most amazing part of the trip if we hadn’t.

How far was it a test of your friendship?

Ewan: If we hadn’t been such great mates to begin with it could’ve been difficult. But at the same time we didn’t know Claudio at all and we came back being really close to him so… I think we dealt with it well; we made a decision to tell each other if we were low or pissed off at something and just to get it out the way. By doing that you just get things out of the way and they don’t grow in to grudges.

What was it like arriving in New York?

Ewan: Fantastic.

Charley: Going over the Washington Bridge and looking up and seeing the New York sky line, and you suddenly realise, "shit, we have driven here on our bikes and we’ve done it the whole way from London…" There was a lot of blubbing going on.

- If you want to know more about the intrepid pair’s journey, tune in to Sky from October 18, or you can pick up the DVD from November 29.

Source: Empire Online

Thanks to Georginita for the find!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Thursday, October 14, 2004 // 05:56 p.m.


Long Way Round

[© UNICEF UK/2004/Sarah Epstein]Actors, best friends and motor bike enthusiasts Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman took time out in 2004 to fulfil a dream of circumnavigating the globe. Their epic journey has been captured in a documentary, Long Way Round and a book of the same title.

En route the Long Way Round team took time out to see some of UNICEF’s work in Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Mongolia.

Kiev, Ukraine

[© UNICEF UK/2004/Sarah Epstein]On the 18th anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster, which passed largely unnoticed by the world, Ewan and Charley visited a UNICEF-supported “Children of Chernobyl” project in Kiev, Ukraine. Here they met some of the 200 children who benefit from the project, children like Victoria who has had leukaemia as a direct result of being born a couple of months before the disaster. Currently in remission, she has been a regular visitor to the centre. She explains; "I have never been to school in my life because I have been sick since I was eight. But for the last four years, I have been coming to this centre when I am well, where I take part in the activities with other kids."

The legacy of Chernobyl still affects the health, social, emotional and economic lives of more than 3.5 million people, one million of whom are children. Many of these children today are suffering from iodine deficiency, causing goitre and learning difficulties. There has also been an increase in other cancers, memory loss, increased leukaemia rates and thyroid cancer among children, as well as emotional and mental problems.

This UNICEF-supported project helps some of these children by giving them the opportunity to come every day after school and socialise, learn skills like sewing, computing, do sports, learn English, make films and videos and receive psychological and physiotherapist support. Some families receive clothes and food and the centre regularly takes the children out on fun outings to museums or parks. UNICEF has provided equipment for the children to use, including sports and computer equipment.

Almaty, Kazakhstan

[© UNICEF UK/2004/Sarah Epstein]Continuing their journey, Ewan and Charley passed through Kazakhstan, where children and young people are today becoming more and more exposed to risks as the society adapts to new social and economic structures. Parents migrate to urban areas like Almaty and new settlements are springing up, full of people searching for work and a better life. The standard of living in these areas is very low and children growing up there are some of the most vulnerable in the country.

[© UNICEF UK/2004/Sarah Epstein]UNICEF has reported an increase in young people falling into crime, drugs and alcohol use meaning that they are also at high risk of HIV/AIDS. Whilst schools cannot solve these problems, there is no doubt that they can take positive steps to impart the knowledge and life skills required to prevent children from falling over the brink. Therefore UNICEF, with funding from British Airways, has come up with an innovative and successful way of giving young people a purpose and focus, by installing climbing walls in schools across the country. The walls quite literally help children find a foothold, at school, in the community and in life. Fourteen year old Akmaral is one of the 22,000 children that have benefited from this initiative. As her trainer explains; "When Akmaral arrived in school she had problems with her peers, as the newcomer. After she started climbing and especially after she got a certificate in the competition, she has been recognised by her classmates. As a direct result, children like Akmaral’s interest in physical exercise lessons and in a healthy lifestyle have significantly increased".

As Charley explains, "Teaching children to climb seemed such a simple idea, but it had changed the lives of the young people at that school".

The success of this project has also been acknowledged by the government. On seeing the benefits the ten UNICEF supported walls have brought to the lives of young people, the government have installed a further nine across the country. This project is an example of how UNICEF supports the creation of models which can then be duplicated and eventually funded by the government, helping to reach even more children.

Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia

[© UNICEF UK/2004/Sarah Epstein]The Long Way Round team spent part of their last UNICEF visit beneath the streets of Ulaanbaatar. It is here that some of the thousands of children living on the streets go in search of warmth and shelter from the harsh Mongolian winters. These children, some as young as five, are lost or abandoned by families that have migrated to the city in search of jobs.

Their front door is a manhole cover, they have no childhood. Excluded, marginalised, homeless and vulnerable, they wake up every day in the darkness, clamber out into the streets where they beg or work to earn enough money for food and clothes. These children are immediately vulnerable to abuse, violence and sexual exploitation. For girls as young as eleven, prostitution is often the only option to make enough money to survive.

Clearly moved by what he had seen Ewan said, "It disturbed me so much because there are few things worse than a child having no real start to their life. I vowed then and there to devote time and effort to do as much as I could for UNICEF once I returned home".

Both Ewan and Charley are committed to helping UNICEF. To find out what you can do to help, click here. You can help UNICEF give children and young people all over the world opportunities and hope. Just like the ones Ewan and Charley met.

Source: UNICEF

Thanks to Patty for the heads up!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Thursday, October 14, 2004 // 05:53 p.m.


I was so suspicious of people. It took me ages to lose that

October 14 2004

CLIMBING on to Ewan McGregor’s motorbike is like mounting a horse. The BMW 1150 GS Adventure has a wide, flat seat with an AirHawk seat cushion and the sheer size to allow your legs to stretch out. It is covered with souvenir stickers and keepsakes, including blue ribbons tied on by a Mongolian shaman. McGregor tells me to hold on to the handlebars and sit back for the authentic experience. Not likely: the bike has seen 18,478 miles through Belgium, Germany, Czech republic, Slovakia, Ukraine, Russia, Kazakhstan, Russia, Mongolia, US and Canada. With its rider, it has been stuck in a bog en route to Baruunturuun, Mongolia, and tail-ended by a car near Calgary. We’re in a rather comfortable Shepherd’s Bush garage.

I climb off it "Rossi-style", says McGregor (that’s Valentino Rossi, the top MotoGP rider), as I swing one leg over as if riding side-saddle, then hop off. "I’m terribly fond of it," he says. "You can sit on it all day and not get any aches or pains."

That said, he hasn’t ridden it since he returned from his Long Way Round trip with his friend and fellow actor, Charley Boorman. "I kind of don’t want to, in a way," he says. Last night he was in a taxi with his wife, Ève, and saw a GS in town and it felt odd. The context was all wrong, and besides, McGregor has a touch of the romantic about him. To ride the GS on mundane A-to-B journeys around London would take the magic away from his epic trip with Boorman.

So McGregor rode his KTM to the Long Way Round headquarters, while Boorman took McGregor’s old 748 Ducati. We are sitting around a long table where much of the planning took place. There are laminated maps taped on to the tabletop and cardboard boxes stacked against the walls, scrawled with black marker. A huge map of the northern hemisphere is pinned up on one wall. It’s strange seeing the clean red line of the route plotted across the map and the well-worn bikes that have travelled it resting nearby, still showing residues of mud, scrapes and general exposure.

McGregor and Boorman, too, are showing some lasting effects. Both lost weight on the trip: Ewan’s jeans are hanging off his backside and Boorman has yet to regain half of the two stone he lost. Other things are less obvious. They arrived in New York on July 29, and Boorman says it already seems like a distant memory, but McGregor’s mind is still in-transit. "I’m amazed how unable I am to deal with the demands that are made on me as an actor," he says. "Not the one I enjoy, which is standing in front of a camera or onstage pretending to be someone else but everything else that comes with it. On the trip I could take each day at a time and go ’okay, today I need to do this, this and this’, but I’m unable to do that now. Also, I’m about to work again and I feel like I’m settling back in yet preparing to go away again. I’m finding it all quite difficult, going through paperwork and…"

"I was never good at that before I left," offers Boorman.

"No," agrees McGregor. "But it’s very difficult to keep a cool head. The challenges are different. On the road, the challenges are much bigger. You learn to deal with quite big worries, like whether we’d get across this piece of Mongolia."

The loose gravel plains of Mongolia did, indeed, bring logistical problems, as did river crossings, mud, bogs and road maps with rather generous road-grading. Yet in the grand tradition of road trips, some of the most testing barriers were psychological. From the moment the pair decided to do the trip, they knew it would be defined by the people they met along the way. What they weren’t prepared for was how they would react to the welcome of strangers. "I’d always be frustrated with myself that I was suspicious of people," says McGregor. "You had to be aware of what was going on around you and who people were or might be, but it was just losing that initial ’what do you want?’, you know? It took us ages to lose that. It was a frustrating bit of the journey, the slow realisation that this was something you had to change in yourself."

Given some of the characters they encountered, their wariness was understandable. Indeed, sometimes it seems as if there are three protagonists to the Long Way Round story: Boorman, McGregor and an unforgettable man named Igor, whom they stayed with in Antratsyt in the Ukraine. Igor, they discovered after accepting his offer of accommodation, was the local mafia chief and lived in a lavish house stocked equally with vodka and Kalashnikovs. At one point, while Boorman was out of the room, McGregor heard gunshots and feared the worst. "Our night with the mafia was an extraordinary situation," says McGregor. "But it’s also just passing by someone at the side of the road when you’ve stopped to have a fag or a piss. We met a great woman in America at a petrol station. She was about to donate a kidney to her husband and was talking to us about that and suddenly you’ve got this incredible story of a woman who is giving part of her body to her husband so he doesn’t die and you go ’Oh, isn’t life amazing and aren’t people amazing’, you know."

"You meet the most extraordinary people," picks up Boorman. "You realise that everybody around the world is pretty much like you are. Everyone wants their children to go to school, to have a job, a roof over their head, feed their children. In places such as Kazakhstan and Mongolia people depend on each other a lot more. We can often be quite detached in the West, with e-mail and telephones, whereas in those countries people rely on each other more. It’s lovely because you feel like, although you’re a stranger, they respect you as a friend and want to help you."

Both McGregor and Boorman appear to have been humbled by the people they met, not least by those in situations of extreme poverty. During the trip, they visited the Chernobyl Children’s Project with Unicef and both are committed to doing more for the organisation, with McGregor since becoming an ambassador.

"You represent freedom to people," he says. "The sight of us riding in and out in many cases represents freedom that people in those places don’t have, whether they just don’t have money or a car or it’s the small-town mentality where you don’t leave. We met a women in Rapid City who’d moved from LA to this beautiful little town and I got the impression she felt stuck there and missed the excitement of LA. To her we represented a freedom she didn’t have."

"No-one’s ever satisfied," says Boorman. "No-one’s ever satisfied," repeats McGregor.

It’s moments like these that hint at what the pair will be like in their old age, repeating each other’s sentences by way of confirmation, uttering platitudes and reminiscing about the time they set off from London to New York via Eastern Europe and Siberia. They met 10 years ago on a film set and immediately bonded over their well-developed obsession with motorbikes. Boorman fell for them when, at six-years-old, he saw one regularly whoosh past the farm where he grew up in County Wicklow, Ireland. McGregor drove his first 50cc at six, but became an enthusiast when he realised, just shy of 16, that a motorbike might win back the girlfriend he lost to a guy with a 125cc. "Charley and I just talk about motorbikes all the time," says McGregor. "Our relationship is based around them," says Boorman.

"Yeah, if you took the bikes away we’d be like ’who are you? what do you want?’," jokes McGregor. "’So . . . how’s your wife?’"

Although the Long Way Round epic began with an informal discussion in McGregor’s kitchen, they agree that anyone who is passionate about motorbikes has to, at some point, undertake a long road trip. When McGregor goes off at a tangent and starts talking about how he’s waiting for a couple of bikes to come back from the garage, it seems unquenchable, but then he changes tack. "It’s funny, I’m really starting to think about maybe just riding them on the track. I’ve seen a couple of really nasty accidents in London recently with bikes, and it’s difficult to adjust back to riding in London because we’re so used to the open road. It’s very dangerous and I’m starting to think about maybe not riding so much in town, I don’t know. I’ve got really into cars, sad to say."

"F****** hell," exclaims Boorman, in actorly mock-drama. "I don’t want to hear it."

"Yeah, I’m getting quite into cars…"

Long Way Round, by Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman, Time Warner, £18.99

Source: The Herald

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Wednesday, October 13, 2004 // 10:16 p.m.


£85,000 Buys My Wheels

Oct 14 2004
By Cara Page

Ewan flogs prize Beemer

THE BMW motorbike Ewan McGregor rode round the world has sold for £85,000 - 10 times the price of a new one.

A New York woman, who did not want to be named, snapped up the silver dream machine at a charity auction.

She saw off competition from dozens of bidders during a gala dinner to celebrate the Scottish star’s 22,000-mile journey.

The R1150 GS Adventure bike came complete with the luggage he used for the trip and numerous personal modifications.

The maker’s list price for a new model is only £8495 but the McGregor connection saw the value rocket among the 600 guests at Tuesday’s event in London.

Earlier, the 33-year-old actor explained exactly how much the bike meant to him.

He said: ’Parting with this is very difficult. It has become part of me and it is simply the best motorbike in the world.

’If anything, it is even stronger than when it was new because the frame has been welded in two places where it snapped during the journey.

’I guarantee whoever buys it could do the whole trip again, no problem.’

Just in case, however, BMW GB technical chief Howard Godolphin pledged to fully service and clean the machine prior to it being delivered to its new owner.

The bike was the top attraction among around 20 lots donated to the event to raise money for UNICEF, Macmillan Cancer Relief and the Scottish children’s charity CHAS.

The sale raised £142,600. One wealthy guest paid £8000 for a day at a motorcycle ’wheelie’ school which normally costs £150.

Another guest bid £10,000 to have a Mongolian nomad’s tent erected in his garden to which he could invite 10 friends for a dinner.

The lot was inspired by McGregor and Charley Boorman’s visit to Mongolian tribespeople.

Boorman, the son of film director John Boorman, accompanied McGregor on the global trip. They started in Belgium on April 14 and finished in New York on July 29.

Along the way the pair visited areas where UNICEF charity workers are fighting to improve the lives of destitute children.

The expedition was filmed by sponsors Sky TV. The first episode of the series, The Long Way Round, will be shown on Sky One on Monday.

A book written by McGregor and Boorman carrying the same title has been published by Time Warner.

Source: Daily Record

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Wednesday, October 13, 2004 // 09:19 p.m.


Another radio interview with Ewan and Charley

Ewan & Charley will be on BBC Radio 2’s Jonnie Walker show this Friday which airs from from 5 to 7 p.m. Interviews are usually done during the second half of the show from 6:20 to 7 p.m.

You will be able to listen again to the show throughout the following week.

Thanks to Violet for the heads up!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Wednesday, October 13, 2004 // 05:00 p.m.


Ewan’s bike sold for £85,000 at Unicef auction!!!

There is a video of Ewan’s motorbike being sold at the Unicef auction available here.

The video is courtesy of John Bownas at Virtualfestivals.com.

Huge thanks to John!!!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Wednesday, October 13, 2004 // 08:01 a.m.


Kelly Jones

KELLY Jones, frontman with the Stereophonics, has penned the title track for actor Ewan McGregor’s documentary Long Way Round about his 20,000-mile motorbike hike.

Kelly said: "Ewan played the song to his wife Ève and she phoned me and said that she loved it. I feel I captured what they felt being apart from one another and the feelings that they went through during the ride."

Source: The Mirror

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Wednesday, October 13, 2004 // 07:51 a.m.


