The film business might not be based in New York, but this summer the premiere business is.
The majority of major preems (premieres) have already, or will, take place in Gotham this summer: "Madagascar" in
May; "Bewitched," "War of the Worlds," "Howls Moving Castle," and "Dark Water" in June; "Fantastic
Four," "The Island" and "Wedding Crashers" in July.
"This is the biggest year Ive ever seen for premieres in New York," said L.A.-based event planner
Jeffrey Best. "But at least weve still got the award-season events out here."
A few mega-films have a slew of openings ("The Lord of the Rings" had more premieres than it had elves).
But studio belt-tightening means that usually the premiere is either in L.A. or New York -- not both.
If a New York-preeming film has another red carpet event in Los Angeles, as there was Monday for "War
of the Worlds" this is usually labeled a "special screening," which doesnt trigger the premiere
contract clause whereby talent and family have to be flown in.
"Everything is cyclical," said Universal special projects senior V.P. Hollace David. "And this year
it just made sense to premiere a lot of movies in New York."
Publicists at various studios say there are usually three reasons for premiering in Gotham.
The talent either lives or works in Manhattan. "Bewitched" director Nora Ephron lives there and star
Nicole Kidman is on location with "Fur."
Its where the film is set, which is essentially the case with "War of the Worlds" and "Fantastic
Four," which will be the first preem ever held on Liberty Island.
If European-based actors are available for a short window, New York is logistically easier than L.A. "The
Island" is set on the West Coast, but that factor is trumped by the fact that stars Ewan McGregor and
Scarlett Johansson are both working in the U.K. The shorter flight to New York was better for their
Event organizers say each coast has its advantages: L.A. has more large theaters while New York has
more large, party-suitable venues. Hold a premiere in L.A. and travel costs are reduced, since most talent
and execs are there; launch in New York and its easier getting stars around the morning talkshow
Easier street closure
On the upside for L.A., its easier to arrange the red-carpet setup, which usually involves a street
closure. In New York, "Its World War III if you want to close a lane," one planner said.
At the Tribeca Film Festivals opening-night of "The Interpreter" in April, the combined power
of everyone from Robert De Niro on down couldnt close 54th Street facing the Ziegfeld Theater.
Organizers settled for one lane.
And the 1,162-seat Ziegfeld is pretty much the only location for a single-screen house in Manhattan.
(The single-screen Beekman, with only 510 seats, closed last Sunday.) The alternatives are multiplexes
(which studios avoid because of cross traffic from other auditoriums); or setting up your own screen,
which is what Sony did when it premiered "Hitch" on Ellis Island in February.
Studio planners say there might be more use soon of the Skirball Centers 850-seat theater at NYU,
and the Museum of Natural Historys 926-seat LeFrak Theater, which Fox used last summer for "The
Day After Tomorrow."
One studio exec pointed out one advantage of a New York preem: "There can be sameness to doing premieres
in L.A. You see the same 500 people over and over."
Gothams fresh faces
However, those familiar L.A. faces are at least famous. In New York, there's a paucity of big-name celebrity
guests: "Today" show weatherman Al Roker is greeted by the press as though he's Leonardo DiCaprioLeonardo
On the other hand, instead of having the usual agents and managers who populate L.A. preems, in New
York there's a chance to invite the editors of weekly magazines (and their corporate bosses), which keeps
relationships warm and -- some publicists think -- results in additional photo coverage.
On the all-important subject of costs, it's agreed that New York prices are higher, but that doesn't
necessarily mean the premiere tab is more.
"You just spend the money differently," one studio planner said. "I don't have a bigger
budget. I spend more on food and drink in New York, but I don't have as big a decor and entertainment
package. And I'm usually going into an existing venue rather than creating something from scratch in
a parking lot."
Consider party costs at two museums on opposite coasts: NYC's MoMA rents for $50,000; L.A.'s Hammer
goes for $25,000. Arts lovers may say you get what you pay for, but these costs are just for space, not
the quality of art inside.
Gotham's turn on the premiere cycle won't end with the summer, either: "King Kong" -- likely
to be a gargantuan bowbow -- will preem this December in Manhattan.
The search for a young actor to play Alex Rider, the hero of Anthony Horowitzs books about a teenage superspy,
is over. Movie bosses today unveiled 15-year-old Alex Pettyfer as the star of their £25 million blockbuster.
Pettyfer has appeared on screen only once before, in the ITV1 adaptation of Tom Browns Schooldays,
shown on New Years Day.
He beat 500 other hopefuls to land the lead in the Hollywood version of Stormbreaker, the first story in
the series and the most sought-after role since Harry Potter.
Ewan McGregor, Mickey Rourke, Bill Nighy, Alicia Silverstone, Damian Lewis and Sophie Okonedo will also appear in
The US rights have been snapped up by movie moguls Bob and Harvey Weinstein, and if Stormbreaker is a hit
there are plans to turn all six of Horowitzs books into a James Bond-style franchise.
The books have sold eight million copies worldwide and been translated into 28 languages.
Alex becomes a schoolboy special agent after his uncle and guardian, Ian Rider, is killed in a mysterious car crash.
He discovers his uncle was working undercover for MI6, and the teenager is drawn into the employ of the secret service.
The all-action role will be the most physically demanding ever undertaken by a child actor.
Alex climbs mountains, scuba dives, wields an array of high-tech gadgets and is an expert in martial arts.
Pettyfer was at Pinewood Studios in Hertfordshire today, where part of the film will be made.
He said: "This is going to be such a great experience for me. Alex is an amazing character leading this incredible
life as a spy.
"Ive already started ju-jitsu training and I plan to do as many of my own stunts as I can. The training is
hectic but its good fun."
Ewan McGregor will play Alexs uncle, while Mickey Rourke is the villain, megalomaniac businessman Herod Sayle.
Bill Nighy will play MI6 spymaster Mr Blunt, with Oscar-nominee Sophie Okonedo as his colleague Mrs Jones.
Alexs friend and housekeeper Jack Starbright will be played by Clueless actress Alicia Silverstone,
while Damian Lewis will be the Russian assassin Yassen Gregorovich. So Solid Crews Ashley Walters will
appear as SAS soldier Wolf.
Pettyfers only previous interaction with McGregor has been through his Star Wars computer game, in
which the Scot appears as Obi-Wan Kenobi.
The teenager said: "It will be fantastic to be acting with all these big name guys. Im not nervous at all
but it will be a bit strange that one minute Im playing a Playstation game with Ewan McGregor in it and the
next minute Im standing next to him."
A former child model, Pettyfer was picked up by an agent who sent him for the audition in Tom Browns Schooldays.
Horowitz spotted him in the drama and suggested his name to the Stormbreaker producers.
After he starred in the drama opposite Stephen Fry, fan websites began springing up devoted to Pettyfers blond,
blue-eyed good looks.
The schoolboy, who does not have a girlfriend and is a fan of Paris Hilton, is set for international heart-throb
status when Stormbreaker is released next summer, but is taking the female attention firmly in his stride.
"I have seen one of the websites because my friend showed me it, and Im not sure how I feel about it," he
"But this role isnt about whether or not Im good looking, its about making an exciting film for
kids who have read the Alex Rider books and are expecting the character to come alive."
Pettyfer will leave Shiplake, his boarding school in Henley-on-Thames, and be taught by a private tutor for the
duration of filming - something he is over the moon about.
"I hope I dont have to go back at all," he said. "Ive always been one of those kids who sit in class
He is not the only star in the family - his 12-year-old brother James is tipped as a future British tennis champion
and is moving to Florida to join the Evert Tennis Academy.
Horowitz said he was delighted with his new star.
"I saw Alex in Tom Browns Schooldays and was so impressed by his performance that I emailed the films
producers and said You have to see this boy," he said.
"Ive always been aware the film stands or falls by the casting of Alex. I feel enormous relief that we have
found him. This Alex looks the part, he definitely has the talent and he is also a really nice boy.
"We have a stunning cast - to have the likes of Mickey Rourke as the villain is just delightful. Its more
than exciting, its thrilling for me. Its a dream come true - I know thats a ghastly cliche, but
I really did dream of this happening one day."
Actors Jude Law and Helen McCrory joined Young Vic artistic director David Lan at the venue in Waterloo
yesterday (22 June 2005) to celebrate the half-way mark in the two-year redevelopment of the building
and a grant from the London Development agency of £500,000.
The grant was announced at the topping out ceremony, which was led by chief patron of the fundraising
initiative Jude Law and which marked the completion of the Young Vic’s new auditorium. Other grants have
been awarded by Arts Council England, the National Lottery, Waterloo Project Boards, and various trusts,
foundations and individual supporters.
One fundraising scheme allows supporters to buy a seat, which will have their name on it, for the new
auditorium at a cost of £1,000. So far, 138 seats have been sold, many to actors, including Patrick
Stewart, Ewan McGregor, Damian Lewis and Clive Owen, as well as Law and McCrory.
There is now only £600,000 left to raise for the £12.5 million rebuild, designed by architects Haworth
Tompkins and built by Verry Construction Ltd. The South Bank venue, which was originally erected 34 years
ago to last a maximum of five years, plans to reopen in September 2006 following completion of the building
by March next year.
Speaking at yesterday’s event, Lan said: “It’s a thrilling moment for us and for British theatre. It
means that the world renowned Young Vic auditorium and company are not just of the past and of the present
but also of the future.”
Though the Young Vic’s semi-in-the-round main auditorium will remain, it will be made more technically
sound and versatile, with an increased capacity of up 600 (as opposed to 350-450 in previous configurations).
The plans also include the creation of two new studios, a workshop, terrace spaces and expanded offices,
dressing rooms and public foyers.
Helen McCrory, who is currently starring in Lan’s West End production of As You Like It with Law’s fiancée
Sienna Miller, said yesterday: “It is important that theatres are new and interesting spaces… I expect
Synopsis: Lincoln Six-Echo (McGregor) is a resident of a seemingly utopian but contained facility in
the mid-21st century. Like all of the inhabitants of this carefully controlled environment, Lincoln hopes
to be chosen to go to the "The Island," reportedly the last uncontaminated spot on the planet. But Lincoln
soon discovers that everything about his existence is a lie. He and all of the other inhabitants of the
facility are actually human clones whose only purpose is to provide "spare parts" for their original
human counterparts. Realizing it is only a matter of time before he is "harvested," Lincoln makes a daring
escape with a fellow resident named Jordan Two-Delta (Johansson). Pursued by the forces of the institute
that once housed them, Lincoln and Jordan engage in a race for their lives to literally meet their makers.
Genres: Action/Adventure and Thriller
Running Time: 2 hrs. 5 min
Release Date: July 22nd, 2005
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Distributor: Dreamworks SKG
Write us and let us know youd
like to be entered in the drawing for The Island Advance Screening in Boston. Selectees must respond
to our notification email within 72 hours of our sending it, or forfeit their passes. Pass recipients
will be randomly selected from valid email addresses received before 7/18/05.
Special performance of Guys and Dolls for UNICEF - 17 November 2005
A new production of the classic musical ‘Guys and Dolls’ has just hit the West End, with Ewan McGregor
starring as Sky Masterson.
UNICEF is delighted to announce that Ewan, a UNICEF UK Goodwill Ambassador, has reserved the evening
performance of Thursday 17 November for UNICEF. After the performance Ewan will say a few words about
his work with UNICEF - and there will also be a prize draw!
In addition there is the opportunity to buy tickets to an exclusive pre-show cocktail party on 17 November
(venue to be confirmed – but close to the theatre). This ticket will include a champagne reception, canapés
and an exclusive goody bag!
The money raised from the UNICEF show will support UNICEF’s work with children affected by Aids in Malawi
- work which Ewan is planning to see on a trip to Malawi after his role as Sky has ended.
If you would like to book tickets, an application form can be downloaded here or contact Emma Raven
on firstname.lastname@example.org or 0207 312 7680.
We look forward to seeing you at the Piccadilly Theatre on 17 November!
CALL: Ewan McGregor Rolls the Dice in New West End Guys and Dolls
By Morgan Allen
16 Jun 2005
Ewan McGregor – currently on the silver screen across the world in the final “Star Wars” installment – can
also be seen nightly in London’s West End as he leads the cast of a new production of Frank Loesser’s
classic musical Guys and Dolls.
The musical has also been seen in a popular 1955 film version that starred Marlon Brando and Frank Sinatra,
as well as a major Broadway revival starring Nathan Lane and Faith Prince that took home four 1992 Tony
Awards. In this incarnation, McGregor plays smooth-talking Sky Masterson, while Broadway favorite Jane
Krakowski takes on the highly comic role of Miss Adelaide.
Guys and Dolls is directed by Michael Grandage and plays at the Piccadilly Theatre in London.
Tue 14 Jun 2005
By Jude Sheerin, Scottish Press Association
Movie star Ewan McGregor is to host the first children’s version of the G8 summit, it was confirmed
The 34-year-old Unicef ambassador will be joined by violin prodigy Nicola Benedetti at the launch of
C8 in Dunblane, Stirlingshire.
Youngsters from eight of the world’s poorest countries will be flown in by the charity to join children
from some of the richest nations at the forum on July 3.
The 16 youngsters will produce a manifesto to be presented to world leaders when they arrive for the
G8 summit at nearby Gleneagles in Perthshire.
Young people aged from 11 to 18 have been chosen on the basis of their anti-poverty work in schools
Children from the developing nations of Bhutan, Moldova, Yemen, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Cambodia, Lesotho
and Bolivia will attend.
They will discuss issues such as poverty, HIV/Aids and education with youngsters from the UK, France,
Germany and Italy for three days at the Hilton Hydro.
McGregor, from Crieff in Perthshire, said: “Whenever I meet children as Unicef ambassador, I am amazed
at their eloquent, articulate and passionate views.
“They really have a unique perspective on the world. Many living in other countries have had direct
experience of issues such as poverty, education, HIV and Aids and deserve to have their voices heard.”
Unicef said Star Wars actor McGregor and Benedetti, 17, from West Kilbride in Ayrshire, were perfect
to represent the voice of youth.
A spokeswoman for the international children’s charity added: “The decisions made by the G8 leaders
will directly affect children’s lives all over the world.
“The C8 offers an opportunity for young people to have their opinions and voices heard by G8 leaders
and the rest of the world.”
After meeting, the children will attend the anti-poverty concert at Edinburgh’s Murrayfield on July
6, as the G8 summit gets under way.
The five C8 youngsters from the UK are Jamie Brown, 17, from Dennistoun, Glasgow; Rachel Parker, 15,
from Annan, Dumfries-shire; Laura Calvert, 17, from Bangor, Co Down; Saranda Hajdari, 15, from Liverpool;
and Jon Hudson, 18, from Birmingham.
Theres something for everyone in the West End these days. A selection of musicals can induce the
euphoria of your choice, be it a show featuring rioting miners, comedy Nazis, Lloyd Webber pastiches
or the more traditional all-singin-all-dancin fodder. Guys and Dolls, directed by Michael
Grandage, falls into the last category - of the easy listening and watching variety - but it is compulsive
viewing none the less, if thats your bag.
The plot is no more demanding than an episode of Sergeant Bilko, but that does not matter. We swallow
the boy-meets-girl nonsense because we want to escape to that simple, nostalgic, make-believe world -
but most of all because we want to swallow Ewan McGregor.
His performance is mesmerising - at once brash and sensitive, intelligent and instinctive. In a way,
it seems unfair to pitch a movie stars charisma against run-of-the-mill musical theatre types.
We dont care what his character, Sky Masterson, does or doesnt do; we just long for him to
come back on stage. There are no weak links surrounding him - Jane Krakowski as Miss Adelaide and Jenna
Russell as the Salvation Army lady Sarah Brown are outstanding - but McGregor is poetry in motion. He
goes a bit "Heather Small" when he sings, which is curious, but maybe hes an M People fan.
In the second half, we make do with a brilliant rendition of "Sit Down, Youre Rocking the Boat" led
by the charming Martyn Ellis as Nicely Nicely Johnson, but we are only being polite. McGregor proves
his real star quality when he reappears, still looking desirable in a Salvation Army uniform. No mean
feat. I know because Ive tried.
The joy of his performance, and the quality that endears him most to the audience, is his (seemingly)
total unawareness of his own "otherness". Hes busy acting. We are busy drooling and lapping up
the sex appeal. But he is a modest star. He appears to have no idea what we see in him. The stains on
the upholstery will be a mystery to him. The woman behind me whimpered and gasped with ecstasy every
time he took to the stage. If thats not worth the price of a ticket, I dont know what is.
The teenage boy and girl in front of me, on the other hand, wriggled and scratched a lot, and I wondered,
aghast, if the next generation was particularly interested in this quaint Guys and Dolls world, where
real emotions were a distant relative and where a dance routine (albeit brilliantly choreographed in
this case by Rob Ashford) was invariably the solution. The saucy line "You mustnt squeeze the melon til
you get the melon home" will mean nothing to chavs heavy-petting at the nearest bus shelter.
That is their loss, I concluded. Culture will evolve as it sees fit, but this particular musical may
just have the combination of wit and snappy songs that guarantees longevity. Then I wondered if the ground-breaking
Billy Elliot will also seem quaint in a few decades time. Seeing these two shows within a few days
of each other made me appraise my theatrical post-coital feelings. Guys and Dolls loved me and left me,
and it was great while it lasted. Billy Elliot stayed with me, left me stirred and shaken.
Yet Guys and Dolls is a stylish, classy production, whatever anyone says. If you are after an evenings
entertainment, a no-strings fun time, this is the show for you. Its a pleasure provider. All the
acting is admirable, but when McGregor is able to give us even a perfectly timed twinkle of the eye,
we spontaneously applaud the miracle of creativity in the hands of an attractive master.
In this show, you have a top-of-the-range cast, set, costumes (apart from the fur stoles in "Take Back
Your Mink", which look like somebody has taken a Stanley knife to a Jasper Conran bedspread) and lighting
- garnished, what is more, with a film star stretching himself before your very eyes. A night out doesnt
get much better than this.
Londons West End has so much to offer at the moment. A few years ago, the most you could hope
for was a glimpse of Mrs Robinsons minge. Now you can see huge stars glowing with real sweat from
their exertions. Dont deny yourself.
Luck is a lady for the cast of a West End revival of the classic Broadway musical Guys and
Dolls, as critics have heaped praise on the production that marks film actor Ewan McGregors
first stage musical.
Light years away from his current big screen role of Obi-Wan Kenobi in Star Wars: Episode
III -- Revenge of the Sith, McGregor heads the cast of Michael Grandage London production
as Sky Masterson, the gambling playboy who wins the heart of a missionary.
His next role sounds like an interesting casting choice -- playing four characters, all in the same
film. The as-yet-untitled British comedy will be a period film within a period film.
McGregor will play a 1930s Hollywood star, his film stand-in and both of the 18th century characters
they play in the movie they are shooting.
Got that? Reminds us of something Alec Guinness did in Kind Hearts and Coronets back
in the late 1940s. Maybe McGregor thought about his Star Wars co-star when
he agreed to this new project.
The West End is alive with the sound of musicals. One really does feel like performing a Julie Andrews-like
whirl of joy, because these musicals are, for once, the genuine article. Hard on the heels of Billy
Elliot and The Big Life, we now have Michael Grandages utterly elating revival of Guys
and Dolls at the Piccadilly.
This gifted director has hitherto shown a relish for selecting pieces (Merrily We Roll Along and Grand
Hotel) that are perceived as flawed and then making them work triumphantly. So Frank Loessers
well-nigh-perfect 1950 classic might seem an ironic choice for him.
But with this co-production between the Donmar Warehouse (of which hes the artistic director)
and the Ambassador Theatre Group, Grandage demonstrates that his touch is just as sure with proven hit
material, and that the methods that have paid dividends for him in the small space of the Donmar (casting
for character more than for singing prowess; uncluttered design thats in the service of drama rather
than decoration, etc) continue to work on the larger canvas of the West End stage.
Guys and Dolls is a "fairy tale of New York", peopled with sidewalk gamblers who, in their hilarious
stilted diction and their elaborate etiquette, could rival in formality the courtiers at Versailles.
Grandages production pitches perfectly the shows delicious mix of urban knowingness and pastoral
Unlike Jerry Zakss 1992 Broadway revival, he does not patronise the characters by reducing them
to garishly garbed cartoons. His fluent staging of the piece, with witty, concise sets by Christopher
Oram, is wonderfully fresh and unencumbered by flashy false values. He understands, too, that while Guys
and Dolls is the least mushy of all Broadway musicals, it also has more genuine heart. So hes
chosen actors who make us truly care about the two intertwined love stories.
Jane Krakowski (of Ally McBeal fame) is an adenoidal delight as Miss Adelaide, radiating the
incorrigible romantic hopefulness, the touchingly vague aspirations to refinement, and the gabby, exasperated
realism of the Hot Box stripper who has been kept dangling for all of 14 years by Douglas Hodges
winningly hapless and virtually cross-eyed-with-anxiety Nathan Detroit.
Ewan McGregor plays Sky Masterson, the smoothie who takes on Nathans bet that he wont be
able to lure Sarah (an excellent Jenna Russell), the strait-laced Salvation Army girl, on a trip to Havana.
McGregor makes up in boyish charm and smiling glamour what he lacks in natural singing skills, though
he sounds a lot better than Marlon Brando did in the movie, and he lets rip with a perfectly placed final
high note in the knockout "Luck Be a Lady" number.
