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January - June 2006


How Ewan is staying the pace

26 June 2006

Trainspotting and Star Wars actor Ewan McGregor found himself in the psychiatrist’s chair thanks to the thriller Stay. He plays a shrink in the movie from Finding Neverland and Monster’s Ball director Marc Forster, so he researched by meeting a couple of psychiatrists - a man and a woman - in New York, where the action takes place.

He found his foray into their world a fascinating one. "It’s very interesting anyway, but seeing it from their point of view is really interesting," he says.

"The idea if you see a therapist or a psychiatrist is it’s very much about you. You don’t really think about it from their point of view, nor should you actually.

"But when it was my job to think about it from that point of view, it was quite interesting to see that. Both of them have said this, that many psychiatrists have problems themselves, have issues themselves and that’s why they’re in this.

"They get into it because they feel the need to help lots of people. And why’s that? Because they need a lot of help themselves."

Stay is being released on DVD in the uncut version, billed as "the version they wouldn’t let you see at cinemas".

In fact, very few people saw it on its limited release. Stay is one of those films that, despite a decent cast and director, remained on the distributor’s shelf and then, when finally released, only shown in a handful of cinemas.

McGregor admits it was a weird film to make, partly because he’d never made a film in New York City before. The schedule involved much night shooting which added to the oddness.

"That always immediately makes the experience very weird because you’re sleeping during the day. Can you imagine trying to sleep during the day, especially in New York? My curtains, my windows were all blacked off for weeks. Then trying to sleep during the day with the noise of New York."

Another difficulty were the shooting conditions themselves. Rather than block off areas for exclusive use by film-makers, they were filming on the streets among the public.

"Usually in a film you’d move into a street and the ends are blocked off, it’s just us in the middle, we take over. But in New York, you’re filming among the city and its people, and they don’t get out of the way. And you say, ’sorry, we’re filming’ and they’re like, ’eff off’. So you’re just stuck in the middle of it.

"It’s a weird thing and then, of course, it’s a very bizarre story and Marc was quite experimental in many ways, so it was weird, brilliant."

McGregor’s screen shrink stands in for a colleague, taking over the case of a troubled young man (Ryan Gosling) who announces that he intends to commit suicide at midnight on Saturday.

Naomi Watts, the beauty menaced by the beast in the recent King Kong remake, co-stars as the psychiatrist’s girlfriend and former patient.

"The film is basically about my struggle to stop him and his struggle to do it," says McGregor.

"I start breaking the rules of psychiatry by trying to find him outside of the office and stop him.

"It becomes very important to me to save his life and, while I’m doing that, my reality starts to crack and things spiral kind of out of control for my character."

He hopes the unusualness of the thriller won’t deter audiences.

"I think it’s a satisfying movie because it unravels in front of your eyes, you have to do a bit of work yourself," says McGregor.

"It’s a clever film and I think Marc tried to fool an American studio into making an experimental movie, which is kind of what he’s done - and he’s done it very well," he says.

* Stay is released to buy and rent on DVD from Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment on July 3.

Source: The Northern Echo

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Monday, June 26, 2006 // 07:25 a.m.


Nicole Kidman will sing with Ewan McGregor at her wedding

Movie & Entertainment News provided by bangshowbiz.biz
2006-06-22 12:47:07

The pair starred in ’Moulin Rouge’ together and Nicole - who is reportedly marrying country singer Keith Urban on Sunday (25.06.06) - wants to perform ’Come What May’ with the Scottish actor at her wedding reception. The actress is even believed to have asked Ewan to wear a kilt for the performance.

Nicole, 39, had her hen party at her sister’s Sydney home last night (21.06.06).

Dressed in black, the flame-haired star looked in a sombre mood, but soon cheered up when her actress friend Naomi Watts made her dance while wearing a cream veil.

Nicole’s two adopted children, Isabella, 13, and Connor, 11, have now reportedly flown into Australia for the nuptials.

The ’Cold Mountain’ star adopted the children with actor Tom Cruise during their nine year marriage. Isabella and Connor, who travelled by private jet, were picked up at Sydney Airport by their mother’s security staff in a black Mercedes.

Meanwhile, the star-studded wedding guest list has been revealed.

Naomi Watts, Russell Crowe, Hugh Jackman and director Baz Luhrman are all expected to attend.

Source: PR inside

Update: As far as we know, Ewan did not attend Nicole’s wedding.

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Thursday, June 22, 2006 // 07:54 a.m.


Reserve your copy of The Doctor, The Tornado & The Kentucky Kid today!

You can sign up to be notified when this motorbike documentary, directed by Mark Neale who also directed Faster, is released on DVD (it should ship on July 7th, with a larger release later in the year). Ewan again narrates this film. You can also watch the trailer online.

Source: Official The Doctor, The Tornado And The Kentucky Kid site

Thanks to mckiki for the heads up!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Wednesday, June 21, 2006 // 09:55 p.m.


New Stormbreaker trailer online

This version of the trailer, available on the official Stormbreaker site, is longer and features a few scenes with Ewan!

Update: The trailer with Ewan in it has been removed from the official site, but you can see it here.

Update 2: The trailer with Ewan in it is back on the official site.

Thanks to Lady Sugarbear for the heads up!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Wednesday, June 21, 2006 // 09:42 p.m.


Nic’s Moulin it over

Monday, June 19, 2006

Baz Luhrmann wants to paint London town Rouge.

The Aussie director is planning to bring his musical movie Moulin Rouge to the West End.

And he has approached Ewan McGregor and Nicole Kidman to reprise their leading roles in the flick for the first few shows.

A source said: “Baz has discussed the idea with Ewan and Nicole. It will be the most lavish musical to open for many years.

“It’s something he has wanted to do since the film was finished.”

Baz is expected to meet up with his favourite leading lady again this weekend in Sydney — as a guest at her wedding to rocker Keith Urban.

Source: The Sun

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Tuesday, June 20, 2006 // 07:51 a.m.


First picture of Ewan as Ian Rider

The official Stormbreaker site has a picture of Ewan as Ian Rider in the Cast & Crew section:

Thanks to Fuumin for the heads up!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Wednesday, June 14, 2006 // 06:51 p.m.


New Film from Faster team

June 6 2006

The Doctor, The Tornado and The Kentucky Kid is a feature-length documentary from the director of MotoGP film Faster, and it focuses on the 2005 U.S. GP at Laguna Seca.

The film is narrated by Ewan McGregor, and as the title hints, it puts the spotlight on Repsol Honda’s Nicky Hayden, Texas Torando and Yamaha rider Colin Edwards, and motorcycle racing’s biggest star, Valentino Rossi.

All of this is played out against the backdrop of 150,000 race fans, including Brad Pitt, with on-board footage and exclusive interviews. The film will be screened at selected US locations in early July. To see the trailer, click here.

Source: Motorcycle News

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Tuesday, June 6, 2006 // 07:47 a.m.


MGM Picks Up Miss Potter

Thursday, June 1st, 2006

The new MGM theatrical releases for 2006-2007 from The Weinstein Company, which will be continuing to oversee the marketing for its titles, include:

Miss Potter, slated for release on December 29, 2006, explores the life of Beatrix Potter (Renée Zellweger), the author of the beloved and best-selling children’s classic "The Tale of Peter Rabbit" and her struggle to overcome a domineering and unsupportive mother and the chauvinism of Victorian England in an effort to become a published author. The charismatic and talented Academy Award® winning actress Renée Zellweger (Cinderella Man, Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason) stars in the biopic directed by Chris Noonan (Babe). Kirschner Productions’ David Kirschner and Corey Sienega produced Miss Potter alongside Mike Medavoy, Arnie Messer and David Thwaites of Phoenix Pictures. Zellweger executive produced the film and stars in it alongside Ewan McGregor, Emily Watson, Barbara Flynn, Bill Paterson and Lloyd Owen.

Source: MovieWeb

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Friday, June 2, 2006 // 07:25 a.m.


Video Clip of Ewan at 10 Downing Street

ITV has a clip of Soccer Aid superstars joining UNICEF ambassador Ewan McGregor for team tea with Tony Blair. Click on the link to check it out!

Thanks to Georginita for the heads up!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Saturday, May 27, 2006 // 07:01 p.m.


Ewan in People Magazine

Oscar winner Dame Judi Dench and Ewan McGregor try out a little Method acting for their latest roles as a lobster and a tomato while filming a Kevin Spacey-directed commercial in London’s Trafalgar Square on Friday.

We’re not yet sure of which issue of People this is yet.

Source: People Magazine

Thanks to ParisRouge for the find!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Friday, May 26, 2006 // 07:57 p.m.


Soccer Aid films - Ewan McGregor in Malawi

The Soccer Aid TV programme includes six films featuring UNICEF Ambassadors telling the stories of children whose lives have been affected by HIV/AIDS, malaria, malnutrition, lack of education, lack of clean water and abandonment. These are the areas of our work that money raised by Soccer Aid will support.

In this film Ewan McGregor, speaks about the malnutrition experienced by children in Malawi and what UNICEF and partners are doing to help.

In Malawi 22 per cent of children are underweight and 5 per cent of children are severely malnourished.

You can watch Ewan’s film by clicking on the link below.

Source: UNICEF

Thanks to Baby Jefer for the find!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Friday, May 26, 2006 // 07:45 p.m.


Moulin Rouge nominated by AFI

AFI’s 100 years…100 movie cheers

American’s most inspiring movies will be celebrated in its ninth annual AFI/CBS television event.

In a continuation of AFI’s celebration of the first 100 years of cinema, Erin Brockovich, It’s a Wonderful Life, Norma Rae, Rocky, Seabiscuit, The Sound Of Music and hundreds more will vie for the title of "Most Inspiring Film of The Century." AFI’s 100 Years . . . 100 Cheers: America’s Most Inspiring Movies will count down America’s 100 most inspiring films, as chosen by experts of the motion picture community, in a three-hour television event on the CBS Television Network in June 2006.

"Over the years, the movies have given us something to cheer about," stated Jean Picker Firstenberg, AFI’s Director and CEO. "The past few years have not been easy in America--from September 11th to the devastation of hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma. AFI’s 100 Years…100 Cheers will celebrate the films that inspire us, encourage us to make a difference and send us from the theatre with a greater sense of possibility and hope for the future."

AFI distributed a ballot in November 2005 with 300 nominated inspiring movies to a jury of over 1,500 leaders from the creative community, including film artists (directors, screenwriters, actors, editors, cinematographers), critics and historians.

The jury have been asked to choose up to 100 inspirational films from a comprehensive list. Moulin Rouge is on that list (which can be downloaded from the site as a PDF document).

Source: American Film Institute

Thanks to Tami for the heads up!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Friday, May 26, 2006 // 07:50 a.m.


The tale of Beatrix Potter finds its way to big screen

Claudia Puig

Beatrix Potter was not all about cuddly bunnies and cute woodland creatures, according to Miss Potter, opening in December. The Victorian-era writer and illustrator of children’s stories was also a naturalist and an early feminist.

Renée Zellweger stars as the British-born Potter, with Ewan McGregor as Norman Warne, Potter’s publisher and secret fiancé, and Emily Watson as Millie Warne, Potter’s closest confidante. Chris Noonan directs.

"Her character was like a modern-day woman with modern values transported into a Victorian milieu," Noonan says. "She had to battle against extraordinary odds and opposition to get to where she went."

The screenplay by Tony winner Richard Maltby Jr. "seems to be a love story, then it turns into something of a tragedy," says Noonan, who just finished shooting the movie. "It’s about creativity and the workings of an artist’s mind. It’s quite a complex story dressed in the clothes of a very simple story."

Potter battles with her parents to become an artist. "Her mother despaired of her because she rejected the suitors her mother lined up for her and wouldn’t join the club of society. But in the end she had the last laugh."

Source: USA Today

Thanks to ParisRouge for the heads up!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Friday, May 26, 2006 // 07:37 a.m.


Stormbreaker release delayed in North America

The first movie in the would-be "young Bond" series, adapted from the Alex Rider novels by Anthony Horowitz, has been delayed again, this time moving back from September 1 to October 6.

Source: FilmJerk.com

Thanks to ParisRouge for the heads up!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Friday, May 26, 2006 // 07:29 a.m.


Ewan on Top Gear!

Ewan will be on BBC 2’s most-excellent motoring programme Top Gear this Sunday. Here are a few preview pictures:

Ewan and Jeremy Clarkson watching Ewan’s lap in the reasonably-priced car:

Source: TopGear.com

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Thursday, May 25, 2006 // 09:44 p.m.


Ewan at 10 Downing Street today

24 May 2006

UK Prime Minister Tony Blair held a special reception for "Soccer Aid" in Downing Street today.

Organised by pop star Robbie Williams, Soccer Aid is raising funds for UNICEF and its partners, who protect children around the world from disease, abuse, poverty or war.

He has brought together World Cup football legends and celebrities to take part in a special match between an "England" and "Rest of the World" team.

The game takes place this Saturday at Old Trafford.

Speaking alongside South African president Thabo Mbeki, the Prime Minister told those gathered at the reception that the work UNICEF do is "absolutely remarkable" and wished both teams well in the final.

UNICEF exists to protect the world’s children whenever and wherever they are at risk.

They focus on health, education and child protection.

Celebrities and soccer legends involved in the project include Terry Venables, Ewan McGregor, Ruud Gullit and Gordon Ramsey.

Source: 10 Downing Street

Thanks to ParisRouge and Kimmy for the heads up!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Wednesday, May 24, 2006 // 06:55 p.m.