Ewan still looking fab!

These pictures were taken today in London at a UNICEF auction as Ewan and Charley arrived. The motorbikes they used to travel around the world were being auctioned for charity.

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Tuesday, October 12, 2004 // 05:49 p.m.


Not Ready to Ditch the Biker’s Jacket

His beard has been shaved off but Ewan McGregor is not quite ready to ditch the biker’s jacket just yet. The actor was in Glasgow at the weekend with friend Charley Boorman to launch a book about their round the world adventure on two wheels. After a journey of 20,000 miles the bikes survived and so did the friendship.

Ewan said: "It’s a common feature that when you’re up against it and you’re in the middle of nowhere just stuck with one other guy you can end up wanting to kill each other, so we just made a kind of pact to say that if anything is bothering each other to say it, get it out in the open and then we can discuss it and move on; and we did that. Of course we had our ups and downs, but really in our case very little, minor ups and downs. I think because we did that, it’s a good… it’s actually quite a good lesson in life; instead of harbouring things. You can imagine riding through the Mongolian Steppe looking at the back of someone’s helmet going "Grrr." It’s much better just to say look that really annoyed me, and they can say, well this is why I said it. It’s good, it’s a good policy."

Their adventures on their three-month trip from Britain to New York will soon be featured in a TV documentary which will show the two friends travelling through some of the world’s poorest areas and toughest terrain.

Asked if he found it an eye-opener at times, he said: "Sure, yeah. None more so than when we were in the UNICEF projects. We worked with UNICEF to raise awareness of some of the work that they do, and we visited three different projects - one in Kiev that helped the children who had suffered from the Chernobyl disaster; one in Almatay in Kazakhstan, where they built climbing walls in some of the suburban schools’ gymnasiums and had really injected a kind of passion into the kids in those areas, who didn’t have very much beforehand and who are now having climbing competitions, and it really tidied up some of the trouble that was happening; and then the street kid projects in Ulan Bataar, which is the capital of Mongolia. We visited some projects there. But just working with UNICEF and seeing the depth of the work that they do, they are not just a disaster fund, you know, they have been in countries for years, 20 years, so they are there ready if something goes wrong."

Ewan’s passion for the UNICEF projects has inspired them both to embark on another epic motorbike adventure - this time through Africa.

Charley Boorman said: "It is likely that we will probably go down through Africa from north to south and visit some projects along the way and do something sort of similar to what we’ve done now. People said to us "oh, you’ll do this trip once and you’ll get the bug", and we sort of said, "we don’t know, maybe not", but obviously it looks like we have."

Ewan said: "My mum and dad wouldn’t let me have a motorbike when I was at home, and Charley’s been riding a bike since he was seven. I got my first bike when I was 19 or 20, and I have been riding them ever since, but I just always wanted a bike, I love them."

But the bike will have to go in the garage for a short time at least because Ewan is due back at work in Hollywood. After co-starring with the likes of Ashley Judd, Cameron Diaz, Gwyneth Paltrow and Nicole Kidman, he will soon be on screen with Scarlett Johannsen.

He said: "I’m really ready to go back to work, I’ve never not been really. I’ve always enjoyed what I do. I was a bit tired last year because I worked back to back last year and then, so I was glad to have a change of pace really. And to get off and have a bit of a laugh with Charley was good."

Charley Boorman said: "Inevitably Ewan and I started off as friends and ended up as even better friends and em, you know, he became the brother that I never had and all that kind of stuff."

Source: Scotland Today

Oh yeah… they also have a video clip!!! It’s available in Quicktime, Windows Media and Real Player format. Visit Scotland Today to see it.

Huge thanks to John Kilbride of Scotland Today for the heads up!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Monday, October 11, 2004 // 11:44 a.m.


Vladimir, vodka and guns at the Mafia house

Mon 11 Oct 2004

THE ONLY impediment to our progress in the Ukraine was the police. We rarely rode for more than half an hour without being stopped, mainly because they wanted to have a look at the bikes. Given that it was an unusual thing to see a couple of guys on motorcycles riding by, it seemed fair enough. The third time it happened was not so lucky. Having seen the speed limit, we were keeping the speed down as Charley slowly inched past a very slow Lada. He didn’t cross the solid white central line, but he was overtaking. Almost immediately we heard the siren: a police car sitting in a lay-by. It flagged us down. A large policeman got out, walked over and asked Charley for his papers. Wanting to make it clear that Charley and I were in this together, I also handed over my papers and my passport.

Taking our papers over to the patrol car, the policeman beckoned to Charley to sit beside him in the front seat. Pointing at a diagram and some text in what we assumed was the Ukrainian highway code, he shook his head. "It’s not good, not good," he muttered, pulling a ticket with a stamp on it out of his notebook. "It’s a big problem."

"Is there a fine?" I ventured, remembering our security adviser Jamie Lowther-Pinkerton’s advice. "Do we have to pay a fine?" "Yes," the policeman said, looking at me sternly.

Taking money out of my pocket, I heard the policeman ask me to get into the car. I sat in the back and pulled out some Ukrainian bills. "No!" the policeman growled. "No! No, it’s no good," he said. "Problem, problem."

Charley and I immediately clicked and spoke in unison: "Dollars?" A smile spread across the fat policeman’s face. Charley removed $25 in five-dollar bills from his pocket, just as Jamie had advised us. "Twenty dollars," [the policeman] demanded. "Come on, fifteen," Charley said.

The policeman was having none of it. "Twenty dollars," he said. Pointing at Charley, he looked him in the eye and said: "You, twenty dollars." Then he turned around to where I was sitting and added: "You, twenty dollars."

There was no haggling. There was nothing we could do but pay up.

A couple of hours later and we were once again standing in front of a policeman like a pair of fed-up naughty schoolboys. "Your speed was too fast. You were doing 80 kilometres an hour," the policeman said.

We were going to get nicked. Again. This time, however, we had learned our lesson. I phoned Sergey, our fixer, explained what had happened and handed the phone to the policeman. He listened and gave the phone back to me. "Sergey?" I said. "All you have to do is take a photograph with him. He’ll send you on your way, no problem. No fine. Nothing." I turned to Charley. "We played the Ewan card and it seems it’s going to work," I said. Charley grinned.

The policeman’s name was Vladimir. While Charley and I took it in turns to pose with him, he chatted away. "Where are you staying?" he asked. "A hotel." "No, no," Vladimir said. "You stay with me." [That evening], Vladimir led us into a square in Antratsyt. As we pulled up outside a white building in the middle of town, a large crowd of young, well-dressed men walked forward. "Oh s***," said Charley, "I think there’s a welcoming committee."

They wanted nothing more than a few autographs. While we happily signed some postcards, I noticed a small, slight man, smart in a leather jacket and with neat black hair and thick dark moustache, lurking at the back. This young Robert de Niro lookalike stepped into a brand new silver BMW M5 coupé, the only western car we’d seen in a town full of Ladas, and sped off in a cloud of dust. Pointing urgently in the same direction, Vladimir jumped into his police Lada and drove off in hot pursuit.

"What’s going on?" I asked Charley. "Is this cool? Is this all right?"

"Yeah, I think it’s fine," Charley said. "I think we’re staying with this other guy." We followed the silver BMW through the backstreets. Traffic lights, pedestrians and other vehicles were ignored. "I have to say I’m a little jumpy about this," I replied. "I just don’t know what we’re letting ourselves in for."

"Look at that house! That beautiful one on the corner," Charley shouted over the intercom. "Look at that … it’s his house and it’s enormous."

Solid steel gates parted in front of us. Behind a high concrete wall was a compound and, at its centre, a modern house the size of a small mansion. We drove in. "You think this is going to be okay, Charley?" I asked. "Yeah, I think it’ll be fine. They’ve obviously told a few people you’re coming."

WE CHANGED OUT OF our sticky motorbike kit, showered and went downstairs, where Igor [the De Niro lookalike] was holding court. "Sit down," he said, gesturing to a kitchen table. Wine, coffee and water were poured and photographs handed round as Igor recounted tales of his life aboard a Soviet submarine. "Me in submarine," he said, passing a photograph to me. "With Kalashnikov." All of the photos were of Igor. And in all of them he was holding a gun. The doorbell rang. I turned around to be confronted by a broad, tough-looking man. He had a sleepy eye and swollen bruiser’s hands, one of which he was offering to me. We shook hands. "Vladimir," he said, his deep voice booming. "Ewan," I replied, trying not to gulp. I turned back to the room.

Charley was sitting opposite me, his eyes widening, pupils dilating as he stared over my shoulder. "He’s taking off his gun," Charley whispered.

"What?" "He’s…taking…off…his …. gun," Charley hissed.

I was immediately frightened. I didn’t know what we thought we were doing in that kitchen. All I knew for sure was that I was in a house where I’d already seen a machine gun. Now a man built like a bull was taking off his handgun and putting it down right behind me.

A small guy with a shaved head walked in. A real hard nut. I could see the butt of his pistol poking out beneath the hem of his sweater as he leant forward with a thin-lipped half-smile to shake my hand. As he turned to face Charley, I caught Charley’s eye. We both glanced at the gun, then at each other, knowing what the other was thinking. A few hours earlier, we’d been on the open road, heading for the Russian border. Now we were in a room surrounded by men with heavy-duty weaponry. Vladimir sat down and cracked the seal on a bottle of vodka.

[After we told them our support team were coming along], Igor turned to the other men in the room and spoke in Russian. They roared with laughter. "What did Igor say?" Charley asked the translator. "He made joke about how they wouldn’t have any problem finding the house because everybody knows what this house is," he said. Igor cut in. "Everybody knows how to find this place," he said. "It’s Mafia centre of town. Everyone knows how to find Mafia house." There was a brief silence, then the room filled with more raucous laughter while Charley and I stared at each other, trying hard not to show our nerves. "We’re just kidding," Igor said. "Just kidding."

Dinner over, only a few of us remained in the kitchen, chatting and drinking. Charley, Vladimir and a bunch of heavies were outside. Igor was nowhere to be seen. Hearing footsteps behind me, I turned around. My heart skipped a beat as I realised Igor was coming down the stairs, laughing manically, a guitar held aloft in his left hand and a Kalashnikov in his right.

Grinning wildly, Igor cocked the machine gun, shouted: "Please! Please!" and squeezed the trigger. I felt my guts churn. The gun clicked. The chamber, as far as I could tell, was empty. Would the bullet follow with the next click? "Welcome! Welcome!" Igor boomed. We all laughed nervously as Igor delighted in the sheer thrill of the spectacle. "Here!" And then I found myself with the machine gun in my hands.

PAP! PAP! PAP! PAP! Four gunshots cracked in the garage, the garage that Charley had entered less than a minute earlier. "Oh my God," I whispered. Knowing I mustn’t be seen to lose my cool, and telling myself Charley would be all right, I wandered as casually as I could out to the garage. [He] had been in a small group outside the garage, just by the kitchen door. Vladimir and some of the heavies had been showing off their guns. "That’s not a gun," Vladimir had said, pointing at one of his associate’s weapons and pulling his pistol out of its holster. Doof! Doof! Doof! Doof! He fired four rounds in the air. To them it was innocent fun, but to us it was more telling than anything we’d seen so far. Igor and his friends clearly didn’t need to worry about letting off their guns in a heavily built-up neighbourhood.

Nobody went "Oh my God, what are the neighbours going to think?" or "The police will come". Nothing. To them, it was just a bit of fun.

• Copyright @ Long Way Round Limited 2004, extracted from Long Way Round by Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman, published by Time Warner Book Group UK at £18.99 on 14 October

Source: The Scotsman

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Monday, October 11, 2004 // 01:09 a.m.


McGregor remembers his world tour

October 11 2004

EWAN McGregor spoke yesterday of how his epic motorcycle adventure across the world allowed him to reflect upon his life so far.

The great adventure, however, had never been an attempt to escape from the reality of his celebrity existence.

The Crieff-born film actor told an audience in Glasgow that many people had used terms such as "mid-life crisis" to describe the journey he made earlier this year with his close friend, Charley Boorman.

"It was never anything like that. Never. It was not an escape from anything because there was never any need to escape from anything. It was a much more positive idea to go and see the world and the people who live in it," he said.

McGregor, 33, was speaking at an event which is part of the Glenmorangie Book Series, also sponsored by The Herald and Sunday Herald, at the Royal Concert Hall in the city which attracted more than 1000 people. With Boorman, 38, by his side, he recounted stories about life on the road during a 20,000-mile journey which took them through Europe, Russia, Siberia, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, and then across the Bering Sea to Alaska and down through Canada to New York.

The farther McGregor went on his journey beyond Europe, the less he was recognised. Curiously, it only became a problem, he said, when they reached Kazakhstan.

"That was a bit of a pain because we had been forced to go very high up in the Kazakhstan embassy in London to get our visas. It’s a very young optimistic country, rich in coal, oil and minerals. It really is on the up and up and they’re desperate to show off," he said.

As a consequence, the two motorcyclists had received police motorcycle escorts all the way across the country. The police, said McGregor, kept people away and, in one area, they became a huge media event.

"It became very frustrating there because it kept us away from seeing the real Kazakhstan and meeting the local people," he said.

Asked if he had ever been bored during the trip, McGregor replied: "I can honestly say I was never bored; not once. There is a great rhythm you get into when you are on a motorcycle for a long time.

"It’s a weird feeling to know that you are riding on a one-way journey and that you will never return to the places you pass through."

Boorman told that audience that the trip was "just exciting". Every single day there was something different. The hardest thing, he said, was to stay awake. McGregor said that, whenever he felt himself nodding off, he would scream at himself.

Source: The Herald

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Monday, October 11, 2004 // 01:03 a.m.


Ewan McGregor appears in Glasgow to promote new book


Film star Ewan McGregor was on stage in Glasgow this afternoon at the Royal Concert Hall.

The Scot was in the city with fellow actor Charley Boorman to promote a new book based on their recent round the world travels by motorbike. The pair trekked over 20,000 miles on two wheels, testing their stamina and friendship.

Ewan McGregor explained how both of them coped with the isolation:

"When you are up against it and you’re in the middle of nowhere just stuck with one other guy, you can end up wanting to kill each other, so we just made a pact to say that if anything is bothering each other to say it, get it out in the open, and then we can discuss it together and move on; and we did that."

Source: Scotland Today

Thanks to Barbara for the find!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Sunday, October 10, 2004 // 11:37 p.m.


McGregor’s Childhood Sweetheart Inspired Bike Tour


Scottish actor EWAN McGREGOR’s epic motorbike world tour was inspired by his childhood sweetheart, who left him for a biker.

The STAR WARS actor recently travelled from London to New York with his friend CHARLIE BOORMAN, but he insists the trek would never have happened if his "kissing partner" hadn’t broken his heart when he was just 13-years-old.

He explains, "It was my first girlfriend who got me into bikes - in a roundabout way. She was petite, with a smile that was as wicked as her character and I was mad about her.

"But she stopped being my kissing partner when she met another boy who had a flashy bike. And now, I miss it like hell if I don’t get to ride every day."

Source: Contact Music

Thanks to Melinda for the find!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Sunday, October 10, 2004 // 11:31 p.m.


Ewan McGregor and Charlie Boorman on BBC Radio 4 on October 16

Sandi Toksvig talks to actors Ewan McGregor and Charlie Boorman about their latest trip of 20,000 miles around the world by motorbike.

You can listen to BBC Radio 4 live by clicking on the "Listen Live" link at the top of the programme page.

The show airs at 10 a.m. in the UK (5 a.m. U.S. Eastern). Luckily it is possible to listen to the program at a more convenient time by clicking on the "Missed a Programme?" link on the top-right part of the page.