Its an evening rich in show-stoppers. In the Havana nightclub sequence, Rob Ashfords terrific
choreography embroils Sky and the squiffy Sarah in a fiercely funny and sexy feud of erotic jealousy
danced out by two hot-blooded locals.
Martyn Ellis as Nicely Nicely whips the audience into ecstasy and the Salvation Army mission into a
crazily anarchic version of hand-waggling revivalist delirium with his electrifying rendition of "Sit
Down Youre Rocking the Boat".
Like those wondrously convenient dice possessed by the gangster Big Jule ("I had the numbers taken off
for luck, but I remember where the spots formerly were"), this production of Guys and Dolls looks
set to be a sure-fire winner.
Ewan McGregor strode on to the stage of the Piccadilly Theatre
last night in Michael Grandages slick and stylish production
of Guys And Dolls and confounded expectations. Raw of appearance,
bonny of voice, this was no film star surviving on his screen
credentials. Maybe McGregors Sky Masterson is a shade
too bland, too much the boy next door and lacking in the
gangster chic Damian Runyon so admired, but it was still
a stunning performance.
This great musical, Frank Loessers masterpiece, is
in fine fettle half a century on. It boasts a score to die
for, every song is a classic of its kind – and one of the
wittiest books by Abe Burrows in musical history. But the
evening does not survive on the quality of the show itself
or on the presence of McGregor.
There is a blisteringly funny Nathan Detroit, the crap-game
king of New York from the potato-faced Douglas Hodge and
a steely and tough performance from Jenna Russell who plays
Sarah Brown. Maybe Jane Krakowski is a shade too much a 21st-century
broad to be an authentic Runyan figure – she is fashionably
skinny – but she delivers Miss Adelades famous numbers
with assured aplomb. As for Martyn Ellis, he gives his all.
As Johnson, Nathans sidekick, he delivers the shows
best number, Sit Down Youre Rocking The Boat.
The toughness of Runyans world is arguably missing
but that is to quibble. Christopher Oram has created a wonderful
New York, all gleaming lightbulbs, and Rob Ashfords
choreography is inventive, athletic and breathtaking. The
trip to Havana when Sky takes Sarah there on a bet sees McGregor
dance a glorious tango with a leggy lovely called Summer
Strallen, who should go places. As for the male dancers,
their rendering of Luck Be A Lady, the celebrated crap game
in the sewer, is another highlight.
Maybe memories of Richard Eyers National Theatre production
are not obliterated. It was one of those once-in-a-lifetime
events which, coincidentally, had another Scot as Sky, Ian
Charlton. But Grandage has done a wonderful job with his first
West End musical. He has staged several at the tiny Dunmar,
but this is a different world. And if he hasnt obliterated
memories of the past he has certainly created a production
which deserves to run and run.
McGregor, backed by a superb cast, has come to town, the
audience rose to its feet until the end and he and the rest
may never be allowed to leave again.
Perhaps what marked the evening out as something totally
out of the ordinary was that for once the sound system was
beautifully controlled. Nothing was over-amplified and it
sounded all the time as if they really were singing the songs.
Perry Jardine and Chris Full have done a truly wonderful
This is a five-star musical with a four-star production
and cast, one to enjoy.
The odds are that everyone will have his own favorite moment
in Michael Grandages loving London revival of "Guys
and Dolls," which looks to resuscitate a Broadway mainstay
for todays generation just as Richard Eyres legendary
National Theater staging did in 1982 (and again in 1996).
But the evenings most unexpected kick is the dynamic
dance musical wrought from a show known principally for its
book and score. Auds will go in humming any of a half-dozen
cherished Frank Loesser songs and come out knocked sideways
by the footwork: The first-act "Havana" number comes close
The question isnt whether "Moulin Rouge" crooner Ewan
McGregor, playing the sexiest, sweetest Sky Masterson imaginable,
can cut it singing live --- though he does quite capably,
complete with the occasional head voice that holds the note.
Just as crucial is the realization that the boy can move.
Whether sweeping up a Cuban native (the impossibly leggy
Summer Strallen) during that Havana jaunt or joining his
fellow gamblers for an impulsive terpsichorean outpouring
on "Luck Be a Lady," he does his bit to sustain the momentum.
And when the steps get too fancy? McGregors smart
enough to get out of the way.
Grandage has somewhat tilted the axis of "Guys and Dolls," with
the invaluable assist of Tony winner Rob Ashford, here originating
a West End production for the first time. There hasnt
been a book musical either side of the Atlantic in recent
years this richly danced. The narrative, and Grandages
handling of it, gently draws affectionate tears, only to
be replaced by the ecstasy of witnessing a company so imaginatively
drilled that the shows fabled Runyonland seems perpetually
ready to take flight.
In "Havana," Ashford sets the company on a steamy yet hilarious
collision course that brings out the feisty good-time gal
in Sister Sarah (Jenna Russell), the missionary who melts
under the attention of Sky, a gambler for whom love emerges
as the greatest crap shoot of all. "Take Back Your Mink" is
reinvented as a bawdy, good-hearted striptease --- even if
the abundance of flesh begs the question of whether Miss
Adelaide (Jane Krakowski) owes her longtime cold less to
prenuptial woes than to on-the-job overexposure.
Below Times Squares thickly accented streets (some,
as might be expected in London, are a bit overeager), the
crapshooters set the pulse racing not once but twice in act
two. They do the same above-ground during a "Sit Down Youre
Rockin the Boat" that turns a prayer meeting of supposed
penitents into a swirl of giddy, reckless motion. Even "Marry
the Man Today" ends with a burst of dance for sudden soulmates
Adelaide and Sarah, providing the perfect button to a song
leading directly to the altar --- the very arc traveled by
many of the Shakespeare comedies that "Guys and Dolls" in
its way resembles.
Classical theater has long understood the power of the hard-won
double wedding, which may be why this musical holds such
enduring appeal for British directors known principally for
plays. What has Grandage carried across from his artistic
home, the Donmar, to his first musical helming gig in the
commercial sphere? The answer is evident from an initial
glimpse of Christopher Orams witty set, which offers
not the bright, brashly colored New York of Jerry Zaks 1992
Broadway revival but a glistening vertical cityscape that
pays specific visual homage to the Donmars famous (and
monochromatic) back wall.
The effect might be thought to dampen a musical of nearly
ceaseless exuberance, but not with a gleaming, milky-colored
moon on hand to make its own scenic leap from Cuba to Manhattan,
shepherding Sky and Sarah toward the romantic destiny due
every guy and doll.
Grandage is first and foremost a director of actors, which
explains why, for all McGregors charisma, the show
has a wholly observed feel borne out in a curtain call bereft
of solo bows. The smaller roles are all unusually well taken,
from Sevan Stephans short, squat, very funny Big Jule
(of the "no-spot" dice) to Niall Buggys Arvide Abernathy,
who scores with a delicate "More I Cannot Wish You." Martyn
Ellis and Cory English make a supremely mirthful double act
as Nicely Nicely Johnson and Benny Southstreet, with Ellis
drawing roars for a "Rockin the Boat" that, true to
the spirit of the production, doesnt stop the flow
to sell repeated encores.
Among the leads, the one oddity is the wide-eyed Nathan
Detroit of legit veteran Douglas Hodge, a Donmar alum whose
reluctant (if well-sung) groom is out of a cartoon, the facial
mugging with it.
Krakowski, by contrast, doesnt overdo Adelaides
nasality or reach for ready shtick. Though she may not have
quite the chops that set Faith Prince apart, the Broadway
visitor brings definite heat to the Hot Box, along with an
unyielding ardor that is, finally, very touching.
All McGregor has to do, it seems, is grin, and the entire
house swoons, which makes Russells clarion-voiced,
sensitively acted Sarah doubly commendable. (After "Ill
Know," its poignantly clear from her expression that
Sarah isnt at all sure about the ways of Eros.) McGregors
tenor, in turn, may have its metallic moments, but thesp
delivers where it counts, Skys emerging heart at one
with a production that traffics not in glitz but truth. And
then, when it starts dancing, whisks you away with it.
It was the press night yesterday (Wednesday) and critics
called it "sensual", "funny" and "exhilarating".
Ewan showed off his singing and dancing skills and also
snogged a lot - much to the delight of the women in the audience.
At one point his co-star Jane Krakowski - whos best
known as Elaine in Ally McBeal - pranced around
in just her pants.
She told us that although it was quite nerve-wracking to
do, it was quite liberating once she got used to it and she
enjoyed shocking the UK audience by going a little bit further
than people probably expected.
It went down well though as she got a massive round of applause
for her portrayal of Miss Adelaide - a cheeky showgirl desperate
to settle down.
Barbara Windsor was in the audience cackling away and other
celebs who were spotted were Joan Collins, Lulu and Graham
Shaven-headed Natalie Portman was there with a young man
- they were sitting in the front row and were spotted with
their hands on each others legs.
She was very dressed down in jeans and a jumper, and was
nattering in away in what seemed like Hebrew.
She was the first person to jump up and give her Star
Wars co-star Ewan a standing ovation.
When we asked Ewan how he felt his performance went, we
told him Natalie was in the audience - he was clearly chuffed:
"I didnt know she was in the audience - shes
divine, I hope to see her soon."
"It was wonderful tonight, it was great. Press nights can
often make you really nervous, but weve been running
the play for a couple of weeks and have got a fantastic response
from the previews."
"Weve got it to a point now where its running
"Funnily enough, when there was half an hour to go I was
really dying to get on - I was really up for it."
Win West End tickets to see Guys
and Dolls starring Ewan McGregor - exclusively here
star Jane Krakowski makes her West End debut as Miss
Adelaide alongside Douglas Hodge as Nathan Detroit and
Jenna Russell as Sarah Brown in Guys and Dolls.
They join Ewan McGregor playing Sky Masterson in
Michael Grandages new Donmar Warehouse production
which has just opened at the Piccadilly Theatre.
music and lyrics by Frank Loesser and a book by Jo Swerling
and Abe Burrows, Guys and Dolls is designed by Christopher
Oram, with choreography by Rob Ashford, musical supervision
by Jae Alexander, lighting by Howard Harrison and sound by
Terry Jardine and Chris Full.
The production is directed by the Donmars Artistic
Director Michael Grandage and presented by Howard Panter
for the Ambassador Theatre Group and David Ian for Clear
Channel Entertainment, in association with the Donmars
own production team.
Performance times are Mondays-Saturdays at 7.30pm, with
Wednesday and Saturday matinees at 2.30pm. Tickets, priced
from £20.00-£55.00, are available from the Box Office on
0870 060 0123 and Guys and Dolls is sponsored by American
To celebrate the launch of the new Guys and Dolls West
End production, we have a pair of tickets to watch the first
available performance in August to give away!
For a chance to win, visit the site (link below) and answer
a simple question… Competition ends July 2. Be sure to
read the terms and conditions.
Ewan McGregor is preparing to make his debut in West End show Guys
and Dolls, his first stage musical.
McGregor, 34, will play gambler Sky Masterson in the revival
of the 1950s musical at Londons Piccadilly Theatre.
It marks his return to theatre after a six-year absence,
having last appeared in Little Malcolm and his Struggle
Against the Eunuchs in the capital.
He will appear on Wednesday alongside Ally McBeal star
Jane Krakowski, Douglas Hodge and Jenna Russell.
Never considered musical
McGregor previously sang and danced alongside Nicole Kidman
in the film Moulin Rouge and glam rock movie Velvet
Nevertheless he has taken singing lessons for his latest
role and said he had lost almost 28 lb (13 kg) rehearsing
the musicals demanding dance routines.
McGregor said he was offered the part "out of the blue" by
director Michael Grandage after returning from his 20,000-mile
round-the-world motorcycle trip last year.
"I had never imagined doing a musical on stage, it had never
really crossed my mind, but I am so glad that it has come
up because I have never had a better time, its fantastic," he
McGregor said performing in a musical was "entirely different" from
starring a movie.
"The actual process of making films is extraordinarily tedious," he
said. "It is very difficult to keep your energy and focus.
Whereas in this, what is wonderful about this is we have
to create it together."
He said he would not compare his Guys and Dolls performance
to that of Marlon Brando, who starred in the big-screen version
of the musical.
"I can assure you that I dont start thinking: Thats
a bit like Brando, I mustnt do that. You just
try to find the character and see how it fits in your shoes."
Variety reports that Ewan McGregor has committed to his
next four movie roles, all in a single film - an untitled
British comedy written and to be directed by fellow Scot
Peter Capaldi (Strictly Sinatra).
In the period film within a period film, McGregor will play
a 1930s Hollywood star, his stand-in and both of the 18th-century
characters they play in the movie theyre shooting.
Capaldis multi-layered script deals with an epic film
being shot in the 1930s about the Jacobite rebellion of 1745,
in which Scottish forces loyal to Bonnie Prince Charlie tried
to overthrow their English rulers. When the star goes missing,
the producers trick an unassuming extra into filling his
shoes, with surprising results.
The film is scheduled to shoot in the U.K. early next year.
McGregor can next be seen in Michael Bays The Island.
Michael Bay, director of the upcoming SF action movie The
Island, told SCI FI Wire that there were days he would
come to the set and not know what to shoot because the
sets werent complete. "Construction was way behind," Bay
told reporters at a special preview screening of 45 minutes
of the as-yet-uncompleted film in Beverly Hills, Calif.,
on May 24. "I would get to the sets and have to shoot inserts
because the set was not built. I would talk to the designer,
who said, We ran out of money. Sometimes youd
just have to pull it out of your ass and wing it."
Bay and his stars Scarlett Johansson, Djimon Hounsou and
Michael Clarke Duncan attended the preview of The Island for
press, DreamWorks officials and guests at the Academy of
Motion Picture Arts and Sciences theater.
Afterwards, producer Walter F. Parkes said that it was a
good thing Bay was a "director who has the chops to change
his plans at the last minute," given the odd unexpected budget
overrun or delay due to construction snafus. He added that
the movies production, which took place on an accelerated
schedule to meet a July 22 release date, almost seemed to
be going too well to be true, at least at first. "We went
out at Christmas going, God, we can pull this off.
Were under budget and ahead of schedule."
Bay interrupted: "And then there was this substantial hole.
"Well, not that substantial," Parks corrected.
The film came to fruition quickly, and Bay said its
the fastest hes worked on a film since he did The Rock. "Im
not yet finished with it," Bay said, feigning a protest before
the screening. "I checked with the DGA [Directors Guild of
America] rules to see if there was a way I could prevent
Parks said he originally planned screening the science fiction
film 10 days ago, before this weeks headline in the
Los Angeles Times about a breakthrough in cloning suddenly
rendered the film a "fact-based contemporary thriller." When
the film hits theaters in July, Parkes added, "The prints
will be coming out of the lab dripping wet."
In the preview, viewers were introduced to the world of The
Island, a futuristic habitat of concrete corridors
in monstrous towers in which characters played by McGregor,
Johansson and Duncan dwell, thinking they are the last
survivors of a global contamination. They live for the
moment they win a lottery guaranteeing them transport to
a tropical island, the last contamination-free spot on
Earth. But McGregors character, Lincoln Six-Echo,
makes a series of startling discoveries that call into
question the existence of the island and the very purpose
of their lives.
Bay also screened a high-energy action sequence involving
a freeway chase, crashing cars and trucks and flying motorcycles,
or "wasps," to an appreciative packed theater.
Johansson Beefed Up In Island
Scarlett Johansson, who co-stars with Ewan McGregor in the
futuristic action thriller The Island, told SCI FI
Wire and other reporters that director Michael Bay beefed
up her character and transformed her from a helpless, pregnant
asthmatic into a strong female character. "In the science-fiction
genre they always portray women as the damsel in distress,
and my character was completely different," Johansson told
a news conference on May 25. "I mean, first of all, my name
was Esther. There you go, right there. I was pregnant. I
was a womb. I had horrible asthma and had to stop constantly,
and Ewan had to take care of me, and I almost died."
Instead, Johansson plays a healthy, resourceful young woman
named Jordan Two-Delta opposite McGregors Lincoln Six-Echo,
both of whom discover that they are clones and wind up on
the run from a top-secret underground compound.
Johansson said that McGregors part was originally
written by Caspian Tredwell-Owen as a "big macho man, and
I was the helpless young girl." But in a rewrite just before
shooting, the female characters name was changed and
screenwriters Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman (TVs Alias)
changed her role dramatically at Bays urging. "We were
about to start the shoot, and Michael and I [were] thinking
of ways to give some integrity to my character," Johansson
said. "He was very proactive to make me kick-ass, not make
me some weakling. … We were both saving each others
lives. Michael was very respectful of that, making me create
a strong female character, which was great."
For his part, Bay said that he enjoyed working with Johansson,
who turned 20 during filming, but seems much older and wiser.
In separate comments, Bay said that he has dealt with many
divas before and told a story about Johanssons pitching
a rare fit before her sexy scene with McGregor. He said he
was told by the assistant director that the actress wanted
to see him before she came to the set.
"We were ready to do the love scene with Ewan, and I knocked
on her door," Bay recalled. "I said, Scarlett? Yes? Can
I come in? Yes. Im not f--king wearing
this bra, this cheap-ass bra, OK? Im going naked,
OK?" Bay had to explain to her that he needed it
to shoot for a PG-13 rating.
Johansson smiled when her director recounted the incident.
In her defense, she said: "Nobody wears a bra when they go
to sleep." The Island opens July 22.
Scarlett Johansson, star of Michael Bays upcoming
SF action film The Island, told SCI FI Wire that she
got pretty banged up while taking on the highly physical
role in the film. "I was so sore after my first day of work," Johansson
told reporters at a news conference on May 25. "I think my
muscles were atrophied or something, but I couldnt
run any longer, and that was the first day of a five-month
shoot! I was running so much I thought I was going to die."
Johansson said that her co-star Ewan McGregor wound up black
and blue with bruises after the first day and had "deep gashes" in
his legs. "I didnt feel so bad, because he was in agony," she
Johansson and McGregor play clones, or "agnates," who are
pursued by security forces after they escape from a top-secret
underground facility in the near future.
The film also stars Michael Clarke Duncan, who said: "Michael
Bay owes me bigtime for doing this movie." Duncan was only
on the set for two days for a small role, but did it because
he said Bay discovered him and cast him in Armageddon. "I
am running a lot, too, and they shoot these things into my
legs, and they were attached to my calves, and they shrunk
my calves down so badly, and I was sweating," Duncan said.
Bay explained that he intentionally begins his productions
with a strenuous scene to set the pace for the rest of the
shoot. "If you start off with a slow scene, that sets the
pace for the entire film, so I like to start off with a high
energy level," Bay said.
Djimon Hounsou, who plays an implacable security agent in The
Island, said that he took the physical activity required
for the movie all in stride. "We were running, running,
running, and it occurred to me, Did anyone read the
script?" he said. The Island opens July 22.
British actor Ewan McGregor (R), playing Sky Masterson,
rehearses with Jenna Russell (L), playing Sarah Brown, for
the forthcoming production of the musical Guys and Dolls
at the Piccadilly Theatre, in London, May 31, 2005.
Actor Ewan McGregor and Zoe Hardman perform during a photocall
for the musical Guys and Dolls, at the Piccadilly Theatre
in London, Tuesday May 31, 2005.
My friend Marion, who runs A
Man Less Ordinary, had the chance to sit right in front
of Michael Grandage (Guys and Dolls director) at
the Saturday night show. She asked him if there would be
a CD released and he said there would be.
Another friend overheard it might be as early as June 1st,
but that has yet to be confirmed.
I had the pleasure of attending Friday nights Guys
and Dolls show at Londons Piccadilly Theatre
with several other Ewan fans. Meeting people who share
a love of Ewans work was fantastic!
Ewan is clearly in his element on stage. His singing and
dancing are fantastic, even better than in Moulin Rouge,
and his acting is top-notch. The same can be said for the
rest of the cast. Ewan will no doubt continue doing plays
in the future.
British actor Ewan McGregor signs
autographs as he arrives for the UK premiere of the
film Revenge of the Sith in Londons Leicester
Square May 16, 2005. Fans waited for hours in pouring
rain to catch a glimpse of the stars arriving for
the UK premiere of the final Star Wars film, Revenge
U.S. director George Lucas (R) gestures
as British actor Ewan McGregor looks on during the
U.K. premiere of Star Wars - Episode III -
Revenge of the Sith.
Mon 16 May 2005
By Sherna Noah, PA Showbusiness Correspondent
The premiere of the final Star Wars instalment Revenge
of the Sith was taking place tonight.
Director George Lucas and Ewan McGregor, who plays Obi-Wan
Kenobi, are expected to attend what will be the biggest premiere
of the year.
Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith is the
eagerly awaited last part of Lucas’s Star Wars prequel trilogy.
Hayden Christensen (Anakin Skywalker), Christopher Lee (Count
Dooku), Anthony Daniels (C3-PO), Peter Mayhew (Chewbacca)
and Ian McDiarmid (Palpatine) are also expected at tonight’s
event in London’s Leicester Square.
There will be a whole day of Star Wars celebrations – beginning
at 6am with a dawn parade of the 501st UK Garrison of Storm
They will open the doors to the world’s first showing of
the entire six-film Star Wars saga.
Fans snapped up tickets for the event within five minutes
of them going on sale.
At 1pm, The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra will perform the
first of two special public performances of the Star Wars
score in Leicester Square gardens.
In the afternoon, Lee and Daniels will take part in public
interviews on the stage.