Unexpected Dreams Listening Party

As reported previously, Ewan is featured on the Unexpected Dreams CD. There’s a listening party that allows you to hear the entire CD online for free without any signing-up! Just click here!

Thanks to Andrew Warren of Special Ops Media for the heads up!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Monday, May 22, 2006 // 10:26 p.m.


Scenes of a Sexual Nature site up!

The official Scenes of a Sexual Nature website is now up.

During a break from a morning’s filming of Scenes of a Sexual Nature, Ewan said: “It’s so brilliantly written.” He plays a man discussing with his longstanding gay partner whether to have children, a comic scene in which they discuss who would give up work. (Source)

There isn’t a whole lot of information on the official site at the moment, but there are two pictures of Ewan:

Ed Blum, the film’s producer/director, is also going to be followed around Cannes as part of a short documentary for the BBC’s The Culture Show. So keep your eyes peeled on Saturday the 27th when it is due to be aired.

Scenes of a Sexual Nature is also featured in a good piece in Screen International (p.24, issue unknown) It talks about "Scenes" in the Cannes Market Buzz category.

Thanks to Roxanne for the find!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Sunday, May 21, 2006 // 11:22 a.m.


Publicity-shy guests must brave cameras at Beckham party

By Ciar Byrne
19 May 2006

Robbie Williams is providing the entertainment, Gordon Ramsay has created the menu and Graham Norton is hosting the auction.

David and Victoria Beckham’s pre-World Cup party is the ultimate celebrity bash. But in a move that may put off some publicity-shy guests, the Beckhams have sold TV rights to the event to ITV1 - after the invitations had been sent out.

On Sunday night, the Beckhams will host 500 guests in the grounds of their Hertfordshire home for a celebration believed to have cost at least £500,000.

Of those, only 350 will sit down to a five-course meal courtesy of Ramsay. The others have been invited to the reception beforehand, or to the after-dinner party.

After dinner, they will take part in a charity auction, hosted by Norton, where lots include a £1m necklace, designed by Mrs Beckham in conjunction with the jewellers Asprey.

Sarah Ferguson and her daughter Beatrice, Ewan McGregor, Elle Macpherson, Sharon and Ozzy Osbourne, Rebekah Wade and Ross Kemp and the former Spice Girls Melanie Chisholm and Emma Bunton will join the England squad in getting out their chequebooks. Proceeds from the party will go to Unicef, the Prince’s Trust and the Beckhams’ own children’s charity.

Wayne Rooney and Coleen McLoughlin are attending, along with the England team’s new wonder boy Theo Walcott and his girlfriend Melanie Slade. But Sven Goran Eriksson will not be present.

Prince Charles and Camilla were invited, but declined as they have a party to mark 30 years of the Prince’s Trust the previous evening. Other notable no-shows include Sir Elton John, his partner David Furnish and Liz Hurley, who have prior engagements in Cannes, and Tom Cruise.

The Full Length and Fabulous-themed party will be filmed and broadcast on ITV1 a week on Sunday. But a spokeswoman for the Beckhams denied that the presence of the cameras had deterred prospective guests. "The RSVP is purely a return card, so unless people had specifically told David and Victoria, we wouldn’t know," she said.

"Everybody who’s coming has been spoken to by the people organising the party and have said ’Do you prefer not to be on camera?’ and some people have taken that opportunity. It’s not a case of if they’re there, they’ll be on TV."

In "exclusive, behind-the-scenes footage", television cameras have followed Mrs Beckham as she attended meetings with the party planner, florists, jewellers and dress designers. She is still deciding whether to wear a frock by Roberto Cavalli or one of two vintage dresses she has had altered for the occasion.

The marquee is an enormous 50 by 25 metres. There will be a Spanish theme to the décor, inspired by Mrs Beckham’s love of Madrid, but the menu is a fusion of British, French and Italian: chilled tomato consommé with basil and mozzarella to start, followed by carpaccio and seared tuna with marinated mouli and soy vinaigrette. For the main course, Label Anglaise chicken, boulangère potatoes, garden peas, broad beans, courgettes and a thyme velouté. Pudding is a peanut butter parfait with cherry compote, followed by coffee with salted caramel chocolates and rose Turkish Delight.

The soul legend James Brown will also perform at the party alongside Williams, who has promised to treat guests to a rendition of his hit Angel.

The highlight of the evening will be the charity auction. As well as the £1m Asprey necklace, bids include a Bentley - one of only ten of that model in Europe - a limited edition Harley Davidson, a very "bling" million-dollar diamond and ruby encrusted watch.

Source: The Independent

Thanks to ParisRouge for the heads up!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Friday, May 19, 2006 // 11:49 p.m.


Farrell and McGregor sign up for Woody Allen film


Colin Farrell and Ewan McGregor are set to star in Woody Allen’s next film, set in London, it was announced today.

The Scottish star, 35, and Irish heart-throb, 29, have been cast as brothers who turn to crime.

British actor Tom Wilkinson will also star in the film, described as a romantic comedy with elements of Hitchcock.

Allen, 70, shot his last two films in the UK, Match Point, starring Scarlett Johansson and Jonathan Rhys Meyers, and Scoop.

Match Point, about a fading tennis pro, received a panning from critics, and Allen originally intended to shoot his next film in Paris.

But high production costs in France meant the director changed his mind and filming is set to take place on the £10.9m movie in London next month.

McGregor and Farrell will play brothers who turn to crime after hitting financial problems, and become enemies.

Scoop, which is yet to hit the big screen, also stars Johannson as an American journalism student in London who finds a big story and begins an affair with an aristocrat played by Hugh Jackman.

Oscar-winner Allen’s most recent pictures have failed to win the acclaim that his hits like Annie Hall, Manhattan and Hannah And Her Sisters once did.

Farrell has been cast in the big-screen remake of Miami Vice, which is due to hit cinemas later this year, but received poor reviews for his starring role in the Oliver Stone epic, Alexander.

McGregor found fame in the cult hit Trainspotting, and has since won plaudits for Moulin Rouge, Star Wars and the stage production of Guys and Dolls.

The casting was announced in Cannes where the world premiere of The Da Vinci Code opens the film festival tonight.

Source: Ireland Online

Thanks to ParisRouge for the heads up!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Wednesday, May 17, 2006 // 08:05 a.m.


Ewan’s cap fetches £920!

The charity auction of Ewan’s cap for Debra, the national charity working on behalf of people with the genetic skin blistering condition, Epidermolysis Bullosa (EB), has ended and the top bid was made by warkat_8. Congratulations!

Source: eBay.co.uk

Thanks to Sessan for the heads up!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Sunday, May 14, 2006 // 10:01 p.m.


Ewan to Star at Posh Ball

14 May 2006
By Julia Hunt

Ewan McGregor is lined up as special guest at Posh and Beck’s massive charity ball.

The A-list party will help raise money for UNICEF, which Ewan already backs as an ambassador.

He has signed an autograph book which will be auctioned at the couple’s pre-World Cup bash.

Sir Elton John has promised a "spectacular" gift for the auction.

The England squad are set to attend the "Full Length And Fabulous" party on May 21 at the couple’s Hertfordshire mansion, along with 400 A-list celebs, including Tom Cruise.

Other auction items include a £1 million diamond necklace, his-and-her diamond watches worth £600,000, and a £300,000 Bentley.

David Bull, of UNICEF, said: "We’re extremely grateful to David and Victoria for supporting our ’Unite For Children, Unite Against Aids’ campaign."

Source: The Sunday Mail

Thanks to ParisRouge for the heads up!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Sunday, May 14, 2006 // 09:15 a.m.


Ewan at the International Concours d’Élegance

Click for bigger versionPeter Fonda, Ewan McGregor, Sandra Bullock and Peter Coyote were at the first-ever concours d’élegance -- a kind of exhibition of fancy machinery, usually cars -- for motorcycles at the Ritz-Carlton in Half Moon Bay last weekend. The event involved 200 historic motorcycles and drew 3,500 aficionados of choppers, not many of the Harley/Hollister ilk.

Source: San Francisco Chronicle, photo from Legend of the Motorcycle

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Thursday, May 11, 2006 // 07:38 a.m.


Ride for the blind

May 6 2006

A charity ride to Box Hill has been organised for May 14, 2006, to raise funds for a spoken word CD version of The Long Way Round for the visually impaired.

The book follows the journey of actors Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman as they circumnavigate the globe on BMW bikes. And the Chippenham Riders Association of Triumph (RATs) will be leading a charity run with donations of £2 per bike to the Royal National Institute for the Blind.

All bikes are welcome and the ride starts from the Little Chef on the A350 in Chippenham at 9am on Sunday, May 14, 2006. The ride will then head to popular bike meeting place, Box Hill in Surrey. For more details contact Iain Gould on 01249-657575 (option 4) or Fran on 07801-107444.

Source: Motorcycle News

Thanks to Baby Jefer for the heads up!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Saturday, May 6, 2006 // 09:30 a.m.


Ewan’s cap now on auction!

You can now bid on Ewan’s cap at eBay.co.uk. Bidding is already up to £137.55!

Thanks to Fuumin for the heads up!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Friday, May 5, 2006 // 11:41 a.m.


Ewan’s a hit with Woody

by BAZ BAMIGBOYE, Daily Mail
08:24am 5th May 2006

Ewan McGregor flew to New York for a command performance with Woody Allen - and promptly won the lead role in the comic master’s new London film.

The picture, known at the moment simply as Untitled Summer Project, will be the third movie that Allen has filmed in London.

The first, Match Point, starred Scarlett Johansson, along with Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Matthew Goode and Emily Mortimer.

The second, called Scoop, is due out later this year.

It also stars Scarlett, who suggested to Woody that he should meet Ewan. The pair worked together on the futuristic thriller The Island.

Friends in New York told me that Ewan’s easy charm impressed Woody and he cast him on the spot. Shooting will begin in London in mid-July.

Woody’s associates in the US like to keep things close to their chest and insisted "no casting is confirmed" for the film.

The film-maker was to have shot a film in Paris this summer, and he signed up Michelle Williams of Brokeback Mountain fame. But that project was abruptly halted after the budget escalated.

Woody and his team then swiftly turned their gaze back to London.

Ewan has just completed the biopic Miss Potter with Renée Zellweger.

Source: The Daily Mail

Thanks to Fuumin for the heads up!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Friday, May 5, 2006 // 07:46 a.m.


Ewan’s cap on auction

Here’s a look at the cap Ewan has donated to charity:

It may be the same cap Ewan wore on September 24, 2002 at the Paul Simonon Exhibition Party at the Ivy Restaurant in London.

The cap is being auctioned off for DebRA UK, which is the national charity working on behalf of people with the genetic skin blistering condition, Epidermolysis Bullosa (EB). You can visit their page on eBay (UK). Ewan’s cap isn’t for sale just yet, but keep checking the link during the next three weeks.

Source: Empics

Thanks to Patty for the heads up!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Saturday, April 29, 2006 // 11:08 a.m.


Ewan banned for his own safety

April 26, 2006

Ewan McGregor was banned from the world’s deadliest bike circuit - over fears he would kill himself.

The Trainspotting star, who is currently shooting his new film on Britain’ s Isle of Man, was desperate to try out the notorious nearby TT course, which has claimed a score of lives in the past.

But the bike-mad actor was left gutted when he was banned from the race track, because his film bosses feared the actor would end up dead.

However, McGregor, who stars opposite Renée Zellweger in new movie Miss Potter, did not let the set-back ruin his time on the island and opted for a museum visit instead.

He said: "I wasn’t able to ride because I’m not allowed when I’m working.

But I’ve had a great time here. I’ve visited the bike museum - and I’ve actually bought an old bike to add to my collection."

The ’Star Wars’ star famously travelled around the world on his motorbike, with actor friend Charlie Boorman, and the adventure was turned into a book and TV show, ’Long Way Round’.

Source: Tonight

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Wednesday, April 26, 2006 // 08:15 p.m.


Ewan nominated for MTV Award

Ewan has been nominated for his role as Obi-Wan Kenobi in "Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith" in the category Best Hero for the 2006 MTV Movie Awards. He’s also nominated for Best Fight with co-star Hayden Christensen.

You can vote online at MTV. The show airs on June 8 at 9pm ET/PT.

PS - Ewanspotting is currently down because of hosting problems. Hopefully, it will be back up soon.

Posted by ewanspotting.com on Monday, April 24, 2006 // 11:45 a.m.


Zellweger unveils Potter statue

Monday, 24 April 2006

US actress Renée Zellweger has attended the unveiling of a statue honouring the children’s author Beatrix Potter.

The Oscar-winning star said she hoped the 15ft (4.5m) bronze statue at Bowness-on-Windermere, Cumbria, would become "a distinctive local landmark".

Zellweger, 36, is currently shooting a film about Potter in the Lake District with Scottish actor Ewan McGregor.

The actress said she had been "stunned by the beauty of the landscape and the tranquillity of the scene".

The statue - which can be seen at the Lake District’s World of Beatrix Potter attraction - depicts three children releasing Potter’s character Jemima Puddle-Duck.

’Culmination of a journey’

It also features characters from all of her 23 tales and a carving of one of her Lakeland homes, as well as the mysterious code she used in her personal diary.

Zellweger’s film, Miss Potter, is filming in Cumbria after shooting scenes on the Isle of Man.

The Chicago star, who was accompanied at Sunday’s unveiling by her British co-star Lloyd Owen, said that "it brings the whole Miss Potter story to life to be in the places where Beatrix lived".

"Arriving in the Lake District is like the culmination of the journey we’ve been on these past few weeks."

Directed by Chris Noonan of Babe fame, Miss Potter - which will feature both live action and animation - is released in the UK in January 2007.