Source: BBC Radio 4 - Excess Baggage

Thanks to Clara Swift and Barb for the heads up!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Sunday, October 10, 2004 // 11:24 p.m.


Odyssey on bikes

Sunday, 10 October, 2004

On Sunday, 10, October 2004, Sir David Frost interviewed Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman

DAVID FROST: Well now to take three months off work and travel around the world by motorbike must be the dream of many young men, and that’s exactly what two great actors have managed to do.

Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman have just done that.

They set out from London, eventually reaching Europe but via the land route which means via Kazakhstan, Mongolia, Canada, etc. How many countries altogether did you go through, did you think?

EWAN McGREGOR: Twelve countries.

DAVID FROST: Twelve countries, that’s right.

And it was more than just a road trip, it was a life-changing experience, the result of which Ewan has just been appointed an UNICEF ambassador.

You came in touch with UNICEF on the trip really, didn’t you? You didn’t set off on this trip for UNICEF, ….

EWAN McGREGOR: No, we wanted some kind of involvement and we’re both fathers we both have children, we wanted it to be a children’s body that helped children, so we ended up getting in touch with UNICEF and they organised for us to visit three of their projects along the route of the trip - one in Kiev, one in Kazakhstan in a town called Almati, and then one in Ulan Bator, the capital of Mongolia.

DAVID FROST: The Mongolia one sounds very dramatic Charley?

CHARLEY BOORMAN: Yeah it is, they have the most difficulties there, with the poverty, with alcoholism and stuff like that, and so a lot of children end up living on the streets and because it’s so cold there they end up living in the sewers.

And so UNICEF were there to help the children and to try and work out a structure with the government to change government policy against, you know, how they used to look at children, to change it so that it’s more for the children, more proactive for children.

Because there is prostitution on children, there’s alcohol abuse on children and so on and so forth.

DAVID FROST: And you’ve brought out a splendid tome here, called Long Way Round which, as I said earlier, shows you chasing shadows across the world. And people who write about this, you would say that it was a life-changing experience for you. What really hits you on the trip?

EWAN McGREGOR: I mean, I think the UNICEF projects were really kind of pinnacles of poignancy for us on the trip, you know.

But really just the people that we met from leaving London to arriving in New York, all the people that we met along the way, and 99% of the people we met were really enthusiastic, generous, supportive people. And one thing that we could always rely on when we got in trouble is that somebody would turn up to help us.

And I was really struck by that, it was a real, it was a real optimistic view of the world that we had, you know. And it was difficult to come back, to get back to London and hear some of the terrible things that are happening elsewhere in the world.

But our experience was that of generous, lovely people, who all care for their children and looked after travellers such as ourselves.

DAVID FROST: And you had, three months of the trip, you had four months of preparing for the trip. What sort of training did you have to do, just simply carrying the kit, or what?

CHARLEY BOORMAN: Yes, well we went to various things. One, we had to choose what kind of equipment we were going to take with us, and then we had to, we did a course called environment training by a group called Objective, and they train a lot of journalists who go into hot areas.

And they just told us about how to react in border crossings and checkpoints, and you just had to look after yourself to make sure that you were aware of your surroundings so that you don’t get ripped off or anything like like.

EWAN McGREGOR: And out of trouble.

DAVID FROST: And so, now is it going to be almost prosaic getting back to acting?

EWAN McGREGOR: No, I mean…

DAVID FROST: Or being a megastar as they say.

EWAN McGREGOR: (laughter) No, I’m really looking forward to it. But funnily enough when we left, when we set off I’d worked very, very hard last year and had very little time off and I was just tired I think. And I really wanted a change of pace and a change of scenery which Charley and I both got, you know, in bucketloads, every day.

DAVID FROST: Every day.

EWAN McGREGOR: Every day - but you know, but I’m now, it’s rejuvenated me and I’m ready to go back to work, I really am.

DAVID FROST: Well it’s great to have you hear. Good luck with the UNICEF campaign and so on, and good luck with the book Long Way Round which is also going to be read on Book at Bedtime. You’ve made it Book at Bedtime.

EWAN McGREGOR: I know, we’ve really made it then.

NB: this transcript was typed from a recording and not copied from an original script.

Because of the possibility of mis-hearing and the difficulty, in some cases, of identifying individual speakers, the BBC cannot vouch for its accuracy.

You can watch the interview on video, which is 26:30-31:05 into the programme.

Source: BBC News

Thanks to Holly for the find!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Sunday, October 10, 2004 // 11:17 p.m.


Faster on DVD available in the UK November 1st

Get a stunning online taster of a new two-disc DVD celebrating MotoGP by following the link below.

Faster is narrated by bike-nut Ewan McGregor and comes out for the first time on DVD in the UK on November 1.

And judging from the preview we have to agree with McGregor’s own verdict: "it f**king rocks!"

Frank interviews with the biggest names in racing are intercut with some of the most thrilling bike action you’ll ever see. If it lives up to the promise of the trailer we may finally have a bike movie that captures the raw excitement of motorcycling.

The £19.99 documentary focuses on the 2002-03 season but comes complete with an 03-04 sequel PLUS an interactive racing experience in which you ride with Rossi, Biaggi and Gibernau and switch between on-board cameras to experience four epic last lap battles from every angle.

Source: MCN

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Saturday, October 9, 2004 // 11:13 a.m.


UK Robots trailer online

Visit 20th Century Fox’s UK site to watch a slightly different trailer of Robots!

Thanks to Mary for the heads up!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Friday, October 8, 2004 // 05:47 p.m.


Ewan on the Tonight Show October 19

With Long Way Round premiering on Bravo on October 28 at 10pm, the media blitz in the US will be starting after Ewan hits up the UK. First up, Ewan will be on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno on October 19. The musical guest is Duran Duran. It’s likely more TV appearances will be announced soon.

Posted by ewanspotting.com on Friday, October 8, 2004 // 12:12 a.m.


Another Ewan and Charley public appearance

The Times/Foyles Writers and Readers Forum presents

Ewan McGregor & Charley Boorman

Film star Ewan McGregor is best known for his roles in Trainspotting, Moulin Rouge, Star Wars and Big Fish, while Charley Boorman has played the lead in such films as The Emerald Forest and Excalibur. Long Way Round is a highly personal account of their epic trip by motorbike from London to New York – some 20,000 miles – via Europe, Russia and China. Relive some harrowing and hilarious moments with them as they throw themselves enthusiastically into the culture of each new country.

Monday 11th October 7pm
Institute of Education,
Logan Hall, 20 Bedford Way, London WC1H 0AL

Tickets £8, concessions £6

Source: Foyles

Thanks to ambersky and Jennifer for the heads up!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Thursday, October 7, 2004 // 11:54 a.m.


Come and Party with Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman!

Come and party with Ewan McGregor, Charley Boorman and everyone at Long Way Round. Dust down your leathers and party biker style at The Bridge, London SE1 to the sounds of Neneh Cherry.

Tuesday 12th October 2004
7.30pm - 1.00 am

Drinks, Dinner, Charity Auction, DJ'ing by Neneh Cherry and Interactive Entertainment.

For more information on buying single or table tickets, please email mel.robinson@worldlaunchevents.com or call us on 020 7471 2600.

Raising money for CHAS, UNICEF, Macmillan Cancer Relief.

Source: londonlaunch.com

Thanks to Violet and Patty for the heads up!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Thursday, October 7, 2004 // 10:20 a.m.


Go on, discover the world

October 03, 2004

Will you, won’t you? As the deadline for Ucas applications approaches, Sean Newsom presents five pages of juicy reasons to defer and go gapping. And you don’t have to be 18 to cut loose — this is everyone’s essential guide, so read it, resign, pack a bag and just jet off

Prince William taught schoolchildren in Chile. Harry, his brother, learnt to be a jackeroo. Ewan McGregor has just got off his motorbike after a 20,000-mile overland odyssey across Europe, Asia and North America. Even Antonio Banderas took a winter out from making Hollywood blockbusters to ski his favourite mountains in Aspen. No doubt about it, the gapping habit is spreading fast, and it’s high time you considered acquiring it too.

Gap years, sabbaticals, years off — call them what you will — have been around for a long time now. What’s new is their popularity. This year, an estimated 50,000 school-leavers will be gapping between their A-levels and the start of university. A further 150,000 will take a year off, either during their courses or immediately afterwards, and it’s thought that 200,000 more adults over the age of 25 are enjoying extended holidays from the miserable 9-5 grind (otherwise known as a career break). There is, for example, a whole new area of gapping growth amongst the over-55s. They’re called the Saga louts.

What’s happened? “Two things,” says Tom Griffiths, author of the gapper’s bible, Before You Go, and founder of www.gapyear.com. “The first was the impact of the baby-boomers on parenting back in the 1980s and early 1990s. A number of them took time off in the late 1960s, and they wanted their children to have the same experience. It was they who got the ball rolling, and once it started, it never stopped. The second change has been among universities and employers. Gapping no longer has the stigma of dropping out attached to it. It is seen as a posi- tive thing — many universities, for example, say they actually prefer their students to have been gappers because they are more mature.”

This will come as no surprise to anybody who has taken a gap year themselves. Jon Snow, journalist and presenter of Channel 4 news, has long been an advocate of the benefits. He took a year off before going to university, back in 1967, teaching English in Kamuli College, Uganda, with Voluntary Service Overseas. “The year out gave me the scope to stretch myself and discover a resourcefulness I never knew I had,” he remembers. “The discovery of real people beyond the tiny world I occupied in England had a profound impact on my attitudes. It also inspired me to write — nothing more than letters to loved ones, but each chronicling the smallest detail of everyday life. In part, the experience led me to journalism, and I still use the skills I learnt there.”

Ewan McGregor is equally positive. His time out — at three months, not exactly a gap year, but still a significant break — came at the end of a frenetic burst of activity. “I worked very hard and made three films back to back,” he said. “I wasn’t enjoying it that much, and it was an important break for me to get away.” The remedy was, as it turned out, a radical one: taking off with his friend and fellow biker Charley Boorman on a long and muddy trip overland from London to New York.

In the nature of all celebrity activity, the experience was a little compromised. A cameraman was present throughout the journey, there were regular visits from a larger film crew, and you’ll be able to follow his journey in a six-part television series, The Long Way Round, on Sky One, starting on October 18. But for someone as high-profile as McGregor even to consider detouring off the long straight highway of his career, growing a beard and riding a motorbike for three months, for the sheer pleasure of it, is remarkable. How did he feel at the end of it? “Amazing,” he says. “It’s been the most fantastic journey and experience. If I had to do another 20,000 miles tomorrow, I would.”

Of course, you don’t need to be a biker to have a good gapping experience. Nor do you have to immerse yourself in the problems and pain of the Third World, as Snow did. And that’s the most wonderful thing of all about gapping.

There’s a whole world out there, waiting for you to explore, and the possibilities are almost limitless. It may well be that the perfect challenge for you is building a school on the banks of the Okavango, with nothing but a tent to sleep in and the sound of crocs and hippos at night to serenade you (and no, we’re not making that up — see overleaf for details), but if that sounds too hard-core, don’t worry.

There is currently a lot of pressure, on younger gappers especially, to do “something worthwhile” with their time. Indeed, crack open some of the gapping guidebooks and you’d be forgiven for thinking that there are only two options open to you: voluntary work or an expensive gap-year expedition organised by someone else. In fact, according to Griffiths, only 6% of school-leaving gappers actually take part in one of these activities. Everyone else is up to something else, be it socialising their way up the backpacker trail in Oz, or cleaning chalets (and skiing hard) in a winter resort, or learning how to speak Spanish in Havana, or even lying on a Thai beach getting a suntan. They may actually, during the course of a gap year, do all three. And that’s one of the other great things about gapping. A year is a long time. If you already burn to do something specific, then fine, devote as much time to it as you can. But if you’re not yet sure what makes you tick, then you’ve got a heaven-sent opportunity to test yourself against a whole range of challenges, people and places.

Here, then, to help you plan your perfect combination of activities, is our Gap Year Guide. Overleaf, you’ll find an intro- duction to the many thousands of courses, placements and organised expeditions you can join, while on pages 8 and 9, we’ve lined up the most mouthwatering backpacker itineraries.

Just remember that it’s your year. You’ll probably only get one like it — you’ll have to do some work some time. So make absolutely sure that, whatever you do, it’s right for you.

Source: The Times

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Saturday, October 2, 2004 // 06:50 p.m.


Another Ewan and Charley public appearance

Ewan and Charley are doing a book signing in Waterstones on Oxford St on October 12 at 12.30pm.

Thanks to Baby Jefer for the heads up!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Saturday, October 2, 2004 // 01:01 p.m.


Ewan and Charley on UK TV

Ewan and Charley will be on Richard & Judy on Channel 4, on October 11 from 5-6pm.

Thanks to Baby Jefer for the heads up!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Saturday, October 2, 2004 // 11:56 a.m.


Motorcycle Diary

October 02, 2004

When I met them at their HQ (part office, part map-room, part garage) in Shepherds Bush in West London, Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman had been home for a little over a fortnight. They were readjusting to their usual roles as fathers and actors. McGregor was already back enjoying the 12-hour days making adjustments to his performance in the latest Star Wars instalment. Boorman was supervising the final versions of both the book and the television series of their adventure. Both were glad to be home, glad to be back in London, glad to be reunited with their young daughters after 15 weeks away. But both were also missing the thrills of their 20,000-mile, London-to-New York round-the-world adventure. They missed the camaraderie-under-pressure, the landscapes, the isolation, the sheer otherness of their trip. Most of all, I think, they missed the road. More than anything, says Boorman, their journey was "just an excuse to spend a very long time on a motorbike".

The big BMWs from which they'd been inseparable (almost inseparable - they both fell off a number of times) for months were just a few feet away as we talked, the dirt of North America, Central Asia and Eastern Europe still spattered on their exhausts. McGregor's will soon be auctioned to raise money for UNICEF.

Boorman, 38, the son of film director John Boorman, grew up around bikes in rural Ireland. McGregor, 33, the child of more conventional parents, both teachers, was forbidden to have a bike during his teens in Crieff in central Scotland, but eventually got going on a little Honda after he graduated from drama school in London. The pair met on the set of a film called The Serpent's Kiss in 1996 and struck up a friendship based on a mutual love of two-wheeled horsepower. "I wanted to see the things the world offers," says McGregor, by way of explanation for their odyssey, "and I wanted to see them with Charley and I wanted to do it on a motorbike." He has found himself missing the so-called Road of Bones (it was built by prisoners from Stalin's gulags) in Siberia. "I miss the solace of just being that far away from everything. Some nights we'd pitch our tent and feel there wasn't another person within a thousand miles."

Although they insist their chief motivation really was this simple thirst for adventure, McGregor admits to other, albeit lesser motives, too. After making three films back-to-back in 2003, he was ready for a break, both from the demands of filming and the pressures of celebrity - "publicity and paparazzi and all that bollocks", as he puts it. "It's not as if I get plagued or hounded by people," says McGregor. "I don't have that sort of fame." However, the fact is that for ten years now, since Trainspotting became such a huge hit, and especially since Star Wars, he has hardly met a new person "without them having this whole picture of who I am and what I'm like and what I do. I'm not a judgmental person, so I don't have preconceived ideas about them. It's out of balance, and it was nice [on the road] to meet people on an even playing field again."

Also, he adds, "My job is about pretending to be different people. If you're only meeting people in the movie business you end up playing parts based on people in other movies. What's important is to see real people." Or, as Boorman puts it, "variety is the spice of life".