Revenge Of The Sith sees the fall from grace of Anakin
Skywalker, an idealist young Jedi knight who is seduced by
the Dark Side.
The action kicks off during a space battle as Anakin and
Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi race across a galactic battlefield
to rescue Senator Palpatine from the evil Count Dooku.
This month also marks the 28th anniversary of the original Star
Note: This is not a recent interview, but its
Ewan McGregor is one sexy Scot with a mind of his own. His
refusal to be typecast has seen him play everything from
the drug-addled hero of Trainspotting to the all-singing,
all-dancing star of Moulin Rouge.
Now Ewan takes on the role of the young Edward Bloom, an
adventurer and storyteller, in Tim Burtons fantasy
film Big Fish.
Do you have an adventurous spirit like your character
in Big Fish?
Yeah. Yes, I do. And more so, I think. Ive done a
couple of trips in the past that I found were quite adventurous,
in the lower Arctic and in the jungle. Ive done stuff
like that, and I really like it. And I realised that Id
like to do more of it, you know?
You seem to play a lot of heroes in movies. What do you
make of that and who are your heroes?
Yes, even in Trainspotting I was supposedly a hero
of our time. I suppose there are all kinds of heroes,
arent there? My hero growing up was Billy Connolly,
the Scottish comedian. I didnt really have an acting
hero particularly, but Billy would be my hero.
Did he influence your hero roles?
No, he just made me laugh a lot. But who knows, maybe my
sense of humour has come from him, I dont really know.
Its difficult to tell.
Did playing a hero in Big Fish make you feel like
aspiring to hero stature in your own life?
Did you have any memorable experiences, filming Big
Fish in Alabama?
Well, I met this great old farmer, this cattleman down there.
A real cowboy this guy was. His name was Bubba, and he was
maybe in his seventies. He threw this party for us, and my
family. And he was lovely, he was really flirtatious with
my mother-in-law, which was hilarious, I remember.
Is Bubba in the movie?
No, but he was just a real old cowboy, he was fantastic.
He was just a rancher from down there, a nice old bloke.
How come youre in so many family-friendly movies
Well, I didnt wake up and think, Ive got to
be in more family-friendly movies! Im only interested
in telling stories - Im not wise enough to have a kind
of career overview. I simply read scripts, and want to do
them or dont. And its as simple as that with
me, Im afraid. So no, it doesnt surprise me.
And it wasnt a plan.
So is it a gut thing when you read a script?
Yeah, just that. I just go on the sense of it, as Im
reading it. Its like a good book. If you dont
want it to end, thats a good sign. And the only time
Ive deviated from that and kind of made a career choice
was a long time ago on a film called Emma, which was
a fine movie, but Im terrible in it! And I decided
to do it right after Trainspotting. It was like, oh
I seem to be doing this, you know? And I learned, thats
not good enough for me - you know, to seem to be doing something.
It has to be something that I need to do, or dont want
anyone else to do. Its like, if I dont have a
passionate response to it, I wont do it. And that has
stood me well, you know?
It has to be freeing to go back and forth between big
pictures and small independent films.
That is the idea, isnt it? The idea is to pretend
to be someone else and do it from stories so they would all
be different stories. I dont see them as big or small
pictures, they are all just films. I think it would be limiting
How much could you relate to the parenting theme of Big
I responded more as a son as opposed to as a father, I think.
I think its about a father-and-son relationship. And
so therefore I thought a lot about my dad while we were doing
it. My father isnt dissimilar to Edward Bloom in that
hes very gregarious - and he loves telling stories,
my dad. He doesnt tell huge stories about his life
like Albert Finneys Edward Bloom does, but he loves
telling stories. If you were to go back to my hometown with
him he wouldnt be able to walk down the street without
[telling old stories]. He used to frustrate us in our childhood
because it would take us so long to get anywhere. Hed
always be stopping to speak to someone, so it would take
hours to get anywhere.
Would you be worried if your children came up to you
and told you they were going to be actors?
I would be worried about it, but it is difficult to say
if that would happen. But I would be less worried than him,
because I know what it is about, and my father was a sports
Is it true that you made a movie with your wife, and
she ended up telling you that she really wanted Johnny
Depp for the part?
No, no! Thats such nonsense. It was a funny story.
My wife adapted a Spanish novel, she wrote a script and said
that she wanted Johnny Depp to star in it. But it was such
a small joke between me and my wife. I dont know how
it ended up in a magazine!
Was there ever any doubt in your mind that you would
be an actor?
And how was it that you were so secure and positive about
I dont know.
When was it that you first got recognised in public?
Hmm… I dont remember. I cant recall. It must
have been when I did my first television job. It was called Lipstick
On Your Collar. It was a six-part Dennis Potter series;
he was one of the finest television drama writers that we
had in Britain. And I would have been recognised for that,
I would imagine, because it was quite a big TV number, so
it must have been for that. But I cant recall, though
it was probably a huge thrill at the time. It was probably
Are you surprised that you have done so well?
Yes, because I am a terrible actor. Every day I thank my
lucky stars that I fooled you all this time! No, I am amazed.
Im sure she (Eva Longoria from Desperate Housewives)
would have liked to meet Ewan McGregor, who plays the younger
Obi-Wan Kenobi, but he cant make it because hes
right in the middle of complex technical rehearsals for Guys
And Dolls at the Piccadilly Theatre in London.
Ewan told me: "It happens that Star Wars is opening
in Cannes when were in the middle of tech week at the
theatre but the musical doesnt stop for Star Wars so
I just cant schlep off. Ill fit in what I can
around about it."
He added: "Its always the same with me. My focus is
always on what Im doing now, not what I did two years
ago. My focus was on it then and I gave it 110 per cent,
but now its on Guys And Dolls."
Ewans joined in Guys And Dolls by Jane Krakowski,
Jenna Russell, Douglas Hodge and a crack company.
Michael Grandage, the Donmar Theatre boss who is directing
the show at the Piccadilly, told me that his actors have
been a solid unit.
"Its an ensemble. Ewans a big star, and he could
have come in and behaved like a big star, but he hasnt.
Hes part of the ensemble, which is why its working."
Has it ever been this hot in Holloway? Miss Adelaide,
in the shapely form of Jane Krakowski, was leading her six
Hot Box Revue Girls in a gloriously suggestive version of
A Bushel And A Peck from Guys And Dolls.<.p>
As choreographed by Rob Ashford, Miss Adelaide and her showgirls
swung galvanised milk pails and shook their derrieres. I
cant recall ever having observed this number quite
so closely before.
"Well, I think it had been done rather coyly before," said
Donmar Theatre artistic director Michael Grandage, who is
directing the West Endbound production, with Ewan McGregor,
Jenna Russell, Douglas Hodge and Ms Krakowski leading the
The company were in the fifth week of rehearsals in North
London and next week they move into the Piccadilly Theatre
to begin full costume and technical runs.
Its a great season that can boast Death Of A Salesman,
Guys And Dolls and Billy Elliot, treasures all.
New Jersey-born Ms Krakowski, best known for her role as
busybody secretary Eliane in TVs Ally McBeal, has won
awards for stage work on Broadway (most of which I have seen)
but Miss Adelaide marks her British stage debut.
She said shed never clearly understood what kind of
dancer Miss Adelaide was - or what kind of club she worked
at, for that matter - before now.
"Well," she sighed huskily, "I think you get a clear picture
what kind of broad she is in this production and I love it,
because shes one of the great optimists in musical
Clearly, I must have had a sheltered upbringing because
it took Mr Grandage to really spell it out. He explained
that, over the years, Guys And Dolls had been ever-so-slightly
sanitised. "But this is Damon Runyons Broadway and
these girls were stripteasers… with the emphasis on teasing, he
laughed, as Ashford gathered his dancers around and ordered
them to milk it some more".
If you ask people for their favourite Broadway musical,
most will name Guys And Dolls. As McGregor, who plays sleek
roller Sky Masterson, commented: "Its the songs. Theyre
great! And its a surprise that there are so many of
them in one musical."
The numbers Frank Loesser wrote include The Oldest Established
Crap Game In New York, Ill Know (When My Love Comes
Along), Adelaides Lament (A Person Can Develop A Cold),
If I Were A Bell, My Time Of Day, Ive Never Been In
Love Before - and thats just Act One!
McGregor knows how to carry a tune and he has danced a bit
in the past but even so, he hooked up with a vocal coach
when he was filming The Island in Los Angeles and has since
teamed with noted singing expert Mary King, who encouraged
him to sing the Guys And Dolls songs every day.
"Just singing them all the time gets them in your body and
somehow, every time you start to sing them they come naturally."
He and his family often breakfast together with a voice
tape running. "Yes, theres a lot of bing-a-bing and
a-bong-a-bong-bing at the table. We have a right laugh."
In the shows romance stakes, McGregor partners Jenna
Russell, an actress who successfully switches between television
(shes in Born And Bred among other things) and dramatic
and musical theatre, as Sergeant Sarah Brown, the Salvation
Army sergeant who resists Sky Mastersons charms.
Grandage got his cast to go back to the source material,
Runyons The Idyll Of Sarah Brown, which showed how
the Sally Army girl helped alcoholics and down-andouts at
"But her brother and father are gamblers, so she has an
understanding of this and is determined not to go out with
Douglas Hodge plays Nathan Detroit, the louse whos
too afraid to marry Miss Adelaide and has kept her waiting
for 14 years.
"He thinks if she says Yes, hell stop loving her," said
Hodge, who was one of the best things about the recent movie
version of Vanity Fair.
Though we all knew of his acting talents, not many people
suspected that he could sing, too.
"It had been my secret till now," he admitted. "For two
years I had been singing at folk and jazz clubs, with no
Check out the gamblers when they roll the dice at the Piccadilly
Theatre, with previews from May 19 and an opening night on
This hot, young Jedi gave the ‘Star Wars’ saga a dose
By Mary Beth Ellis
Updated: 12:55 p.m. ET May 5, 2005
What woman can resist Ewan McGregor as
Obi-Wan Kenobi. "Yes, Master" indeed.
We have been waiting for you, Obi-Wan.
We’ve watched you twirl, we’ve watched you die, we’ve watched
you sit in a gigantic soup ladle and maintain a pleasant
expression while learning of colossal, badly-aiming clone
Now we anticipate “Life Lessons With Obi-Wan, Episode III
Obi-Wan Kenobi — mentor, mentee, master of all things wonderfully
dour — stands at the dawn of his day in the Tatooine suns.
The “Star Wars” prequels plunge into several aspects of
character development, among them the deeply vital information
that Obi-Wan Kenobi was, in his youth, fully hot. If the
ladies are lovin’ us some Obi-Wan, it is perhaps because
we have no one else’s brown robes to cling to, here in this
galaxy where behemoth spaceships have hyperdrives but, apparently,
There simply aren’t a lot of men to lust after in the “Star
Wars” universe. Han Solo is taken. Luke Skywalker is a sister-kissing
feeb until the last 15 seconds of “Return of the Jedi.” Everybody
else is consumed by evil, quick to be exploded or a curious
shade of green.
Yes, we have much to treasure in this chrysalis form of
young, hot Obi-Wan Kenobi, who, as portrayed in “Episode
I,” has been waved aside as a tight-braided, lightsaber-up-his-butt
sort, devoting a disproportionate percentage of his life
to standing very still and occasionally declaring “Yes, Master.” It
is an intergalactic tour de force of Sideshow Bobism.
It is also a grand-slam exploration of the vast emotional
range lying within “Yes, Master.” Anger, thoughtfulness,
disapproval, slight nausea: Obi-Wan has a “Yes, Master” for
all seasons. For the bulk of the film, Kenobi barely cracks
a smile, instead allowing his occasionally furrowed brow
and his cha-cha lightsaber twirls to do the talking. And
when he does break down, when the pain of losing a loved
one overwhelms his careful training as his mentor dies in
his arms, it is with one… final… sobbing… “Yes, Master.” The
man has consistency, if not a thesaurus.
He speaks for all of us
A beacon of skepticism and frowning, the Obi-Wan of “Episode
I” glided through the film as the hushed conscience of the
now clearly deranged George Lucas. Within his nicely muscled
bod, Obi-Wan carried purely flanneled Original George — the
George of real live midgets in real live robot costumes.
Every time Obi-Wan scowled at a Gungan, an echoey, primordial
form of George Lucas cried from deep within: “What hath I
Kenobi seemed to realize, for instance, that things were
not going to go well when young Anakin and his L.L. Bean
backpack first skipped into the Jedi Temple. “That boy is
dangerous,” he snapped. He knew — he knew — that the
child would grow up to be the type of person who used “Sand
is rough” as a pickup line, a person who Kenobi actually
had to remind that use of one’s Jedi powers to feed fruit
to one’s girlfriend qualifies as an outrageous case of Force
And when presented with Jar Jar Binks, Obi-Wan seconded
the reaction of the Earth section of the universe. We recoiled
into our jumbo-sized boxes of Junior Mints: What is this … thing?
Only one man knew, and he immediately attempted to usher
it from our lives. That was no comic relief … that was a
ragingly misguided attempt to flog officially licensed party
“Why do I get the feeling we’ve just picked up another useless
life form?” Kenobi asked on behalf of all mankind. He
was so right that I wanted to hug him, to throw myself against
his haughtily crossed arms with a sobbing, “You tried, young,
hot Obi-Wan. You tried.”
“Episode II” Obi-Wan is a study in hard-edged maturity,
a measured and stately Jedi Master intensely at one with
the Force. We knew this because he had a beard.
Kenobi knows best?
What we did not know is where Kenobi went so horribly awry
in the training of young Skywalker, which is a fairly major
facet of the films’ narrative arc in the sense that the entire
saga pretty much wouldn’t exist without a Vader to stomp
about, billowing his cape and lethally pointing at bureaucrats.
It is indeed mysterious, as Obi-Wan offered himself as a
highly responsible role model in “Episode II.” He didn’t
like reckless driving; he disapproved of being chained to
a big pillar as large animals with pincers approached; he
just said no to deathsticks.
Where did he go wrong? Did he not give Anakin enough "Super
Job!" reward stickers on his seatwork? Was he too strict? Too
soft? Was it the way he shoved his apprentice into a
flaming lava pit and left him for dead? What happened?
All we are sure of is that just as Kenobi reached an age
when he was on the brink of going AARP-raving mad, his former
student whacked him in half, at which point Obi-Wan completely
vanished, leaving nothing behind but his faboo robe, his
lightsaber and a damp sense of “Well, that can’t have
been fun.” Obi-Wan Kenobi was, if nothing else, a man who
cleaned up after himself.
“This will be a day long remembered,” intoned Darth Vader
in “A New Hope.” “It has seen the end of Kenobi; it will
soon see the end of the rebellion.”
Boy, did Darth enjoy a good intoning. He also loved to intone
with a great degree of inaccuracy. Rather than accepting
a forced-by-death retirement with dignity and a mobile home
in Tampa, Kenobi then took to popping up every now and then
in a translucent manner to issue incidental asides to Luke,
gently revealing, for instance, the fact that the lad recently
stuck his tongue down the throat of his own twin sister.
But in “Episode III,” we will indeed see the end of Kenobi.
The next time we behold Obi-Wan, he will stride out of a
sand dune in order to pinch Luke in the face. There are worse
ways to pass one’s golden years.
All hail Kenobi and his massive, near-galaxy-ending screw
up! For there is no “Star Wars” without him. Fare thee well,
sweet, sweet Obi-Wan. Whenever we needed a shot of sanity
and a good strong brow-furrow, you really were our only hope.
Long Way Round star Charley Boorman has fallen foul
of theives for the second times in two weeks, and hopes you
can help him recover his bike.
His BMW R1150GS Adventure was stolen sometime last night
(Wednesday, May 4) from the car park of the Hunting Lodge
Hotel in Cottington, Northants (near Rockingham race circuit).
Its a standard bike, but it does have some distinguishing
features. Its been fitted with a GPS unit mount holder,
theres some damage to the plastic cover on the right
hand piston cover, and the right hand rear indicator cover
is missing. The registration number is RO 04 FLP.
"Ive had the GS for four months to prepare for the
Dakar next year. Two weeks agao someone stole the fairings
from my Ducati, and now the BMW has gone. I parked it up
next to some other BMWs in a well-lit car park, but it had
gone when i woke up. Apparently a number of bikes have gone
missing in that area," said Boorman.
If you have any information on the whereabouts of the bike,
call Dan Thornton from MCN on 01733 468013, or email email@example.com as
soon as possible, and well pass the info onto Charley
and the police.
Note: This article contains spoilers
about Revenge of the Sith. If you wish to remain unspoiled
its best not to read it, but be mindful of the warning
if you plan to bring children to the theater to see it.
Last Star Wars movie said not for
By David Germain
AP Movie Writer
SAN RAFAEL, Calif. -- The Force lands in theaters a bit
more forcefully in the final installment of George Lucas "Star
"Episode III Revenge of the Sith" is the first "Star Wars" tale
to receive a PG-13 rating. The movie was screened for reporters
Tuesday night at Lucas Skywalker Ranch, and the PG-13
rating "for sci-fi violence and some intense images" is well-deserved.
The action is relentless and includes sequences more dark
and disturbing than anything previously seen in the tragic
Skywalker soap opera.
Young Jedi knight Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen)
completes his transformation into blackhearted villain Darth
Vader with a bloodbath against old allies, the body count
including a corridor of "youngling" corpses Jedi children
cut down by his light saber.
Anakin is left gruesomely mutilated in a death duel with
former mentor Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor). His surgical
reclamation as the part-flesh, part-machine Vader is chillingly
juxtaposed against the bleak childbirth scene of his wife,
Padme Amidala (Natalie Portman), whose twins grow up to be
heroes of the original "Star Wars" trilogy, Luke Skywalker
and Princess Leia.
Even cute and cuddly Jedi master Yoda takes his lumps, torched
by the electroshock treatment dished out by the sagas
puppetmaster, the evil emperor (Ian McDiarmid).
The previous five "Star Wars" flicks all were rated PG,
which carry the mild warning "parental guidance suggested," and
that some scenes might be unsuitable for children. The PG-13
rating carries the alert "parents strongly cautioned" that
some material could be inappropriate for those younger than
"Were getting a lot of flak from parents, a lot of
people saying how can you do this? My children love these
movies. Why can you not let them go see it?" Lucas told
The Associated Press in a recent interview. "But I have to
tell a story. Im not making these, oddly enough, to
be giant, successful blockbusters. Im making them because
Im telling a story, and I have to tell the story I
Of course, the PG-13 rating does not prohibit children under
13 from seeing the film without an adult tagging along. And
while its not likely to make much of a dent in the
movies certain blockbuster status, the rating could
give some parents pause.
"These are pretty intense. Who should be allowed to see
them should be left up to the parents, but at least theyre
warned that its pretty intense," Lucas said. "And obviously,
thats not a good business move."
Star Wars hunk Ewan McGregor is about to become a
proper Charlie… but its all for the sake of his art.
Ewan - Obi-Wan Kenobi in the sci-fi movie series - will
don a kilt to play Bonnie Prince Charlie in his latest film
His character is loosely based on fellow Scot David Niven
and his unique portrayal of the Young Pretender in the 1948
movie Bonnie Prince Charlie.
The film was a huge flop - with Niven taking pelters for
his plummy accent.
Ewans new film - as yet untitled - will reveal the
chaos behind the scenes of the Niven shoot.
The 34-year-old star said: Its a fantastic script.
Its about the making of a movie about Bonnie Prince
Charlie, starring a huge Hollywood star whos British
and a terrible drunkard and who disappears in the middle
A film source added: It will be played very much for
Were not sure yet whether Ewan will be playing
David Niven or whether the names will be changed but it promises
to be very colourful and everyone is delighted to have Ewan
Niven, who loved to party during Hollywoods golden
era despite his staid image, donned a naff blond wig for
his role opposite Margaret Leighton in Bonnie Prince Charlie.
The film bombed at the box office after being savaged by
But it still held fond memories for Niven, who met his second
wife Hjordis on the set.
Meanwhile Ewan, who is rehearsing for the musical Guys
and Dolls, is terrified about his West
He will be on stage eight performances a week during the
six--month run of the show, which co-stars American actress
Jane Krakowski from Ally McBeal, at Londons Piccadilly
Ewan, who sang in Moulin Rouge with Nicole Kidman,
said he was a bag of nerves in the run-up to
the June 1 opening night I t will be his first stage role
since Little Malcolm And His Struggle Against The Eunuchs six
He said: I hadnt thought about a musical. Its
alright doing Moulin Rouge but I hadnt wanted
to do a musical on stage until it was suggested.
I suddenly realised it was everything I wanted. Im
longing to work in front of an audience but terrified at
the same time.
Im longing to sing on stage - and yet Im
He added: If theres one person I strive to be
like it is my uncle Denis Lawson.
Hes always been my inspiration. I wanted to
be an actor and he was one. So he represented what I aspired
to be and there is a lot of my uncle in my work.
Jane Krakowski will be on tonights Jonathan Ross (22
April) at 10:45pm (check at 10:35pm, sometimes the programme
starts early) on BBC1. Jane will be discussing Guys And
Dolls and will probably talk about Ewan.
Thanks to birthday girl Baby Jefer for the heads
Tue 19 Apr 2005
By Anita Singh, PA Showbusiness Editor
The final Star Wars film will have its world premiere
at the Cannes Film Festival, it was announced today.
Episode III: Revenge of the Sith is expected to be
the year’s biggest blockbuster.