The Anglo-American production also stars Anton Lesser, Bill Paterson and Emily Watson.

Source: BBC News

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Monday, April 24, 2006 // 07:44 a.m.


Renée Bowled Over by Lake District


Hollywood actress Renée Zellweger took time out from filming Miss Potter yesterday to visit the World of Beatrix Potter tourist attraction.

The star, famous for playing Bridget Jones in the films, mixed with other cast and crew members at the unveiling of a new sculpture at The Enchanted World of Beatrix Potter at Bowness-on-Windermere.

The attraction at The Old Laundry on Crag Brow closed its doors early to keep the press and public away from the elusive Renée.

Sally Floyer, managing director of Frederick Warne, the publisher of Beatrix Potter’s books, unveiled the new sculpture. Three children depicted in the sculpture were also present.

Later Ms Zellweger said: “Arriving in the Lake District is like the culmination of the journey we’ve been on these past few weeks. It brings the whole Miss Potter story to life, to be in the places where Beatrix lived. I have been completely stunned by the beauty of the landscape and the tranquillity of the scene. I hope that the sculpture will become a distinctive local landmark and give enjoyment to visitors to the Lake District.“

Renée, who reportedly filmed her first scenes last week, is in the Lakes until the weekend. Her co-star Ewan McGregor has done his filming on the Isle of Man and will not be coming to Cumbria.

Details of exact filming locations are being kept secret.

The Miss Potter film will be released next year.

Meanwhile, Grasmere is in the grip of Hollywood fever as excited locals try to catch sight of filming.

Up to 20 trucks, trailers and film crew vans moved into the village last week, taking over two town centre car parks.

But still there was no sign of Miss Zellweger.

One onlooker said the set up, which includes the producer’s trailer, kitchens, and make up trailers, looked like a village in itself.

The crew are believed to be filming around Grasmere on picturesque National Trust property — although movie bosses are tight-lipped about precise locations.

Christine Shaw, of Craglands, a sweater shop in Grasmere, said a buzz of excitement was going through the village — although no stars had been spotted.

She said: “It looks like a mini village that has been set up, there are so many vans. They have taken over one of the car parks which has annoyed some people.

“But it is all good publicity. We have not spotted anyone yet. Everyone is excited.”

Beatrix Potter first visited Cumbria when she was 16. She began watching animals in the countryside and gardens which later became the characters in her books.

In 1903, Beatrix used money from the success of the book The Tale of Peter Rabbit to buy Hill Top Farm at near Sawrey.

She became skilled in breeding Herdwick sheep and was the first woman to be elected president of the Herdwick Breeders’ Association.

After her death in 1943, Beatrix bequeathed her estate – 4,000 acres of farmland and 14 farms – to the National Trust and Hill Top Farm receives hundreds of visitors every day.

Source: News & Star

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Monday, April 24, 2006 // 07:43 a.m.


Stars back charity hat auction

Thursday 20/04/2006

A host of stars including Bill Nighy, Alan Rickman, Dame Maggie Smith, Emma Thompson and Nell McAndrew have all thrown their hats in the ring for a new charity fundraising drive.

The celebrities have all donated hats to be sold in the Debra charity’s "Celebrity Mad Hatter eBay Auction" which will be launched this month to raise funds for people affected by the genetic skin blistering condition EB (Epidermolysis Bullosa).

EB was brought to the public`s attention by Jonny Kennedy, whose life and death was featured in the award-winning documentary "The Boy Whose Skin Fell Off".

The auction will be launched on eBay on April 27 and will run until May 21.

Other stars who have donated their hats include Sir David Jason, Ant and Dec, Graham Norton, Barbara Windsor, Anthea Turner, Aled Jones, Uri Geller, Ewan McGregor, Jill Halfpenny, Chris Tarrant and the band Maroon Five.

Former Eastenders actress Jill Halfpenny, who is currently starring in the BBC1 drama "Waterloo Road", said she was happy to support such a good cause.

She said: "When I was asked to donate a hat to Debra’s Celebrity Mad Hatter eBay Auction I was more than happy to help.

"I was so affected by watching The Boy Whose Skin Fell Off, particularly as Jonny Kennedy was from the North East like me, that I jumped at the chance of supporting Jonny’s charity.

"Debra is the only organisation supporting people with the genetic skin condition EB, which leaves the skin to delicate that it blisters and breaks at the slightest friction. I can`t even imagine the pain that these children and adults have to go through.

"Speaking to people from Debra I know that EB can have a devastating effect on families. I also know that Debra’s nursing and welfare team do a fantastic job of providing direct support to those who need it.

"Debra relies on the generosity of the public to carry out its vital work so I would urge everybody to bid for their favourite star’s hat from Thursday, April 27.

"There are some fantastic hats up for grabs, including my beret, so visit www.debra.org.uk now and click on the Mad Hatter logo to find out more."

Debra vice president Nell McAndrew, who was friends with Jonny Kennedy, has donated two hats. She said: "I promised my friend Jonny Kennedy that I would continue to support Debra whenever I could.

"Their Celebrity Mad Hatter eBay Auction is a great way to help raise awareness and funds for such a great cause by simply bidding for your favourite hat.

"Make sure you bid and support Debra and keep Jonny’s dream alive of finding a cure for EB."

The auction is part of Debra’s Mad Hatter campaign, which includes Mad Hatter Day on Friday, May 5.

On that day supporters are asked to wear a hat for the day and donate £1 to Debra.

All money raised from the Mad Hatter events will go towards funding Debra’s specialist nursing and welfare team and also funding world-leading research into EB.

Source: U.TV

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Thursday, April 20, 2006 // 07:32 a.m.


Sir Elton John’s ’Gnomeo & Juliet’ moves to Miramax

(KP International) – The latest variation of Shakespeare’s classic tale of star-crossed lovers takes a tacky twist in Sir Elton John’s musical animated film ’Gnomeo & Juliet.’

Disney Feature Animation had been developing the project until last month when they dropped it shortly after their purchase of Pixar Animation Studios. Miramax, also owned by Disney, has since picked it up and their chief, Daniel Battsek, said he’s thrilled about the opportunity.

John sounds equally enthusiastic as he stated he is "very excited about working with Miramax. ’Gnomeo’ is an edgy concept, and Miramax is the perfect home to push the envelope in animation."

Instead of fair Verona the scene is set in the wonderfully cheesy world of tawdry garden gnomes.

Tim Rice, who has provided lyrics for a number of musicals such as ’Evita,’ ’Aladdin’ and ’Jesus Christ Superstar,’ is on board to work with John on the songs for the tragedy.

Rice and John won an Academy Award for their collaboration on 1994’s ’Lion King’ song ’Can You Feel the Love Tonight.’

Kate Winslet is set to lend her voice talents as the fair Juliet. Ewan McGregor was rumoured to be voicing Gnomeo, but since the film moved from Disney Feature Animation to Miramax there’s been no word on McGregor’s involvement.

Source: Inside Entertainment

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Wednesday, April 19, 2006 // 07:52 a.m.


Ewan adopts orphan girl

By Ed Harris, Evening Standard
12 April 2006

Ewan McGregor has adopted an orphaned girl from Mongolia.

The Moulin Rouge star is said to have met her when she was two years old during his televised global motorbike tour with friend Charley Boorman.

Now aged four, she is thought to be preparing to move to Britain to live with Ewan, 35, wife Ève, 39, and their two daughters Clara, 10, and Esther, four.

A source said: "He just fell for this little girl while he was out there. He wants to give her the family she never had."

A spokeswoman for McGregor confirmed that he had adopted the girl but gave no further details.

The news comes after reports that the star had tried to adopt an abandoned three-year-old orphan called Jamiyantsetseg in 2004.

That application was rejected and instead he agreed to fund the girl’s living and school expenses in Ulan Bator until she is at least 16.

Police doctor Enkhmaa Jamsrangiin said at the time: "He asked me to find a good orphanage for the child. He told them he would pay the bill.

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

Source: This is London

Thanks to Barbara for the heads up!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Wednesday, April 12, 2006 // 07:48 a.m.


Unexpected Dreams CD Delayed in the UK

amazon.co.uk sent an Email to Ester informing her that the CD had been delayed until May 8.

However, amazon.com still lists the release date as April 25.

Thanks to Ester for the heads up!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Wednesday, April 12, 2006 // 07:43 a.m.


Miss Potter release dates

Comingsoon.net has posted that Miss Potter will be released December 29, 2006 (limited release); January 12, 2007 everywhere in North America.

Source: Comingsoon.net

Thanks to ParisRouge for the heads up!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Sunday, April 9, 2006 // 11:42 a.m.


About face


MORE than 100 famous Scots, including Sean Connery, Billy Connolly and Rod Stewart, are about to make an exhibition of themselves.

Gordon Ramsay, Ewan McGregor, Chancellor Gordon Brown, Jimmy Logan, Annie Lennox and Carol Smillie are among the celebrities captured by the six artists of Glasgow’s Scottish Cartoon Art Studio.

Together with Elaine C Smith, Travis singer Fran Healy, Lorraine Kelly, Rikki Fulton and JK Rowling, they will be on show at Edinburgh’s Scottish National Portrait Gallery.

The show, Fizzers: The Alternative National Portrait Gallery, runs from Friday until July 2. A book, also called Fizzers - Scots slang for ’face’ - is published on Friday.

Studio manager Terry Anderson said: "Fizzers isn’t a definitive list of the greatest Scots.

"They’re simply the people we feel ’give good face’ - personalities who are readily recognised by the public and offer great opportunities for humorous interpretation."

Source: Evening Times

Thanks to Barbara for the heads up!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Tuesday, April 4, 2006 // 08:01 p.m.


Plaid as Hell

April 1, 2006


APRIL 1: pranks, pratfalls, plaid. That’s right, not only is today April Fools’ Day, it’s also the start of Tartan Week in New York. That means for a solid week, Scottish bands will play in clubs, bars and Grand Central Terminal; Scottish fashion will be feted in cathedrals and Grand Central Terminal; Scottish pipers will pipe in parades and Grand Central Terminal; a Scottish chef will whip up some haggis in Grand Central Terminal. No foolin’.

Tartan Week, now in its eighth year, is Scotland’s effort to convince New York that Ireland isn’t the only cold, damp country where men like to wear skirts, drink and speak with a sexy accent. Grand Central - in case you were wondering - is something of a base camp, and for a week at least, it looks a lot like a Scottish village.

The rest of the Tartan activities are dispersed all over our own fair isle and - much like a Robert Burns poem - it’s a bit difficult to make sense of it all. Film, music, lectures, scotch, paintings, even a church service - the array is as measured and coherent as plaid on plaid.

Not to worry. A wee bit of figuring revealed some truly worthwhile events. We particularly like the Scotland Run, tomorrow’s 10K in Central Park where some runners will no doubt turn up in kilts, and Whisky Live at Tavern on the Green on Wednesday, where Kentucky bourbon goes head to head against the finest Scotches. Now, how do you say hangover in Scots?

- Danica Lo

Hot dram!

Scotland’s best known export gets its due during Tartan Week - and we don’t mean Sean Connery.

Write your own Dewar’s profile at Whisky Live, a schooling in the spirit at Tavern on the Green Wednesday night.

Sample all the scotch you could ever want, while seminars include topics like "Glenfiddich Masterclass." And the scotch and bourbon face off is sure to be spirited.

Whisky Live is a handy crash course, but we turned to Angus McIndoe, proprietor of the midtown bar of the same name (258 W. 44th St., [212] 221-9222), for some tips.

If you’re turly a novice, he recommends starting with a MacAllan, which is fairly sweet. Follow it up with a Bowmore, which he describes as "a glass of smoke." The two represent the outer limits of scotch flavors.

"My grandfather used to say, the only thing you add to whisky is whisky, but scientists have proven him wrong," McIndoe says. To best appreciate a dram, pour room-temperature scotch into a room-temperature glass and add a splash of room-temperature water. When it’s quite still, smell it. Then swish it around and smell it. Notice the difference.

"Then take a little sip," he says, "or a big sip."

-Katherine Pushkar

Kilting us softly

Kilts aren’t just for the brave of heart (ha ha) - semi-wussy celebs like Fabian Basabe and the "Queer Eye" Fab Five are set to strut some fierce man-skirts down the runway Monday night at Johnnie Walker’s Dressed to Kilt fashion show benefiting Friends of Scotland (tickets at dressedtokilt.com).

The event (at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine) should draw a bazillion VIPs - to both model and judge - including actress Anne Hathaway, newsman Stone Phillips, BAFTA-winning actor Kathleen McDermott, ubiquitous star stylist Philip Bloch and previous Dressed To Kilt winner Euan Rellie.

Maybe one celebri-model will don the New York City tartan, a green, blue and red pattern that was created by celebrity tartan-maker Lochcarron as a gift to the people of New York City from the people of Scotland following 9/11.

Celebs like Samuel L. Jackson, Ewan McGregor, and Sean Connery have all worn Lochcarron - and during Tartan Week, the company will be featured in fashion shows at the Grand Central Scottish Village alongside other Scottish designers such as Catherine Aitken, Howie Nicholsby of 21st Century Kilts and Tartania.

Now, as for that burning question, what to wear under the kilt - well, better just hope you get a front-row seat.

- Danica Lo

Scotch tapes

Believe it or not, there’s more to Scottish cinema than Ewan McGregor - though that’s not to downplay the prodigious talents of the country’s biggest (figuratively and otherwise) movie star.

Starting today, Tartan Week will be showcasing the cream of the crop of Scottish films, McGregor-centric and otherwise, at Anthology Film Archives (32 Second Ave., at Second Street). Below, some of the highlights; complete schedule at tartanweekny.com.