McGregor did not achieve anonymity straight away, getting recognised in Prague by British tourists ("although that was great - we met people from Dundee who'd seen us leaving London on the telly") and again in the Ukraine by a gregarious, guitar-strumming, Kalashnikov-toting "businessman" called Igor and his equally well-armed friends. Igor, as happened several times, put the pair up for the night. I asked McGregor at what point, heading east through Asia, did the reach of Hollywood celebrity peter out? The answer is, in the countryside, pretty quickly. As early as the Ukraine, they passed through many primitive villages where the farmers were still using hand ploughs. In Kazakhstan, however, many towns organised police escorts and a reception committee once the news spread. In Irkutsk in Siberia, says McGregor, "there were people outside our hotel. They knew Charley's films, they knew my films." Even on the Mongolian steppe, he says, the place on their itinerary which was by far the most removed from Western civilisation, and largely for that reason their favourite; even in a landscape that McGregor compares to "a giant ball of Plasticine that someone has stamped all over", many of the tribesman had satellite in their gers, powered by solar panels. Were they watching Star Wars videos? "I don't know. Star Wars in Korean, maybe."

Once over the Bering Strait to Anchorage and the long run down the Alaska Highway to Canada and the Rockies, McGregor was blending in nicely. His helmet helped, of course, as did a big, bushy Viking beard, plus the fact that "people are likely to spot you walking around Soho, but they don't expect to see you at a petrol station in Montana, so they tend not to recognise you."

The pair set off from London in April. Boorman's bike, chronically overloaded (they would later shed 20 kilos of spare kit) toppled over in front of the cameras and he admits to crying with the shame of such an embarrassing false start. Much later, the tears came again behind his visor, this time for a far deeper reason. "I lost my sister to cancer about six years ago and I've never really analysed it. It was great, sitting on the bike with your lid on, because you can have a cry without anyone seeing. I was able to grieve properly for my sister. One of the great things about the trip was that it really made me feel incredibly lucky about what I have at home, my family."

McGregor felt similar emotions. "Children were a huge factor in the whole trip, especially through Kazakhstan and Mongolia - they're so beautiful with their kids there. I was constantly reminded of my kids, and I found that most with the animals. You're riding along and you see a camel with a baby camel and I'd suddenly see my youngest one in the baby camel! It was nice to know you were riding back to them."

For the first week or two, after an increasingly painful prelude to his departure ("by the time I left, they wanted me to go and I wanted to go"), McGregor felt "a homesickness for my family, a sore feeling that I'd never experienced before. It slowly went away, but it did worry me. I thought, 'God, will I feel like this all the way?'"

He is used to being away from home, but his longest separation prior to this was six weeks while filming Moulin Rouge with Nicole Kidman in Australia. Boorman also works abroad a lot. I asked if, given this, either had felt any guilt, as opposed to heartache, at leaving their families for so long? "No," they responded in unison. "Our wives both realised we really wanted to do this, and it was the chance of a lifetime," says Boorman. "They weren't just understanding," adds McGregor, "they were passionate about us doing this trip." I say that, however domesticated they are, many people, and most men, would welcome the chance to escape from the mundanities of family life for so long. "No, I really wasn't trying to escape those," says McGregor. "I don't experience them enough. When I take my kids to school, it's a treat to me and I love it. I don't ever want to escape from that."

I try a different tack and say that surely such a journey, steaming across the tarmac at 100mph (or, just as often, bumping over dirt roads at 15mph) on a great big muddy motorbike has something to do with masculinity. Not necessarily an urge to prove one's masculinity, but an urge to remove oneself from the civilised, feminised society of the West and do what a man's gotta do. Neither agrees.

"I wasn't driven to it to feel masculine," says McGregor. "I wanted an adventure. From doing the things I've done in the past, like going up to Churchill to see polar bears, or going to the Honduran rainforest with Ray Mears, my eyes have been opened up to what's on offer in the world." Boorman is even more dismissive of the attempt to psychoanalyse their motives. "I've never had to prove my masculinity to anyone; it's never crossed my mind. I've got such big balls anyway."

Moving swiftly on, I ask about their decision to turn the trip, which started life as a late-night semi-fantasy over dinner at McGregor's house in St John's Wood, into a television series and book. This process meant they had to attend months of meetings and set up their own production company. There are not two Beamers in the garage, but three. The third was ridden by Claudio von Planta, their cameraman. (Claudio had exaggerated the extent of his previous big-bike experience. It turned out he was familiar with a Vespa 125, but nothing bigger. Both McGregor and Boorman became irritated, therefore, to see Claudio handling the rough stuff in Siberia like a veteran.) They were also either followed, or preceded, for their entire journey by a support team in 4x4s; a team that included their TV producers, Russ Malkin and David Alexanian, and, in Asia, a succession of fixers and translators. They'd meet up with this team as seldom as possible, to negotiate the trickier, more far-flung borders and to resupply themselves with Kendal mint cake, soap and food.

I ask if the presence of Claudio and his camera, and the knowledge of the producers in their more distant Shoguns, detracted from their vision of two mates off to see the world.

"No, I think it enriched it," says McGregor. "The very nature of having to capture it on film meant we stopped more and met more people. On our own, the desperate need to get miles under our belts would have meant we didn't do that."

"It also means we've got a record of what we did," says Boorman, "so we can sit back when we're older and have a giggle."

"And there's also the possibility," says McGregor, "that it could be inspirational to people who watch it. And truthfully, I don't think either of us was ready to do it on our own. There was security in having all the visas done and having the support group behind us. It made me feel quite safe. Had it been Charley and me setting off on our own… I'm not sure I would have had the balls to do that, yet."

Despite some personality clashes early on, the pair are now firm friends both with their producers and with Claudio. "I was nicknamed Shortfuse when I was a kid," admits Boorman, "and I realised after I'd had a few ding-dongs with Russ that I was the problem. I was the one who always wanted to keep going, Ewan was the one who said, 'Let's hang back and look at this.'"

"It worked beautifully," says McGregor.

In January, the pair took four months off in advance to prepare for their trip, coming into the garage in Shepherds Bush every day. They took advice on personal survival from an ex-SAS officer, trained in the gym three days a week, mostly to build the strength necessary to handle the bikes off-road, tried Russian lessons (but didn't get too far), and underwent a dry run in Scotland. The planning all paid off, not least in the psychological bond they established with each other - essential to staying on good terms when, as Boorman puts it, "it's raining and you keep falling into rivers or mud and you've only done 20 miles in 14 hours". After a few days of that, says Boorman, "you stop worrying about your objectives and you just sit back and say, 'Well OK, we've got this problem, something will turn up.'" And it always did, in the shape of a large Russian truck driver with an even larger truck capable of fording a swollen river, or a little Mongolian tribesman with the know-how to get them on their way.

Besides the roads, hunger was also a problem in Asia. Boorman lost two stone, "only half of which I have now put back on". After Siberia and a flight across the Bering Strait, the North American plenty of Anchorage came as a relief. "In Siberia," says McGregor, "a petrol station is just a petrol station. They don't even sell water. At our first petrol stop in Alaska, we were overwhelmed by the amount of stuff. Piles and piles of it."

Did they regret at that stage that the really tough part of the trip was now over? "No, it was great to have all that choice again, though it had also been a relief to not have the choice in Mongolia and Siberia." The fact that their Global Positioning Systems had enough data to work to their full capacity made riding a lot easier, too. Meeting other bikers and being able to say they'd ridden across Asia made a lot of their hardship worthwhile. "In the worldwide fraternity of bikers," says Boorman, "our route was a badge of honour."

They faced other perils in North America, however. One was bears. "We were in the woods on foot, on our way back from a viewing platform watching bears catch fish," recalls McGregor, "and suddenly this f***ing huge grizzly came out of the woods about 12 feet away. We backed away very, very slowly, as we'd been taught." And another, perhaps even greater danger was fatigue, given the huge distances they were able to cover on the first good roads they'd encountered in weeks. Their record mileage for a day was 620, from Mount Rushmore in South Dakota into Minnesota. Their top speed was 130mph, once in Canada and again in upstate New York. "On a test track," McGregor adds, conscious of the legal speed limit in America. "Yeah, we did 55 all the way on the roads," says Boorman.

"There were times, in Kazakhstan and Mongolia," says McGregor, "when I thought, 'Yeah, this is all I want to do.' But by the time I got back to America, I was ready to go back to work again. The amount of goodwill we experienced was fantastic. All the way through, people were excited about the bikes, happy to see us. It was great. That's what I'll take away with me. That and the fact that, even with our back-up, when you get on the bike with an enormous distance in front of you, you still have to do it. It isn't easy. We did ride around the world." And their next trip? McGregor and Boorman are already discussing it. Africa maybe. Or South America.

Source: The Times

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Friday, October 1, 2004 // 05:15 p.m.


Robots trailer online!

Yahoo Movies has the trailer to Ewan's animated film, Robots. Check it out!
Update: There is now a Quicktime version of the trailer available!

Thanks to Mary for the find!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Thursday, September 30, 2004 // 10:26 a.m.


Ladies And Gentlemen… Robin Williams!

Scene-stealing comic rules the Robots

30 September 2004

Note to self: If Empire ever has the good fortune to be cast in a major Hollywood animated feature (and let's face it, if Kate bloody Thornton can get a part in Shrek 2 then anything's possible) we will absolutely not allow Robin Williams to be cast alongside us. What's the one and only thing people remember about Aladdin? Alright, apart from the cute monkey in the fez. Yes, that's right: Robin Williams. And from the look of the new trailer for Robots, he's upstaging all and sundry once again.

The film ostensibly focuses on Ewan McGregor's Rodney Copperbottom, a young genius in the robot world with a big heart and lofty ambitions who travels to Robot City in order to make the world a better place. His plans are thwarted by Mel Brooks' corporate tyrant, Big Weld, but he still has his hyperactive, highly eccentric and not entirely honest guide (played by the effervescent Williams) to help him out.

From what we could tell (the trailer was about two centimetres wide thanks to the curse of the Windows Media format) the world of Robots is truly a sight to behold, with a thousand different things going on in the background of every shot. It's the characters that make or break these films though, and Robots' star attraction is almost certainly Williams – whose involvement in the project has hardly been publicised thus far. Will it be a Shrek-beater? Quite possibly. Robots comes from the same folks that brought us the brilliant Ice Age so hopes for this mechanical marvel are very high indeed.

Source: Empire Online

Thanks to Mary for the find!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Thursday, September 30, 2004 // 10:25 a.m.


Sky One's Long Way Round site

Sky One, who will be broadcasting Long Way Round in the UK, has created a site for the series: www.skyone.co.uk/programmes/longwayround. It contains an episode guide (similar to the official site's travelogues but so far only episode 1 is available), a gallery of pictures (essentially the same ones from the official site but easier to save), a video clip (that unfortunately only works if you are in the UK), mini cast and crew bio.

Thanks to Baby Jefer for the heads up!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Tuesday, September 28, 2004 // 10:04 a.m.


Tickets for Ewan and Charley's book launch

You can buy tickets directly from the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall to attend Ewan and Charley's Long Way Round book launch on October 10 at 4 pm. Tickets are £12.00 subject to a 50p card booking fee.

Thanks to Debbie for the heads up!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Monday, September 27, 2004 // 10:04 a.m.


Friday Night with Jonathan Ross

Friday 1 October. Jonathan's guests are Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman, back from their global motorbike ride; Oscar-winning Australian actor Geoffrey Rush, starring in upcoming movie The Life & Death of Peter Sellars; Nancy Sinatra, in town to promote her latest album; with music from The Hives, performing their new single, Two-Timing Touch, and Broken Bones.

Source: BBC Press Office

Thanks to Holly for the heads up!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Saturday, September 18, 2004 // 10:29 a.m.


Ewan looking fab again!

These pictures, taken today at the launch of a charity campaign for Pringle (see articles below), show Ewan looking fab. Okay, so he almost always looks fab, but today… he's looking very fab.

Huge thanks to Georginita for the finds!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor onThursday, September 16, 2004 // 05:18 p.m.


McGregor launches scarves appeal

Thursday, 16 September, 2004, 16:04 GMT

The Scottish film star Ewan McGregor is sticking his neck out for charity.

McGregor, the face of the Pringle knitwear company, has launched an appeal aimed at encouraging people to buy special £45 scarves.

All profits will go to the Children's Hospice Association Scotland (Chas). It operates the Rachel House hospice in Kinross for terminally ill children.

Fundraisers are building a second unit, Robin House, at Balloch in West Dunbartonshire.

McGregor, a regular visitor to eight-bed Rachel House, has supported the charity for the past seven years and has helped to raise nearly £100m for the second hospice, which also has eight beds.

Rachel House is at the moment Scotland's only children's hospice.

He said: "I'm a parent myself so I can understand how scary it must be to have a child who is ill. The children in Rachel House are extraordinarily courageous.

"People have a preconceived idea that a hospice will be grim and awful but the reality is very different. The place is full of laughter.

The star, whose family home is in Perthshire, added: "It's only after I get home that it upsets me when I think about what they are going through. But I am always struck by how brave the children are, and their families too."

Serious illness

Chas chief executive Agnes Malone said: "On behalf of the children, their families and the care team I can only say how grateful we all are."

Full planning permission for Robin House was granted by the Scottish Parliament last year and the hospice is scheduled to open this summer.

The go-ahead followed an outcry when an official recommended permission be refused because the site lay within the new Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park.

It is estimated as many as 1,200 youngsters in Scotland suffer from "life limiting" conditions.

Source: BBC News

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Thursday, September 16, 2004 // 12:49 p.m.


McGregor backs bid to help children's hospice

16/09/2004 - 13:23:45

Ewan McGregor showed off his new clean-shaven look today at the launch of a charity campaign for Pringle.

Ewan McGregor showed off his new clean-shaven look today at the launch of a charity campaign for Pringle.

The actor is the face of the luxury knitwear brand and modelled a scarf which is being sold to raise money for a children’s hospice appeal.

All profits from the scarves will go to the Children’s Hospice Association Scotland (CHAS) of which McGregor is patron.

The star, who plays Obi Wan Kenobi in the Star Wars films, had been sporting a huge beard grown during his 20,000 mile round-the-world motorbike trip.

But he shaved it off this week – to the delight of his wife Ève and two children Clara, eight, and two-year-old Esther.

“I grew the beard to film some scenes for the new Star Wars film and as soon as I shot the last one I went straight home and shaved it off,” he said.

“It was a relief to get rid of it. And my daughters were delighted – they both hated it, as did my wife.”

McGregor, 33, has supported CHAS for the past seven years and makes regular visits to the Rachel House hospice in Kinross, the only children’s hospice in Scotland.

He has also helped raise nearly £10 million towards the building of Robin House, a second hospice in Balloch, West Dunbartonshire.

“I’m a parent myself so I can understand how scary it must be to have a child who is ill,” McGregor said.

“The children in Rachel House are extraordinarily courageous. People have a pre-conceived idea that a hospice will be grim and awful but the reality is very different. The place is full of laughter.

“It’s only after I get home that it upsets me when I think about what they are going through. But I am always struck by how brave the children are, and their families too.”

Rachel House has only eight beds and Robin House will have a further eight. There are an estimated 1,200 children in Scotland with a life-limiting condition.

CHAS chief executive Agnes Malone said: “We are delighted that Pringle and Ewan McGregor have teamed up to support CHAS. On behalf of the children, their families and the care team I can only say how grateful we all are.”

Pringle became involved with the charity because the knitwear company has Scottish origins.

The lion scarf, in pink or charcoal grey, goes on sale today in Pringle stores worldwide.

Source: Ireland Online

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Thursday, September 16, 2004 // 12:42 p.m.


A Touch of MusicRed Face for Brass Act Ewan

Sep 13 2004

EWAN McGregor will be left red-faced when his TV debut as a teenage French horn player is dug out for a telly cringe-fest.