Stars Ewan McGregor and Natalie Portman will be in the
South of France for the long-awaited screening of George
Lucas’s sixth and final instalment.
The 58th Cannes Film Festival takes place from May 11-22.
Revenge of the Sith is one of the major films being
shown out of competition.
Another is Woody Allen’s eagerly-anticipated London film, Match
Point, starring Scarlett Johansson.
In the official competition line-up, 20 films will vie for
the Palme d’Or – but none are British.
Instead there are a host of well-known cult directors such
as David Cronenberg, Jim Jarmusch, Gus Van Sant, Lars Von
Trier and Wim Wenders.
They ensure a more arthouse selection of films than last
year, when the line-up featured animated hit Shrek 2 and The
Von Trier’s entry is Manderlay, starring Lauren Bacall
and Danny Glover, a tale of slavery in America’s Deep South
and the second in his US trilogy which began with Dogville.
Wenders’ Don’t Come Knockin’ features Sam Shephard
and Jessica Lange in the story of an ageing cowboy on a journey
Last Days by Gus Van Sant is loosely based on the
life of Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain.
Actor William Hurt stars in Cronenberg’s A History of
Violence as a family man who commits a murder.
And in Jarmusch’s Broken Flowers, Bill Murray plays
a man who sets off to find the son he never knew he had.
Men In Black star Tommy Lee Jones is a surprise entry
in the Palme d’Or competition with his directorial debut, The
Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada.
Dark comic book adaptation Sin City is also in competition.
British films are being shown out of competition – the festival
will end with Chromophobia, directed by Martha Fiennes
and starring her brother Ralph alongside Penelope Cruz, Damien
Lewis and Kristin Scott Thomas.
Acclaimed BBC documentary The Power of Nightmares is
also to be screened as a feature-length film.
Last year the Palme d’Or went to Michael Moore film Fahrenheit
Actor Ewan McGregor has a warning for fans hoping to meet
him at the stage door of his new London play - dont
bring any Star Wars memorabilia.
The Scots heart-throb is starring in the West End production
of 1950s musical Guys And Dolls starting in June,
which opens only 12 days after Star Wars: Episode III
- Revenge of the Sith hits cinemas worldwide on May 19.
And while McGregor is prepared for the Star Wars frenzy
over the next few weeks, he is banning the sci-fi film from
the back door of the Piccadilly Theatre.
McGregor explains, "I made a decision a while back, Im
not going to be available to sign Star Wars stuff
at the stage door.
"Ill be available to sign peoples programmes
and things. But if I start that it will be a nightmare.
"What will happen, people come to Guys and Dolls and
want their programme signed, but get monstered by the professional
"I dont like to play that game so I wont be
signing any Star Wars stuff."
Ewan McGregor has signed a six-month contract to play gangster
playboy Sky Masterson in the classic 1950s musical Guys
And Dolls which will open at the West Ends Piccadilly
Theatre on June 1. The 34-year-old says, "I do find it daunting
going back to live theatre after movies. I cant wait
but Ill really have to work hard to master the stage
fright." McGregors talent for singing first came to
international attention following his starring role in Moulin
Rouge, and his current co-stars are impressed by his
instinctive ability to master complex choreography during
rehearsals. Artistic director Michael Grandage says, "The
big shock, or rather surprise, is that we truthfully didnt
know what Ewans dancing skills were. Sky Masterson
can easily be played without too much dancing about. But
we discovered hes a completely natural dancer so were
really going to be using it. And he has a glorious voice." McGregor
last appeared on stage in the London Comedy Theatres
production of Little Malcolm And His Struggle Against
The Eunuchs in 1999. Grandages Guys And Dolls production,
which also stars Ally McBeal beauty Jane Krakowski
in her West End debut, will see Damon Runyons musical
return to the London stage after a 23-year hiatus.
By Terri Paddock
13th April 2005 - Whats on Stage News
McGregor and other stars of the Donmar Warehouse’s much-anticipated
West End revival of Frank Loesser’s 1950 Broadway classic Guys
and Dolls - Jane Krakowski, Douglas Hodge and Jenna Russell – joined
director Michael Grandage to launch the show to the media
The production opens on 1 June 2005 (previews from 19 May)
at the Piccadilly Theatre, where booking has today been extended
by six months until March 2006. The new dates will feature
a new cast as the limited contracts for McGregor and the
other principals will end in December 2005.
At today’s press event, held at the Century Club in Shaftesbury
Avenue, McGregor, now best known for his film appearances
in the likes of Star Wars, explained how much he was
relishing a return to the stage. “I did Little Malcolm (at
Hampstead Theatre and in the West End) five years ago. Up
until that point, it had been seven years (since I’d been
on stage). I promised I’d never let it be that long again
because I love it too much.”
Later, the Scottish screen star reiterated his “love” of
theatre. “I think it’s really important for actors to work
on the stage.” The two weeks of rehearsal to date for Guys
and Dolls has, he said, “been more fulfilling than any
movie. Movies are so draining. They pull away from the actor,
but theatre just fills you up. I needed my fix.”
McGregor Gets Match Fit
McGregor has sung on screen before, in Baz Luhrmann’s Moulin
Rouge, Guys and Dolls marks his musical stage debut.
He admitted that, when Grandage approached him about the
job prior to his recent round-the-world motorcycle trip,
the idea seemed “out of left field”, but after initial hesitation,
he phoned the director that same night to accept. “It’s great
to do things you haven’t done before, it’s good to test yourself.”
Asked whether he was worried about whether he may face the
same struggle as Martine McCutcheon in terms of meeting the
demands of a major musical production, McGregor said, “I
could sense this kind of panic around me” - when telling
others about the job, their reaction was, “Eight shows a
week… how’s the voice?”
In preparation, the actor has been taking private lessons
with a singing teacher and been getting “match fit” during
the rehearsal period. “Your voice gets stronger and stronger
in rehearsals, and you become increasingly aware of not damaging
your vocal chords. You’re taking care of it (your voice).” McGregor
has been avoiding loud, smoky places and straining his voice
outside of rehearsals – “it’s become second nature to me
now”, he said.
The Donmar Approach
McGregor also pointed out that, in returning to the stage,
he didn’t want to be seen as another movie star giving his
version of Hamlet or some other title role. “I was much more
interested in being in a company. That feeling is incredible,
of being on stage with a company and knowing that you can
rely on them and, hopefully, they can rely on you. It’s very
The cast, and particularly the “chemistry” between the four
principals, was also a key factor for director Grandage in
maintaining the Donmar aesthetic. “The starting point is
to hire the right actors who can sing rather than just hiring
singers and dancers who go into the roles.”
Krakowski, a Broadway stalwart and well known to TV fans
from Ally McBeal, said today that the Donmar approach
was one of the main attractions for her doing the production. “It’s
being treated as a play with music. As an actor, that’s so
much more fun than just doing what’s expected from musical
She and her co-stars were in agreement about not being intimidated
by their Guys and Dolls role predecessors, either
on screen or stage. “The memory of someone’s performance
is going to be so much better than I could ever do it and
maybe better than it even was,” said Krakowski, so actors
and directors needed to “come at it in a different way”.
Grandage’s production, she thought, would be “a very fresh
take” on “one of the great American musicals”. The director
added that he aimed to “mint it (Guys and Dolls) fresh
for a new generation of theatregoers”. As part of that, the
creative team are re-examining the original Damon Runyon
short stories on which the musical is based with the aim
of creating a “wonderfully authentic period feel”.
As for why he chose to tackle Guys and Dolls now,
when Richard Eyre’s landmark National Theatre production
remains fresh in the memories of many, Grandage said, “It’s
a great musical and, if you’re going to do a musical, you
might as well do one of the great ones.” He added, “We think
it’s time it was seen again.”
Ewan McGregor plays gambling chancer Sky Masterson, Jenna
Russell is his Salvation Army love interest Sarah Brown,
and Douglas Hodge and Jane Krakowski are, respectively, fellow
gambler Nathan Detroit and his long-suffering girlfriend
Guys and Dolls has music and lyrics by Frank Loesser,
and a book by Abe Burrows and Jo Swerlin, based on the short
stories by Damon Runyon about New York low-life in the 1940s.
Loesser’s score includes classics such as “Adelaide’s Lament”, “I’ve
Never Been in Love Before”, “Sue Me”, “Luck Be a Lady”, “Sit
Down, You’re Rockin’ the Boat” and the title song.
The “musical fable of Broadway” first reached London in
1953 when it ran for 555 performances at the Coliseum. It
was made into a 1953 Hollywood film starring Marlon Brandon,
Jean Simmons and Frank Sinatra. In 1982, Richard Eyre mounted
a multi award-winning production at the National, which was
revived in 1996. This will be the first new London production
in 23 years.
Directed by Grandage, the Donmar Warehouse’s artistic director, Guys
and Dolls will be the first Donmar musical originated
outside of its own 250-seat auditorium. It’s designed by
Christopher Oram, with choreography by Rob Ashford, musical
supervision by Jae Alexander, lighting by Howard Harrison
and sound by Terry Jardine and Chris Full. It’s produced
in the West End by the Ambassadors Theatre Group and David
Ian for Clear Channel Entertainment, in association with
the Donmar’s own in-house production team.
On Wednesday morning (April 13), the four principals of
Michael Grandage’s upcoming West End revival of Guys and
Dolls – Ewan McGregor, Jane Krakowski, Douglas Hodge
and Jenna Russell – will be meeting and greeting the press.
When he was little, so the story goes, Ewan McGregor wanted
to be Clark Gable. When other kids watched childrens
television, he found he preferred black and white movies,
his favorite being It Happened One Night with Gable
and Claudette Colbert. He even knew how to get there, because
his mothers brother, his Uncle Denis, was an actor.
Uncle Denis, who would make flying visits from London to
their home in the Scottish town of Crieff, was an inspiration;
he would arrive in their little town wearing no shoes, a
sheepskin coat and a Viva Zapata moustache, a picture of
hirsute glamour. "He was just so different," McGregor said
once. "So easy. Just easy. Free. Money didnt matter,
you know. Not like anybody else." All young Ewan had to do
was endure the tedium of school and the smallness of Crieff
and he would soon be there too, free and easy and fabulous
A few years ago, it seemed his Gable mission was all but
accomplished. Trainspotting, Danny Boyles landmark
1996 film about the Edinburgh drug scene, put director Boyle,
Cool Britannia and Ewan McGregor on the map all at the same
time. We forget, now, how hot McGregor was at that moment:
a one-man revival of the matinee idol, he was a prime object
of yearning for women and inspiration for men who suddenly
saw that even a pasty junkie with mousy hair could wow the
ladies if he smiled enough.
He was also everywhere. Journalists marvelled that McGregor
was too nice to say no to anybody, so that his voice kept
popping up in unlikely commercials and in short films that
paid nothing as well as the feature films he kept churning
out, rushing from one set to the next with barely a nights
break between them. He finished Little Voice at nine
in the evening and was on his way to the set of Rogue
Trader at six the next morning.
A couple of these films were dreadful duds - The Serpents
Kiss, Stephen Elliotts Eye of the Beholder -
but it didnt matter, given that there was always
another film about to be wheeled out of the factory. Some
made their mark: the Ewan magic charmed audiences the world
over in Brassed Off, a sweet romantic comedy about
a colliery band in North Yorkshire, while the Ewan cool
brought an edge to Velvet Goldmine, Todd Haynes pastiche
of glam rock.
There were big blockbusters, too - Moulin Rouge, Black
Hawk Down and the second-generation Star Wars films
- that showed he had some industry muscle as well as indie
integrity. More than anything, of course, he was Ewan,
in the same way that Brad is Brad and George is George.
Critics could pour cold water over his films if they liked,
but he would still be hot in a blatantly sexy way. He even
seemed to revel in being seen naked. Major stardom, Gable-style,
always seemed to be just around the corner.
Nine years on from Trainspotting, however, Ewan McGregor
is not quite the household name we expected him to be, not
a Brad or a George. Partly this is because, as an actor,
he has gone for some hard choices along with Star Wars.
He says himself that he has never had much idea about managing
his career. "Ive always thought as an actor, Im
not very clever about that, not very clear on it. My choices
arent about OK, if I choose this film, that will
let me carry on, you know." He says he goes on instinct
which, inevitably, sometimes fails him. "Whether it is a
big budget movie or a small budget movie, that isnt
part of my decision."
The unplanned diversity of the McGregor career so far is
well represented by two films opening this month: Robots,
an animated film in which McGregor voices Rodney Copperbottom,
a robot that agitates against an evil capitalist who wants
to get rid of spare parts so that Rodney and his kind would
be doomed to obsolescence, and Young Adam, a drama
set on a working barge in Glasgows Clyde canal in the 50s.
Robots is hugely enjoyable, yet another state-of-the-art
triumph in this golden age of animation, but putting a voice
to a computer graphic is only a sideshow to stardom. McGregors
performance in Young Adam, by contrast, has been described
as the best of his career so far, but the film is far too
bleakly pessimistic to please the masses.
Young Adam is adapted by first-time director David
Mackenzie from a novel by Alexander Trocchi, Scotlands
answer to the Beat novelists. McGregor plays Joe, a barge
hand whom we meet at the point where he sets his cap at the
captains drab, sour wife, played with a subtle sympathy
by Tilda Swinton. Gradually we see what has led up to this
risky, seemingly random choice: another woman, a tormented
relationship, a messy split, a death for which an innocent
man is blamed and put on trial.
This is certainly not Gable material. Even as junkie Renton
or the slippery currency trader Nick Leeson, McGregor has
always been likeable; cheeky, cheery Ewan never plays villains.
Joe in Young Adam is different. There is not much
good in him. Again, we see McGregor in all his naked glory;
there is plenty of sex in this story, but most of it is cold
or humiliating. "In a sort of arrogant, nihilistic way," McGregor
says, "he just gives up on f---ing everything … on any
sense of responsibility to anybody or anything. I dont
think that theres any question that theres any
hope for him."
Young Adam is the first film McGregor has done where
he left his family at home in London while he worked, even
though he was only up in Glasgow. He married young, at 23,
to Ève, a French production designer, and his wife
and children have travelled with him to locations ever since,
including to Australia for Moulin Rouge. He has always
thought it was more important that they be together than
that his elder daughter go to the same school all the time.
But not this time. "It would have been very difficult to
be around them. Because I was very solitary making this.
I didnt go out - hardly at all. I went to work, I played
the scenes, went home, watched movies or just went to sleep.
But I spent an awful lot of time on my own. And it was good.
For the first time I think I couldnt have gone home
at night. I was a little weird, having to be that black-minded
character all day."
He had wanted to return to a small film, he says. "Film-making
is like a series of problems that need to be solved," he
says. "And the excitement, the adrenaline that you get from
making a small film is that you all have to pull together.
You finish and you feel like youre walking away from
your family. I love that." Within two days, however, he was
back in Hollywood for Down with Love, a spoof version
of a Doris Day and Rock Hudson romantic comedy with Renée
Zellweger. Fortunately, he is famous for his lack of preparation;
he read no Jane Austen before making Emma, no James
Joyce before auditioning for Nora, and reputedly warmed
up for his laser fights in Phantom Menace with a few
beers. He just walks in and starts work in front of the camera.
But he does have a version of preparation, he has come to
realise, that takes the form of a rising sense of panic in
the week or so before he makes a film that, this time, he
will not pull it off. "More and more, I realise that this
is part of what happens to me. When I got to LA and started
rehearsing Down with Love, I thought this was the
one I wasnt going to be able to do. Coming out of playing
this introspective, hopeless figure in Scotland to suddenly
being in Hollywood doing a Cary Grant part - its a
big leap. But its more obvious to me that thats
part, now, of my deal, because it was the same when I started Young
Adam. Ive accepted that is the way it is and almost
enjoy it in a sick sort of way."
No one has ever got to the bottom of what drives Ewan McGregor
so hard: he certainly seems a happy man. Only his dreams
show signs of an inevitable exhaustion. They are typical
actors dreams, he says, drawn from a common pool of
fears and stresses. "When Ive been involved in really
hard shoots - six days a week and full-on hours," he said
a few years ago, "then very often theres a kind of
half-awake, half-asleep thing where the crew are all in your
bedroom, standing around, filming you in the bed, asking
you to move around. Ive experienced this, where Ive
been moving over in my bed to be in the right position. And
youre like, `Wait a minute, Im in bed, you should
all … this is my time, surely? You shouldnt be
filming me in my f---ing bed! And then they all disappear."
The Star Wars series has been especially gruelling.
McGregor decided to do Star Wars because he had grown
up loving those films, but he has never made any secret of
how little he has enjoyed playing his best-known character,
the young Obi-Wan Kenobi. "I find the process very difficult," he
says. "The challenge there is to be believable at all when
you are surrounded by nothing." Just before he shot his third, Revenge
of the Sith, he was wondering how he could make it bearable
now that he knew exactly what to expect. "I will try to make
it more fun for myself. There has got to be a way for it
not to be as tedious as it is. Or maybe theres not."
If there is one truly remarkable thing about Ewan McGregor
as a star, it is this frankness. Nobody in Hollywood talks
like this, especially about large and remunerative franchises
such as Star Wars. But McGregor, as many journalists over
the years have noted gratefully, does not seem to understand
discretion; he could always be relied upon for some juicy
soundbites. He is also frightened of being interviewed and,
for the first few years after Trainspotting, would
contrive to turn interviews into convivial drinking sessions
that could go on for most of the afternoon. Drunk, he would
start dishing the dirt on almost anyone.
Not that he has been inclined to mince words when sober,
either. Journalists soon felt the rough side of genial Ewans
tongue when they asked about the rumours of an on-set affair
with Nicole Kidman during the making of Moulin Rouge. "I
havent f---ed Nicole," he told a Cannes press conference
in a fury. "I am a married man. I havent been personally
involved with all my leading ladies. It would maybe be somewhat
glamorous if I had been, but I have not."
At 34, he is generally calmer than he once was, more inclined
to read a book after a days shooting than go off carousing
into the night. He shows no signs of being afraid of reporters
now either, although he still says he never reads the resulting
articles and even hates doing the "behind-the-scenes" interviews
for DVD extras. "Its strange to explain off camera
what you have done in this or that scene. How redundant,
like an artist explaining his painting. As much as I like
watching movies Ive been in, I cant watch myself
in interviews." Or any other actor, for that matter. "People
shouldnt know how we do it."
But the quieter Ewan still sings like a bird.
It was, of course, no secret that he was deeply wounded
when Danny Boyle cast Leonardo di Caprio in The Beach,
an adaptation of Alex Garlands hit novel shot, with
much fanfare and at great expense, in Thailand. McGregor
had starred in all three of Boyles films - Shallow
Grave, Trainspotting and A Life Less Ordinary -
and had always been a linchpin in The Beach project.
Just before they announced that Leonardo di Caprio would
be playing the lead, sunny-souled Ewan was telling everyone
how much he was looking forward to going to Thailand and
working with Boyle again.
Just last week, says a journalist after the first screening
of Young Adam in Cannes, Boyle was saying that he
and Ewan were back on friendly terms. "Yeah, well, I havent
seen him," says McGregor sharply. "I bumped into him in a
restaurant. I have no relationship with him at all. I dont
know whether that is friendly terms. Ive never heard
from him, I dont speak to him on the telephone or see
him, so …" he drifts off and starts his infectious chuckle. "Theres
nothing very friendly about that, is there?"
It was the personal rejection that hurt, of course, but
being dropped from The Beach was also a tilt at McGregors
professional identity. He has always championed a British
film industry and stressed his role within it. When Young
Adams initial backers pulled out just before production
began, leaving the film in the lurch, McGregor took it upon
himself to approach studio heads in Hollywood for help.
The money eventually came from Europe, but he was angry
that there was so little support within Britain for a serious
Scottish film with some strong names - himself, Tilda Swinton
and Peter Mullan - attached to it. He and his old mates had
opened the door to a new kind of British filmmaking with Trainspotting,
he says, but it seemed to have closed gently behind them. "And
I was personally upset by that, because Ive only ever
considered myself a British actor and Ive always brought
it home and still live here and I still want to work here."
The fact is, however, that McGregor has not been out of
a job since before he left drama school, when he was cast
as the second lead in Dennis Potters television play Lipstick
on Your Collar. By his own lights he is successful, even
if he is something short of Clark Gable. "If you are satisfying
yourself, that is as good as it gets," he says. "That sounds
like some kind of wankers statement, doesnt it?" But
it isnt a competition: you can never be the best, but
you can find yourself in a position where you can make choices
without compromising yourself and still put away a large
wad in the bank. "Im all good, you know," he says,
grinning his Ewan grin. And you know, because its Ewan
McGregor, that he means it.
Britains feathered flying heroes of World War II are
to be permanently remembered in Trafalgar Square by filling
the much-debated empty plinth.
A fifteen-foot iron-cast of a pigeon will be erected in
memory of thirty-two birds, who in 1945 were awarded the
coveted Dicken Medal, the animal VC, after defying
German falcons to deliver messages to the French Resistance.
The Pigeon on the Plinth project is a result of a campaign
by the Pigeon Action Group (PAG), which has relentlessly
campaigned to have the role of the Royal Homing Pigeon Service,
honoured in the capital.
Major Legge-Puller, PAG chairman, said: "Its wonderful
news that these fine fighting heroes will stand wing-to-shoulder
in Trafalgar Square with the great Lord Nelson."