This evening at 8 p.m.: "Festival," (2005), satirical black comedy set in an Edinburgh arts fest. By invitation only (e-mail info@tartanweek.com with questions).

Sunday: "Chariots of Fire" (1981), quintessential running movie; you probably thought it was British, but in fact it involves a Scottish runner. 1 p.m.

Monday: "On a Clear Day" (2006), in which a Glasgow shipbuilder attempts to swim the English Channel; stars Peter Mullan, Brenda Blethyn and Billy "Hobbit" Boyd. 8 p.m.

Tuesday: "Trainspotting" (1996), explosive Danny Boyle film featuring a young McGregor as a toilet-diving heroin addict. 8 p.m.

Wednesday: "Local Hero" (1983), lovely tale of small Scottish town versus big oil company; stars Burt Lancaster and Denis Lawson. 8 p.m.

Thursday: "American Cousins" (2003), Glasgow-set mob comedy featuring Vincent "Big Pussy" Pastore. 8 p.m.

Friday: "Young Adam" (2003), gritty indie in which McGregor engages in the kinkiest food fight ever. 8 p.m.

Saturday: "The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie" (1969), which proves the immortal Maggie Smith was indeed once young. 8 p.m.

- Sara Stewart

A cock-and-leek story

To many, Scottish cuisine is a contradiction in terms, and we can’t say the condescension is unearned. Haggis, after all, is Scotland’s most famous - or infamous - dish: the stomach of a sheep stuffed with the late animal’s offal, spiced and boiled.

It remains to be seen how commuters will warm to cooking demonstrations in Tartan Week’s Scottish Village in Grand Central Terminal. Joe Queen, chef and president of the Federation of Scottish Chefs, will do his best to tempt travelers with cooking demonstrations of hipped-up traditional Scottish dishes, including venison casserole, cullen skink risotto (that’s smoked haddock) and the aforementioned innards, here transformed into beignets for the occasion.

If Grand Central’s not on your itinerary, the city’s lone Scottish restaurant is St. Andrew’s (120 W. 44th St.; [212] 840-8413). The menu includes authentic dishes such as cock-a-leekie (chicken-and-leek) soup, neeps and tatties (turnips and potatoes) and, yes, haggis.

But chef and co-owner Mark Whelan says he does try to spice it up a little. "Yeah we do haggis, but with a twist - Scottish food is basically peasant food, so we do our best to update it a little bit."

Which is not to say that tradition doesn’t have its place.

"On Saturday we’ll have live music, probably some bagpipers and Scottish dancers. Oh yeah - I’ll be in my kilt."

- Christofer Cassuto

Pipe dreams

If your idea of Scottish music begins and ends with the guy from Men Without Hats wearing a kilt in the Safety Dance video, then Tartan Week is for you.

You never thought you’d read these words in this order, but the big news is for folkies. Runrig makes its U.S. debut at the Nokia Theatre in Times Square on Tuesday night. It’ll be the first time the cult band has played stateside in its 30 years of existence.

Fans of indie rock should check out the Aaron and Mordechai gig at the Continental on April 8. Two reasons: First, the Perthshire band often draws comparisons to fellow Scots Arab Strap and Mogwai; second, the gig’s at a bar.

When it comes to Celtic fusion - modern music with Celtic influences - your best bets are the Finlay MacDonald Band and the Peatbog Faeries. Both play daily at Grand Central’s Scottish Village and have Glenfiddich pub gigs at the Stout, Fitzpatrick Grand Hotel and Rockwood Music Hall. Again, we endorse the pairing of music and spirits.

If it’s a real reel you’re after, Glasgow’s Stratclyde Fire & Rescue Pipe Band, 40 pipers and drummers strong, play daily at the Scottish Village.

For dates and times, see tartanweekny.com.

- Maxine Shen

Source: New York Post

Thanks to ParisRouge for the heads up!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Sunday, April 2, 2006 // 09:13 p.m.


Miss Potter movie blog

Follow the progress of Miss Potter as it is being filmed at The Miss Potter Movie Blog. Click on the link to check it out!

Thanks to Baby Jefer for the heads up!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Friday, March 31, 2006 // 12:57 p.m.


Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Friday, March 31, 2006 // 12:00 a.m.


Listen to Ewan sing The Sweetest Gift online

AOL has made Ewan’s The Sweetest Gift available online to listen. Unfortunately, the link only works with Microsoft’s Internet Explorer browser (shame, AOL!).

Thanks to Roxanne for the heads up!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Monday, March 27, 2006 // 09:52 p.m.


Guys and Dolls merchandise on sale

Dress Circle is selling some Guys and Dolls merchandise including t-shirts and baseball caps. Beware, the CD isn’t from the show with Ewan.

Thanks to Ester for the heads up!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Monday, March 27, 2006 // 09:41 p.m.


Celebrities united against AIDS

Claudia Schiffer, Ewan MacGregor, Jemima Khan, Ralph Fiennes, Roger Moore and Rio Ferdinand join David Beckham and Robbie Williams in this global campaign advert launching on Mother’s Day.

The advert draws attention to the fact that children have been the missing face of HIV/AIDS for too long. As the world enters the third decade of the pandemic, HIV/AIDS is threatening children as never before.

You can see the advert at UNICEF.

Thanks to Roxanne for the heads up!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Monday, March 27, 2006 // 09:31 p.m.


JK Rowls out egg for charity

Wed 22 Mar 2006

A CERAMIC egg painted by JK Rowling is to be auctioned in aid of the Multiple Sclerosis Society Scotland.

The Harry Potter author is among a host of celebrities, including Scots actor Ewan McGregor and painter Elizabeth Blackadder, who have painted their own designs on eggs for a charity auction.

JK Rowling is patron of the MS charity, which she was inspired to become involved in after her mother died from the muscle-wasting disease.

Top auctioneer Alex Meddowes from Sotheby’s will attempt to attract the highest bids for the eggs at a charity dinner and auction at the Jam House in Queen Street on Sunday.

Writers Ian Rankin and Alexander McCall Smith, Newsnight presenter Kirsty Wark and First Minister Jack McConnell have also decorated eggs, as have Hibs and Rangers players.

Also up for grabs are an Arsenal shirt signed by the players, an All Blacks ball signed by the Kiwi rugby greats and a top signed by Scotland’s own oval ball legend, Gavin Hastings.

The event has been organised by Make Your Mark, a charitable young enterprise company formed by senior pupils at George Heriot’s School.

It is hoped the event will raise between £5000 and £10,000 for the society. At least 150 guests are expected to attend.

One of the 14 pupils behind the venture is 17-year-old Andrew Robinson. He said: "We wanted to do something for charity and our original idea was to send out canvasses to artists to decorate.

"But we realised that had been done before and we wanted to do something different that would really stand out. With Easter coming up, we thought it would be a good idea to decorate eggs."

He added: "The MS Society is close to our hearts as not only does it affect more people in Scotland per thousand than anywhere else in the world, but Linda, the mother of one of our group members, Hamish Ross, suffers from the disease."

The youngsters made the eggs themselves, buying the mould for £80 and using the school kiln.

A raffle will also be held, with prizes up for grabs including a year’s pass at Knockhill racing circuit near Dunfermline and a night of luxury food at The Jam House.

George Heriot’s headmaster Alistair Hector said: "It is a very good cause in aid of the Multiple Sclerosis Society Scotland who themselves have supported the youngsters tremendously."

Admission is £50 per person, including a champagne reception, three-course meal, whisky tasting and live entertainment from The Jam House band. For further information on Sunday’s event e-mail charityghs@hotmail.com.

Source: The Scotsman

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Wednesday, March 22, 2006 // 08:08 a.m.


Weinstein Co. has date with ’Miss Potter’

March 20, 2006
By Borys Kit

The Weinstein Co. has acquired North American rights to "Miss Potter" from Phoenix Pictures and David Kirschner Prods. The Beatrix Potter biopic, which is in production in the U.K., stars Renee Zellweger, Ewan McGregor and Emily Watson and is being directed by Chris Noonan.

Kirschner Prods.’ David Kirschner and Corey Sienega produce alongside Mike Medavoy, Arnie Messer and David Thwaites of Phoenix Pictures. Zellweger will serve as executive producer.

Summit Entertainment is handling international sales and distribution. The project was brought to the Weinstein Co. by Michelle Krumm, executive vp acquisitions and co-productions at TWC.

Written by Richard Maltby Jr., "Miss Potter" explores the life of Potter (Zellweger) as she becomes the author of the beloved and best-selling children’s book "The Tale of Peter Rabbit" and struggles to overcome a domineering, unsupportive mother and the chauvinism of Victorian England to become a published author.

"Phoenix and Kirschner Prods. have brought together a fantastic collection of talent that we think makes ’Miss Potter’ distinctive, emotional and highly interesting" Harvey Weinstein said. "We are thrilled to be a part of it."

Medavoy said he was happy to partner with the Weinstein Co. on the production. "Harvey’s respect for talent and love of movies is legendary, and we know we’ve found a good home for the project."

Kirschner said the movie has been a passion project for the company, and "we couldn’t dream of better partners than the Weinsteins to bring this wonderful story to North American audiences."

Kirschner Prods. produced the recent "Curious George" with Imagine Entertainment and has New Line’s "Martian Child" on deck for this year.

Phoenix has three films awaiting release this year: Marcus Nispel’s "Pathfinder" for Fox, David Fincher’s "Zodiac" for Paramount and Warner Bros. Pictures and Steve Zaillian’s "All the King’s Men" for Columbia.

Source: The Hollywood Reporter

Thanks to Moulin Rouged for the heads up!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Monday, March 20, 2006 // 07:36 a.m.


McGregor’s praise for unconventional role

BBC News has a 6 1/2-minute-long video interview with Ewan that was recorded this past week. Check it out!

Thanks to walkingguide for the heads up!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Saturday, March 4, 2006 // 09:55 a.m.


Ewan McGregor: Easy rider

04 March 2006
By Nick Duerden

The moustache is unexpected, but then moustaches so often are. This one is blonde and thick as a brush and looks as if it may be concealing a rather stiff upper lip. "It’s for a film, Beatrix Potter [with Renée Zellweger]," says Ewan McGregor, fingering the ’tache self-consciously; indeed, the beard that has come to define him of late only came off after our photographer’s visit. "It’s rather fetching, isn’t it? But it is only temporary, as I’ve a feeling it adds years to me. So once the film is done, that’s it, it goes."

We meet at two o’clock on a Friday afternoon in northwest London, at McGregor’s local restaurant. The actor has already eaten and so we restrict ourselves to fluids. Not alcohol, though. McGregor hasn’t touched a drop for five years now, and for reasons he is unkeen to divulge: "Let’s just say it was easier for my life not to drink than to drink." And so we stick to Coke and coffee. No cigarettes either, as he has given those up, too.

He is slighter than he appears on screen, perhaps no taller than five foot nine, his bright blue eyes, which dominate his face, somehow managing to contain both enthusiasm for the task at hand and a wandering distraction.

"For the first time in a long time," he begins, "I’ve afforded myself some time off. I’ve done nothing since Christmas except spend time with my wife and kids, fuck around on motorbikes and read through a whole bunch of film scripts. It’s been great."

He is surprised, he says, by the quality of scripts on offer, which remind him just what an enviable position he now occupies.

"No two are the same, which is just fantastic for an actor. After Potter [Beatrix, not Harry], I’ve absolutely no idea what I’ll be doing next, but it seems I’m spoilt for choice. And don’t think I’m smug about it, because I’m not. I know I’m in a very rare position here, and I’m very grateful…"

His attention is suddenly distracted by a woman walking past our table, a tiny baby clamped to her shoulder. His eyes grow misty. He already has children, two girls aged 10 and four. I ask him if he’d like any more?

"Oh, absolutely yes," he murmurs, eyes still starry. "More and more and more." He switches back to me. "Anyway, sorry, where were we?"

There was a time when McGregor would rely upon multiple cans of Red Stripe to help him through media commitments: "But that did prompt a certain loss of control over my tongue, shall we say," he grins. "I’ve been told off because of that on more than one occasion."

One such occasion was from director George Lucas, who took umbrage when McGregor, perhaps a little too loquaciously, admitted that he found the filming of Star Wars: The Phantom Menace (in which he played a young Obi Wan Kenobi) terminally boring.

"But it is!" he reiterates now. "Four months in front of a blue screen [on to which special effects are subsequently added] is incredibly, relentlessly tedious and I defy any actor not to find it so. But that doesn’t mean I think Star Wars is crap or that I am crap in it, it’s just the process is - well, it’s tough."

Lucas was also displeased when the actor went on record to say that he thought The Phantom Menace was a crap title for a film.

He laughs loudly. "What can I say? It is a crap name - but, come on, let’s change the subject. I’ve got into trouble over this before, I don’t want to again."

Yesterday, in selected cinemas across the UK, Ewan McGregor’s latest film opened. It’s called Stay, another of his American efforts, and it is, essentially, that staple of Hollywood output: the psychological thriller. But director Marc Forster, who found success in 2004 with the charming Finding Neverland, clearly wants to be another David Lynch, for his picture is so riddled with visual red herrings that it ultimately ties itself in knots. It is entirely possible to watch the film without having the faintest idea what is going on. McGregor plays Sam Foster, possibly a psychiatrist, perhaps not, who strives to keep a patient of his from committing suicide three days after they first meet. Bob Hoskins is in it, and he is blind. Then he is not. Naomi Watts plays his girlfriend. Or maybe she doesn’t. McGregor drifts through much of the action with a confused expression on his face and a hairstyle that looks like it got that way due to a severe electric shock.