The Star Wars actor showed off his brass band talents on Touch Of Music in the 1980s.

But the spot has been resurrected for the Top 40 Greatest TV Wannabe Moments.

The only other Scot on the list is Carol Smillie, appearing as a perma-tanned presenter in a 1980s corporate video.

A spokeswoman for the show said: 'Obviously, Scottish celebrities don't have as many skeletons in their closets.

'Ewan McGregor just looks totally cute. Whoever would have thought he would go on to be the star of Hollywood films?

'Carol's clip is fantastic. Despite the shaky camera work, she is so professional.'

Fame Academy headmaster Richard Park - who appears on the special - said: 'Ewan is just fantastic at everything he does.

'And that probably just about included the horn.

'It's amazing to see Carol try to sex up the financial video with the 'Smiley smiley, Carol Smillie' approach.'

The chart is topped by Boyzone's notorious appearance on Irish telly's The Late Late Show.

Their song and dance routine consisted of a dance - because they had no songs at the time.

The show goes out on September 23 at 9pm.

Source: Daily Record

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Sunday, September 12, 2004 // 07:25 p.m.


McGregor takes long way round to talk about trip

PHIL MILLER, Arts Correspondent
September 09 2004

EWAN McGregor will finally make a journey home next month when he will come to Scotland to give a rare public talk about his motorcycle journey around the world.

Last month, the actor and Charley Boorman, his best friend, had to cancel a series of events to publicise The Long Way Round, a book based on the diaries they made on their 20,000-mile trip, which they completed earlier this year.

Filming commitments meant the actor had to make a reluctant withdrawal. However, despite fears it may have to be cancelled altogether, McGregor will be appearing with Boorman at the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall on October 10.

The pair, both married with two children, teamed up with Unicef, the children's charity, on the trip and visited three Unicef projects.

The event, part of the Glenmorangie Book Series also sponsored by The Herald and Sunday Herald, begins at 4pm.

Source: The Herald

Thank you Melinda for the heads up!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Thursday, September 9, 2004 // 07:21 a.m.


McGregor Has Eye Surgery

06/09/2004 13:59

Star Wars star Ewan McGregor has undergone laser eye surgery in London.

The Scottish actor can now ditch his contact lenses after checking into a expensive city clinic.

A source says, "Ewan went to a swanky London clinic - he paid more than he had to, but he didn't want to take any chances."

Source: Contact Music

Thanks to Holly for the find!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Saturday, Monday, September 6, 2004 // 12:44 p.m.


Young Adam North American DVD review

Review by Jason Bovberg
September 5, 2004

Young Adam
Columbia/Tri-Star // R // $24.95 // September 14, 2004


A subtly fascinating period noir, David Mackenzie’s Young Adam is a meditative, character-focused film that burrows quite effectively beneath your skin, chilling you as you discover more and more about the casual moral bankruptcy of its central character. It’s the kind of fearless, quiet mystery yarn that requires your patience as a viewer but rewards you with a haunting psychological payoff. The movie is also filled with sweaty, grimy sex and genuine, down-and-dirty eroticism.

And yet the DVD arrives in a cloud of controversy. Stamped in theaters with the insufficiently supported NC-17 rating, Young Adam arrives on DVD stamped with an R rating. The film has been cut to achieve the less restrictive rating, but apparently the single NC-17-worthy sequence—a scene of oral sex performed on a woman—has been relegated to the disc’s Special Features section. In the film itself, you still get a good look at Ewan McGregor’s uncircumcised willie, and you still get lots of full-frontal nudity from both involved actresses. So, I ask, What’s the difference between having the original cut of the film intact on this DVD and relegating one naughty sequence to somewhere else on the disc? I can’t find information about whether further cuts were made to the DVD version of Young Adam, but the decision to simply move the sequence strikes me as Blockbuster/Wal-Mart-inspired lunacy.

The film begins on a bleak morning, perhaps 40 years ago, in Scotland. Joe Taylor (McGregor), a soft-spoken wanderer who’s currently employed on a barge piloted by Les (Peter Mullan, of Session 9) and Ella (Tilda Swinton, of The Deep End) Gault, notices a lingerie-clad female corpse floating near the barge. Joe and Les contact the authorities, and the body is taken away, but Joe seems subtly affected by the incident. Soon, as the barge goes about its age-old business, ponderously navigating the narrow canals between Edinburgh and Glasgow, we find there’s more to Joe than his bland surface might suggest. As he begins seducing the hard, disillusioned Ella, we learn, in an extended series of flashbacks, about a stormy relationship shared with a woman named Cathie (Emily Mortimer). And it’s not long before the film is drenched in sex, both in the present and in the past. It seems Joe can think of nothing else, and his flesh-obsessed actions seem tied directly to the discovery of the body and the investigation about who allegedly committed the murder.

Shot on location in Scotland, aboard an actual barge, Young Adam approaches its story and characters claustrophobically. It often seems as if we’re embedded inside Joe’s skull as we watch his actions play out, as if we’re privy to a whispered, monotone voiceover that isn’t actually there. The Scotland setting is dreary and cloudy, contributing excellently to the mood and pace of the film, as well as Joe’s murky façade. Young Adam is most certainly a film about character—it’s not exactly filled with explosions and spectacle. It requires you to pay attention to its details and make sense of its nonlinear progression of its plot. (The screenplay is written by Mackenzie, based on the novel by Alexander Trocchi.) Nevertheless, it’s rewarding in the way a good mystery novel is, one you might curl up with on a dark, quiet night. And the film ends on a chilling note of moral horror that manages to leave you thinking about the film, and Joe, long after the end credits roll.

Young Adam wouldn’t be nearly as effective as it is without the fearless performances of its cast. McGregor proves to be a powerful internal actor in this role, and Mullan exudes period gruffness. Swinton is open and brave with her body as well as her soul, diving headlong into a strong role that asks a tremendous lot of its performer. And gorgeous Mortimer is a ray of troubled sunshine amidst the ghastly proceedings.


Columbia/TriStar presents Young Adam in a pretty good anamorphic-widescreen transfer of the film’s original 2.35:1 theatrical presentation. It’s a murky, grainy affair, and my first impression was “Yuck.” But that may have been part of the director’s intentions. Although detail is fine (excellent in close-ups and soft in backgrounds), the image has a washed-out sepia look. Some of the grain is significant, particularly in bright scenes. I noticed minor debris, as well as mild edge halos, minor ringing, both of which are moderately distracting in outdoor shots.


The disc’s Dolby Digital 5.1 track offers effective depth and clear dialog with no discernible distortion at either end. I was quite impressed by the surround activity, which has a terrific, immersive quality. Listen for it in the creaking of the boat and in the score.


First of all, be ready for a forced trailer for Baadasssss! before you get to the menu. Once you get past that and into the Special Features section, you’ll find a fair array of supplements, including two commentary tracks.

First up is a Commentary by Director David Mackenzie, Editor Colin Monie, Production Designer Laurence Dorman, and Actress Tilda Swinton, and I would say it’s the more involving and informative of the two. The participants talk at length about the shooting of the film on location in Glasgow, and about the complexities of plot and character. It’s a low-key listen, but I enjoyed the back-and-forth banter. It’s not the most entertaining audio track in the world, considering its soft-spokenness, but if you like the film, you’ll enjoy the conversation.

Faring not quite as well is a separate Commentary by Director David Mackenzie, in which he goes into more depth about the characters, story, casting, and production. There are long silences between monotone bursts of information. (Here’s an example of the character of this track: “I’ve always liked that shot…” …long pause…) He essentially spends a lot of time talking about his intentions, and frankly, I thought the first track provided enough of that.

Next is the aforementioned Extended Scene, which is apparently the reason the film earned an NC-17 rating in theaters. It gives you a more revealing look at the first sexual encounter between Ewan McGregor and Tilda Swinton’s characters on the riverbank. It’s a 3-minute-long scene extension.

The Ewan McGregor Original Passage Narration is three snippets of cut narration totaling about 30 seconds. Much as the case with Blade Runner, this voice-over material was deemed superfluous and cut out. Two of the snippets involve Swinton’s character, and the other is about the moon.

Under Previews, you’ll find trailers for Young Adam (in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen), Baadasssss!, Big Fish, Carandiru, The Mother, and Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter…and Spring.


Despite the apparent censoring of Young Adam for the Blockbuster/Wal-Mart crowd, the entire film does appear to be here, and it’s presented well on disc. Image and sound quality are good, and supplements are modest but informative. Give it a shot.

Star ratings:
Movie 4 out of 5
Video 3.5 out of 5
Audio 4 out of 5
Extras 3 out of 5
Replay 4 out of 5

Source: DVD Talk

Thanks to ParisRouge for the find!

Young Adam is available from amazon.com for US$17.47; amazon.ca for CDN$ 24.43. You can also purchase the uncensored Region 2 version from sendit.com (ex blackstar.co.uk) for £15.99.

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Monday, September 6, 2004 // 09:16 a.m.


Tea and scones with Ewan's mum

29 August 2004

After a late night at Friday's Scottish Screen party (let's just say that it was already light when Empire wandered home), it's a relief to ease into the day with tea and shortbread in the Sheraton Hotel lobby bar with Carol McGregor. When she's not being Ewan's mum, Carol runs International Audio Describer Agency, which has provided audio description for Sexy Beast, Jeepers Creepers 2, Girl With A Pearl Earring, Moulin Rouge and others. Today, she's hoping that the future distributor of Scottish film Blinded will save some of the budget for an audio-described print and DVD track. Audio description is a tricky process: Carol has to come up with a script of her own that draws attention to key visual elements while not stepping on top of the existing dialogue or music. It's then recorded by a professional actor - but not one who's already in the film, as that would create a confusing blur between description and screenplay. She managed to rope Ewan in for the audio description track on Peter Mullan's film Orphans, and admits to Empire that her boy found it quite a challenge to get the timing right to the exact second.

Source: Empire Online

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Sunday, August 29, 2004 // 10:37 a.m.


Johansson off to 'Island' for Bay

Aug. 27, 2004
By Chris Gardner

Scarlett Johansson is booking passage for "The Island," the next project on her slate that she will film.

The actress is in final negotiations to team with Ewan McGregor on the Michael Bay-directed feature for DreamWorks. A Oct. 25 start is being planned on the Caspian Tredwell-Owen script.

"Island" centers on a "harvested being" who suddenly becomes self-aware and tries to escape the utopian facility where he and others are being kept. Johansson will play a woman who is the only one that McGregor's character can trust. She also is pregnant with her "sponsor's" child.

Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci also turned in a draft for producers Walter Parkes, Laurie MacDonald and Ian Bryce.

DreamWorks production executive Marc Haimes is overseeing for production topper Adam Goodman. The studio purchased the project in a heated bidding war in February for a price tag north of $1 million.

Johansson is on a streak following her awards-season run for her notable roles in Sofia Coppola's "Lost in Translation" and Peter Webber's "Girl With a Pearl Earring." She has since finished working on "A Good Woman" opposite Helen Hunt and Tom Wilkinson, "Synergy" opposite Dennis Quaid and Woody Allen's summer project.

She also has signed on to star opposite Tom Cruise in "Mission: Impossible 3" to start shooting in June. Before that, she'll lens Brian De Palma's "The Black Dahlia."

Johansson is repped by WMA, manager Melanie Johansson and attorney Kevin Yorn.

Source: The Hollywood Reporter

Thanks to Mary for the find!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Friday, August 27, 2004 // 07:41 a.m.


Fans trying to get Ewan DVDs released

Many Ewan fans in North America are trying to get Lipstick on Your Collar and Scarlet & Black released on DVD.

We need to make our voices heard at BBC America, which holds the distribution rights for these two titles. If you would like to write to BBC America asking them to release these two titles on DVD, please drop them a note:

BBC America Shop contact form

In a similar vein, if you would like Long Way Round to be released on DVD, please contact .

You might like to mention you would like the complete series released to DVD, not just a condensed version.

Thanks to Moonalura and Patty for their efforts!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Wednesday, August 25, 2004 // 11:11 p.m.


Now we want a THIRD hospice!

22 August 2004

When we launched our CHAS campaign on Sunday, August 26, 2001, two of Scotland’s biggest performing stars were there to lend their support.

Ewan McGregor and Sharleen Spiteri are long-term backers of Rachel House and were delighted to help kick off our efforts to fund a new hospice.

Last week Ewan was abroad and couldn’t be contacted, but Sharleen found time in her busy recording schedule to enthuse about our campaign and reveal big plans she and Ewan have for the future.

“When the campaign started I would have been happy if it had raised just £3.

“It was very important to increase public awareness of all the great work being done at Rachel House and the need for a new hospice.

“The fact you’ve reached £3 million is jaw-dropping.

“The public are constantly being asked to donate to a whole range of charities and it would be wonderful if we could give something to them all.

“I’d like to thank everyone for giving to this cause which is so important to me.

“I know how much it means to everyone at Rachel House, those who work there and the families who visit.”

Sharleen has done much more than just promote the cause of CHAS over the years.

She’s contributed some serious money to their coffers.

“Earlier this year Tom Hunter asked me if Texas would play at a ball he was holding in Glasgow in June,” explained Sharleen.

“In return he agreed to make a sizeable donation to CHAS. In the end we played for an hour at the Hilton Hotel and CHAS got £250,000.”

She is a regular visitor to Rachel House and is looking forward to seeing Robin House when it’s completed. But for her and Ewan McGregor that won’t be the end of the story.

“We’ve spoken to CHAS about this and we reckon Scotland needs a third hospice. So as soon as Robin House is open we’re going to examine ways of raising funds for the next one.”

Source: The Sunday Post

Thanks to Patty for the find!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Tuesday, August 24, 2004 // 07:12 a.m.


Ewan in Gangster Gun Terror

Aug 24 2004

Ewan McGregor was left scrambling for cover after a Mafia boss let loose with an assault rifle.

The Star Wars hunk watched in terror as the Russian gangster pumped bullets into the ceiling of a Moscow bar. [Note: Ewan and Charley did not go to Moscow during their motorcycle journey -- scroll down to July 4 entry which states "Initially, the travellers had planned to go to Moscow, but it was then decided to forego the significant detour to the Russian capital." Makes you wonder how much truth there is to this entire article!]

The 33-year-old’s moment of fear came during his round-the world motorbike ride with pal Charley Boorman.

They were drinking with movie soundtrack composer Simon Boswell at the time.

Simon said: ’I met up with Ewan and Charley when they arrived in Moscow.

’Ewan was having a drink when a Mafia boss came in shouting, ’Let’s party,’ and started firing this AK47.

’The noise from the gun was terrifying and once the bullets hit the ceiling there was plaster and light fittings everywhere.

’It’s fair to say that Ewan was sh***ing himself, along with nearly everyone else in the bar. It was a scary moment. We were relieved to get out in one piece.’

Simon penned the music for McGregor’s Brit-flick Shallow Grave and they have been close friends since.

Ewan and Charley - son of Deliverance director John Boorman - left London in April.

They rode 20,000 miles through Europe, Mongolia, Siberia and Alaska, arriving in New York last month.

The Perthshire-born star is currently spending time at home in London with his wife Ève.

Source: Daily Record

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Monday, August 23, 2004 // 09:43 p.m.


New screenings for MotoGP movie

Thursday 19 August 2004

Following the success of its initial screenings, Mark Neale’s critically acclaimed MotoGP documentary FASTER, has been pushed up the distribution rankings and will now be shown at further venues across America from September 2.

The full list of times and venues can be seen at: www.slamdance.com/distribution/faster.asp

However, of particular interest to non-American based MotoGP fans is that FASTER - narrated by Ewan McGregor - will also be released internationally in the near future.