The statue, which will cost the taxpayer an estimated £240,00,
received the full support of London MPs at a late night sitting
in the House of Commons on Thursday. It finally brings to
an end the debate over what should fill the squares
north-west plinth, which has already seen designs submitted
of a car covered with bird droppings and a pigeon hotel.
Actor Ewan McGregor, star of animated film Valiant, which
celebrates the winged heroes, has been asked to unveil
the statue once it is completed, but Mayor Ken Livingstone
is not expected to attend. Mr Livingstone outraged PAG
two years ago, when he hired a Harris hawk at a cost of £106,000
to cull Trafalgar Squares 5,000 pigeons after branding
them a health hazard.
The London-based designers of the artwork have assured Mr
Livingstone that the statue does not come complete with giant
Last Updated: 10:40 UK, Wednesday March 23, 2005
Ewan McGregor has been a busy boy. The Scottish actors
voice is in cinemas at the moment in two animated flicks.
In Valiant he provides the vocals for a pigeon, an
unlikely hero who brings secret messages to Britain from
France during World War II.
Halle Berry, Robin Williams and Jim Broadbent join Ewan
in the cast of Robots. Its also a childrens
movie, set in a universe populated by mechanical beings.
McGregor is the voice of an idealistic android, Rodney Copperbottom,
a young inventor who dreams of making the world a better
Q: Did you choose to do these animations in order to
have an easier time of it for a bit and be of-screen?
A: It was appealing to make an animation for my kids. Ive
got two girls and it was nice to do a film for them. Then,
the stories were also very good. Thirdly, with Valiant it
was a British animation and I wanted to be a part of it.
Q: Was part of the appeal that you could just roll out
of bed and go to work?
A: There was that, too! Its actually easier to portray
a character and tell their story when youre in costume,
on location and being shot. When youre just doing the
voice, its very difficult.
Q: Ricky Gervais, who provides the voice for Bugsy in Valiant,
said he felt utterly awkward but that you were a natural.
A: I just started before he did. I think Id been in
for a couple of hours and then Ricky arrived for us to do
the scene together. You normally dont meet the other
actors when you do animation at all. Id already got
in to the swing of things. Im sure he was putting himself
Q: So have your kids seen the films? What did they
A: Theyve seen Robots and liked it a lot. My
eldest is nine; my little one is three. I dont think
my little one really had any idea. I kept going, "Thats
me, thats my voice," and she was all "Shut
up!" My eldest, after 10 minutes, stopped even thinking
about it and, I think, got sucked into the film.
Q: Theres a lot of humour in Robots - did
that jump out of the page when you first read the script?
A: Probably not as much as when youre watching the
film. Thats mainly because of Robin Williams, who ad
libs like a dynamo. You just stand him in front of a microphone
and hes off. I think most of his dialogue in the movie
is stuff he came up with off the top of his head.
Q: Isnt that strange for you, when you come to
see the final cut and loads of it is different?
A: Yeah, you just have to concentrate on your part. I would
read all my scenes with the director, Chris, so I wasnt
just doing lines at a time. It goes together seamlessly,
somehow. Its kind of like magic - I dont really
know how it works.
Q: The films youve done over the years have been
so diverse, from Trainspotting to Moulin Rouge! to Star
Wars, and now animation. Do you purposefully look for
A: Its not by accident that they are all different.
Im looking for stuff I havent done before. I
just keep a really open mind about it. Sometimes you can
make a good movie from a mediocre script. I dont have
a game plan, other than doing stuff that makes me happy.
Q: So whats next, then?
A: Im going into theatre, doing Guys And Dolls.
We open in June and Im in that for the rest of the
Q: Does it daunt you, going back into live theatre after
A: Yes, its terrifying but its so healthy for
actors to be in theatre - its really good for us. The
process is very difficult. On stage, you have to tell the
whole story and I think its good for us to work together
far more. Theres something incredibly thrilling about
that. Its brilliant and I miss it a lot. I miss the
rehearsal room a lot too, so the idea of being in a rehearsal
with a bunch of actors is fantastic. I cant wait, really.
Long Way Round star Charley Boorman attended both days of
the MCN Scottish Motorcycle Show on March 12-13, and took
time out to thank thousands of riders across the UK for your
help in raising £200,000 for UNICEF.
Download the video clip "Charley says thanks" on the MCN
site (link below) for his message to you.
Sales of the book and dvd of the Long Way Round series
have contributed to the fund. Charley was mobbed on the BMW
stand with requests to sign copies.
He also helped raise even more for UNICEF at the show by
taking part in charity minimoto races.
Take a look at the other video clips youll find on
the site to see how he got on.
Ewan was on the British childrens show Blue Peter today.
The hosts asked Ewan if hed ever won a Blue Peter
badge before and he said hed had. When he was younger
he was watching the show when they were about to make birdcake
for winter. When they said now go and get a pen and
paper, he did but when he came back theyd already
made it! Ewan said he didnt know whether it was because
they made it too fast or he was too slow getting the pen
and paper. He made his own bird cake then sent them the recipe
and they gave him a badge!
Thanks to Poopjo for the report and Fuumin for
It was a case of robots to real life tonight as actors Ewan McGregor
and co-star Jim Broadbent went to the premiere of their new film Robots.
The animated childrens’ movie, set in a universe populated by mechanical
beings, features the voices of the 34-year-old Star Wars actor,
with Jim Broadbent, Robin Williams and other stars.
McGregor is the voice of an idealistic android, Rodney Copperbottom,
a young inventor who dreams of making the world a better place.
The comedy, from the makers of the hit movie Ice Age, also stars
Halle Berry, as the voice of Cappy, the love interest of McGregor’s character.
Tonight McGregor, who arrived at the London premiere in a blue tartan
jacket with a Blue Peter badge pinned to it, said: “I like animated
movies but I find them quite hard to do.
“I remember doing radio and I always found it very difficult for some
reason, much harder than anything else.
“It’s the same with animation. You have to be larger than life or it
“You have to go overboard and that’s against the grain for me.”
The Trainspotting star, who is also in two other animated movies, Valiant and Gnomeo
and Juliet, said Robots appealed to him because it had an
The actor, wearing the Blue Peter badge from an earlier appearance
on the programme, said the badge was “an honour” for him.
“I got a gold one today for being a Unicef ambassador but didn’t wear
it in case I lost it.
Broadbent, who provides the voice of an evil mother Madame Gasket in
the film, joked that he took his inspiration from Margaret Thatcher,
saying: “The Prime Minister we had once had something to do with it.”
He said of the recording process: “You just have to leave your own embarrassment
at the door and shout and scream and hope it looks alright on screen.
“I think the kids are going to like it. It certainly works for me.”
Funny man Robin Williams, Mel Brooks – creator of smash hit musical The
Producers – and Bullets Over Broadway Dianne Wiest – also
provided the voices.
The animated movie has just opened at the top of the US box office chart,
taking .5m (€27.3m) on its first weekend.
Other stars at the premiere tonight included ex-Big Brother housemate
Lisa I’Anson, singer Melanie Blatt and DJ Jono Coleman.
for Ewan to appear in a special celebrity episode of the
Archers: Victoria goes to Ambridge
Victoria Wood, a devoted Archers fan, has written a series
of mini-episodes ending with a starring role for a celebrity
- and you get the chance to vote for who gets that role.
The four famous Archers fans taking part are: Ewan MacGregor,
Stephen Fry, Liza Tarbuck and Sir Ian McKellen. They have
all put themselves up for the public vote in a bid to perform
the starring role (the rest will have to be content with
a line or two). Over the week listeners will hear the celebs
argue their cases on the Today programme.
You can listen to Ewan plead for a chance to appear in the
episode and find out how to vote for him by going to The
Archers Red Nose Day page.
Wars actor Ewan McGregor has been turned into a robot
for his latest big screen role. He is the voice of Rodney
Copperbottom in the animated adventure Robots. The
superstar Scot graced the red carpet with fellow superstars
Halle Berry and Robin Williams at the movies premiere
Robots tells the story of Rodney Copperbottom voiced
of course by Ewan McGregor, a genius inventor who dreams
of making the world a better place and meeting his idol,
master inventor Big Weld played by Mel Brooks. On his journey
to find Weld, Copperbottom is seduced by a character played
by Halle Berry, a beautiful business robot.
Rodney also has run-ins with a group of misfit robots called
the Rusties led by Fender - brought to life by Robin Williams.
Robin Williams said: "Hes just basically a skid robot-
a man who lives hand to foot, working his way through trying
to make ends meet. Living on the street - a rusty. Oh girl,
shes going, we tried that voice too."
While Williams is an old pro at voicing animated characters, Robots marks
the first time McGregor has voiced an animated film.
Ewan McGregor said: "Its a really nice script. Its
a really nice story. It really is a cracking film. I went
to see it two weeks ago with my kids and my wife and I forgot
very quickly that it was me doing the voice and I got really
into the film. When you record it, you record lots of different
versions of the scenes. I didnt know which way the
story was going to go. There was three different endings
that we recorded. It was a big as surprise to me as anyone
McGregors co-star, Halle Berry, says she had a great
time working on the film even though she did not work directly
with her co-stars.
She said: "I was always alone with a mic and a picture of
my character. Ive never worked that way before. Hats
off to Robin who do this effortlessly and brilliantly. It
really is a craft and a talent," Berry said.
The movie has already won rave reviews from critics in America
but you can judge the film for yourself when it is released
in the UK on March 18.
There is also an article (including video) about a new
series of half-hour films commissioned by Scottish TV and
Scottish Screen thats co-produced by Ewans
mum, Carol McGregor, who is also involved in audio description
of films for the visually impaired.
the prequel trilogy, Ewan McGregor stepped in to fill the
role of a younger Kenobi. In Episodes I through III, audiences
have watched Obi-Wan mature from a fresh-faced Padawan learner
to a seasoned General in the Clone Wars. With Revenge of
the Sith, McGregor comes closest to the Kenobi that Guinness
portrayed. In doing, McGregor -- a life-long Star Wars fan
-- completes his journey as the greatest Jedi Knight of the
movies has a 7-minute-long video called "Self Discovery" where
director Michael Bay and actors Sean Bean and Ewan McGregor
discuss the morality of cloning as well as some dangerous
scenes they filmed.
Inside this weeks Mail on Sunday we have an amazing
CDROM packed full of goodies from this years most anticipated
animated feature, "Robots". On the disc, youll find
a trailer, a featurette and three Robots Games for your PC.
Youll also find six featurettes from the smash hit
movie "Ice Age".
Twentieth Century Fox, Blue Sky Studios and Academy Award
winning director Chris Wedge have created the visually spectacular
world of Robots, a world filled entirely with whimsical robots.
Like Ice Age, the movie is packed with comedy, incredible
visuals and a lot of heart.
Rodney Copperbottom, voiced by Ewan McGregor, is a small
town robot who has a gift for inventing things and a hope
of moving beyond his quaint surroundings but he has dreams
of something greater. Armed with his unique talent for inventing,
Rodney embarks on a journey to Robot City to meet his idol,
the majestic inventor Bigweld, voiced by Mel Brooks. An iconic
figure in all of Robot City, Bigweld has spent a lifetime
creating things to make the lives of robots better.
Once in Robot City, Rodney finds that things are not quite
as he expected, and as he tries to navigate his way around
this new city, Rodney befriends the Rusties, a ragtag group
of street-smart bots who know the ropes. One of the Rusties,
Fender (voiced by Robin Williams), immediately becomes Rodneys
best friend and even lets his spunky kid sister Piper (voiced
by Amanda Bynes) tag along.
Rodney also meets Cappy (voiced by Halle Berry), an executive
at Big Weld Industries who takes an instant liking to Rodney.
Along their adventures, Rodney and his new friends encounter
unsavoury characters who try to derail Rodneys plans
to find Bigweld and save Robot City. The result is a timeless,
comedic tale that pushes the boundaries of animation while
introducing characters rich with humour and soul, and a heart-warming
story that proves that a robot can shine no matter what he
is made of.
BE ONE OF THE FIRST TO SEE ROBOTS - AT THE UK PREMIERE -
exclusive to www.mailonsunday.co.uk users.
We have 4 tickets to give away to a lucky winner who will
go to the London Premiere of Robots with Mel Blatt who features
on the movies soundtrack - youll also be able
to go to the star-studded After-Show party!
For your chance to win, simply visit the site (link at the
bottom of this article) and find the link in the article
in this spot!
YOUR FREE CDROM.
To play your CDROM, simply place it in your PC and it will
start automatically. You can choose to watch the trailers
and featurettes or play games. For more information, please
open the README file on the CDROM. If you have any queries
regarding the installation of the games, you can call our
special hotline on 0800 000000 - calls are free, and the
lines are open from 9am to 5pm. Or CLICK
HERE for instant online help.
This CD-ROM will run on Windows 98, 98SE, ME, 2000, and
XP with a screen resolution of 800 x 600 or higher. Internet
Explorer 5 or greater with an active internet connection
is needed if you want to use the weblinks. Apple Quicktime
is needed and is supplied with this CD-ROM.
Please visit the site (link at the end of this article)
for full details about minimum requirements and other pertinent
Terms and Conditions
Open to registered users of www.mailonsunday.co.uk. No purchase
necessary, entries may be sent by email to the address above.
The draw closes at 6pm 7 March 2005. Winners will be notified
by email. Open to UK residents aged 16 or over, although
children under 16 may attend the premiere. Travel, accommodation
and all other out of pocket expenses are the responsibility
of the winner. The winners details will be published
on www.mailonsunday.co.uk after the draw closes. Robots TM & (c)
2005 Twentieth Century Fox. All rights reserved.
From Zero to Hero music
video features scenes from Robot
Singer Sarah Connor has a video from her song From Zero
to Hero on her official website. It features the singer
seamlessly integrated in numerous scenes from Robots.
Oddly, that song is not featured on the soundtrack to the
Go to the Sarah
Connor official website, click on "English", then "Multimedia" and
then "Video". Turn off the background music by clicking
on "Stop Music" (on the lower right) and finally, click
on the link to watch the video.
Robots: The IMAX Experience
Gears Up to Open March 11th!
Thursday March 3, 7:00 am ET
New CGI Film From the Makers of Ice Age is Riveting in IMAXTickets
are on Sale Now in Select IMAX(R) Theatres
LOS ANGELES, March 3 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- 20th Century
Fox will release Robots: The IMAX Experience in select
IMAX theatres around the world beginning Friday, March 11th.
From the makers of the box office hit Ice Age, Robots has
been digitally re-mastered (IMAX DMR®) into the unparalleled
image and sound quality of The IMAX Experience®. Audiences
will be Riveted in IMAX as they watch Robots presented
on a screen up to eight stories tall with 12,000 watts of
digital surround sound.
Robots is directed by Academy Award® winner Chris
Wedge, and boasts an all-star cast of contributing voices,
including Ewan McGregor, Halle Berry, Mel Brooks, Greg Kinnear,
Drew Carey, Jim Broadbent, Amanda Bynes and Robin Williams.
Moviegoers will accompany Rodney Copperbottom (McGregor)
on his journey to Robot City to meet his idol, the majestic
inventor Bigweld (Brooks). Once there, Rodney finds that
things are not quite as he expected, and his quest may be
a lot harder than he imagined.
Julian Levin, Executive Vice President of Twentieth Century
Fox added, "We are delighted to be working with IMAX
on this project. The release of Robots in IMAX theaters
will mark Foxs first picture to be released day and
date on IMAX and conventional 35mm screens utilizing IMAXs
unique DMR process. Each of the amazing and heartwarming
characters in Robots will become larger than
life on the big screen and deliver audiences a truly
remarkable movie going experience."
Robots: The IMAX Experience is the first IMAX DMR
film to be released during the Spring film season, and it
is the second IMAX DMR film Fox has distributed to IMAX theatres.
With The IMAX Experience, moviegoers will experience this
animated adventure in a whole new way. In fact, once the
IMAX DMR process is complete, the Robots: The IMAX
Experience film format will be 10 times larger than its original,
enhancing audiences peripheral view. The sheer size, combined
with the IMAX projection technology and remarkable sound
system, will provide IMAX moviegoers with an immersive, extraordinary
Robots: The IMAX Experience will be playing at the
following IMAX theatres:
Cathedral City - Desert IMAX Theatre
Dublin -- Regal Hacienda Crossings IMAX
Irvine -- Edwards Irvine Spectrum IMAX
Los Angeles -- IMAX Theatre at The Bridge: cinema de lux
Los Angeles -- Universal CityWalk IMAX Theatre
Ontario -- Edwards Ontario Palace IMAX
San Francisco -- Loews IMAX Theatre at Metreon
San Jose - Hackworth IMAX DOME Theater, The Tech Museum of Innovation
Santa Clarita -- Edwards Valencia IMAX Colorado
Colorado Springs - Cinemark IMAX Theatre at Cinemark Carefree Circle
Denver -- UA Colorado Center IMAX Theatre Connecticut
Hartford - IMAX Theatre at Showcase Cinemas Buckland Hills Florida
Tampa -- Regal Channelside Cinemas IMAX Georgia
Atlanta -- Regal Mall of Georgia IMAX Idaho
Boise -- Edwards Boise Stadium IMAX Iowa
Cedar Rapids - McLeod/Busse IMAX Dome Theatre Illinois
Chicago -- Navy Pier IMAX Theatre
Lincolnshire -- Regal Lincolnshire IMAX
Woodridge -- Cinemark IMAX Theatre at Seven Bridges Indiana
Evansville -- Showplace Cinemas IMAX Theatre Kentucky
Louisville - IMAX Theatre at Showcase Cinemas Stonybrook Massachusetts
Reading - Comcast IMAX 3D Theater at Jordans Furniture
Natick -- Comcast IMAX 3D Theater at Jordans Furniture Michigan
Dearborn - The Henry Ford IMAX Theatre
Grand Rapids -- IMAX Theatre at Celebration! Cinema
Lansing -- IMAX Theatre Celebration! Cinema Minnesota
Apple Valley -- Imation IMAX Theatre at the Minnesota Zoo Nevada
Las Vegas -- Brenden IMAX Theatre at the Palms Casino Resort New Jersey
Atlantic City -- IMAX Theatre at Tropicana New York
Buffalo -- Regal Transit Center IMAX
New Rochelle -- Regal New Roc City IMAX
New York -- Loews IMAX Theatre, Lincoln Square
Rochester -- Cinemark IMAX Theatre at Tinseltown USA
West Nyack -- IMAX Theatre at Palisades Center
White Plains - IMAX Theatre at City Center: Cinema de lux North Carolina
Raleigh -- IMAX Theatre at Exploris Ohio
Cincinnati - IMAX Theatre at Showcase Cinemas Springdale Oklahoma
Tulsa -- Cinemark IMAX Theatre at The Tulsa Pennsylvania
King of Prussia -- UA King of Prussia Stadium IMAX
Pittsburgh -- Rangos OMNIMAX Theater at Carnegie Science Center South Carolina
Charleston -- The Charleston IMAX Theatre at Aquarium Wharf Tennessee
Nashville -- Regal Opry Mills IMAX Texas
Dallas -- Cinemark IMAX Theatre at Cinemark 17
Houston -- Edwards Houston Marq*e IMAX
San Antonio -- IMAX Theatre San Antonio Rivercenter Virginia Hampton -- Riverside 3D IMAX Theater at the Virginia Air & Space
Seattle -- Pacific Science Centers Boeing IMAX Theater
Spokane - Riverfront Park IMAX Theatre
Calgary -- Famous Players IMAX Theatre, Paramount Chinook
Edmonton -- Famous Players IMAX Theatre, SilverCity West Edmonton Mall British Columbia
Langley -- Famous Players IMAX Theatre, Colossus Langley
Richmond -- Famous Players IMAX Theatre, SilverCity Riverport Nova Scotia
Halifax -- Empire IMAX Theatre Ontario
Brampton - Famous Players IMAX Theatre, Silver City
Mississauga -- Famous Players IMAX Theatre, Coliseum Mississauga
Toronto -- Famous Players IMAX Theatre, Paramount Toronto
Woodbridge -- Famous Players IMAX Theatre, Colossus Woodbridge Quebec
Montreal -- Famous Players IMAX Theatre, Paramount Montreal
Melbourne - IMAX Melbourne
Sydney - LG IMAX Theatre India
Hyderabad - Prasads IMAX Theatre
Mumbai -- IMAX Adlabs Theatre Malaysia
Kuala Lumpur - IMAX Theatre, Berjaya Times Square Thailand
Bangkok -- Panasonic IMAX Theatre Taiwan
Taipei - Warner Village Miramar IMAX Theatre
Paris - Europalaces IMAX Theatre Russia
Moscow -- Nescafe IMAX Theatre Netherlands
Amsterdam - Pathe Arena Spain
Oviedo - IMAX Yelmo Cineplex, Los Prados Slovakia
Bratislava - Orange IMAX Bratislava United Kingdom
Bristol -- IMAX Theatre At-Bristol
London - bfi London IMAX Cinema
London - Science Museum IMAX Cinema
Manchester - Manchester IMAX The Printworks
Check local listings or IMAX.com for opening dates and showtimes.
About IMAX Corporation
Founded in 1967, IMAX Corporation is one of the worlds
leading entertainment technology companies. IMAXs businesses
include the creation and delivery of the worlds best
cinematic presentations using proprietary IMAX and IMAX® 3D
technology, and the development of the highest quality digital
production and presentation. IMAX has developed revolutionary
technology called IMAX DMR (Digital Re-mastering) that makes
it possible for virtually any 35mm film to be transformed
into the unparalleled image and sound quality of The IMAX
Experience. The IMAX brand is recognized throughout the world
for extraordinary and immersive family entertainment experiences.