For upwards of 20 minutes, we discuss the film’s multiple strands and potential meanings, but he doesn’t want our conversation reprinted here in order to avoid ruining it for everybody else.

"I think it’s open to interpretation," he says, "and that’s a good thing, right?"

Not in America, it isn’t. It opened over there last year, and bombed.

"It took ages to get a release," he says (Stay was made back in 2003). "There was great debate, I believe, over whether any of it made sense and how it would subsequently be sold. The distributors wanted Marc to re-shoot the ending to make clear what was going on, but he refused. As I understand it, there was a falling out. Anyway, it was eventually released without a fanfare, no premiere, nothing." He shrugs his shoulders. "But, you know, never mind. It doesn’t really matter to me whether the films I’m in are successful or not. I do them because I like them, not because of box-office potential. That doesn’t mean I don’t want them to be successful, because of course I do. I love the buzz you get from being in a really big hit. It’s just, with me, that doesn’t happen all the time."

Too true. His last film, action thriller The Island, in which he flexed biceps while Scarlett Johansson pouted, also stiffed.

"Yes, but success is not very often a reflection on how good a movie is," he argues. "Great films I’ve been in haven’t necessarily been successful, while some of the terrible ones, curiously, have been."

And which are the terrible ones? He arches his right eyebrow, Roger Moore-style. "You don’t think I’m going to answer that, do you?"

The occasional flop notwithstanding, Ewan McGregor is comfortably the leading actor of his generation. Born in Perthshire, Scotland, in 1971, he grew up idolising his uncle, actor Dennis Lawson, and it was his influence that prompted him to pursue his own celluloid dreams. His big break came at just 21 in a TV adaptation of Dennis Potter’s Lipstick On Your Collar, but it was Danny Boyle’s directorial debut, Shallow Grave, a year later, that announced his arrival in showboating style.

"An amazing film," says its star, "I loved it. The film was well received, just as I knew it would be, and I thought to myself: of course it’s well received! Yes! I’ve arrived! Give me more!"

Art-house pretension followed soon after - McGregor naked and tattooed in Peter Greenaway’s The Pillow Book - but it was Boyle’s second film, Trainspotting, that would launch the young actor’s career like a skyrocket. In it, he played Renton, a heroin addict desperate to kick the habit and leave his past behind. The film was a phenomenon, his lead performance revelatory: here was someone who oozed not just a garrulous charisma, but towering confidence as well. You watch Trainspotting and you sense that McGregor doesn’t merely know he is good, but that we all know it, too.

"I suppose I was guilty of arrogance back then. That would be a fair reading of the situation, yes," he laughs. "With Trainspotting becoming huge, I just felt that everything was going terribly according to plan. It was an absolutely amazing time. I was 23, 24. Trainspotting was defining a generation, Britpop was everywhere - Blur, Oasis - I was making films with my friends and we were being showered with acclaim. I felt like a rock star; I didn’t want it to stop. It was one film after another back then, three or four a year for five years, working flat out. I fell in love with Ève at the same time, we had Clara, we got married, bought a flat …" He looks straight at me, eyes huge. "A fast time, furiously fast, and really and totally fucking great."

It wasn’t all plain sailing, though. After another Boyle collaboration, A Life Less Ordinary in 1997 (a film which had its faults but a wonderful effervescence nevertheless), he was then overlooked for the director’s next project, The Beach. When the lead role went instead to Leonardo Di Caprio, the Scotsman was furious. He felt he’d been done over by a mate, and subsequently spoke of his sourness to anyone who asked.

Last year, they bumped into one another in a restaurant, "and, yes, we hugged and it was good to see him because I do miss him. I loved nothing more than working with Danny; he brought out the best in me, he really did. The man is a phenomenal talent."

And so were bridges rebuilt and friendships restored? His gaze dips; colour comes rapidly to his cheeks.

"No, no we’re not. We still don’t speak to each other, and that’s a shame. A real shame."

Arguably, though, he doesn’t much need him anymore. While it is probably true to say that he has never quite impressed in a film the way he did under the aegis of Danny Boyle, McGregor has nevertheless established himself as a wildly eclectic performer, thriving in all kinds of genres. There have been musicals (Moulin Rouge), gritty dramas (Young Adam) and flights of pastel-coloured fantasy (Big Fish). However, his more recent choices (Down With Love, The Island and the much maligned Star Wars trilogy) suggest, to some at least, that he is motivated more by money these days than art. Rubbish, replies McGregor.

"I’ve never done a film just for the money, no, but that doesn’t mean I don’t try to get paid as much as I possibly can for them, because I do." He points out that the responsibility that comes with having a family does require certain financial stability. "But I am reasonable. If I’m doing a small British independent movie with a £2m budget, I’m not going to claim half of that just for myself, am I? But if it’s an American movie with a $100m budget then, yes, I’d want a good slice of that. Ultimately, I make my choices because I find something interesting in each film, and that doesn’t matter if it’s earnest and worthy like Young Adam, or a big action yarn like The Island. Everything I’ve done, I’ve taken something from. I’ve learned, and you grow by learning, don’t you?"

For six months last year, McGregor played Sky Masterson in the West End musical Guys and Dolls. Critics thought that this was a considerable risk for such an established screen actor, one that could only end in embarrassment. Instead, the play was a smash hit, McGregor receiving a Best Actor nomination in this month’s Olivier Awards. It was, he tells me, one of the best things he has ever done.

"An absolute blast, a brilliant, wonderful time. I’d longed to be on stage again and surrounded by a company of actors. Five weeks in a rehearsal room with these amazing people was almost as enjoyable for me as the actual performances. It was the perfect antidote to films as well, because it keeps you fresh."

And the theatre was itself an antidote to what he had done before that, a four-month trek around the world by motorbike with his friend, actor Charley Boorman, which was immortalised on film for the benefit of a Sky TV documentary called The Long Way Round. McGregor loves his motorbikes, but more than that, he loved being away from it all, from the pressures of everyday life. Twelve hours a day with his head under a motorcycle helmet, he says, gives you a lot of time for contemplation. It’s effectively self-therapy.

"You have time to think about everything: life, old girlfriends, the universe, work, your family, everything. I found it all tremendously therapeutic."

He and Boorman are now planning to do it all again next year, this time from John O’Groats to Cape Town. Does this mean, perhaps, that he is in continual need of self-therapy?

"No, of course not, that’s not what I’m saying. It’s fun, basically, really terrific fun, and the people you meet are just amazing. But I won’t lie, I definitely use the time to work out all manner of things."

One of the "things" he will happily admit needs his contemplation is his attitude to fame. The constant tabloid speculation of dalliances with his female leads - Nicole Kidman, Cameron Diaz, Scarlett Johansson - affects him bitterly.

"Does it hurt? Of course it fucking hurts. To see lies written about you hurts a hell of a lot, which is why I now avoid reading the papers altogether. My wife is totally cool about it, she doesn’t care anymore, she laughs it off, and I’m trying to live by that example, but it’s difficult. It’s particularly difficult when the papers print pictures of my children. I won’t have that."

He tells me that on the few occasions photographs of his daughters have been published in newspapers, he has sued over it - sued, and won, which, he says, "sends out a very strong signal not to fucking do it again".

Gradually, the bile that has come out of nowhere begins to settle, and he smiles in apology. "But anyway, who wants to hear somebody very comfortably off in life bitch and moan, eh? Listen, I need to be somewhere else now, but wait there." He nips back to his house to fetch a copy of The Long Way Round on DVD, and presents it to me with almost paternal pride. "Hope you like it," he beams. The smile broadens and the moustache lifts, the stiff upper lip conspicuous by its absence.

Source: The Independent

Thanks to ParisRouge for the heads up!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Friday, March 3, 2006 // 09:53 p.m.


Stormbreaker trailer online

The official Stormbreaker site now has the trailer available. Sadly, no sign of Ewan in it.

Thanks to tinytartplaymate for the heads up!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Friday, March 3, 2006 // 06:12 p.m.


Ewan on Kiss100

Camp David went to a lovely hotel to speak to Ewan ’Obe Wan Kinobe’ McGregor and his amazing moustache.

Visit the site for more pictures.

Source: kiss100

Thanks to Elyse for the heads up!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Wednesday, March 1, 2006 // 07:53 a.m.


Guys and Dolls wins Olivier Awards

The Billy Elliot boys have fought off stiff competition from the Guys And Dolls stars to take the Best Actor in a Musical Award. James Lomas, George Maguire and Liam Mower were all awarded for sharing the title role, and Who’s Afraid Of Virginia Woolf? star Kathleen Turner was there to present it.

Ewan McGregor and Douglas Hodge, both nominated for their roles in Michael Grandage’s crap-shooting musical at the Piccadilly, lost out to the trio of teenage boys who originated the role of Billy Elliot in Stephen Daldry’s hit musical which opened last May. Lomas, Maguire and Mower alternated in the role of the boy who loves ballet and hence they share this Laurence Olivier Award. Lomas and Maguire have since left, but Mower continues in the role along with two new Billies, Travis Yates and Leon Cooke.

Guys and Dolls won Outstanding Musical Production and Jane Krakowski won for outstanding actress in a musical.

Ewan and Ève at the Awards’ drinks reception
Thanks to Georginita for the pic!

Source: The Society of London Theatre and What’s on Stage

Thanks to Ellie and Barbara for the heads up!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Monday, February 27, 2006 // 07:32 a.m.


The Big Interview: Jenna Russell

The Best Actress in a Musical category at the 2006 Laurence Olivier Awards looks set to be one of the most hotly contested on the night. Acorn Antiques’ Julie Walters, who seems to collect awards for a living, faces off against Billy Elliot’s Haydn Gwynne and the Guys And Dolls duo of Jane Krakowski and Jenna Russell. For Russell, whose musical CV also includes High Society, Into The Woods and Martin Guerre, it is her first nomination at London theatre’s answer to the Oscars. Matthew Amer went to see how she is coping with the excitement…

“It put a smile on my face and made my Mum feel really nice… and I get to wear a nice frock.” Winning acclaim and a Laurence Olivier Award nomination for her performance in Guys And Dolls has clearly not gone to the head of actress Jenna Russell. Sitting in her Piccadilly theatre dressing room, drying a used glass before moving a bucket underneath water dripping through a light fitting, Russell is anything but a prima donna following one of the most lauded roles of her career. In fact, she quickly turns her attention to one of the other seven nominations that the production garnered, saying “I’m so glad for Rob [Ashford, choreographer of Guys And Dolls] that he got nominated, because I think his choreography on this is something else”.

All four of the original leads of Guys And Dolls have received nominations for their all-singing, all-dancing performances; all the more impressive when you know that Douglas Hodge, Ewan McGregor and Jenna Russell are not trained dancers. Russell, in a way that seems typical of her, was thrilled that they all received nominations, “because we can all share in it”. On the day that the nominations were announced, after being given the good news by her agent, Russell spoke to each of the other leads, so that they could share their joy. “Ewan [McGregor] rang me at eight o’clock in the morning,” she says, “screaming because he was so excited.”

Russell was particularly pleased with her nomination as, after a career in which people have touted her for nominations that have not materialised, she thought she may have “missed the boat” on the awards front.

Sadly for Russell, she has not had a chance to check out her fellow nominees. Although she has been starring in Guys And Dolls since last May, Russell stayed at her home in Whitstable the whole time, making a four hour commute every day. The thought of getting in early to catch a midweek matinee is not as appealing as a few more hours relaxing at home. “I didn’t see Julie Walters, who’s my top tip to win, but everyone I know who saw [Acorn Antiques] thought she was brilliant,” she says, talking up the opposition. “Obviously I admired Jane Krakowski’s performance every night, eight shows a week for six months” she adds with a cheeky grin.

It is very comfortable chatting to Russell, laid back on her dressing room sofa. She strikes me as eternally happy; not in a sickly, bubblegum kind of way, but more hot chocolate on a cold winter night. After she’s rifled through my bag to see what I may or may not have bought in the sales, and we’ve discussed the slight worry of water leaking into electrically powered equipment, talk turns to passing the time on a four hour commute. The trains to Whitstable, it turns out, are not great late at night – trouble with buses and Gillingham apparently – so Russell chooses to drive each day. “I quite like it; you get the music on, get yourself a coffee and a packet of Revels… at the moment I’m singing very loudly at the top of my voice!” Possibly so she doesn’t have to warm up at the theatre and can leave home a little later.

Sarah Brown, the role Russell plays in Guys And Dolls, is a straight-laced Salvation Army Captain who is swept off her feet by chancer Sky Masterson. At the start of the show, just thinking about the possibility of letting her hair down would bring Sarah out in a rash. The dourness of the character did not originally thrill Russell as a prospect, in fact she wanted to play the nightclub dancer Miss Adelaide – the part for which Krakowski is nominated – instead. Director Michael Grandage had other ideas and, though Russell auditioned for both roles – “I was going to wow him with my Adelaide” – he stuck to his guns and cast her as Brown… which is lucky, as having played the part for a while now, Russell has changed her mind.

“I had no idea what an extraordinarily fabulous part it is.” This is Russell’s new take on the role. The prudish beginnings of the character, Russell explains, allow her to develop and give Russell the chance to bring out the comedy in the role. She also has the joy of dancing the Havana sequence, lately with former Eastender Nigel Harman and formerly with international mega-star Ewan McGregor.