"We will have exact release dates soon. The movie will definitely be out in the UK in the autumn, and we will have news on its release in Japan, Australia and other European countries within the next month. We’ll let you know as soon as we get word," said Neale.

Source: crash.net

The list of screenings is very long but there are screenings in Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Alaska, D.C., Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Oregon, Utah, Washington, Arkansas, Florida, Kentucky, Indiana, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, Arizona, Oklahoma, Nevada, Texas and California.

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Thursday, August 19, 2004 // 07:11 a.m.


Film schedule ends book tour for McGregor

August 19 2004

FOR more than three months Ewan McGregor motorcycled across the world, a real Boy’s Own adventure which brought high emotion and the taste of danger to his life.

When it ended, the Scottish actor spoke of how the trip had allowed him to escape the fame and pressures of showbusiness.

The escape, however, was short-lived. Yesterday McGregor had to cancel a series of events to publicise the launch of The Long Way Round, a book based on diaries he and Charley Boorman, his best friend, made on their epic trip.

Ironically, the dreaded phrase "film commitments" was the reason given for his reluctant withdrawal.

The highlight of the publicity tour was to have been a Glenmorangie Herald book event on October 13 at the Clyde Auditorium in Glasgow. Its cancellation has come as a particular disappointment to McGregor who, his agent said yesterday, was looking forward to a visit home to Scotland.

"He is completely gutted that he can’t attend," she said. "He was planning a big promotion and everything was organised to the last detail.

"Unfortunately, the schedule for his next film was changed in America and he must be in LA a lot earlier than he had expected. This means that, sadly, he won’t be able to visit Glasgow."

The film which will keep the actor away from his beloved Scotland is The Island, a sci-fi thriller directed by Michael Bay, whose previous work includes Armageddon and Pearl Harbor. Steven Spielberg is rumoured to be the producer of the DreamWorks film.

Described by some as a cross between The Fugitive and The Matrix, plot details are being closely guarded but McGregor has the lead role. All that is known about the film is that it involves a harvested being (McGregor) trying to escape the utopian paradise where he is being held prisoner.

In McGregor’s own real-life escape, he and Boorman made a 20,000-mile journey through Europe, Russia, Siberia, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, Alaska and across North America. They finished up in New York at the end of last month.

The pair, both married with two children, teamed up with Unicef, the children’s charity, on the trip and visited three Unicef projects. In Kiev they met children of victims of the Chernobyl disaster, in Kazakhstan they saw how sport can transform delinquent youngsters’ lives, and in Mongolia they learned of so-called "rat children" who live in sewers.

The actors offered to help raise funds and heighten awareness of Unicef’s work on their return. A spokeswoman for Unicef said yesterday that both men were in talks with the charity and were planning to organise a fundraising event in London later this year. The event, details of which have not yet been revealed, was pencilled in for October.

However, with McGregor committed to his film that month, the date may change.

The book of their diary, the publicity tour for which has fallen victim to McGregor’s schedule, is being published by Time Warner.

A spokeswoman for the firm said yesterday: "He is not pulling out but we did have some dates confirmed when he would do publicity for us. Hopefully, we will get some time with him at the end of September for interviews."

Source: The Herald

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Wednesday, August 18, 2004 // 11:08 p.m.


McGregor in mafia bar shooting


Moulin Rouge Actor Ewan McGregor was terrified after witnessing a shooting in Russian mafia bar on his epic motorcycle journey.

The Scottish movie hunk roared safely into New York city at the end of last month after completing his journey around the world.

The 33-year-old star and his actor pal Charley Boorman left London in April and drove 20,000 miles (32,186 kilometres) through eastern Europe, Mongolia, Siberia and Alaska.

But McGregor’s pal, composer Simon Boswell, reveals how the actor’s attempts to blend in with locals in a Moscow bar nearly ended in disaster.

He says: "Ewan was having a drink when a Mafia boss came in shouting ’Let’s party’, and started firing his AK47 rifle.

"There was plaster and light fittings everywhere, Ewan was sh***ing himself".

Source: Ireland Online

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Sunday, August 15, 2004 // 11:49 a.m.


Still sporting a beard grown during his three-month motorcycle trip, Ewan strolls hand-in-hand with wife Ève in Camden Town

Ewan McGregor relaxes before a busy autumn

With another big budget film and a new role as a United Nations charity fundraiser in the works, it’s no wonder Scottish actor Ewan McGregor is making the most of his down time.

Still sporting a beard grown during his recent round-the-world motorcycle trip, Ewan took a break with wife Ève, strolling the streets of Camden Town hand-in-hand. The low-key couple are clearly enjoying their time together now that Ewan’s three-month travel odyssey has come to an end.

But it looks like the Star Wars hero will be back in action as soon as this autumn, taking on the lead in sci-fi flick The Island. In addition, Ewan is becoming an international children’s champion for Unicef, and is expected to become a UN Goodwill Ambassador in October.

The father-of-two supported the charity during the motorbike journey, visiting projects in Kiev, Kazakhstan and Mongolia, and is even said to be shaving his now-famous facial hair to raise funds for the cause. The news will come as a relief to wife Ève, who reportedly has said he must trim the beard because it scares their two daughters.

Source: Hello Magazine

Thanks to Holly for the heads up!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Friday, August 13, 2004 // 12:58 p.m.


McGregor sets course for ’Island’

Aug. 09, 2004
By Liza Foreman

Ewan McGregor is headed for "The Island." The British star is in negotiations to topline the DreamWorks sci-fi film, which Michael Bay is set to direct. Originating as a spec script by Caspian Tredwell-Owen, "The Island" follows a "harvested being" who makes a bid to escape the utopian facility where he is being kept. Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci are on board as screenwriters. Walter Parkes, Laurie MacDonald and Ian Bryce are producing with Marc Haimes serving as the studio executive. DreamWorks is heading for a fall start. McGregor’s credits include "Young Adam," "Big Fish" and "Down with Love." His upcoming releases include "Star Wars: Episode III -- Revenge of the Sith." Bay most recently directed "Bad Boys II." His other director credits include "Pearl Harbor, "Armageddon," "The Rock" and "Bad Boys." Bay is repped by WMA. McGregor is repped by CAA and Peters, Fraser & Dunlop in London. Kurtzman and Orci, who are also writing "Legend of Zorro" for Columbia, are repped by Broder Webb Chervin Silverman.

Source: The Hollywood Reporter

Thanks to ParisRouge for the heads up!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Monday, August 9, 2004 // 07:19 a.m.


New project for Ewan?

A lenghty article in the Indianapolis Star about Ryan Murphy who created Nip/Tuck mentions a new project for Murphy and Ewan’s name is mentioned:

After graduating from Indiana University, Murphy worked for the Washington Post, then moved to Los Angeles, where he was a "one-man bureau" freelancing for the Miami Herald. He’s written for several publications, including the Los Angeles Times, Entertainment Weekly and Rolling Stone.

"It seems like I had a plan at the time. I look back in sort of shock. I remember being a kid and going to Washington Square Mall and seeing ’Silver Streak’ 15 times, and now I’m having lunch with Jill Clayburgh… in New York. How did that happen? It’s weird. It’s like a dream. And it came true. She’s going to play the mother, Agnes (in his adaptation of Augusten Burroughs’ "Running With Scissors," which begins production in January). She just finished doing my TV show, too."

Murphy will direct "Running With Scissors," which also will star Julianne Moore, Gwyneth Paltrow and Ewan McGregor.

Murphy’s first attempt at putting something on the screen fell through when his unpublished novel was purchased by Fox, but wasn’t produced.

"I didn’t really enjoy that process. So I wrote this script called ’Why Can’t I Be Audrey Hepburn?’ and that sold to Steven Spielberg. That put me on the map, and after that, I’ve worked steadily."

In a weird way, he says, he’s glad that it didn’t become a movie, because back then he was writing lighter, romantic comedies. Now he’s penning darker, adult scripts, and "that’s truly what I want to do."

Click on the link above for the complete article. amazon.com has some information about Running with Scissors, including a synopsis of the story:

Running with Scissors is the true story of a boy whose mother (a poet with delusions of Anne Sexton) gave him away to be raised by her unorthodox psychiatrist who bore a striking resemblance to Santa Claus. So at the age of twelve, Burroughs found himself amidst Victorian squalor living with the doctor’s bizarre family, and befriending a pedophile who resided in the backyard shed. The story of an outlaw childhood where rules were unheard of, and the Christmas tree stayed up all year round, where Valium was consumed like candy, and if things got dull an electroshock- therapy machine could provide entertainment. The funny, harrowing and bestselling account of an ordinary boy’s survival under the most extraordinary circumstances.

Thanks to ParisRouge for the find!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Sunday, August 8, 2004 // 10:08 a.m.


Long Way Round site updated

The official Long Way Round site has been updated with two new travelogue entries and two news pictures.

Thanks to Patty for the heads up!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Saturday, August 7, 2004 // 12:01 p.m.


Ewan’s epic adventure ends on a special note

Aug 6 2004
By Libby Bruce

CRIEFF man Jim McGregor arrived back home this week after springing a sensational surprise on his movie star son.

Ewan McGregor and actor friend Charley Boorman rode into New York last Thursday at the end of an epic 20,000 mile motorbike journey around the world.

But as an international media frenzy captured the images of the relieved friends at the end of their 107-day adventure, few realised the carefully choreographed scene which had been played out earlier that day. And the star of the piece was not Ewan – but his delighted dad Jim!

"I decided about a month ago that I would like to fly out to the States to welcome the boys back," explained Jim. "The Long Way Round production company, sponsors BMW and the crew then worked on writing the surprise into the filming and it became the best kept secret of their tour."

Ewan and Charley had already been floored by a surprise appearance by their wives the previous evening, so the last thing the Crieff-born heart-throb expected as they prepared for the final 50-mile stretch into New York was to encounter his dad at a local Starbucks.

"Ewan had been told he had to meet a guy from BMW at a roadside cafe before joining the motorbike cavalcade into New York," explained Jim. "I think another meet and greet was the last thing he wanted that morning but he, Charley and the camera crew arrived on cue."

Unknown to Ewan his dad had been hiding round the corner of the cafe for over an hour waiting on the weary bikers to arrive. The last time the real-life action hero had seen his father was when he visited him in Perth Royal Infirmary during hip replacement treatment in March to say his farewells. So bumping into Jim in America was the last thing on Ewan’s mind.

"I was all decked out in motorcycling gear and helmet," recalled Jim. "I had my back to Ewan as he approached and when they introduced me as ’Lawrence from BMW’ I whipped off my helmet and turned round to face him.

"Ewan’s reaction was amazing, totally incredulous. He did a double take and then screamed Daaaaad. We hugged each other for ages and ages. He just couldn’t believe it – it was a one-off moment. We both shed a tear or two – it was so good to have him back safe and sound."

The emotional reunion was captured on camera and will form part of the series of six, one-hour programmes to be screened weekly on Sky in the UK starting on Friday, October 22.

Their dicing-with-death adventures will also be released as a book by travel writer Robert Uhlig in November.

"My wife Carol and I are both so proud of what Ewan and Charley have achieved," said Jim.

"There were times we worried about them when they were out of phone contact or when they were involved in some hair-raising adventures but we always knew the real story before it hit the press and we knew they were OK.

"It’s an amazing achievement. People kept telling them they were mad but they just ploughed on and refused to give up. It was real action book stuff they were living for real – you couldn’t write them a script as good as that. We can’t wait to see the programmes."

Jim (62) was only given around 10 minutes of quality time with his son before the final stage of the biker chums’ transcontinental travels had to be played out. And for this "unforgettable" scene, Dad played a once-in-a-lifetime supporting role!

"Ewan and Charley were being escorted on the final leg by around 40 customised Harleys," explained Jim. "I got to ride my BMW motorbike in the convoy and it was one of the most amazing experiences of my life.

"I rode alongside Ewan for part of the way and then I fell back right behind him to allow the filming of he and Charley riding down the riverside, across George Washington Bridge and into central New York. We had a police escort and just cut through all the traffic - taking up three lanes. The noise from the Harleys was incredible, what a spectacle, I’ll never forget being a part of something so fantastic."

Jim has been bitten by the biking bug thanks to Ewan’s passion for that particular mode of transport. The 33-year-old film star has his own Honda and MV Augusta models and since Jim took up the pastime six years ago, the McGregor clan have already enjoyed biking holidays in Scotland.

"Ewan has just completed the ultimate bike ride," said Jim, "but I think it would have proved a stop or two too far for me – my backside couldn’t have stood it! But hopefully we will have some travels together on our bikes in the future."

Jim joined Ewan and Charley for filming at JFK Airport where they loaded their sturdy BMW motorbikes into crates for the flight back to Britain. Then they flew home to Glasgow and London after yet another parting on Monday night.

The former Morrison’s Academy pupil’s latest headline-grabbing production saw him complete a gruelling three months crossing England, Belgium, Germany, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, the Ukraine, Russia, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, Siberia, Alaska, Canada and the USA before the final hop back to London.

"It took them 107 days going one way London to New York and just over six hours for the return journey," laughed Jim. "The tour was aptly named ’The Long Way Round’."

Source: ic Pertshire

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Friday, August 6, 2004 // 07:41 a.m.


Grizzly Ewan hides behind red bush

Still recovering from his 20,000-mile motorbike journey from London to New York, via Mongolia and Siberia, Ewan McGregor was revelling in the lush beard he has grown on the trip.

The Star Wars star slipped away from the welcoming party at New York’s Maritime Hotel, and was delighted to find that he was able to melt into the crowd behind his bushy red beard.

“He loves the anonymity it gives him,” says a source close to the film crew that accompanied Ewan and his best mate, actor Charley Boorman, on their adventure. “Normally he’d be spotted by fans and the dreaded paparazzi, but with the beard he’s like Joe Soap.”

His wife, French scriptwriter Ève Mavrakis, who was in New York to meet her returning hero, is less impressed.

“She hates it,” says our source.

“She says it makes him look like a Hell’s Angel, and that it would frighten their daughters Esther and Clara!” Word is that McGregor will shave it off to raise more money* for UN Children’s Fund, Unicef, which he and Charley promoted along their trip.

Source: FemaleFirst.co.uk

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Friday, August 6, 2004 // 07:40 a.m.


Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman make it to New York City


After more than three exhausting months circumnavigating the globe, Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman reached their destination of New York City on 29 July 2004.

While riding across some of the most remote and hostile terrain on the planet, Ewan and Charley had to conquer the most exhausting challenge of their lives. Departing London in mid-April on two BMW R1150 GS Adventures, and three continents, fifteen countries and fifteen weeks later, the two friends rode the last few miles through the streets of Manhattan. A convoy of motorcyclists accompanied them as they headed towards Battery Park and the waiting media.

The two actors’ gruelling global odyssey – christened Long Way Round – saw McGregor and Boorman ride more than 20,000 miles through central Europe, Ukraine, Russia, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, Siberia, Alaska and Canada. A final US stage took them across Montana, Illinois, Ohio, and Pennsylvania, and eventually into New York City.

BMW Motorrad Great Britain provided the two, all-terrain, R1150 GS Adventure motorcycles and contributed technical support, training, Navigator II satellite navigation, and safety riding equipment. Riders and machines were also equipped with Pentax digital cameras and communication equipment supplied and fitted by Sonic Communications of Birmingham.