As of September 30, 2004, there were more than 235 IMAX theatres
operating in 35 countries.
IMAX®, IMAX® 3D, IMAX DMR® and The IMAX Experience® are
trademarks of IMAX Corporation. More information can be found
About Twentieth Century Fox
Twentieth Century Fox is a unit of Fox Filmed Entertainment,
a unit of Fox Entertainment Group.
The much anticipated full release trailer for Star Wars:
Episode III Revenge of the Sith is on its way. Consisting
of over two minutes of new footage from the movie, the
full trailer will soon appear on television, on starwars.com
and in theaters.
First, on Thursday, March 10th at 9 p.m., be sure
to tune in to FOX to catch an all new episode of The O.C. During
the broadcast, FOX will air the Episode III trailer.
The trailer will debut online for members of starwars.com
Hyperspace after the broadcast (around 9:00 p.m. Pacific
time). 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 at this
time as well.
To see the Episode III trailer on the big screen,
head out to movie theaters starting March 11th, with the
debut of the new animated comedy, Robots. Featuring
the voices of Ewan McGregor, Halle Berry, Greg Kinnear, Mel
Brooks and Robin Williams, Robots is an animated family
film from the people who brought you Ice Age, the
film that debuted the Episode II trailer in theaters.
Regular visitors to starwars.com will be able to see the
trailer online starting on March 14th. A large size version
of the trailer will soon be made available only to Hyperspace
members after that date.
So make a date to watch The O.C., make sure youre
subscribed to starwars.com Hyperspace, and head on out to
see Robots at a theater near you to make sure you
catch as much of the Episode III trailer as you can.
Full Casting Confirmed for McGregor’s Guys & Dolls
28th February 2005 - Whats on Stage News
By Terri Paddock
casting has now been confirmed for Michael Grandage’s much-anticipated
West End revival of Frank Loesser’s 1950 Broadway classic Guys
and Dolls, which opens at the West End’s Piccadilly Theatre
on 1 June 2005 (previews from 19 May).
As previously announced (See News,
8 Nov 2004), Ewan McGregor makes his West End musical debut
as gambling chancer Sky Masterson, while the other principals
are Jenna Russell as his Salvation Army love interest Sarah
Brown (See News, 19 Jan 2005), and Douglas Hodge and Ally
McBeal’s Jane Krakowski as fellow gambler Nathan Detroit
and his long-suffering girlfriend Miss Adelaide (See News,
11 Jan 2005).
The cast also features Martyn Ellis (as Nicely Nicely Johnson),
Niall Buggy (Arvide), Gaye Brown (General Cartwright) and
Sevan Stephan (Big Jule). Also in the cast are Norman Bowman,
Patrick Brennan, Lyndsey Britton, Darren Carnell, Ben Clare,
Matthew Cole, Cory English, Liz Cooper Gee, Charlotte Gorton,
Zoe Hardman, Madeleine Harland, Nicola Keen, Graham MacDuff,
Andrew Playfoot, Kelly Price, Jo Servi, Spencer Soloman,
Summer Strallen, Suzanne Toase and Sebastian Torkia.
Guys and Dolls has music and lyrics by Frank Loesser,
and a book by Abe Burrows and Jo Swerlin, based on the short
stories by Damon Runyon about New York low-life in the 1940s.
Loesser’s score includes classics such as “Adelaide’s Lament”, “I’ve
Never Been in Love Before”, “Sue Me”, “Luck Be a Lady”, “Sit
Down, You’re Rockin’ the Boat” and the title song.
The “musical fable of Broadway” first reached London in
1953 when it ran for 555 performances at the Coliseum. It
was made into a 1953 Hollywood film starring Marlon Brandon,
Jean Simmons and Frank Sinatra. In 1982, Richard Eyre mounted
a multi award-winning production at the National, which was
revived in 1996. This will be the first new London production
in 23 years.
Directed by Grandage, the Donmar Warehouse’s artistic director, Guys
and Dolls will be the first Donmar musical originated
outside of its own 250-seat auditorium (See News,
17 Jun 2004). It’s designed by Christopher Oram, with choreography
by Rob Ashford, musical supervision by Jae Alexander, lighting
by Howard Harrison and sound by Terry Jardine and Chris
Full. It’s produced in the West End by the Ambassador Theatre
Group and David Ian for Clear Channel Entertainment, in
association with the Donmar’s own in-house production team.
that Jodie Fosters directing project, Flora Plum,
is dead for the second time.
The first time was because Russell Crowe hurt his shoulder.
Now the circus movie has been cancelled, Foster said, "because
we lost the cast. But think when it is made: Ill be
able to tell the story of how it took ten years."
The film would have starred Ewan McGregor as a circus freak
and Claire Danes as Flora Plum, a penniless girl who joins
the circus. Meryl Streep was also set to star.
Based on a Steven Rogers script, Plum has been at
least seven years in the works, with Barry Mendel first committing
to produce back in 1997.
Foster next stars in Touchstone thriller Flightplan.
Set on a world populated entirely by robots, this is the story of a young genius,
Rodney (Ewan McGregor), who wants to make robots capable of making the world
a better place, but he finds his dream challenged by a corporate tyrant and
a master inventor, Big Weld (Mel Brooks), while also being seduced by a sexy
corporate robot, Cappy (Halle Berry).
Ewan McGregor, Halle Berry, Robin Williams, Mel Brooks, Greg Kinnear
Saturday, March 5th at 10 a.m.
Please arrive early! Theatre is overbooked to ensure a full
house. Seats are not guaranteed, are limited to theatre
capacity and are first-come, first-served. Everyone entering
the theatre must have a ticket. Please be advised that
all bags and/or purses are subject to search. Absolutely
no cameras or recording device of any kind will be allowed
in the theater. Theater will be subject to security surveillance.
PG for some brief language and suggestive humor.
20th Century Fox is bringing director Chris Wedges
animated Robots to theaters on March 11th, and ComingSoon.net
has your first look at new images from the anticipated film
as well as news on the first teaser trailer for the studios
Ice Age 2: The Meltdown.
In Robots youll meet memorable bots Rodney Copperbottom
(Ewan McGregor), a young genius inventor who dreams of making
the world a better place; Cappy (Halle Berry), a beautiful
executive bot with whom Rodney is instantly smitten;
the nefarious corporate tyrant Ratchet (Greg Kinnear) who
locks horns with Rodney; Bigweld (Mel Brooks), a master inventor
who has lost his way; and a group of misfit ‘bots known as
the Rusties, led by Fender (Robin Williams) and Piper Pinwheeler
To view the pictures, just click on the image below:
In related news, USA
Today has revealed that audiences will get to see Scrat
wreak prehistoric havoc once more in the Ice Age 2: The
Meltdown teaser trailer which will debut in theaters with
The twitchy rodent, again voiced by Wedge, will face more
natural disasters in the 1½-minute preview. "We call it a
short short," says Wedge, director of the original Ice Age. "Its
hard to run out of material for that guy. He is just loose,
loose, loose all the way."
The voices of Denis Leary, John Leguizamo, and Ray Romano
return for the sequel coming on March 31, 2006.
Charley Long Way Round Boorman is on tour again
- this time its a whistle-stop promo trip around UK
BMW dealerships, taking in the MCN Scottish Motorcycle Show.
And the tour starts on Friday - Feb 25.
Boorman will be talking about his experiences on the round-the-world
trip he made with fellow actor Ewan McGregor. They each rode
Their travels - broadcast as a SKY TV series - have since
been made into a book, CD and best-selling DVD (which has
recently gone platinum).
The promotion starts at the new BMW Bristol Motorrad dealership
on Friday 25 February.
Each BMW Motorrad dealership evening event will include
a special screening of edited highlights of Long Way Round
footage; a question and answer session, and an autograph
opportunity with Charley Boorman.
Charley will also appear on the BMW stand at the Dublin
Motorcycle and Scooter Show, and the MCN Scottish Motorcycle
Show at the beginning of March for DVD and book signings,
photograph opportunities, and much more.
To secure tickets, please contact the following venues.
Friday 25 February
An evening with Charley Boorman at Bristol Motorrad (from 18.00)
BMW Bristol Motorrad, 379-385 Bath Road, Brislington, Avon, BSA 3EU
Tel: 07968 306027
Saturday 26 February
Open Day with personal appearance by Charley Boorman at 10:00-15:00
Friday 4 – Sunday 6 March
Open days with personal appearances by Charley Boorman at the Dublin Motorcycle
and Scooter Show at: 16:30-18:00, Saturday: 16:00-17:30, Sunday: 15:30-17:00
Dublin Motorcycle and Scooter Show, Royal Dublin Society (RDS), Ballsbridge,
Dublin, Republic of Ireland
Monday 7 March
An evening with Charley Boorman at Joe Duffy Motorrad (from 19:00)
Joe Duffy Motorrad, Exit 5, M50, North Road, Dublin 11
Tel: 00353 87249 4652
Saturday 12 and Sunday 13 March
Open day with personal appearance from Charley Boorman (time to be announced)
Scottish Motorcycle Show
Royal Highland Centre, Ingliston, Newbridge, Edinburgh, EH28 8NF
Tel: 08700 133 020
Wednesday 16 March
An evening with Charley Boorman at Mill Garage (time to be announced)
Mill Garages, Off Tescos Roundabout, Boldon Business Park, West Boldon, Sunderland,
Tyne and Wear, NE36 0BQ
Tel: 0191 519 4455
Monday 21 March
An evening with Charley Boorman at Wollaston BMW (time to be announced)
Wollaston BMW, Bedford Road, Northampton, NN1 5SZ
Tel: 01604 232000
Tuesday 22 March
An evening with Charley Boorman at Vines of Guildford (time to be announced)
Vines of Guildford, Slyfield Green Estate, off Woking Road, Guildford, Surrey,
Tel: 01483 207000
Thursday 24 March
An evening with Charley Boorman at Blue Bell (time to be announced)
Blue Bell, Fourth Avenue, Weston Road, Crewe, Cheshire, CW1 6XH
Tel: 01270 212 525
Friday 15 April
An evening with Charley Boorman at Ocean BMW (time to be announced)
Ocean BMW, St Modwen House, Longbridge Road, Marsh Mills, Plymouth, PL6 8LD
Tel: 01752 202828
Part II of II (Part I posted on Monday, February 21, 2005)
visit to the set of this summer’s would be blockbuster THE
ISLAND continues. Last time we toured the massive set of
Centerville as it was being readied for shooting. Now, the
small band of journalists, myself included, were taken over
to where director Michael Bay was filming a scene with Ewan
McGregor. If you’ve never been on a movie set, imagine a
human hive of activity. Now imagine the sound of money being
spent, as the precious seconds tick away. But, it didn’t
feel like we were walking into a pressure cooker. The crew
was moving like a well oiled machine, with no time to stop
laying the tracks in front of the train.
The scene was fairly straightforward. Ewan and some of his
fellow workers are riding an elevator, when they are given
an update about the latest lottery winner, that lucky clone
that will get to go the “The Island.” Ewan’s character, Lincoln
Six-Echo will discover soon enough that “The Island”, is
not a place you want to go.
The video playback in the elevator features an excited Michael
Clarke Duncan jumping for joy over his chance to leave their
underground habitat. During a break from filming, Michael
Bay came over to discuss the film, the script, and the involvement
of Steven Spielberg in the project. He was in good spirits,
not only because shooting was moving along, it was his birthday
What’s the challenge of this film?
Shooting it in 84 days! (LAUGHS). It’s a big mama to shoot,
developing the world to shoot, being judicious with the effects,
and trying to shoot a lot of different stuff practically.
What initially appealed to you about the script?
A lot of sci-fi is about a bunch of mumbo jumbo sometimes… sometimes.
But this has a real human core to it. Originally the script
was written 80 years in the future, that was just too far
out. And then Spielberg was talking to me about how MINORITY
REPORT was a little too far out, you bring it a little closer,
it makes it a lot scarier.
What do you think of the news that’s going on with cloning
This movie kinda deals with it in a way… it’s like we all
eat meat, but we don’t want to think about what goes on at
the slaughterhouse. We show you the positives of what could
be done with cloning. They doctor who created this feels
that he’s created the Holy Grail of science. He’s doing good
things, in 2 years he’s gonna have this facility up for children.
He could cure leukemia; he can cure a lot of things. So it
makes you think, if you could have a clone, would you?
Would you want to clone yourself?
No, that would be a disaster!
Are there any sci-fi films that inspired you for this?
I like sci-fi movies, I love things like ALIEN.
Well, THX you wanna go home and shoot yourself! We don’t
wanna make it as oppressive as that.
Does the movie deal with what it means to be a human
being, what that definition is?
It deals in the fact that we all wanna live longer, we all
wanna find the Holy Grail of life… as you see nowadays with
all this, what is it, human growth hormones, and what not.
I was up at the Microsoft thinktank when we were working
on this film, coming up with some concepts. They were talking
about how they feel… this is Microsoft saying this… they
figure in 10, 15 years we might be able to extend our lives
20 years. That’s exciting.
Were you actively looking to work with Spielberg?
No, he just called me up one night and said, read this,
because it’s a spec script, that’s coming out tomorrow, read
it, I wanna buy it for you, if you like it. (Note: The film
is a production of Steven Spielberg’s company Dreamworks)
Does the faster schedule make it more expensive?
Yeah it does, but as you know… studios are shutting down
movies when the budgets are just too high. I think there
were six movies that shut down right before this one was
fully greenlit. There was the Fincher movie "Benjamin Button",
there was the Antoine Fuqua movie where they spent 30 million
bucks, shut it down. You gotta really play ball with the
You always fight about the budget. But now more than ever,
because studios are owned by these corporate giants. The
movie industry, they feel, is not a profitable industry.
When you talk about GE, what they own Universal? The
movie industry is a blip on their radar. It’s not worth it
to them to make a 5% profit, when they can make 15-20 somewhere
Do you think you’ve grown as a director on this project?
Yeah, I’m really enjoying the cast. You grow every time
you work, you know what I mean?
How are you guys going to stand out from the other summer
I think ours is a lot sexier. It’s surely original; thank
God it’s not a redo of something! I think it’s a cool concept.
I think it’s got some gritty action.
What’s next for you as a director?
(LAUGHS) Dude! I haven’t even finished yet!
Does the hectic schedule make you wish you could do a
small "Dogme" movie?
Yeah, yeah. I swear to God, I really, really, really wanna
do something small. I got this great thing… it’s really fun
and dark, dark comedy.
Do you think you’ll try that next?
I really want to. I always get suckered into these things!
Is there fear for you involved in trying to do a huge
movie like this?
There always is… every movie… if you’re cocky, you’re gonna
How do you deal with that?
You think every movie you’re gonna do is gonna be a flop.
You just gotta go in, and you just gotta do the best you
can. Keep that fear, because that fear, I think makes you
do a better job.
At this point we had to wrap up the interview. But, we were
ushered over to the video village to meet Ewan McGregor and
view a PROMO REEL of scenes from the movie. The first scene
was the one that Eric Brevig discussed (in our first set
report), where Ewan meets his clone. Even at this early stage,
the effect was convincing. The interaction between them was
Then we were treated to scenes of some clones being birthed,
which is downright nasty looking. Just think about… oh, I
can’t even use the example, it’s too gross. This was followed
by a montage of action scenes. A good chunk of them were
clips with no sound, just an intense drum beat running over
them, which was fantastic. It would be the perfect teaser
trailer. With that, our set visit came to end, but work on
THE ISLAND carried on.
You know, I like Michael Bay’s movies, but for whatever
reason, he’s one of those directors that people love to bash.
I’m surprised that people aren’t burning him in effigy outside
the movie theatres. But I figure that he must be doing something
right, to have movies that consistently draw in audiences,
and to be able to pull together some of the top talents in
Hollywood to make massively expensive movies on a tight schedule.
Directing these kinds of movies is simply not something that
anybody can do. Of course, anybody can lob an insult.
Hey, I would love to direct movies. But could I do what
he does? Could I handle the pressure, and then have the
time to have a nice, relaxed chat with some visiting journalists? There’s
a lesson to be learned here, especially what he said about
The Island is scheduled for release this July 22nd.
Posted: Friday February 18th, 2005 11:17pm
Location: Downey, CA
Author: Brad Miska
Good friend Brad Miska went to Downey yesterday
and sent in this report from the next Michael Bay action
spectacular currently in production:
"The biggest set Ive ever experienced and I even got
to leave having seen the entire movie! You wonder how now.
Day 78 of an 86 day shoot. Michael Bay and his insanely
large crew are back in the comfort of California after venturing
through Death Valley, Nevada, Detroit, Michigan and various
other places shooting his next action-drama The Island for
Dreamworks Pictures. The buzz is that Michael Bays
story for The Island might be guilty by association- but
the only thing the movie is truly guilty of is… its
a Michael Bay movie - you know, cool cars, big chase scenes,
shoot-outs and lots of explosions.
The Island takes place 20-25 years in the future as we follow
Lincoln Six-Echo (Ewan McGregor) as he tries to unravel the
mystery of who he is and what he is meant for. The movie
opens in a self-contained facility with 3,000 humans who
live their daily lives there. They believe that their world
is devastated and that they are the sole survivors being
protected so they can repopulate the world. Every so often
a lottery is held and a lucky individual will get to leave
the facility for "The Island" where they will live a happy
Lincoln, along with the others, think one of their fellow
members Starkweather (Michael Clarke Duncan) had won the
lottery and is on his way to "The Island," only Lincoln stumbles
onto the truth as Starkweather wakes up during some sort
of "operation" and is screaming through the halls begging
for help. What the hell is going on? Lincoln finds out
that he is a clone - or as Michael Bay calls them "Agnates" -
and Jordan Two-Delta (Scarlett Johansson) and him attempt
to escape to reveal to the world what is really going on
in the middle of the desert.
Why do I know so much about the movie? Youll never
believe just how much I know. After our interview with Michael
Bay, hes like, "Ive got some clips to show you," so
Im ecstatic and yell, "Cool!" In a typical 80s
montage fashion, the clip was actually the ENTIRE movie from
start to finish! After the clip Im exclaimed, "Thanks
Michael, now I dont have to see it!" Hes replies, "NO
NO NO this is the movie without any of the COOL sh-t!" True
The clip (or short movie) was loaded with sweet car chases,
stand-offs, gun fights, explosions and one of the funniest
things Ive seen in a long time - an homage to the great
John Woo. During one shot we see pigeons fluttering all over
during a big shoot out, a la doves in a Woo film- hilarious
stuff! In addition there is the classic "whos the real
Lincoln?" scene. "Im the real one, No I am…." Its
ridiculous and cliché as hell, but we dont watch Michael
Bay movies for the drama do we? Hell no, we watch them
for the explosions!
Enough about the clips, you want to know how the set looked
dont you? When you start doing set visits on a
regular basis the excitement fades a little, especially after
your last visit was to Spielbergs War of the Worlds
set. But rest assured this was the absolute most insane set
Ive ever been on. All War had was millions of people
standing around, a rain machine (and Tom Cruise) - The Island
on the other hand had room after room after room of giant
Flashback to my entrance, the Downey Studios (30 miles South
of Hollywood) caught me by surprise. The lot was the size
of five - maybe six Super Wal-Marts, one could get lost walking
around and never make it out alive. When we finally headed
inside the first thing we got to see was where Lincoln works.
It was a small all white laboratory with 8-10 desks set up
all equipped with (you guessed it) Apple computers. Across
the desks are giant tubes or wires that look eerily similar
to DNA strands. What Lincoln and his co-workers think theyre
doing is making nutrients and vitamins, but what theyre
actually doing is pumping everything into the incubated Agnate
bodies. To the right of the work area are small rooms with
dozens of test tubes and flasks all illuminated by blacklights.
Purple lights are cool in the future, I swear!
Build right next to the work area is a long grey cement
hallway to the different corridors of the giant complex,
which is supposed to look as if its 60 stories tall.
While walking through the hallway to the next section of
the set I ran my fingers across the wall to feel the cool
cement only to discover that the walls were made of wood!
It was unbelievable how real these walls looked; a kung fu
expert wouldnt try and punch a hole through these walls!
Then we arrived to the most illustriously portion of our
tour, "Centerville," which is the center atrium designed
in the middle of three other atriums (theyll be CGd
in later). We stood right in the middle (the core greeting
area) of three "practical" levels of the 60 story complex.
We were told that ILM would be enhancing various portions
of this giant chamber. Third floor and center is a room behind
glass that is probably an operations center of some kind.
We were told there will be all sorts of holographic images
projects around there, specifically on the glass.
Back on our floor, which is designed orbicular, there are
various places for the Agnates to relax. Theres an
exercising room with dozens of bicycles, a room for aerobics
that was very 70s looking, a bar for getting
plastered, a pool and places around the area were various
elevators. This entire complex was made of the same wood
that was painted to look like cement, which still to this
moment blows my friggin mind. On the lower level were more
rooms and a set up for the Agnates to get their lunch cafeteria
style. Theres nothing like feeling like youre
back in school.