The arrival of McGregor in the West End was met with a swell of interest of mountainous proportions. The stage door at the Piccadilly, protected by gargantuan metal gates, was surrounded by a plethora of adoring fans after each show, hoping to catch a glimpse of the Scottish heart-throb. “I’ve never experienced that before,” Russell says of the phenomenal flock of theatregoers that congregated in the area her dressing room looks out onto, “We had to have the police.” Russell herself, however, was not immune to the lures of McGregor: “He has a quality about him as a man that is golden, and you go ‘oooh!’” she says. Russell, as fair as ever, also has kind words for Harman, who has “a rare quality as an actor, of great sensitivity coupled with real blokiness that people like.”

However charming both leads may be, it is clear from the door of Russell’s dressing room that there is actually only one man in her life; one object of her affections. Sitting proudly beneath a picture of the Guys And Dolls press launch, resides a picture of a semi-clad pop prince: “Justin Timberlake is my new boyfriend; that’s an exclusive!” You heard it here first, just don’t mention it to Russell’s ‘other’ boyfriend.

Russell finishes her Guys And Dolls experience in a matter of weeks, making way for a new cast, which includes Adam Cooper, Neil Morrissey, Kelly Price and Sally Ann Triplett, to take over on 6 March. Though she jokes about where she might be seen next – “Probably at the dole office or at Somerfield doing my Saturday job with my ‘I had an Olivier nomination T-shirt’” – in actual fact she will not be away from the West End for long, as it was recently revealed that she will be joining the cast of Sunday In The Park With George when it transfers from the Menier Chocolate Factory to Wyndham’s.

Russell, who is best known for musicals and for her role as Deborah Gilder in television’s Born And Bred, is itching to get her teeth into some new writing. It’s not like she doesn’t know the right people to help her out in that respect. Personal friend Dominic Cooke has recently been named Ian Rickson’s successor as Artistic Director of new writing hotbed the Royal Court, while Born And Bred co-star Richard Wilson is also a leading director of new writing. So, by way of a handy plug… “I’d love to do something, so hopefully, Richard and Dominic…”

Life could have been very different for Russell had she altered a career choice made when she was just 17. She was offered a part in Eastenders, playing unmarried mother Mary. Though under a certain amount of pressure to take the part, which would have guaranteed work for 18 months, Russell “just had a bad feeling about it”. It was the advice of a cameraman that swayed her decision: “Unless you really feel it in your heart that it is something you want to do,” he told her, “it is a long time to commit yourself to something if you’re not going to be happy.”

Though Eastenders was a big success, and many people thought she was crazy to turn it down, Russell is still sure she made the correct decision and insists that as an actor “the only power I think you have is to say ‘no’”. It is a rule of life which Russell has stuck to throughout her career, making moves which may have surprised others, but sticking to her guns and getting as much variety into her work as she can. The actress who once wandered over to her to say “Whatever happened to you, you were doing so well in musicals? I always get sad that you’re not doing more musicals and it never happened for you”, got entirely the wrong end of the stick. Though Russell is undoubtedly a talented musical actress, there is much more she wants to achieve in a profession that spans a whole host of media.

Russell’s career is deliberately varied. Her CV boasts long-running television drama Born And Bred, a host of musicals, being killed by a Dalek in Doctor Who, singing the theme tune to Red Dwarf, a handful of films and some very serious theatre. She is driven, not by a notion of celebrity – an idea she riles against – but by the art and the enjoyment she takes from it: “I’ve had a good time and I’ve been very lucky. I’m very aware that it’s a very hard profession, but I love it. I’ve had nothing but joy given to me from this job. It’s the best job in the world.”

For full, minute-by-minute, interactive coverage of the 2006 Laurence Olivier Awards ceremony visit http://www.officiallondontheatre.co.uk. Commentary starts at 18:00 on Sunday 26 February.

Source: The Society of London Theatre

Thanks to Monika for the heads up!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Tuesday, February 21, 2006 // 08:45 p.m.


Stay Japanese Site Opened

Fox Japan has just launched the official Stay site. There’s some news and a synopsis of the story, but the best bit so far is the welcome page design.

Stay is expected to open in early summer.

Thanks to Fuumin for the heads up!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Sunday, February 19, 2006 // 10:05 p.m.


Ewan’s The Great Pretender postponed

19 February 2006
By Steve Hendry

Peter Capaldi, who won a Hollywood Oscar in 1993 for his debut short film Franz Kafka’s It’s a Wonderful Life, had been due to start work on filming The Great Pretender with Ewan McGregor. But the comedy, set around a 1930s movie about Bonnie Prince Charlie, has been put off until next year because he has to film another 10 episodes of The Thick of It as No.10’s press rottweiler Malcolm Tucker.

He said: "The Great Pretender is not going to fit in with the new series so we’ve put it back to next year. I don’t have time to do both which is a shame but it happens all the time. Fortunately, Ewan is still attached to it. He’s been fantastic."

Source: The Sunday Mail

Thanks to Fuumin for the heads up!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Sunday, February 19, 2006 // 11:40 a.m.


Stay DVD cover

amazon.com has the cover for Stay, which will be released on will be released on March 28, 2006.

Thanks to Fuumin for the heads up!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Saturday, February 18, 2006 // 09:51 a.m.


Ewan Charity Trip

17 February 2006

Ewan McGregor is taking time out from acting to travel around the world as a UNICEF ambassador. He and his wife Ève Mavrakis will go to Mongolia, Kazakhstan and Ukraine.

Source: Daily Record

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Friday, February 17, 2006 // 07:38 a.m.


Ewan joins school-run mums’ protest

By Katharine Barney, Evening Standard
17 February 2006

Actor Ewan McGregor has joined forces with mothers in Hampstead to fight for the right to drive their children to school.

A ban by Camden council on parking on yellow lines and residents’ bays outside schools has caused outrage.

And father-of-two McGregor, who lives in the area, said dropping children at school is a parent’s right.

He said: "My children go to two different schools and there is no adequate pay and display or meter system at either school.

"Without the permits Camden can target the schools and make thousands in fines."

At present, parents are given permits which allow them to park for 15 minutes while they deliver or collect their children.

But the council has decided the permits are not in keeping with its green transport policy and has decided to phase them out by 2008. It has begun reducing the number of permits it issues to schools and nurseries every year. Schools currently have less than 60 per cent of their original number of permits and this will continue to decrease.

Parents must now find other ways of taking their children to school.

The decision has sparked anger, with mothers and fathers saying that young children cannot be expected to walk long distances and that the Tube and buses are often impractical. A campaign group - Schools Travel Action Group (Stag) - has been formed.

It has already collected a petition of 1,300 signatures calling for a reversal of the policy and claiming that it will lead to traffic chaos and illegal parking as well as compromise pupils’ safety.

The petition will be presented to officials at a council meeting on 1 March. Parents will also stage a demonstration outside the town hall beforehand. Mother-of-two Susan McCarron of Stag said:

"We all recognise there is a problem but we want to find realistic and safe ways of reducing congestion and alternatives to using cars.

"We are prepared to sit down with the council to find solutions. Instead, Camden is alienating us with its campaign against parents."

Source: Evening Standard

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Friday, February 17, 2006 // 07:35 a.m.


Ewan at the Berlin Film Festival

Looking his gorgeous self, the mustache is probably for his upcoming role in Miss Potter.

Update: There is also a video clip to see!

(With "Stay" director Marc Forster)

Source: Yahoo News

Thanks to Roxanne and Elyse for the heads up!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Monday, February 13, 2006 // 06:22 p.m.


McGregor Awarded for Musical Debut

7th February 2006 - What’s on Stage News

Click for larger version
Ewan McGregor made his stage musical debut last year in Guys and Dolls and last week won our Whatsonstage.com Theatregoers’ Choice Best Actor in a Musical Award for his role as gambling man Sky Masterson – gathering nearly 40% of the vote in a category that included his co-star Douglas Hodge (Details). Today, Whatsonstage.com met up with the star at the Union Club in Soho to present him with his trophy.

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“ It’s lovely to win this,” McGregor told Whatsonstage.com. “The best awards are always the ones voted for by real people, in this case theatregoers. It’s really special to get an award voted for by them.” He agreed that the honour took on extra significance, given that it was his stage musical debut. Performing in a musical is, he admitted, “very difficult, it’s harder than I imagined it would be, the singing every night – trying to sing the songs well but also trying to make sense of them. My hat comes off now to people who are in musicals. It’s not as easy as it looks.”

Click for larger version
Despite the physical demands of the job, McGregor recalls his time on Guys and Dolls, which he finished in December, with affection. “I loved it,” he enthused. “I needed the change of pace, I needed to be on stage again in front of an audience because you learn so much more about being an actor there than you do on a film set. I had a great time – and there was an incredible company of dancers and actors round about us. I had a really really fantastic experience doing the show right to the end – six months in, I was still learning about certain moments and making bits work that maybe hadn’t worked before. It was great.”

And good news for theatregoers – McGregor plans to be back on stage soon. “There are no firm plans at the moment, but I’m not going to leave it too long,” he said today. “When I did Little Malcolm (which transferred from Hampstead Theatre to the West End in 1999), it had been seven years since I’d been on stage, and then it was five years before I did Guys and Dolls. I’m not going to leave it that long again.”

Click for larger version
McGregor’s Theatregoers’ Choice Award was one of four overall for Michael Grandage’s production of Frank Loesser’s Broadway classic. It also scooped Best Actress in a Musical (Jane Krakowski), Best Supporting Actor in a Musical (Martyn Ellis) and Best Musical Revival Nicely Nicely Johnson. McGregor and Krakowski have also been nominated in this year’s Laurence Olivier Awards, announced on 26 February (Details).

Guys and Dolls is currently booking until 2 September 2006 at the Piccadilly Theatre where a new cast – led by Adam Cooper and Sally Ann Triplett as Sky Masterson and Miss Adelaide – take over from 6 March.

Source: Whatsonstage.com

Thanks to Steffi, ParisRouge and Baby Jefer for the heads up!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Tuesday, February 7, 2006 // 09:16 p.m.


Ewan McGregor’s Malawi Field Trip Diary

UNICEF Ambassador Ewan McGregor walking through the rain to visit a child-headed household in the slum area of Ndirande, Blantyre.
UNICEF/ 2005/Caroline Irby
Diary entry one:

“I’ve learned a lot about the struggle children who have lost one or both parents to HIV/AIDS face every day. The lack of food, care, love and medicines. They are no longer statistics to me but little children I’ve met who still had the strength to laugh and smile.

We saw three brothers and a sister who live near Blantyre in a township of sorts, a slum. It was pouring. It was a devastatingly sad visit to these boys’ home, which was a tiny mud hut no bigger than half the size of a small room. I’ve never seen a grimmer sight in my life.

It was dirty, everywhere was covered in filth, and the blankets they sleep on were thick with grime and dirt. There were flies and fleas crawling on every surface, there were pots that had never been cleaned with flies crawling all over the remnants of food in them. The second room was full of junk, the roof was open and the rain was pouring in, and it stank.

The eldest boy was 17, the next boy was 13, I think the third boy was maybe six or seven and they had a one-and-a-half-year-old sister, this tiny little baby girl, and they lived in this hole. Their mother died in October, of AIDS and they’d watched her die. The eldest boy has epilepsy. I just felt bleak and empty and horrible: I couldn’t believe that a baby girl lives here.

The wee boy goes out begging – the 17-year-old who’s in charge of the family now – to try and raise enough money to feed his three siblings. He was covered in scars and cuts and bruises and burns from having fits and falling down. It was an enormously emotionally upsetting day. It certainly told a story of what life is like in Malawi for 700,000 AIDS orphans.”

UNICEF Ambassador Ewan McGregor and children at Consol Homes Orphan Care.
UNICEF/ 2005/Caroline Irby
Diary entry two:

“We drove to Consol Homes Orphan Care, which is a big centre that UNICEF has helped to support. It’s an incredible place, it really is: different projects within the one centre. There’s a day care centre for little children who’ve been orphaned by AIDS where their grandmother - or whoever is looking after them - can take them. There are some toys – not many, but enough to keep them occupied, and the carers play games with them.

It’s really simple what UNICEF does in these community-based child care centres. The community is in charge of finding and preparing a space for the orphans to be looked after on a day-care type basis. UNICEF sends over supplies: paper, paints and printing things, some educational books for the children, building blocks, a few toys – just very basic things that kids need to behave like kids. The head of the village is responsible for allocating a piece of land to be the garden, and there they grow maize or soy beans, and vegetables with which the carers cook so the kids get at least one proper meal a day.

We met some of the grandmothers and the widows; they’re being taught skills that they can take back to their villages that not only help feed the children they are looking after, but also maybe make them some money. A group of grandmothers were being shown how to pound nuts into a mush and then extract the oil, which they can cook with or sell at the market. Others were being taught how to make soap to sell.

The Memory Book by Martha Mbewe, a 16-year-old orphaned by AIDS.
UNICEF/ 2005/Caroline Irby
The Memory Book

We met this fantastic girl, who was 16 and had lost both her parents to AIDS. She showed us a memory book, where the children can put down their thoughts and feelings about the parents they’ve lost and about how they feel and see themselves now. This girl’s book was full of incredible pictures of flowers and the word love, and a picture of herself playing with a football. She told us she considered herself to be a hero because after her parents died people were encouraging her to marry and have a child. She was 16 and said no, she wanted to stay at school, because one day she wanted to be a driver.

Wonderful, really wonderful.”

UNICEF Ambassador Ewan McGregor with children at Kawale Youth Centre, Lilongwe,looking at a book about Britain
UNICEF/ 2005/Caroline Irby
Diary entry three:

“Our first stop was the Kawale Youth Centre. We met a girl called Hope who’s 14 and she very proudly showed us round. It’s basically a small room, divided into two: on the right were lots of older boys very studiously reading newspapers and school text books, and on the other side of the partition the little kids were sitting on the floor reading children’s books. And it was so quiet - that’s the first thing that struck me: they were sitting there, quietly, without any teachers. In Africa, the kids have first hand experience of why they need education.”