Long Way Round will be made into a major TV series and screened by Bravo (USA) and Sky One (UK). A book based on the friends’ personal thoughts and problems will be published by Time Warner Books (UK) and Atria (USA) in the autumn. The unique television series will be broadcast by Sky One from 20 October (UK) and Bravo will transmit the programmes in the US from 28 October. McGregor and Boorman have filmed most of the programmes themselves by using hand-held cameras and state-of-the-art bike-mounted cameras. A third rider filmed the two actors at pre-arranged locations. Producers and creative directors David Alexanian (Elixir Films) and Russ Malkin (Image Wizard TV) have co-produced Long Way Round in collaboration with Ewan and Charley.

Despite his elation, Ewan McGregor was emotional about achieving a long held dream: “Now it’s come to an end I can hardly believe that we’ve made our dreams come true,” he said, “and although at times it’s been very, very tough, the people and places along the way have moved and touched me to the core. It has certainly been a ‘Long Way Round’ – but I’m glad to be home.”

Charley Boorman echoed his friend’s feelings: “The trip has been incredible… but it’s the people in all the countries that we’ve met that have made it so fantastic.”

Producers and creative directors David Alexanian and Russ Malkin were full of praise for the actors’ achievement: “They set themselves an incredibly tight timeframe of three months and it was down to the production team to ensure that they didn’t fall behind schedule. In certain cases there was terrain that we couldn’t have second-guessed and at times we really didn’t think they would succeed. It is a testament to their training, [the bikes], tenacity and endurance that they made it.”

Although both are dedicated and accomplished riders, the adventure has been a major test of endurance and friendship. When the predictable roads of Europe had been left behind, Ewan and Charley faced their toughest test by crossing the wild plains of central Asia. Fighting an almost daily mental and physical battle, Ewan and Charley faced increasingly hostile terrain in Kazakhstan and Mongolia – rock, debris and craters littered the roads often making them impassable. The further east the couple ventured, the more their daily progress risked falling behind schedule. Many remote areas had no roads, and despite the proven durability of the BMWs, the rocky and uneven terrain increased the risk of breakdowns or accidents.

Struggling through the hazardous swamp conditions of Siberia, Ewan and Charley discovered that many vital bridges had been destroyed by the extreme elements. Their daily struggles gradually became relentless and there was no let-up in the perilous conditions until they reached North America. There they faced new challenges: riding in sub zero temperatures, the real possibility of frostbite (which could have easily ended the trip), and the risk of being attacked by bears. Obtaining adequate food in remote areas became vital in order to combat exhaustion and maintain stamina.

In central Asia and Siberia they were sometimes days from the nearest settlement. It was imperative they did not stray too far off-route and that their exact location could be pinpointed to a few metres in the case of emergency – time would have been a critical factor in ensuring their safety. Having worked closely with Ewan and Charley, producers David Alexanian and Russ Malkin thoroughly planned the journey months in advance to ensure that the riders could be located at all times.

To prepare for every eventuality, Ewan and Charley underwent a rigorous training schedule before they left London. This included BMW’s Off-Road Skills training course, advanced survival skills (including self-defence); comprehensive first aid training so that they could carry out emergency medical aid (on each other); hostile environment training; and nutritional teaching to ensure they followed a diet (where possible) to maintain stamina.

Source: World of BMW

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Thursday, August 5, 2004 // 07:42 a.m.


Long Way Round DVD

Thanks to Patricia who wrote to the official Long Way Round site and received this reply:

A DVD post broadcast is being discussed so it is likely to happen earlier 2005. I will be posting more updates this week from the remainder of the trip.

Thank you, Patricia!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Tuesday, August 3, 2004 // 08:08 a.m.


Long Way Round site updated

The official Long Way Round site has been updated with a travelogue that covers Ewan and Charley’s arrival in New York, one new photo in the image gallery and several articles about their arrival in the Press section.

Thanks to PMMP for the heads up!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Tuesday, August 3, 2004 // 07:17 a.m.


Video of Ewan’s arrival in New York available

Thanks to John Kilbride of Scotland Today, there is a video clip available in various formats for download. Click here to get to the site and scroll down after the article for the links.

Thank you, John!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Monday, August 2, 2004 // 11:33 a.m.


New pictures from Stay

Source: TopPhoto

Thanks to Georginita for the find!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Sunday, August 1, 2004 // 03:50 p.m.


Glad to be Back

August 1, 2004

Ewan McGregor (above, in SoHo Friday) and Charlie Boorman were in high spirits at their party at the Maritime Hotel the other night to celebrate the completion of their round-the-world motorcycle trek. McGregor, sporting a bushy beard grown in his nearly four months on the road, spent the evening chatting in a VIP booth with members of the band the Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, while Boorman told us how much he’d missed having sex with his wife.

Source: New York Post

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Sunday, August 1, 2004 // 08:56 a.m.


Long trek over for Ewan

Tired but relieved, film stars Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman have arrived in New York at the end of an epic 20,000 mile motorbike journey around the world.

The pair described suffering near-fatal crashes, being detained by border guards and finally crying tears of joy as they arrived in New York.

For three months the best friends travelled from London through Europe, Russia, Siberia, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, Alaska, and across North America.

Star Wars actor McGregor told how he was hit from behind at 50mph in Canada and how he nearly lost his bike when he crashed into a swollen river in Mongolia.

And Boorman, 37, who starred in Excalibur, said the experience had brought them as close as brothers.

Sweating and bearded, and looking out towards the Statue of Liberty, McGregor said: "It feels amazing. If we had to do another 20,000 miles tomorrow I would do it.

"It’s been the most amazing journey and experience and it’s unbelievable that we’ve finished. I can’t get my head around it."

The pair said they were detained at the Ukrainian border by guards who told them they had the wrong papers.

But the actors, who had been trained by the SAS before they left, simply waited at the border, as their military advisers had suggested.

"Eventually the guards got bored and we went through," Boorman said.

Source: Ananova

Ewan’s Dad!


Thanks to Mary, Barb and Georginita for the finds!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Thursday, July 29, 2004 // 11:40 p.m.


Uneasy Riders Ewan and Charley End Epic Ride

By Mark Sage, PA News, in New York
Thu 29 Jul 2004

Screen stars Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman will complete an epic round-the-world journey when they arrive in New York today.

Star Wars actor McGregor and Boorman, who appeared in Excalibur, began their quest to circumnavigate the world by motorbike in April.

And it has not been an easy ride – biking through Mongolia, the pair were hit by heavy rain and flooding which led to McGregor falling into a swollen river.

“It was so rainy and muddy that we couldn’t get anywhere, we just kept getting stuck and falling off,” he recounted.

“The worst bit of the whole trip so far, though, was when I fell off in a river. It was what I was dreading the most.

“I crossed a river and hit a massive boulder hidden underwater. Luckily, as the bike began to fall I hit the kill switch, stopping the engine before it sucked in water,” he wrote on the website ridernews.net.

After setting off from London, McGregor, 33, and Boorman, 37, travelled 20,000 miles through Europe, Russia, Siberia, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, Alaska, and across North America to New York.

The only time they did not travel by road was when they went under the Channel by train and during a short flight across the Bering Strait between Siberia and Alaska.

The pair’s adventures have been filmed for a seven-part documentary, called Long Way Round, which will be screened later in the year. In addition they have signed up for a book deal about the trip.

They also teamed up with the United Nations Children’s Fund, Unicef, for charity events at stops along the way.

“As fathers, Charley and I have an understanding of children’s needs and this trip offered us the opportunity to help Unicef and to see first-hand some of the work they’re doing in the world,” McGregor said.

Before they set out McGregor and Boorman underwent hostile-environments training with former British commandos, consulted a nutritionist and worked out with a personal trainer.

Their 1,150cc BMW motorcycles were laden with tents, dried lentils, cameras and other kit.

The pair are expected to arrive in New York at 1900 BST today.

Source: The Scotsman

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Thursday, July 29, 2004 // 12:06 a.m.


Official Long Way Round site updated

The Long Way Round site has been updated with a new travelogue covering Alaska and two new pictures. The media section contains broadcast dates (Bravo (US -- starts October 28th 2004) and Sky (UK -- starts October 22nd 2004), the book launch date (October 14th) and several new articles in the press section.

Additionally, the Team section has been updated with information about new members of the team and about the filming of the documentary.

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Tuesday, July 27, 2004 // 08:56 a.m.


Muddy in Mongolia

July 26, 2004

EWAN McGregor and pal Charlie Boorman are nearly finished with their 20,000-mile motorcycle trek for their documentary, "Long Way Round" — but the going hasn’t always been easy. McGregor writes on ridernews.net that touring Mongolia was a nightmare: "It was so rainy and muddy that we just couldn’t get anywhere, we just kept getting stuck and falling off. The worst bit of the whole trip so far though, was when I fell off in a river. It was what I was dreading the most. I had nightmares of baling out and filling the engine with water and stranding us in the middle of nowhere. The moment finally happened when I crossed a river and hit a massive boulder hidden under water. Luckily, as the bike began to fall I hit the kill switch, stopping the engine before it sucked in water. When we dragged it out of the river it was fine."

McGregor, who began his journey in London on April 14, will wrap filming on the seven-part cable series by riding his BMW motorcycle down the West Side Highway to the Maritime Hotel on Thursday, where he’ll celebrate with a concert by Black Rebel Motorcycle Club.

Source: New York Post

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Monday, July 26, 2004 // 07:21 a.m.


Special Announcement: Episode III Title

July 24, 2004

starwars.com is pleased to announce that Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith is the full title of the next Star Wars film, scheduled for release on May 19, 2005.

The title was publicly revealed today in a special presentation to a packed audience of Star Wars fans at Comic-Con International in San Diego, California. "For some time now, the naming of a new Star Wars movie has taken on some special meaning among core fans, who love to take part in guessing games before a title is announced, and then engage in debate once it is," said Steve Sansweet, Director of Content Management and Head of Fan Relations for Lucasfilm. "Let the debates begin."

Source: starwars.com

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Saturday, July 24, 2004 // 07:59 p.m.


Ewan and Charley’s trip coming to an end

Daily Mail (London), July 23, 2004
Byline: Baz Bamigboye

Saddle-sore and bug-bitten, Ewan McGregor and best mate Charley Boorman will ride triumphantly into New York next week, at the end of a three-and-a-half month motorcycle journey around the world.

The bearded buddies have endured much hardship during their trip from London to Manhattan, which has taken them across Europe, to Kazakhstan, Alaska and the Yukon. Soon they’ll be travelling across the U.S., nipping up to Toronto, then down through Buffalo and on to their final destination, where they will be escorted into New York by hundreds of bikers.

They are travelling on BMW 1150 GS Adventure bikes and they have Sonic camera systems on their helmets, to capture footage that will form part of a TV series called Long Way Round, which Sky will screen in October.

The journey is raising funds for Unicef, Children’s Hospice Association of Scotland, Macmillan Cancer Relief and Amazon Watch. Ride on, you public-spirited chaps!

Source: Daily Mail (site requires a subscription)

Thanks to AngelVelvet for the find!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Friday, July 23, 2004 // 07:02 p.m.


Ewan McGregor Stops Signing Autographs

Ewan McGregor has decided to stop signing autographs - in a move to prevent ferocious signature-hunters from making a fortune out of his name.

The Moulin Rouge! actor is refusing to sign anything - as he is fed up with the number of people making money from his signature, and is prepared to disappoint true admirers in order to block professional collectors.

A source says, "He thinks it’s sick how some people charge a fortune for his name.

"He can’t always tell the genuine fans, so turns down all requests."

Source: WBEX (and a host of other sites reporting the same story)

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Friday, July 23, 2004 // 02:11 p.m.


Ewan McGregor may refuse to sign autographs for fans from now on.

The Star Wars actor has reportedly been sickened by some people charging a small fortune for his name on a bit of paper.

McGregor could join a host of other celebrities who will not sign their names.

"He can’t always tell the difference between genuine fans and ebay junkies," a source tells the Daily Star.

The Scottish star shot to fame in Trainspotting but it’s for his role as Obi-Wan Kenobi in Star Wars Episode I and II that he is best known.

Star Wars memorabilia is prized among collectors, with replica lightsabers and droids changing hands for hundreds of pounds.

A signed photograph of Ewan, however, is still waiting for its starting price of 59p on auction site eBay.

Source: Sky News

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Friday, July 23, 2004 // 02:10 p.m.


Big fish at Stampede

July 19, 2004

Ewan McGregor was among Hollywood celebrities spotted at the Calgary Stampede this year.

Along with sightings of actors Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal, who are in town filming an Ang Lee movie, spectators at weekend chuckwagon races say they saw McGregor, who was nearly unrecognizable with an overgrown beard and arms covered in tattoos.

The Scottish-born actor was in Calgary for one of many stops on an around-the-world motorcycle trip with fellow U.K. actor Charles Boorman for a six-part TV series entitled The Long Way Round. The 33,200-kilometre journey will air on Bravo in the U.S. and Canada.

Source: Calgary Herald (site requires a subscription)

Thanks to AngelVelvet for the heads up!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Thursday, July 22, 2004 // 09:28 p.m.


Young Adam available on amazon for pre-order

Young Adam is now available for pre-order at amazon.com. It is listed at US$17.47 and carries an R rating.

It is also listed at amazon.ca for CDN$24.43.

Thanks to Chris for the heads up!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Thursday, July 15, 2004 // 05:58 p.m.


Long Way Round site updated

The official Long Way Round site has been updated with a new travelogue that covers the period of May 29 to July 1st in Siberia, and two new pictures in the image gallery.

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Wednesday, July 14, 2004 // 02:43 p.m.


Ewan McGregor and Charlie Boorman in and out of town

By Stephanie Waddell

British actors Ewan McGregor and Charlie Boorman took the Long Way Round through Whitehorse recently when the two came through as part of their motorcycle trip which started in April in Europe.

This morning, a front desk staffer at the Westmark Whitehorse said the two had been at the hotel recently, but have since moved on down south as part of the trip that has taken them through Europe, Siberia, Alaska and now the Yukon. From the territory, the two are scheduled to travel through Jasper and Calgary into Minneapolis, Chicago and finally New York.

Film commissioner Margarita Ramon would not provide details of the trip through the territory today, citing privacy issues.

However, the website at www.longwayround.com about the trip notes the approximately 33,200-kilometre journey which began in April was expected to take three months.

“Ewan and Charley will have to survive in minus temperatures, ride their bikes cross country where it is so remote there are no roads and protect themselves from wild animals,” reads the overview section of the website. “However they will also see many beautiful sights that most of us only dream of, with interesting people from many different cultures and get involved in activities along the way that will really give them insight into these remote regions of the world.”

The journey is being filmed for a television series to be shown on Bravo in the U.S. and SKY TV in the U.K. through six one-hour episodes. Travel writer Robert Uhlig will also be writing a book about the trip for Time Warner. It’s due to be released in the fall, featuring numerous pictures of the trek.

The two actors have been friends since 1997 when they were both working on the set of The Serpent’s Kiss. Sharing a love of motorbikes, the two began working in January on the plans for the trip with producers Russ Malkin and David Alexanian, forming the Long Way Round non-profit organization.

While it is a non-profit group, the four are hoping to raise funds for charity at an auction later this year. Among McGregor’s more recent films are Big Fish, Young Adam, Down With Love and the first two new Star Wars movies in which he starred as Obi-Wan Kenobi.

Boorman’s most recent flicks include County of My Skull and Moi Cedar.

Source: Whitehorse Star Online

Thanks to Barb, Gail and Pam for the heads up!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Tuesday, July 13, 2004 // 07:32 a.m.


Ewan’s jungle documentary on UK TV Sunday

Ewan’s jungle documentary, Trips Money Can’t Buy will air tonight, 9pm Sunday 11 July on BBC2.

Don’t miss it!

Thank you Baby Jefer for the heads up!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Sunday, July 11, 2004 // 10:14 a.m.