While checking out the various levels of the atrium, we
were told that a large portion of the film takes place in
LA where there will be monorails and check this- a flying
jet pack chase sequence! Forget Superman. The Agnates are
stored very similar to The Matrix humans. They are in an
egg shell chamber with purple goo all around them, their
skin is white, theyre bald and have hundreds of wires
plugged into their bodies. Too bad we didnt get to
see this, but I got to check out a sweet image from the film.
There was also a shot of Lincoln with his eye pried open
and little nano bugs are going to be CGd to crawl in.
After all the fun and excitement we headed to the stage
were Michael Bay was hard at work shooting a scene on an
elevator where Michael Clarke Duncans character is
telling everyone how lucky he was to be a winner of the lottery
in a projection on the wall. Knowing its all a farce
the propaganda is sickening to the viewer, but damn funny
at the same time.
Michael screams, "Woo! Im going to the island!!!" The
group of slaves on the elevator are all wearing white jumpsuits
with a black stripe on the back that resembles a exclamation
point. Behind the shooting area for the elevator sequence,
where we were sitting, was the operation table where the
Agnates parts are removed to their donors. It was a circular
table hanging by a large arm from the ceilings with wires
everywhere. Another very Matrixstique display.
There was just so much, almost too much. My brain hurts
just trying to remember all this and digest it all at the
same time. But just how big was this experience? On our
way out my buddy Joe touched a Cadillac that was used in
the movie, which we were told cost $7 million to make. He
exclaimed, "I always wanted to touch $7 million dollars."
"Come on!" Michael Bay barks at his crew. His attempt at humoring the
hard-working crew may not go over well considering his new film, a futuristic
riff on cloning dubbed The Island, is running a scant shooting schedule
of 84 days and the film is to be released on July 22.
"I think the hardest part is the movie has been chasing itself, because
the sets are so big and its just like youre on one big set
and boom, you go to another set," said Bay on his birthday.
ComingSoon.net received a chance to look at one of the aforementioned
big sets for the upcoming film that stars Ewan McGregor and Scarlett
Johansson. The Island is set in the distant future (roughly twenty years)
and starts following McGregors character, Lincoln. Lincoln lives
in Centerville and, like the rest of the inhabitants living in Centerville,
he hopes to win the daily lottery for the chance to be shipped to the
last uncontaminated place on Earth, the island. He soon discovers that
his world is a sham and Centerville houses clones to help rich benefactors
remain healthy. Lincoln and Jordan (Johansson) break out of Centerville
and make a desperate escape to find out the truth about who they are.
The central set on display at Downey Studios was the main plaza of Centerville.
The gargantuan set featured four glass elevators, an actual pool, huge
walkways, exercise bikes, a "stim" bar, and giant casing that were soon
to feature blue screens.
"As youll notice, the set is very wide but not very tall. In the
movie, its supposed to be 70-100 stories tall," explains ILM Visual
Effects Supervisor Eric Brevin. "Every place you look that doesnt
look like part of the set will be extending it and outside of it is a
synthetic world that the inhabits of this place see whenever they look
outside the windows."
Brevin also discussed the use of digital doubles in the film. For The
Island, Brevin took Ewans digital double model from "Star Wars" and
took off his beard and gave him a new wardrobe. He also mentioned that
Johansson took the process well. "I think its fun for her. Basically
you stand there and a laser scans you and you look over, and theres
a wire frame of your character on the screen. I think she enjoyed it," said
When asked about the number of effects shots for the film, Brevin said "3-400.
Thats the total, since were still shooting and were
getting into the biggest deal right now, its hard to tell. Were
basically doing pre-production and post-production at the same time."
Next door to the concrete monstrosity of a set, Bay and his crew were
shooting a scene in the interior of an elevator.
"Today is a slow day here," explains Bay. "This starts like three minutes
into the movie, theyre going down an elevator, and its kind
of, its a lottery recast of the past winner. Mike Clarke Duncan
is the one who just won a spot on the island. So theyre just getting
a recap of it as theyre going down this elevator. We do this big
pull out and reveal the whole place where they are."
The set is a small, cramped elevator that features a giant screen with
Ewans Lincoln character staring straight forward.
Bay explained that his reason for choosing to do a sci-fi film is that
The Island features a human core. "At the core of this movie, theres
a human story here and it really deals with the human issue. Thats
where I felt like relieved I didnt have to redevelop the whole
The Island also happens to be the first movie that Bay directs without
his usual producing partner, Jerry Bruckheimer. "I didnt lose (Bruckheimer).
I gained a guy named Spielberg and Walter Parks," brags Bay. Bay reports
that he does still enjoy working with Bruckheimer.
Ewan McGregor was on set, but we didnt have a chance to speak
to him about his work on the film, but Bay explains that he chose McGregor
because of his "childlike quality" and he plays him harder in this film
than most before.
Bay also feels like his film will stand out among the summer behemoths
because its sexier, original, and just an all-around cool concept.
Bay, after mock yelling at his crew again, says of the balloons on set
because of his birthday, "I demand that they get me balloons everyday…
Theyre bringing a male stripper for me," jokes Bay.
Fox Special: Assembling robots: The Magic,
The Music And The Comedy will air on March 4 on FOX,
from 8pm to 8:30pm (Eastern).
"Assembling Robots: the magic, the music and
the comedy" offers an exclusive first look at this years
biggest animated theatrical event.
From the creators of ICE AGE comes a behind-the-scenes special
on this years biggest animated theatrical event, ROBOTS.
Meet the cast of the movie: Ewan McGregor, Halle Berry, Greg
Kinnear, Amanda Bynes, Drew Carey and Robin Williams. Travel
to Blue Sky Studios to see how all the magic was created.
Catch the world premiere of the ROBOTS music video and get
an exclusive first look at an extended scene from the movie
on ASSEMBLING “ROBOTS”: THE MAGIC, THE MUSIC AND THE COMEDY
airing Friday, March 4 (8:00-8:30 PM ET/PT) on FOX.
Cloning is a hot topic these days. Right about now, I bet
there’s a lot of people wishing that someone had been able
to clone Hunter S. Thompson, sadly no longer with us. Whenever
a hot button issue is in the air, you can bet Hollywood is
right on the heels of the subject.
This summer, in addition to some hot clone action in Star
Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, the local multiplexes
will be unspooling another take on those pesky clones.
It’s the latest from the master of sturm und drang himself,
director Michael Bay . The film is The Island. JoBlo.com
was recently invited to come check out the set in Downey,
The film boasts an all star cast that includes Ewan McGregor,
Scarlett Johansson, Djimon Hounsou, Steve Buscemi, Sean Bean,
and Michael Clarke Duncan. I got a chance to tour some of
the sets, and speak to key members of the crew, including
Michael Bay. But first… a little intro.
The Island is set some 25 years in the future. It
is the story of a man named Lincoln Six-Echo (McGregor),
who is part of a small underground utopia. The surface of
the earth has been ravaged by various catastrophes. Everyone
has their place, fulfilling their various roles for the good
of the society. The most exciting thing for the residents
is to win a lottery to go to “The Island”, which is supposed
to be the last safe environment on Earth. But Lincoln soon
discovers that he has been lied to, he and his fellow workers
are actually clones of real people. Their purpose is to be
raised as spare parts for their owners. When your number
comes up to go The Island, that’s when you get harvested.
Lincoln breaks out and makes a run for it, along with another
worker, Jordan Two-Delta (Johansson). The film follows them
as they are pursued by agents of their former masters. Obviously,
some heady sci-fi, but with Bay at the helm, you can expect
it won’t be your run of the mill summer demo derby.
I arrived at the Downey studios, and saw a gathering of
smashed up futuristic cars in the parking lot. Hmm… somebody
had fun. Then the tour began.
It’s funny to walk on any film set, let alone the set of
a film that will be a major contender for your summer dollars.
The main difference being that this was larger than any film
set that I had ever been on. Various workstations and hallways
were revealed, but the real icing on the cake was the main
set, where all of the clones congregate. It looked like the
Apple store crossed with IKEA, with a nice steel finish,
kinda like what you would imagine the inside of an iPod to
feel like. Come to think of it, it looked like my college,
which was right next to Wright Patterson Airforce Base, we
used a lot of old underground tunnels that they had built.
The set was MASSIVE. It functions as a gathering place,
includes a yoga center and exercise room, along with a water
bar. While being a spectacular set, it will be made even
more astounding through the magic of digital technology.
The wizards at ILM will be handling the chores on that one.
Which brings us to the Visual Effects Supervisor Eric Brevig.
He was kind enough to take time out of his hectic schedule
and speak to us about the challenges of THE ISLAND, and how
they go about creating what producer Ian Bryce calls “Michael
Bay Mayhem.” First he discussed what will surely be one of
the highlights of the film. It’s a major sequence where Lincoln
and Jordan try to escape the baddies on a WASP, a futuristic
military jetbike. It begins as a massive freeway chase, that
continues up into the sky.
ERIC BREVIG (EB): We’re using all techniques. We dragged
the stunt people behind a truck at 70 mph on a real freeway,
we shot the real actors in a safer condition, also outside.
We’re gonna shoot some bluescreen and we have digital doubles
for the sequences that no one can survive.
What was your reaction to the script?
EB: Knowing that it was a Michael Bay movie, and I did PEARL
HARBOR with Michael, well… this is really going to be tough!
But it’s a good script and he’s a lot of fun to work with,
so I was eager to get on board.
How many shots do you have to do?
Total? Or that’s just what’s left to go?
EB: In total. Since we’re still shooting and we’re getting
into some of the biggest deal right now… it’s hard to tell.
We’re basically doing pre-production and post production
at the same time.
Are you sleeping at night?
EB: Not as much as I would like to! (LAUGHS) And it’ll only
What kind of energy does Michael Bay bring to the post
EB: A significant urgency. The guy is sort of at 100% all
of the time. He communicates the need to really do your best.
Is there a lot of pressure for you to top other futuristic
movies, in addition to the hectic schedule?
EB: Personally, I don’t like to do something that’s already
been done before, so I’ll try to come up with a shot or a
technique that hasn’t been done. The needs of the movie dictate
what we have to do. But I like to do something different
Next, he spoke about working with Ewan McGregor, who
is pretty used to CGI and bluescreen thanks to a certain
EB: Ewan has been great. He knows how to deal with effects
and I go out of my way to give him cues on the set as to
stuff that isn’t there, what’s going on, so he’s not just
standing in a blue void with a C-stand. He’s really a joy
to work with. I think he likes the fact that he can actually
play with all of the actors, and we’ve got big sets like
this. Most of the Star Wars movies… it’s a minimalistic
What do you look for in an actor, when it comes to doing
EB: Cooperation. So many of the things that I ask them to
do are ridiculous, petty things, that don’t come natural.
(NOTE: He’s referring to the actors doing scenes in front
of a bluescreen with nothing to react to, and potentially
feeling silly. I’d hate for anyone to think the “ridiculous,
petty things” involved Eric making Ewan do his laundry or
get him an iced coffee)
For example, he plays himself and he plays a clone, and
we had a long scene where he is talking to himself, all done
in one long dollying shot. He had to hit a lot of marks.
And he was just great. Very technical stuff, a lot of performers
don’t like to deal with that, but he was right there.
At that point we had to wrap up, as Eric was needed back
on the set. Given the fact that the film is due to come
out in July, you can imagine the pressure that Eric and
the rest of the crew are facing.
In the next part, we’ll go on the set as Ewan McGregor films
a scene, and visit with director Michael Bay, who was cool
enough to show us an breathtaking reel of scenes from the
film. Until then… ask yourself this: how would you know if
you are a clone?
The Island is scheduled for release this July 22nd.
Cultural Historian Susan Douglas with "Down With Love"
Thursday Feb 24, 7pm, Kimball Theatre
Starring Academy Award winner Renée Zellweger and
Ewan McGregor, Down with Love (2003) tells the story of a
spark-filled collision between a woman who has sworn off
love and a ladies man who thinks he doesn’t need love. It
is 1962, and small-town girl Barbara Novak hits New York
City with her new book, “Down with Love,” a pre-feminist
manifesto on saying “no” to love and “yes” to career, empowerment—and
sex. As Barbara’s revolutionary tome rockets to the top of
the best seller charts, she becomes the target of ace journalist
Catcher Block, a notorious womanizer, who is determined to
make her rethink her philosophy. Down with Love revisits
the Rock Hudson-Doris Day romantic comedies of the late fifties
and early sixties—films like Pillow Talk and Lover Come Back.
Susan Douglas will briefly introduce Down with Love, and
after the screening she will explore why and how popular
movies of the early 21st century—the era of Renee and Ewan—might
want to revisit the era of Doris and Rock.
Professor Douglas chairs the Department of Communication
Studies at the University of Michigan. In 1999 she was awarded
the Arthur F. Thurnau Professorship for her outstanding contribution
to undergraduate education. She has written many books including
The Mommy Myth: The Idealization of Motherhood and How it
has Undermined Women (with Meredith Michaels), Where the
Girls Are: Growing Up Female with the Mass Media; Inventing
American Broadcasting; and Listening In: Radio and the American
Imagination, which won the 2000 Sally Hacker Popular Book
Prize from the Society for the History of Technology. Her
column “Back Talk” appears in In These Times every month.
The Cannes Film Festival is going to the dark side. After
months of negotiations between George Lucas and festival
officials, Star Wars: Episode III - The Revenge Of The
Sith will open the festival in the South of France in
Its hoped that Ewan McGregor, who plays the young
Obi-Wan Kenobi, will attend, although hell be about
to open in Michael Grandages new London stage version
of Guys And Dolls at the Piccadilly Theatre.
It could be a star-packed Cannes this year. Russell Crowe
and Renée Zellweger are planning to attend with an
out-of-competition screening of their latest picture, Cinderella
Man, plus theres talk of them handing out the main
prize at the closing ceremony.
Another major movie rumoured to be at the festival is Ang
Lees Brokeback Mountain, starring Jake Gyllenhaal
and Heath Ledger. Its based on a short story by E.
Carol Cundiff, Publicist, Online Publicity & Promotions
at Twentieth Century Fox wrote in to tell us all about the Robots.
I wanted to make sure you had all the info on
the upcoming film called "ROBOTS" - which will be in theaters
starting March 11th. Feel free to post this information
to your fan site that EWAN MCGREGOR fans can check it out! http://www.robotsmovie.com
Release: March 11
Director: Chris Wedge
Co-Director: Carlos Saldanha
Cast: voice talents of Ewan McGregor, Halle Berry,
Greg Kinnear, Mel Brooks, Drew Carey, Jim Broadbent,
Amanda Bynes, Jennifer Coolidge, and Robin Williams
Academy Award® winning director Chris Wedge (“Bunny,” “Ice
Age”) brings his innovative filmmaking magic to ROBOTS,
taking the animated feature film genre to a new, exciting
level. For the first time ever, an animated feature
presents a unique, totally imagined world – a wondrously
clanky universe populated solely by mechanical beings.
And never has a cast of this caliber -- encompassing
no less than five Oscar winners, as well as Emmy® and
Tony® honorees -- been brought together for an animated
feature. In the film you’ll meet memorable ‘bots Rodney
Copperbottom (Ewan McGregor), a young genius inventor
who dreams of making the world a better place; Cappy
(Halle Berry), a beautiful executive ‘bot with whom
Rodney is instantly smitten; the nefarious corporate
tyrant Ratchet (Greg Kinnear) who locks horns with
Rodney; Bigweld (Mel Brooks), a master inventor who
has lost his way; and a group of misfit ‘bots known
as the Rusties, led by Fender (Robin Williams)
and Piper Pinwheeler (Amanda Bynes).
She also included two huge images. Click on the images below
to see the *larger* ones:
a wonderful featurette on the making of Robots. Ewan
is featured several times, he is shown doing the voice of
Rodney Copperbottom and he is interviewed. Click on the link
and then look under "02/16/05" for the link to watch the
featurette. There are also links to clips and trailers on
It Cool News has a wonderful set report from "Mr Beaks".
Its spoiler-filled, so be cautious if you want to
remain spoiler-free, but there are a few delicious Ewan
moments (including a butt-cheek viewing) and there are
a couple of pictures (sadly, neither shows the above-mentioned
Ewan will be a presenter at The Independent Spirit Awards
on February 26th. It will be shown on Bravo at
10:00pm (9pm Central), Red Carpet pre-show will be at 9:00pm
(8pm Central). A red-carpet show precedes the award presentation
an hour earlier.
also air The Independent Spirit Awards live, at 2pm.
ER - It wasnt stat, but
the 3rd season is finally announced!
Posted by David Lambert
Combining the extraordinary talents of multiple award-winning
producer John Wells, best-selling author Michael Crichton
and Steven Spielberg, ER follows the lives of the emergency
room staff and doctors at Chicagos County General Hospital,
where the difference between life and death rests on split-second
decisions - and the pressure, joy and guilt are often overwhelming.
This critically acclaimed series, which won three Emmys during
its third season, including Oustanding Drama Series, is soon
to be available in a 22 episode, 6 disc collectors
The main cast during the third season consisted of Laura
Innes, Julianna Margulies, Gloria Reuben, Anthony Edwards,
Eriq La Salle, George Clooney, Noah Wyle, and Sherry Stringfield.
Recurring characters and guest stars during this season included
(but werent limited to) Lisa Nicole Carson, Khandi
Alexander, Ving Rhames, Deezer D., Eileen Brennan, William
H. Macy, Jorja Fox, Lawrence Tierney, Glenne Headly, Kirsten
Dunst, CCH Pounder, Kevin Tighe, Veronica Cartwright, Jami
Gertz, Julie Hagerty, Harry Shearer, Amy Aquino, Mary McDonough,
and Ewan McGregor.
Now they all come together on ER - The Complete 3rd Season.
It was originally supposed to come out last December, but
- as we told you - Warner changed it to arrive on April 26th.
The cost on this will be $49.98 for 993 minutes of one of
the best dramas to ever grace television. The disc count
this time around is 6 DVDs…which seems to indicate that,
like the recent announcement of West Wings 4th Season,
Warner is switching from double-sided discs to the single-sided
variety. Good news for people with "jukebox" style DVD players.
It will be presented in 16x9 anamorphic widescreen video,
as originally shown on T.V. Sound is English Stereo, with
subtitles in English, French, and Spanish. Closed Captioning
for the Hearing Impaired is also there. Extras include Audio
Commentaries, Documentaries, Easter Eggs, Featurettes, a
Gag Reel, and Outtakes.
Update: The BBC decided to air the show at a later
date, to correspond more closely with the opening of Guys & Dolls in
London. Stay tuned for details!
13:00 Elaine Paige on Sunday
Elaine Paige celebrates the best of Broadway, Hollywood and the West End.
Elaine continues the search for the nations top ten
Essential Musicals, (listeners can vote via the Radio 2 website),
and this weeks choice is Frank Loessers "Guys
and Dolls", a classic movie and a triumphant stage show. "Guys
and Dolls" is synonymous with Frank Sinatra and Marlon Brando
and is soon to be revived in London starring Ewan McGregor.
Imagine Entertainment, HBO Documentary
Films and the Creative Coalition Host a Special Screening
of New Documentary Inside Deep Throat, February
Thursday February 3, 3:06 pm ET
Overwhelming Popular Response Pushes INSIDE Deep Throat Into
Hollywood Institution, the Cinerama Dome
Special Screening of New Documentary
to be Followed By Moderated Panel Discussion
* R E V I S E D M E D I A A L E R T *
A special evening of "INSIDE Deep Throat," starting with a screening of
the new hit documentary that was the talk of Sundance from Academy Award(R)-winning
producer Brian Grazer and acclaimed writers/producers/directors Fenton
Bailey and Randy Barbato ("The Eyes of Tammy Faye," "Monica in Black and
White"), followed by a panel discussion, moderated by Peter Bart with panelists
Arianna Huffington, Lawrence ODonnell, Dennis Prager and Richard
"INSIDE Deep Throat" filmmakers-producer Grazer
and writers/producers/directors Bailey and Barbato-will
joined by opinion-makers and figures from the worlds
of entertainment, pop culture and current affairs,
including Pamela Anderson, John Avildsen, B Real, Jason
Thora Birch, Bill Condon, Martha Coolidge, Joe Dante,
Eamon, Jimmy Fallon, Troy Garity, Taylor Hackford,
Amy Heckerling, Howard Hesseman, Arthur Hiller, Bryce
Howard, Gale Ann Hurd, Eric Idle, Christine Lahti,
Michele Lee, Samantha Mathis, Ewan McGregor, Joe Pantoliano
(Co-President, Creative Coalition), Brett Ratner, Mimi
Rogers, Richard Schiff, Ben Shenkman, Charles Shyer,
Julia Stiles, Oliver Stone, Betty Thomas, Mario Van Peebles,
Kerry Washington, Chris Weitz, Grace Zabriskie, Steven
Zaillian, Rob Zombie and many others.
The ArcLight Cinemas
6360 Sunset Boulevard
Thursday, February 3, 2005
5:30 PM Press Call Time
6:30 PM Celebrity Arrivals
7:30 PM Screening Begins
"INSIDE Deep Throat" opens in select theaters around the
country on Friday, February 11, 2005.
SKG fan site has posted a Quicktime "B-Roll" clip on
their site that shows Ewan quite a few times. Click on
the link to check it out -- you will need to find the entry "First
Look: The Island B-Roll" dated 01/02/05, 11:24pm
EST and click on the link to see the B-Roll.