UNICEF Ambassador Ewan McGregor talking with Hope Ganizini, fourteen-years-old at the Kawale Youth Centre, Lilongwe.
UNICEF/ 2005/Caroline Irby
Information Note:
Nearly half of all new HIV/AIDS infections occur in young people between 15 and 24. In order to reduce new infection amongst young people UNICEF is scaling up its projects that give access to knowledge on HIV/AIDS and life skills for young people in and out of school. UNICEF’s ‘youth friendly’ projects help to raise awareness and give out information on HIV/AIDS to young people. UNICEF funds 50 of these ‘youth friendly services’ in Malawi. They give young people their own space and privacy as well as increased information on reproductive health.

“They have talks where people tell them how to protect themselves against HIV/AIDS: it seems that one of the most important tools to fight against HIV and AIDS in Africa is educating children and young people on the truth about it – what it is and how you get it, how you can prevent yourself from getting it.”



UNICEF Ambassador Ewan McGregor with Dorica Makiyi and her newborn baby, Ndirande District Hospital, Blantyre.
UNICEF/ 2005/Caroline Irby
Diary entry four:

“There are an estimated 511,000 births a year in Malawi with 95 per cent of pregnant women attending ante-natal clinics. Without care, one in three of Malawi’s HIV positive pregnant mothers will pass the virus on to their newborn babies during gestation, delivery or through breast milk. Since 2001, more than 40,000 pregnant women have accessed UNICEF’s prevention of mother to child transmission (PMTCT) services, receiving voluntary HIV/AIDS testing and counselling, infant feeding advice, improved delivery care practices, and quality post-natal and follow-up care.

UNICEF is working in hospitals all across Africa to provide medicines to stop mother-to-child transmission of HIV through childbirth. It’s really effective and very simple. The mother is given an anti-retroviral drug during labour, then the baby is given the drug in syrup form for the first two to three months of his life.

We travelled to the Ndirande District Hospital. They do pre-natal HIV screening for all pregnant women now, unless they’ve asked not to have it. Then they’ll be given counselling when they find out whether the test is positive or negative. There was a group of about 30 women sitting on benches in the quite large, dusty hall.

We were asked if we wanted to see one of these ladies having her HIV test. So I said, yes let’s go – and it was a tiny space. Suddenly I was standing inches away from this woman who was being counselled on what will happen if her test is positive. I felt really in the way, but the nurse and the lady who was being tested seemed fairly oblivious and carried on regardless. We asked the lady about her set-up: she was married, she had three children already, and she was pregnant with her fourth child. This was her second AIDS test – she had one before her third child was born, which was negative. I felt for sure that they would be negative this time too.

When we went back into the room the nurse talked to her in the local dialect for quite a long time. There was no reaction on the lady’s face. Then the nurse explained to us what was going on, she said that this test was positive, and I realised that this woman had just been told she carried the HIV virus and I was completely gob-smacked. It felt really wrong to be there. I tried to edge my way out and I stood in the doorway staring at this woman, trying to see what her reaction was, and kind of projecting what I assume my reaction would be on to her, I suppose. It’s very difficult to know whether the women are not showing their emotions for cultural reasons or maybe it's ignorance of the disease, but there doesn’t seem to be that worry about HIV here. Maybe they think the ARV drugs are miracle drugs which means it doesn’t affect your life as much as we know that it will. She said her husband had had the test but wouldn’t tell her what the results were.

UNICEF thinks that maybe less than 10 per cent of HIV-positive women giving birth to children are receiving the anti-retroviral treatment during labour. It’s a shockingly low percentage.”

UNICEF Ambassador Ewan McGregor showing children images of themselves on his digital camera in Cedric Village near Blantyre.
UNICEF/ 2005/Caroline Irby
Diary entry five:

“Next we travelled to Cedric Village, which had another community-based child care centre. It was very different to the one we saw up north at Consul homes. The children were sadder. It was a sadder place. The one we went to yesterday up near Lilongwe was very positive and optimistic and seemed quite shiny, but although we were welcomed equally here it was a quieter place, people seemed less hopeful.

The food crisis is much more serious here in the south and there’s also more AIDS. And it’s reflected in the faces of the people we met, and the children we saw. There were lots and lots and lots of small children there – easily 150. The slightly older children were learning how to use clay and were making things they would like to own, like mobile phones and radios. One boy said he would like to have a radio so he was making it out of clay. And again, there were widows and grandmothers sitting in the shade. The little kids were playing with things that you could find lying around – tin cans that they put sand in and a bit of water; they were playing at cooking and things like that.

Inside, their centre was the perfect example of one of the community-based children’s centres that UNICEF has been raising money for: it showed how little you need to make these children’s lives better. They’re using an old church building, so there wasn’t the cost of building a new one.

One group of children was drawing on paper with coloured pencils. Next to them was a group of children painting with paint brushes on paper, and the paint that they were using was made from the earth and clay surrounding the centre. And you could tell – the colours were all African earth colours. Then there were some children playing with building blocks that looked like they had been carved from wood that had been found lying around, so again that didn’t cost any money. There was a little sleeping room, there were some books – very few books, maybe 10 or 15 – and there was a bunch of kids reading quietly. And then down the way children were writing on slate boards with chalk.

The room must have had 100 children in, and they were playing, they were able to act like children, which is what they deserve to do. It was a fantastic feeling, it made me feel very proud – and very amazed at the strength of the people who look after the kids: these guys are all volunteers and they come from the community to help out because the children need it. Awesome.”

UNICEF Ambassador Ewan McGregor with a three-month-old baby Stella Kantedza at Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Blantyre.
UNICEF/ 2005/Caroline Irby
Diary entry six:

“Our last day today, and we visited Queen Elizabeth Hospital, one of the biggest in Malawi. There were a lot of British doctors there, and it’s run by an English woman. These doctors are amazing, unbelievable. We were in there for an hour and a half, maybe two hours, but the idea of being there day in and day out working with absolutely nothing – sometimes no drugs, sometimes no staff, and it’s absolutely cramped – well, it’s unbelievable. But the care that’s given is extraordinary, and although the statistics are terrible in terms of babies that die there – I think it’s at least one a day – there are babies who are made better.

I asked the doctors what percentage of children with HIV are seen here, do you think? They said they were seeing the tip of the iceberg, that for every baby they saw there were countless others in villages who weren’t being treated at all. Sometimes there are 300 babies a day in the paediatric ward, who are malnourished or who have AIDS, or both. Three hundred babies a day, so they’re stretched to the limit, but my God they’re amazing people.”

Diary entry seven:

“In the nutrition rehabilitation unit, which is sponsored by UNICEF, they’re dealing with children who are severely malnourished. The first thing they have to do is to allow the salt to get back into the blood, so for the first couple of days they don’t start feeding them up. They have to stabilise their bodies and get them ready to accept food again. If they get them through those critical first two days, by the time the baby has an appetite again they’re sent home. The doctor was saying that in our country they would keep them for much, much longer, but they have to send them home because there are so many other babies coming in behind them.

We met a very special child. We called him the bouncing boy because he was dancing around, but his mother lay very close to death; she had TB and AIDS.

She was 22, and had given birth to her son when she was 10. She was lying there holding his hand and she was coughing and coughing; she had the most beautiful eyes I’ve ever seen – she was a beautiful woman. But she was lying on a mattress that was uncovered and her possessions were all over the place, and it was clear that there was no-one looking after her. I asked the doctor, what’s going to happen to the little boy? The doctor shrugged. So when the lady dies, I said, that little boy, who’s 12, is just going to walk out of the hospital? And she said, yeah.

So now we’ve met AIDS orphans, and today we’ve met a little boy who’s about to become one.

UNICEF Ambassador Ewan McGregor with three HIV-positive young people who work to raise awareness about the disease at the Thondwe Youth Centre.
UNICEF/ 2005/Caroline Irby
Diary entry eight:

“We visited so many different projects and places and met so many wonderful people, but it’s almost at a point where my brain can’t take in any more pain and suffering. The last thing we saw was a lovely youth centre. We met a great guy who’d lost both his sisters to AIDS, and who now looked after their six children. He was 32 years old and got married recently and is expecting his first child soon too.

He said “you can’t just walk away from your responsibilities”, which I admired because I’ve heard lots of stories about men who have done just that and walked away from their responsibilities. Now he ran this youth centre where they did voluntary HIV tests, and had a support group.

We met three incredible people who had tested HIV positive: a boy of 17, and women of 22 and 32. They were all unmarried and without children, but as soon as they found out they were HIV positive they decided to tell everybody and to go into the communities to try to educate people about prevention. They seemed really at peace.

I’m convinced that the most important thing of all is knowledge, and education. My hope is that we’ve have seen the peak of HIV and AIDS in Malawi on this trip and in 50 years time we’ll look back and say it’s history.

Children from this youth group put on a play: they used acting and theatre as a way of spreading the word and dispelling myths about HIV and AIDS. Everything that we learnt over the last four days was one way or another, in this play. And I looked round at the faces of the hundreds of children watching, and I hoped in my heart that they wouldn’t have to go through some of the things I’ve seen since I’ve been here, that this new generation will know about AIDS and will not sleep around and will use condoms when they have sex, and that AIDS will wane and Africa can become strong again. I really hope that. I really hope that.”

Source: UNICEF

Thanks to Walkingguide, ewanishot and Baby Jefer for the heads up!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Saturday, February 4, 2006 // 11:18 a.m.


Hitchcock role for Little Britain star

Staff and agencies
Thursday February 2, 2006

British comic Matt Lucas is to make his big screen debut in a biopic of Alfred Hitchcock. The Little Britain star will reportedly play Hitchcock during the director’s early years in east London during the 1920s and 30s. Ewan McGregor is also tipped to star in the as-yet-untitled production.

A grocer’s son from Leytonstone, Hitchcock rose up through the ranks of the fledgling British industry, directing a number of silent thrillers in the UK and Germany before graduating to talkies. He moved to Hollywood in 1939 to film an adaptation of the Daphne Du Maurier novel Rebecca. Subsequent films, including Strangers on a Train, Vertigo, North by Northwest and Psycho, established him as arguably the most successful British director in Hollywood history.

After early work as a sidekick to comic Vic Reeves, Lucas went on to develop the Little Britain sketch show alongside David Walliams. With his bald head and pugnacious air, the 31-year-old actor bears a passing resemblance to the late, great film-maker. "Matt is a perfect choice," an unnamed source told the Mirror newspaper. "Their physical similarities are uncanny and he is a big fan of Hitch’s movies."

Source: Guardian Unlimited

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Thursday, February 2, 2006 // 09:54 a.m.


Congratulations to Ewan and the Guys and Dolls cast!

True to their name, the Whatsonstage.com Theatregoers’ Choice Theatre Awards are the only major theatre awards in which you, the audience, are the judges across all 24 awards categories. Voting for the 2006 Awards has now ended and the winners are listed below.

The 2006 awards shortlists - covering the best of London theatre (and a bit beyond) in 2005 - were drawn up with the help of over 1,000 theatregoers who logged on to nominate their favourites. Nominations were announced at a star-studded launch event held on Wednesday 25 November 2005 at Planet Hollywood. Voting opened on 1 December 2005 and continued until 30 January 2006. During that time, over 12,000 theatregoers logged on to vote, with leaders in many categories fluctuating dramatically from day to day, hour to hour. In the end, the determination of some fields came down to just a handful of votes.

Best Actress in a Musical
Winner: Jane Krakowski for Guys & Dolls

Best Actor in a Musical
Winner: Ewan McGregor for Guys & Dolls

Best Supporting Actor in a Musical
Winner: Martyn Ellis for Guys & Dolls

Best Musical Revival
Winner: Guys & Dolls

Source: What’s on Stage

Thanks to Ellie for the heads up!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Tuesday, January 31, 2006 // 01:22 p.m.


Long Way Round wins Broadcasting Award


When Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman set off on their fascinating Long Way Round journey, they probably never imagined that it would achieve the success that it has. The television series that was aired on Sky has just won the Broadcaster Award for the Best Multichannel Programme.

For this award, judges were looking for the outstanding original production commissioned by a UK digital-only television channel, with its first transmission during 2005. Repeats and acquisitions were excluded. Judges searched for shows that were original, brought something new to the market and struck a chord with its audience.

"This is a fantastic award to win," said Russ Malkin, the producer and director of Long Way Round. "Ewan and Charley’s journey has really caught the imagination of so many people that the success of the project has thrived. Since the series was shown on Sky in the UK, it has been released internationally and we are now getting a whole new wave of positive feedback from around the world."

The Long Way Round book published by Time Warner Books won the UK 2005 Travel Book of the Year Award, outselling its closest competitor - Michael Palin - by 100,000 copies. The DVD went platinum in the UK, Australia and New Zealand and was also the number one selling DVD in Canada.

Long Way Round was executive-produced by Ewan McGregor, Charley Boorman, Russ Malkin and David Alexanian.

Charley Boorman’s latest project - Race to Dakar - will be aired on Sky in October this year.

Source: World of BMW

Thanks to Trevor for the heads up!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Friday, January 27, 2006 // 07:18 p.m.


Donmar’s Mary Scoops South Bank Theatre Award

27th January 2006
by Caroline Ansdell

Mary Stuart scooped the Theatre prize in the tenth anniversary South Bank Show Awards, which celebrates the UK’s creative talent across a wide range of the arts.