McGregor trip update

July 10 2004

Note: This article (and the next), although published today (and yesterday), tells of events that occurred in late May and incorrectly states that Ewan and Charley departed London in May when in reality, they departed in mid-April.

Click for larger imageEwan McGregor and Charley Boorman are heading across the hostile, open wastelands and rugged roads of Mongolia, onwards to Siberia.

After setting off from London at the end of May to circumnavigate the globe on two BMW R1150 GS Adventures, the duo have completed over half their 20,000-mile odyssey. The journey is part of their Long Way Round project and will be made into a major TV series to be screened on Sky One (UK) and Bravo (USA).

Ewan and Charley know that the hardest part of the ride is still to come. However, they are both confident that they will be able to cope with whatever Mother Nature and Lady Luck decide to throw at them.

Once in Mongolia they found that the landscape was one of continuous change. From open steppes, past lakes and gorges, the road merged seamlessly into vast open landscapes where Kazakh Yurts and Mongolian Gers lived side by side.

McGregor said: on the testing conditions: “Mongolia has been one of the most eventful countries so far. To begin with we covered loads of miles but then it started getting sticky. There was one point where we covered just 100 [miles] in three days. It was so rainy and muddy that we just couldn’t get anywhere, we just kept getting stuck and falling off.

"The worst bit of the whole trip so far though was when I fell off in a river. It was what I was dreading the most. I had nightmares of baling out and filling the engine with water and stranding us in the middle of nowhere. The moment finally happened when I crossed a river and hit a massive boulder hidden under water.

"Luckily, as the bike began to fall I hit the kill switch, stopping the engine before it sucked in water. When we dragged it out of the river it was fine. I’ve been carrying so much luggage that it was damaging the bike and making it so heavy that it was difficult to ride. The rear subframe failed, but we managed to get a local mechanic to weld it. It was amazing to watch – he was a real craftsman… It only cost £10 for three-and-a-half hours work. I’ve never needed a bike as much as I do now – it’s the most important thing in the world… It’s been a good thing though – I’ve got rid of most of my luggage and the bike is so much easier to handle. I just can’t believe the difference, it feels so light and nimble.”

The Long Way Round project is the realisation of a dream born out of the love of motorcycles; the freedom they bring, and a desire to use them in a test of human endurance – an extreme challenge. The adventure is also a major test of Ewan and Charley’s friendship as they travel through some of the most beautiful, yet incredibly hostile terrain in the world.

Ewan and Charley are providing Motor Cycle News with an exclusive progress report of the journey. Further updates will also be posted on www.longwayround.com at regular intervals.

Source: Motorcyclenews.com

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Saturday, July 10, 2004 // 07:32 a.m.


Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman head to Siberia


Note: This article, startingly similar to the previous one, does contain more information (so much for exclusivity, MCN!)

For Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman time marches relentlessly on. And time has now taken the two-wheeled actors through the hostile, open wastelands and rugged roads of Mongolia, heading for Siberia.

After setting off from London at the end of May to circumnavigate the globe on two BMW R1150 GS Adventure motorcycles, the duo have completed over half their self-imposed, 20,000-mile odyssey. The journey is part of a project entitled Long Way Round and will be made into a major TV series to be screened on Sky One (UK) and Bravo (USA). McGregor and Boorman will each keep a personal journal and the memoirs recorded in these will be edited and compiled into a book that will be published in the autumn by Time Warner Books (UK), Atria (USA), and Penguin Books (South Africa, Canada, Australia and New Zealand).

The last six weeks have seen the pair ride through Central Europe, Ukraine, Russia, Kazakhstan and Mongolia. From there, a carefully planned route will take them to Siberia, Alaska, Canada and a final destination of New York City.

Ewan and Charley know that the hardest part of the ride is still to come. However, they are both confident that they will be able to cope with whatever Mother Nature and Lady Luck decide to throw at them. They have every confidence in the R1150 GS Adventure, all-terrain motorcycles, supplied by BMW Motorrad Great Britain. Their meticulous preparation included comprehensive off-road riding instruction from two BMW Paris Dakar riders Simon Pavey and Nick Plumb, as well as a technical and maintenance course at BMW Motorrad in Bracknell.

Into Kazakhstan

Although Ewan and Charley were warmly welcomed by the Kazakhstan people, the roads beyond Atyrau were the most hostile they had yet encountered. The time-ravaged highways were to provide an ominous indication of what was to come. The biggest problem Ewan and Charley encountered in remote Kazakhstan was the lack of available accommodation. For mile after mile there were no houses and they had to put up tents for the first time. After inhospitable roads, rain and a week on the road, the duo finally reached the old capital of Almaty.

Onto Mongolia

Two weeks after entering Kazakhstan, Ewan and Charley crossed the border into Russia’s Altai region. The duo stayed only briefly and – with overnight stops in Barnaul and Gorno-Altai – rode on towards the Mongolian border at Tsanganuur. Once in Mongolia they found that the landscape was one of continuous change. From open steppes, past lakes and gorges, the road merged seamlessly into vast open landscapes where Kazakh Yurts and Mongolian Gers lived side by side.


CHARLEY BOORMAN on the toughest part of the journey so far: “Riding through Mongolia has been amazing. There are few countries in the world that seem to have been unspoilt by the West but Mongolia is one of them. It’s been hard work though – the roads are terrible and fork off into another route without warning. There are no signposts, meaning that we have had to rely on our GPS systems. We’ve never met such inquisitive or generous people. Every time you roll up to a village crowds gather. Out here no-one knows who we are or what we are doing; they just want to find out what is going on, what our bikes are and where we are heading. The going has been difficult and we were worried about the low octane petrol, but the bikes have been running fine. The main problem has been falling off. The roads have been a combination of dry and dusty, and wet and muddy. The most difficult bit was when we had to cross a particularly rutted crossing by a lake. It was so boggy it was a nightmare… so we just crawled along. We fell off countless times. The bikes have been standing up to the punishment well. Nothing else would do the job as well as one of these.”

EWAN MCGREGOR on the testing conditions: “Mongolia has been one of the most eventful countries so far. To begin with we covered loads of miles but then it started getting sticky. There was one point where we covered just 100 [miles] in three days. It was so rainy and muddy that we just couldn’t get anywhere, we just kept getting stuck and falling off. The worst bit of the whole trip so far though was when I fell off in a river. It was what I was dreading the most. I had nightmares of baling out and filling the engine with water and stranding us in the middle of nowhere. The moment finally happened when I crossed a river and hit a massive boulder hidden under water. Luckily, as the bike began to fall I hit the kill switch, stopping the engine before it sucked in water. When we dragged it out of the river it was fine. I’ve been carrying so much luggage that it was damaging the bike and making it so heavy that it was difficult to ride. The rear subframe failed, but we managed to get a local mechanic to weld it. It was amazing to watch – he was a real craftsman… It only cost £10 for three-and-a-half hours work. I’ve never needed a bike as much as I do now – it’s the most important thing in the world… It’s been a good thing though – I’ve got rid of most of my luggage and the bike is so much easier to handle. I just can’t believe the difference, it feels so light and nimble.”

The distance from London to Mongolian capital Ulaan Bataar is 6,700 miles. Bike performance into Mongolia was good because they were very thoroughly serviced in Almaty. There were no major road problems as far as the Mongolia border. However, in Mongolia there were no asphalt roads until Ewan and Charley neared the capital so they were faced with waterlogged marsh and grassland, which was often extremely slow going. Despite the challenging terrain, the two bikes handled well.

About Long Way Round

It is the realisation of a dream born out of the love of motorcycles; the freedom they bring, and a desire to use them in a test of human endurance – an extreme challenge. The adventure is also a major test of Ewan and Charley’s friendship as they travel through some of the most beautiful, yet incredibly hostile terrain in the world. The trials, the trails and the tribulations will be captured in their book and a major TV series. Ewan and Charley are providing Motor Cycle News with an exclusive progress report of the journey. Further updates will also be posted on www.longwayround.com at regular intervals.

The bikes

BMW Motorrad Great Britain has provided three R1150 GS Adventure all-terrain motorcycles, considerable technical help and practical riding equipment to Ewan McGregor, Charley Boorman and their support team. Based on BMW’s best selling R1150 GS, the Adventure was designed for long distances and is engineered to perform in all conditions, on or off-road. The visually striking 1150cc flat-twin has many special features as standard but a vast range of options and accessories contribute in making it the ultimate long distance machine.

BMW’s global network of dealerships and the availability of parts guarantee that McGregor and Boorman will receive excellent technical and indigenous support in the unlikely event of a mishap. They won’t get lost either. Each bike will be equipped with a BMW Motorrad Navigator II, Global Positioning System – one of the most advanced satellite navigation products, accurate to within 15 metres.

Although extremely competent riders, the two friends have received invaluable rider training at BMW’s Off-Road Skills facility in South Wales. Their instructors were Simon Pavey and Nick Plumb, who have both completed the infamous Paris Dakar Rally. BMW Motorrad has also provided technical training so that Ewan and Charley are self-sufficient and can carry out routine servicing and maintenance en route. McGregor and Boorman will also be kitted-out in BMW’s ultra-safe advanced rider clothing, including Rallye 2 suits and gloves, and Thermokomfort undergarments.

The TV series and the book

Long Way Round is being made into a major TV series to be screened on Sky One (UK) and Bravo (USA), with a book of their personal memoirs to be published by Time Warner Books (UK) and Atria (USA). The friends will film most of the programme themselves – via individual hand-held cameras and state-of-the-art bike-mounted cameras supplied by Sonic Communications (International) Ltd of Birmingham – and will be joined periodically by a third rider who will film the pair at specific points. The Long Way Round television series is being produced by David Alexanian (Elixir Films) and Russ Malkin (Image Wizard TV), and co-produced by Ewan and Charley.

Source: World of BMW

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Saturday, July 10, 2004 // 07:31 a.m.


McGregor wins damages over Sun photos

Chris Tryhorn
Tuesday July 6, 2004

The actor Ewan McGregor yesterday won damages from defendants including the Sun and the Daily Record over pictures published of him and his family on holiday. Details of the agreed settlement are confidential, but it is thought McGregor, the star of Trainspotting, and his two young daughters - Clara, eight, and Esther, two - have been paid a total of around £5,000 in compensation and £35,000 in costs.

Nigel Tate, a partner at Carter Ruck, the law firm that represented McGregor, said the case highlighted the remedies available to public figures targeted by paparazzi photographers.

McGregor won the original high court action in November that pictures of him and his family on a beach in Mauritius were a breach of confidence, and data protection law. The award comes after Princess Caroline of Monaco won a European ruling that her privacy was violated by published photographs of her and her children.

Source: The Guardian

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Monday, July 5, 2004 // 08:13 p.m.


Ewan McGregor travelled through Russia by motorcycle in 6 weeks

02.07.04 19:24

Note: Text translated using Babel Fish, which was clumsy and difficult to read. Interpreted and corrected by Claude Marcotte and Igor.

LONDON, July 2 - RIA Novosti, Aleksandr Smotrov. British actor Ewan McGregor completed the Russian part of his round-the-world journey on his motorcycle.

As RIA Novosti learned from sources close to the organizers of the project, 33-year-old McGregor, with his friend Charley Boorman and a group of assistants and cameramen departed Magadan into Alaska for the final American leg of the route.

McGregor said that it he received "complete enthusiasm from Russians. I had not visited before, but I would like to come again. Russia is very friendly and hospitable".

Charley Boorman had visited Russia before this journey, however, and according to him, each new trip have been more pleasant than the last.

"Few in provincial Russia saw such modern motorcycles and automobiles, and were amazed by their technology. In the eyes of people we looked like newcomers from another planet", recalls Ewan McGregor. Using the few Russian words learned during their trip, he exclaimed "Cool!"

The travellers thanked the Tourism Department of the Ministry of Economic Trade and Development RF headed by Vladimir Strzhalkovskiy. Requests to render assistance to McGregor’s group were sent out to the governmors of each region that would be crossed, and each was happily replied to.

Local administrations tried to organize cordial receptions for their foreign guests with entertainment and Russian baths. In one place the travellers were met by a melody from the film "Moulin Rouge" in which Ewan McGregor played the starring role.

In turn, the representatives of the company "Red Square Projects" which organizes the trips of western stars to Russia and consulted McGregor’s group described collaborating with the actor as "constructive". "To work with them was a continuous pleasure", the company’s specialists said.

The travelers were also impressed with the hospitality in Kazakhstan. "They met us, as kings, they arranged the dances of children in their national costumes" described McGregor. In Kazakhstan, and also in Barnaul and Magadan the motorcycles and automobiles went through technical and service maintenance.

Of the negative moments of the Eurasian part of the journey, most of all the group remembers the Mongolian section, where they drove through rain and they got stuck in a swamp. Further along road, one of two Mitsubishi vehicles, on which went the accompanying personnel, broke down, and the group continued in one vehicle.

Six weeks long, the Russian section became the route’s most extensive of their round-the-world journey, during the course of which McGregor and his group intend to spend four months covering 20 thousand miles along the route London-Europe-Russia-Asia-Alaska-New York. They will arrive in New York in the first week of August.

Along the route, during which the operators and the producers of the British television channel "Wizard-TV" and their American associates collected film about the journey called "Long Way Round", they entered into Russian territory three times. The first section between the Ukraine and Kazakhstan of proleg through mining cities and Astrakhan, the second (between Kazakhstan and Mongolia) - through Zyryanovsk, and the third (between the Mongolia and the coast of the Pacific Ocean) - through Yakutsk and Magadan.

Initially, the travellers had planned to go to Moscow, but it was then decided to forego the significant detour to the Russian capital.

McGregor and Boorman signed contracts for £1 million with publishers and a production company for the story of their unique journey. "But we didn’t do this for the money", said McGregor, whose normal acting fees considerably exceed that sum.

Born in Scotland, Ewan McGregor is known to Russian and foreign spectators for a number of main roles in famous British and Hollywood films in recent years. He obtained wide recognition after "Trainspotting". His works include "The Pillow Book", "Moulin Rouge", "Star Wars", "Young Adam", "Down With Love". At the beginning of this year was the premiere of his new film, "Big Fish".

Source: rian.ru

Thanks to Lucy for the find!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Sunday, July 4, 2004 // 11:29 a.m.


Ewan and Charley leave Russia

Thursday, 01 July 2004

Note: Text translated using Babel Fish, which was clumsy and difficult to read. Interpreted and corrected by Claude Marcotte.

Ewan McGregor in the vestibule of the hotel of "VM-Tsentral’naya" Photos By A. Krasnykh

From London, two and a half month ago started the round-the-word journey of popular Hollywood actor Ewan McGregor.

Their trip had a long section in Russia, including the Magadan region. Today, the group of travellers headed by Mr. McGregor departed for Alaska. Last night, they gave our television network an exclusive interview.

The route of the round-the-world journey of Ewan McGregor and his team is going through London, Europe, Russia, Asia and then to Alaska and New York.

The longest section of the journey was Russia, and the most complex was from Yakutika to the Magadan region.

They spent three days in Magadan. During such a short period, they nevertheless had time to become acquainted with local sights. And on our request, although with difficulty, they could have described Magadan briefly.

A. Krasnykh (MTK- video), Ewan McGregor, Ye. Vinichenko (MTK- video) and Charley Boorman

Fans, here in Magadan, did not rush them, according to the Hollywood star. They were first recognized as travellers, participants in a motorcycle trek. Of this, he was glad. As Ewan said, it was a pleasant rest from his international reputation. Accompanying McGregor were six people. Among them, his friend and actor Charley Boorman.

Source: kolyma.ru

Thanks to Barb, Gail and Lucy for the find and thanks to Igor for the clarification!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Thursday, July 1, 2004 // 09:30 a.m.



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