Robots Soundtrack Album Set for
March Release On Virgin
Wednesday February 2, 12:21 pm ET
Eclectic and Up-To-The Minute Soundtrack Music Spans Genres With Musical
Legends and Hot New Names
NEW YORK, Feb. 2 /PRNewswire/ -- Virgin Records will release the Robots
film soundtrack on March 1, the company announced. Robots is a major
new animated film created by the Academy Award-winning director that
brought the Oscar-nominated Ice Age to the screen. The film opens nationally
March 11, and will be released by 20th Century Fox in both IMAX and standard
versions. Among the stars cast as the film voices of Robots are: Ewan
McGregor, Halle Berry, Robin Williams, Mel Brooks, Greg Kinnear, Drew
Carey and Jamie Kennedy.
Leading off the soundtrack album of Robots is Virgin soul star Ricky
Fante, who recorded his new song "Shine," especially for the film. Pop-
rockers Fountains of Wayne also appear with a newly-recorded song, "Tell
Me What You Already Did." Film score composer John Powell is joined by
theatrical innovators Blue Man Group for "Robot City."
Several recent hit tunes will be familiar in the soundtrack: "Right
Thurr," the hip-hop smash by Chingy; the top 20 single "I Like That" by
Houston, featuring Chingy and Nate Dogg; and the recent single by Virgin
artist Stacie Orrico, "(Theres Gotta Be) More to Life."
New Zealand pop-punkers Steriogram also highlight the soundtrack with
the manic "Walkie Talkie Man," nominated for Breakthrough Video in last
falls MTV Video Music Awards, alongside Fatboy Slims "Wonderful
Night," the latest single from his album Palookaville, featuring a rap
by Lateef the Truth Speaker. Mercury Music Prize winners Gomez, currently
touring the U.S., contribute the song "Silence."
Pop musics legends are also represented in the track list, with
Wars west coast Latin-funk classic "Low Rider," while James Browns
late-Seventies "Get Up Offa That Thing" appears in a new club remix.
R&B supergroup Earth, Wind and Fire contributes a brand-new track, "Loves
Dance," a collaboration with superstar producers Jimmy Jam and Terry
Lewis, from a forthcoming new EWF album.
Turner Classic Movies is airing Guys & Dolls on
Tuesday, February 15 at 8:00 PM (Eastern). This is the 1955
version with Marlon Brando, Jean Simmons and Frank Sinatra.
It should be fun to watch the movie based on the play that
Ewan will be doing over the summer!
Be sure to click on the above link that takes you to the
Internet Movie Databases page for Guys & Dolls.
Theres lots of trivia and information thats interesting
Long Way Down is apparently the title of Ewan and
Charleys next motorbike project, according to Charley,
who appeared at the London motorbike show. The project will
have Ewan and Charley travel to Cape Town, South Africa,
and will be filmed like Long Way Round.
posted by Robair (Webmaster) 5:16 PM [Friday,
Kelloggs cereals have received an upgrade of "Robots" as
the first boxes with Kelloggs promo items from the
movies have hit store shelves.
25-ounce boxes will feature free inside a "Robots" Racer,
a friction-type racer. The six characters available are
Rodney, Fender, Piper, Crank, Madame Gasket, and Aunt Fanny.
Additionally, you can send away for a set of six by mailing
in proofs on specially marked packs of Keebler cookies.
Smaller boxes of Kelloggs cereals feature a mail-in
offer for one of three "Robots" remote control motorized
racers (Rodney, Fender, Piper). Our local market just got
in the first lot of Frosted Flakes boxes with Robots toys,
in fact, and there is one sitting on the desk right now…which "Robot" is
in there? Youll soon know.
Kelloggs Pop Tarts larger size boxes (16 count)
will feature free inside a "Build Your Own Robots" CD-ROM
game. Kelloggs will also issue a new limited-time
Pop Tarts flavor, Robo Berry Blast.
waffles will feature a mail-in offer for a set of three "Robots" forks.
Fender is one, the others are most probably Rodney and
And of course, the big "Robots" daddy of them all is coming
very soon to your local Piggly Wiggly: "Robots" Cereal.
Remember, we are nine weeks from the U.S. opening day
not unusual for the successful professional to feel restless,
but when actor Ewan McGregor heard the call of the open road
he went further than most. Pierre de Villiers speaks to the
family man about the pain of leaving home, and why hed
do it all again.
Ewan McGregor hates spending too much time away from his
family. When the actor talks about the pain of being parted
from his wife Eve and their two daughters Clara and Esther
with no way of seeing them or giving them a hug, his voice
fills with emotion. But despite this aversion to leaving
his loved ones, McGregor left his home last year to spend
three and half months on the road with an increasingly demanding
mistress. When the 33-year-old strides into the room he is
wearing an item of clothing that hints at the passionate
affair: a black biker jacket. As much as he is a devoted
husband and loving father, McGregor is also a man who finds
a Zen-like peace and happiness in hitting the open road on
"I didnt have a care in the world," sighs the actor
as he recalls riding his beloved BMW through a remote stretch
of Kazakhstan as part of the 20,000 mile odyssey from London
to New York that he recently undertook with friend Charley
Boorman. "I felt completely that I was where I was supposed
to be. I never felt quite so right."
McGregor first fell for motorbikes when he was six years
old. His father, Jim, was the chairman of the Round Table
in Crieff, Scotland and organised a charity event for disadvantaged
children. As a wide-eyed McGregor watched, a shiny red 50cc
Honda was taken down to a field so a youngsters dream
of riding a bike could be realised. Then McGregor was asked
if he wanted to have a go. Racing across the field with the
high-pitched whine of the engine in his ears, the kid who
would one day be a movie star realised he had found the object
of his desire. McGregors love for bikes stayed with
him through school -where he was desperate to get a 50cc
to win back a girlfriend -into drama school and eventually
onto the sets of the blockbuster films that turned him into
a global star.
While shooting Moulin Rouge in Australia, McGregor demanded
that he be allowed to travel into the outback, despite the
fears of studio insurers. Calling concerned director Baz
Luhrmann to one side, he told him: "I act. I am with my wife
and kids. And I ride motorbikes. Thats all I do." His
speech finished, the actor rode off into the wilderness to
enjoy some peace and quiet.
is McGregors obsession with riding bikes that an epic,
no-frills road-trip was always somewhere around the corner.
And in friend and fellow thespian Boorman, whom McGregor
met while filming The Serpents Kiss eight years ago,
he found a willing and able partner in grime.
"We started out thinking about a shorter trip from London
to the south of Spain with our wives," McGregor remembers. "Then
we thought about riding through China but I soon realised
that wouldnt be very exciting either. I thought, what
if we go from London and just keep on going towards America,
ending in New York?"
The itinerary McGregor and Boorman decided on was gruelling,
even for experienced riders. In three and a half months,
the pair travelled 20,000 miles, taking in 14 countries on
a route through western Europe, the Ukraine, Kazakhstan,
Mongolia, Russia, across the Pacific to Alaska and through
Canada and America, ending in New York.
To help organise and fund the trip they called in the help
of a production company, which would turn their travels into
a documentary series. After a few lessons in Russian and
going on a training course designed for journalists about
to enter war zones, McGregor and Boorman set off from London
on 14 April last year. They were accompanied by a cameraman
on a motorbike and, some way behind, two support vehicles.
For McGregor, leaving his family behind was extremely tough
to deal with. "I had a very sad time leading up to us leaving
because we were all aware that it was creeping up," he explains. "I
found the first week the most difficult because you are looking
down the barrel of three-anda-half months away. My eldest
daughter Clara is eight years old and we went to her school
to start a live geography project.
We would send stuff back to them and the class could track
where we were. By doing that there was a real sense that
she was with us. On the other hand, my little one Esther
is only three; she was only two when I left, and she was
the one I couldnt really make understand what we were
doing. But, you know, it was strange how being apart from
her had an effect on me. I started to see Esther whenever
I spotted baby animals. For instance, whenever I saw a camel
with a baby camel I just saw a wee Esther."
To ease the longing, McGregor was in touch with his family
via satellite phone almost every night.
"It was difficult because I realised I couldnt carry
this lump in my throat all around the world. Its too
heavy," he smiles. "It got easier when I heard them on the
phone. I couldnt have done it without those phone calls.
As soon as I heard they were alright, that they had slipped
back into routine, it became much easier."
being separated from his family became easier, so the trip
itself became that much harder. Roads with potholes the size
of bomb craters, insect bites that left McGregor with a swollen
face, and the occasional gun-toting local conspired to leave
the actor searching for motivation. But doubts as to why
he left behind the comforts of home and a celebrity lifestyle
were dispelled by the kindness of strangers.
"We were given food by an enormous amount of people," McGregor
remembers. "Especially in nomadic countries like Kazakhstan.
It was lovely."
Having people shove food in his face as opposed to Star
Wars merchandise for him to sign is a break from the norm
that McGregor welcomed with open arms. And although he was
harassed in a few countries by journalists thrilled to write
about Obi-Wan Kenobis latest adventure, the star could,
for large parts of the trip, experience what it felt like
to be just another weary traveller passing through town.
It was a new-found anonymity that allowed McGregor to explore
the importance of human interaction stripped of hidden agendas.
"We were at this checkpoint in the Ukraine, sitting beside
the road when this little old lady came up to me," he remembers. "She
shuffled over and started talking. I didnt understand
and it didnt matter. It sounded really lovely what
she was saying. I talked to her telling her what we were
doing and she said she would pray for us. Those moments you
will never, ever forget. You realise that language is not
the most important thing. The most important thing is the
effort you make to listen."
McGregor certainly made a point of listening when Unicef
invited him and Boorman to visit some of its projects to
help underprivileged kids in Kazakhstan, Mongolia and the
Ukraine. The pair were left speechless after being introduced
to 40 children at a government centre in the city of Ulaanbaatar
"I didnt realise the children would be so young," says
McGregor. "There were kids as young as two who had been living
on the street. I was shocked and just didnt know what
The thought that children the same age as his "wee Esther" were
suffering because the government could not afford medical
bills still haunts McGregor, and has clearly strengthened
his resolve to highlight the incredible work done by Unicef.
"The Unicef projects became the heart and soul of the trip," says
McGregor, who is now an ambassador for the organisation. "We
learnt that because Unicef build fantastic facilities it
might encourage people to abandon their children, thinking
they might be better off at the centre. Thats why Unicef
are helping governments look at why children are abandoned
in the first place. It was gobsmacking what they do."
After almost four months apart, McGregor and his wife were
finally reunited in New York. As they sat down for breakfast
together the actor became restless, thinking about plans
to get his bike back to London.
In Long Way Round, the book that chronicles the journey,
McGregor recalls Eve joking: "Alright, go and be with your
bike instead of me."
And it looks like she might have to face up to being a motorcycle
widow again sooner rather than later, since the actor, when
attending The Times/Foyles Writers and Readers Forum to talk
about the book and the work of Unicef, mentioned plans to
travel through Africa next.
With his wife allowing him to go on these dream trips, would
he, in turn, be happy for Eve to go off on a girls-only trip
for couple of months?
"Yes, of course," comes the answer, after a long pause,
as McGregor contemplates having to spend more time away from
his wife. "At least I like to believe that I would be okay
29th & 30th January 2005 - Alexandra Palace Motorcycle
The MCN London Motorcycle Show runs from January 29-February 6 2005 at the
Alexandra Palace, London. It brings manufacturers, traders, racers, celebrities,
girls and entertainment under one roof, to get you closer to the new bikes,
the best deals, and the most exciting action. Charley will be appearing
at the show on the 29th and 30th of January and the 5th and 6th February.
3rd-6th February 2005 - The Daily Telegraph Destinations
Holiday and Travel Show - Earls Court
Feeling the winter blues? Fancy broadening your horizons in 2005? Then
why not make a date for Destinations: The Holiday & Travel Show? If you
want a unique chance to meet travel experts, celebrities and writers as well
as over 300 tour operators representing thousands of destinations across
the world, then you cant afford to miss the travel event of the year.
Destinations 2005 takes place at: Earls Court: 3rd-6th February 2005
Charley will be at the show on Thursday the 3rd of February. He will
be giving a talk on the trip at 16:00 and signing books at the Borders
Tickets cost: £8 in advance / £10 on the door and are available from
the Destinations Hotline on 08701 21 21 81 or log onto www.DestinationsShow.com.
5th & 6th February 2005 - Alexandra Palace Motorcycle
The MCN London Motorcycle Show runs from January 29-February
6 2005 at the Alexandra Palace, London. It brings manufacturers,
traders, racers, celebrities, girls and entertainment
under one roof, to get you closer to the new bikes,
the best deals, and the most exciting action. Charley
will be appearing at the show on the 29th and 30th
of January and the 5th and 6th February.
An anonymous source sends in info on the reshoots George
Lucas will be doing in the UK:
The reshoots were originally booked for Shepperton, but
as leaked in the recent Vanity Fair article, they are infact
being filmed at Elstree. However Big Brother is currently
occupying that stage and it finishes on Sunday.
Filming will only be for half a day and will include Nick
Gillard, Hayden Christen, and Ewan McGregor, so this
looks like the vital final moments of Anakin Skywalker and
birth of Vader.
By Carol Beggy & Mark Shanahan, Globe Staff January
CITY YEAR GETS REVENGE Boston-based City Year
has been chosen as one of 10 nationwide charities to host
-- and benefit from -- a charity screening of Star
Wars: Episode III -- Revenge of the Sith" on May 12, one
week before the movie hits theaters. City Year folks are
still working out which Boston theater will host the screening
and details such as ticket prices. These charitable
organizations are the leaders in direct services and advocacy
for children and families," George Lucas, the films series creator,
said in a release. Im delighted that the
screenings can help these amazing organizations, which do
such important work." Founded in Boston in 1988, City Year
is now in 15 cities nationwide and is launching this year
in South Africa. This Star Wars" -- the final
installment in the six-film saga -- stars Ewan McGregor and
Harvard alum Natalie Portman. For more information about
tickets, e-mail StarWars@cityyear.org.
Clothing for Golden Globes Auction at The
Hollywood Museum on Wednesday
Jane Kaczmarek and Bradley Whitford unveil gowns, tuxedoes and accessories
worn by celebrities at the Golden Globes to be auctioned off at the Clothes
Off Our Back auction January 17 through 30 at www.clothesoffourback.org This
viewing reception is being sponsored by The Hollywood Foreign Press Association
and In Style.
WHEN: Wednesday, January 19, 2005
6:30 -- Set-Up and Arrivals
7:00 p.m. -- Event
WHERE: The Hollywood Museum in the historic Max Factor
Building 1660 N. Highland Avenue (at Hollywood Blvd.)
NOTES: Proceeds raised from the auction will benefit the UNICEF Tsunami
Relief Fund. The auction clothing will be on view to the public at The
Hollywood Museum in the historic Max Factor Building January 20, 21,
22, 23, 27, 28, 29 and 30.
Charley Boorman to open The Daily
Telegraph Adventure Travel & Sports Show 2005
Don’t miss your chance to meet and chat with Charley Boorman
who will be opening The Daily Telegraph Adventure Travel & Sports
Show, Olympia London at 10am on Friday 14 January. The show,
which runs from 14-16 January 2005, will give visitors and
members of the press alike the opportunity to hear tales
of Charley and Ewans epic 20,000 mile journey from
London to New York, across the Pacific to Alaska and other
far-flung parts and to ask questions. Charley will also be
signing copies of the Long Way Round book at
the show on the Friday (times TBC) and will be at the show
on Saturday 15 January between 2-4pm.
If you want to follow in Ewan and Charley’s footsteps, over
250 exhibitors and 100 free talks will whet your appetite
and show you how! Whether you’re looking for independent
travel, small group expeditions, adventure sports, ideas
or simply inspiration, our exhibitors can open your eyes
to a world of adventure. From the challenge of classic walks
and treks, conquering the summits of the world, doing something
that little bit different as a volunteer on a social project,
or simply moving quietly among different people in new places,
to the thrill of action sports such as white-water rafting
and mountain biking, plus all the latest equipment and travel
advice, from better photography to “keeping safe on your
travels” with Charlie McGrath MBE who assisted Ewan and Charley
on their round the world motorbike trip.
Discount DVD sells a DVD containing only the episode "Nothing
But the Truth" for US$10.76. Thanks to Rose for
the heads up!
offering the first four episodes of Kavanagh QC (Ewan
appears in its first episode) for US$35.98 (CDN$ 33.98 (US$27.73)
The four episodes included on the two discs are Nothing
but the Truth, Heartland, A Family Affair, and The
Sweetest Thing. Among the extras are a cast profiles,
a tribute to John Thaw, Kavanagh QC: The Birth of a
Series and trivia.
There are more Long Way Round t-shirts available
for sale at the official Long
Way Round website. Dont wait too long before ordering
yours if youd like one, the previous batch sold out
in about a week.
The t-shirts cost £20, plus postage and handling. Payment
can be made through Paypal only.
Roslyn Neely, of CHAS, accepts the Galleries cheque
GLASGOW’S BUCHANAN Galleries has built on its fantastic
fund-raising efforts to hand over another cheque for our
The total for the shopping centre’s Buy a Brick campaign
is in — they’ve raised a whopping £8400 for CHAS.
Since the scheme was launched in early 2003, shoppers were
asked to donate £1 to buy a “virtual brick” for Robin House.
And they responded to the challenge, with around 400 bricks
bought each month.
Scots actor and CHAS supporter Ewan McGregor also did his
part to draw attention to the scheme, even though his presence
was rather two-dimensional.
Buchanan Galleries Manager Hamish Millar explained, “We
placed a life-sized cut-out of Ewan in the centre to promote
the campaign and even got a phone call from a female fan
keen to buy Ewan when we were finished with him.
“But we never quite got that far.”
That’s because the cardboard celebrity disappeared before
a CHAS donation could be negotiated.
Hamish said, “We checked the CCTV footage and we couldn’t
believe it. We saw a girl walking out of the centre with
Ewan under her arm!”
Despite the loss of Ewan, Hamish is happy to help the appeal.
“This cause is so important to all of us,” he said. “I’d
like to thank our retailers and shoppers for getting behind
the campaign. It’s fantastic to see Robin House approaching
Online has a clip of the cover shoot. Click on "The
Star Wars cast strikes a pose". Thanks to Georginita for
the heads up!
The next issue of Vanity Fair, hitting newsstands on January
11, will have a Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith cover
article. Usually the pictures are fabulous.
Tonights Entertainment Tonight will give a
sneak peek at the unprecedented, four-panel cover of Vanity
Fair magazine, on newsstands Jan. 11, that brings together
some of the biggest stars of all six films, including Mark
Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher and Billy Dee Williams
Natalie Portman, Hayden Christensen, Ewan McGregor, Liam
Neeson, Samuel L. Jackson and George Lucas (and, of course,
Yoda, C-3PO, R2-D2 and Chewbacca)!
THE Sunday Mail today joins Ewan McGregor and UNICEF in
a plea to save the young survivors of the Indian Ocean tsunamis.
Children made up about a third of the victims of the disaster,
and starvation and disease could claim more.
And Star Wars actor Ewan, who is an ambassador for
the UNs childrens fund, UNICEF, points out that
even the smallest donations can save lives.
Our appeal comes as the amount of money donated by the British
public for relief efforts reached £60 million, with an astonishing £8.4
million from Scotland.
The figure, reached in just four days, was boosted by collections
at Hogmanay events.
But father-of-two Ewan last night stressed still more was
needed. He said: Like people the world over, I am glued
to the television, helplessly watching the misery and devastation
of this disaster unfold.
But it is the faces of children - weeping and injured,
lost and traumatised - that I find the most difficult to
witness and I know that others feel the same.
As little as 70 pence will buy a blanket to keep a homeless
child warm. Just £5 would buy a basic first aid kit.
A donation of 35 pence will pay for five oral rehydration
sachets to save a childs life.
And £10 would buy purification tablets to make 100 litres
of clean drinking water.
Ewan said: UNICEF need $25 million (£15.6 million)
to support the immediate needs of children and families affected
by this crisis. This sounds like a lot but every penny will
go towards keeping children alive.
Your money will help to curb the spread of disease,
provide safe water, give shelter and reunite lost children
with their families.
The loss of loved ones and the memories of this event
will haunt the lives of children for years to come and the
rebuilding of homes and lives will take time.
UNICEFs task is huge and the work is only just
Experts say the biggest problem now facing survivors is
Oliver Morgan of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical
Medicine believes cholera could claim many lives.
He said: There is a big problem because the population
does not have access to clean drinking water.
The result is likely to be an increase in the number
of cases of diarrhoea, especially dangerous for the young
and the elderly.
The additional concern is that an epidemic disease
such as cholera can break out.
Even a lack of basic shelter could lead to more deaths in
the biggest natural disaster of modern times.
Morgan said: Although they have a tropical climate,
it can get very cold at night and people dont have
very many clothes. A lot of people will get chest infections,
eye infections and possibly even hypothermia.
UNICEF has long-established offices in every affected country.
Scottish organiser Denise McNiven said: I would ask
Sunday Mail readers to help UNICEF UK save lives.
We are particularly concerned about the children,
who are always the most vulnerable. Most already live below
the poverty line.
- TO donate money, use our coupon when sending cheques,
postal order or debit or credit card payments. They should
be sent to: UNICEF UK, SUNDAY MAIL APPEAL, PO Box 2006, Aberfeldy,
Perthshire. PH15 2YJ. Cheques and postal orders should be
made payable to UNICEF.
Alternatively phone 08457 312 312 and quote 55642020 to
make a donation.