At a star-studded event held today at London’s Savoy Hotel, Ewan McGregor (fresh from his West End turn in Guys and Dolls, directed by Donmar artistic director Michael Grandage) presented the Theatre award to director Phyllida Lloyd and the cast of Mary Stuart.

The Donmar Warehouse revival of Schiller’s play about two warring queens - which transferred to the West End’s Apollo Theatre last autumn, starring Janet McTeer and Harriet Walter - has also been nominated for a plethora of awards at the Oliviers and our own Whatsonstage.com Theatregoers’ Choice Awards. Walter also won the Evening Standard Best Actress Award for her turn as Queen Elizabeth I.

The Arts Council England Decibel Award was scooped by Asian playwright and director Madani Younis, whose plays include Silent Cry and Freeworld.

Ben Silverstone was nominated for the Breakthrough Awardwhich recognises rising British talent, for his performance opposite David Suchet in the West End revival of Terence Rattigan’s Man and Boy, but he was pipped to the post by Billie Piper from TV’s Doctor Who.

Elsewhere, Ian McKellen presented the award for Outstanding Achievement in the Arts to actor and director Richard Attenborough, and Kathleen Turner - who opens next week in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? - presented the Best TV Drama award to the cast of Elizabeth I, which starred Helen Mirren, who in turn presented the Cinema Award to Nick Park and Steve Box for their feature film Wallace and Gromit.

Amongst the other celebrities who attended the event were Tracey Emin, PD James, Rob Brydon, Darcey Bussell, Tara Palmer-Tomkinson and Will Young. The ceremony will be aired, as part of the ITV1 arts programme, this Sunday, 29 January 2006.

Source: What’s on Stage News

Thanks to Ellie for the heads up on the article and Patty for the picture!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Friday, January 27, 2006 // 05:10 p.m.


Stars bid you good night — with a lullaby

Edna Gundersen

Scarlett Johansson, Ewan McGregor and Eric McCormack won’t mind if you call their newest project a snooze. They’re among 14 TV and movie stars lending voices to Unexpected Dreams: Songs from the Stars, a CD of adult-aimed lullabies.

Due March 7 on Rhino, the disc features the crooning of screen stars, accompanied by the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Johansson warbles Summertime, McGregor sings Sade’s The Sweetest Gift, McCormack does Elton John’s The Greatest Discovery.

Others contributing include Nia Vardalos, John Stamos, Jennifer Garner, Victor Garber, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Lucy Lawless, John C. Reilly and Teri Hatcher. Proceeds will benefit Music Matters, the Philharmonic’s fund for music education.

Source: USA Today

Thanks to Barbara for the heads up!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Friday, January 27, 2006 // 07:24 a.m.


Scots films showcased in US

Jan 25 2006

A gory urban thriller set in Scotland’s capital will be one of the films showcased in the annual Tartan Week celebrations in the US, it has been announced.

Award-winning Shallow Grave, set in Edinburgh, launched the big-screen career of Ewan McGregor, will be one of the films shown at a Scottish Film Festival in New York.

Other films include Local Hero, On A Clear Day, and The Maggie.

Source: icAyrshire

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Thursday, January 26, 2006 // 07:41 a.m.


Ewan McGregor Salutes Haggis at Burns Night Bash

26 January 2006

While haggis, a traditional delicacy comprising a stuffed sheep’s stomach, may not be to everyone’s taste, there’s no denying its central role in traditional Scottish culture. Indeed movie heart-throb Ewan McGregor, who originally hails from the Highland town of Crieff, was clearly thrilled at being the man chosen to offer it a personal address.

The hunky actor donned a kilt and Prince Charlie jacket when he took on the role of master of ceremonies at a dinner to mark Burns Night in London. With a copy of the national poet’s writings in one hand and a sharp knife in the other, the Moulin Rouge star offered the Address To A Haggis as a roll-call of his showbiz friends looked on.

"Fair fa’ your honest, sonsie face, great chieftain o’ the puddin-race!" recited the 34-year-old. His efforts were well received by guests at the St Martin’s Lane event, who also included Glasgow girl Sharleen Spiteri. The Texas singer added a little gothic glamour to proceedings in a floor-length black satin creation complemented by a black shawl.

And the celebrations weren’t limited to Scottish stars, as Aussie songbird Natalie Imbruglia was likewise in attendance, along with Lady Helen Taylor and Emmerdale’s Patsy Kensit. Publisher Alasdhair Willis also made a rare public appearance when he rolled up to the bash with his more ubiquitous wife Stella McCartney.

Source: Hello

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Thursday, January 26, 2006 // 07:36 a.m.


Sharl’s Dickens

26 January 2006

Ewan and Sharleen Spiteri

A TOAST tae the lassie! Rock chick Sharleen Spiteri dropped her usual scruffy look for something out of a Charles Dickens novel last night.

The Glasgow-born star looked stunning as she turned up for the annual celebrity charity Burns supper in London.

The Texas singer - a hairdresser before she hit stardom - sported a sleek hairdo and glamorous black satin full-length gown.

She was joined by movie heartthrob Ewan McGregor and his French wife Eve, as well as Emmerdale star Patsy Kensit for the tartan night at the exclusive St Martin’s Lane Hotel.

Sharleen and Ewan host the yearly event to help raise funds for cancer charity CLIC Sargent and the Children’s Hospice Association Scotland (CHAS).

The star-studded event brings together the cream of Scottish showbiz, as well as other fans of the Bard.

Source: The Daily Record

Thanks to Barbara for the article and Georginita for the photo!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Thursday, January 26, 2006 // 07:19 a.m.


Stormbreaker News

[Long article snipped]

At the Berlin Film Festival, Capitol expects to unveil at least one new film and will also be presenting teenage adventure "Alex Rider: Stormbreaker," starring Mickey Rourke, Ewan McGregor and Alicia Silverstone.

Source: Netscape News/CNN

Thanks to ParisRouge for the heads up!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Tuesday, January 24, 2006 // 08:47 p.m.


Ève’s new film

Ève Mavrakis — Ewan’s wife — worked on Imagine Me & You as production designer. It’s a story about a girl who falls in love on her wedding day. It opens in the U.S. on January 27 in limited release and in the U.K. on February 17. Check out the official site!

Thanks to Baby Jefer for the heads up!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Tuesday, January 24, 2006 // 08:15 p.m.


Actors’ motorcycle diaries much too good to be reality

January 25, 2006

Despite his extreme Hollywood status, Ewan McGregor’s first attempt at reality television is an absolute disgrace. Long Way Round charts the Scottish actor’s 20,000km round-the-world motorcycling trip with fellow thespian Charley Boorman.

The 10-part series does contain a boiled testicle-eating incident but, apart from this, is shamefully lacking in all the major staples of the genre.

Big problem No.1: A complete lack of inane f---wits in front of the camera. McGregor and Boorman are hilarious knockabouts rather than egomaniacal lens hags, members of the support crew never try to steal the limelight via inexpert lap dances, and not once does anyone expose their spectacularly augmented breasts in a communal jacuzzi. What were the producers thinking?

Big problem No.2: No humiliating evictions via text message vote-offs. Grotesquely enough, Long Way Round does not have a winner - a situation that was understandably incomprehensible to the many US television networks which originally rejected the show. Well, what’s the point of entertainment if it doesn’t produce a loser to vilify and a victor to fawn over for a month, before promptly forgetting?

Long Way Round’s list of failures goes on and on. No prize money. No plastic surgery. No big-haired hosts. No waxed intruders. No secret twins. No lame games. No Paris Hilton cameos. No specially shipped-in strippers to tempt the lads while their wives are imprisoned with randy gym instructors wearing G-shorts on nearby tropical islands.

And they have the hide to call it "reality". Even the boiled goat-head eating and bull-testicle soup slurping don’t count, given that they’re done voluntarily over quiet family dinners in Central Asia rather than as mandatory point-scoring celebrity challenges.

This ridiculously high-quality series also documents the nine-month prep period where promising projects such as kidnap-avoidance school, bribe-giving lessons and roadside tracheotomy training are spoiled by the fact that McGregor and Boorman are obviously firm and fond friends (thereby minimising the chance of violent mid-trip spats and dummy spits).

Equally unforgivable is the total lack of footage of McGregor’s tearful farewell with his beloved wife and daughters. Who does he think he is, failing to exploit his family for our voyeuristic titillation like this?

Apparently the tight-arsed bastard also avoids signing autographs because he is repulsed by the exorbitant prices for which they can be sold, and by celebrity collection culture in general. The freak.

The road trip itself - from London to New York via Siberia - has an unforgivable lack of beaches (and therefore bikini-wearing beachgoers) and a bizarre focus on UNICEF projects and obscure local personalities and culture. Good Lord. Who’d want to watch caviar fishing in the Caspian Sea, games of goat polo in Kazakhstan or interviews with abandoned children living in underground Mongolian pipes when America’s Big Brother4 Uncut is now available on DVD for a low, low $29.19?

Despite numerous bike and support-car crashes - particularly during the hairy river crossings on the Road of Bones in far eastern Russia - Long Way Round contains few entertaining injuries. McGregor twice gets petrol sprayed into his eyes and several times swells to elephant-chap proportions from mosquito bites, but these potentially exciting mishaps are ruined by his blatant failure to storm off the set or begin pleasuring himself in front of a hidden shower cam in protest.

He and Boorman do swim naked in icy rivers, but the usual surefire appeal of full-frontal nudity is dampened by the pair’s insistence on breaking all the reality TV rules and letting themselves go rather than tarting themselves up over the course of the show.

By the time they reach New York, Boorman’s face is a startling burgundy colour and McGregor is as hairy as the mounted boar’s head he admires while dining with Ukrainian mafia members who party with guitars in one hand and loaded Kalashnikov rifles in the other.

Honestly, you’d really think they could have made a bit more of an effort.

* Fans of traditional reality TV should make sure they stay far away from the Lifestyle Channel, which will screen a Long Way Round marathon from 11.30am until 8.30pm tomorrow.

Source: The Australian

Thanks to chensuu for the heads up!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Tuesday, January 24, 2006 // 08:05 p.m.


Ewan checks out Beatrix Potter memorabilia

By Guy Adams
Published: 24 January 2006

Ewan McGregor might spend his free time razzing about on motorbikes, but he’s also a secret culture vulture.

A few days back, he turned up at the sleepy Dulwich Picture Gallery to look at an exhibition of Beatrix Potter memorabilia.

Staff was told that McGregor was there on the recommendation of Renée Zellweger, who also visited recently.

"Ewan’s about to co-star with Zellweger in a film about Beatrix Potter, and dropped in on his own, wearing leathers," says the gallery.

"He said he didn’t want any fuss made and was happy just to wander round on his own for an hour or two."

Sweetly, a curator decided to present the Hollywood star with a memento of his visit. It was a Peter Rabbit notebook bearing the slogan: "You may go into the field or down the lane, but don’t go into Mr McGregor’s garden."

Source: The Independent

Thanks to ParisRouge for the heads up!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Monday, January 23, 2006 // 09:15 p.m.


Stay DVD Release Date

Stay will be released on DVD in North America on March 28, 2006. amazon.com will sell for 19.99 (regular price 27.98).

amazon.ca will sell it for CDN$ 22.80 (regular price CDN$ 32.57). Their page provides some details about the extras:

On the DVD:

Side A
The Music of Stay Featurette
Theatrical Trailer

Side B
Scene Specific Commentary with Marc Forster and Ryan Gosling
Scene Specific Commentary with Marc Forster, Matt Chesse, Kevin Tod Haug and Roberto Schaefer.
Departing Visions Featurette

Thanks to Fuumin for the heads up!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Monday, January 23, 2006 // 07:32 a.m.


Potter movie to start filming in Lakes soon

Saturday, 21 January 2006

Film bosses have confirmed that Bridget Jones star Renée Zellwegger will come to the county in April to film a movie about Beatrix Potter.

Miss Zellwegger will play Beatrix in the film entitled ‘Miss Potter’, and is said to be doing a lot of research on her role. The film will co-star British actor Ewan McGregor, as Potter’s finance Norman Warne.

As well as the Lake District, filming will also take place in London and on the Isle of Man.

Source: Lakeland Radio

Thanks to ParisRouge for the heads up!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Saturday, January 21, 2006 // 09:16 a.m.


Guys and Dolls nominated for 8 Laurence Olivier Awards

18 January 2006
By Louise Jury, Arts Correspondent

They are only adolescents, and hardly household names. But the young boys who take it in turns to star as Billy Elliot will battle it out with the Guys And Dolls stars Ewan McGregor and Douglas Hodge for the title of best actor in a musical at this year’s Laurence Olivier Awards.

James Lomas, 15, George Maguire, 15, and Liam Mower, 13, get a collective nomination in a haul of nine - including best director for Stephen Daldry - secured by the stage adaptation of the film. They are the youngest actors to be shortlisted in the 30 years of the awards.

Daldry said: "I am absolutely delighted, particularly for the boys who for more than two years have worked incredibly hard and continue to dazzle and amaze me." With eight chances of success, the Guys And Dolls director Michael Grandage can scarcely be regretting his decision to persuade McGregor to make his West End musical debut.

There were also multiple nominations for several heavyweight productions, notably six for Don Carlos by Friedrich Schiller starring Derek Jacobi.

In what proved an astonishing year for the 18th-century German playwright, the Donmar Warehouse production of Schiller’s Mary Stuart also receives a clutch of nominations.

Its co-stars Janet McTeer and Harriet Walter go head-to-head as best actress in an impressive shortlist which also includes Eve Best’s acclaimed Hedda Gabler.

Hedda Gabler, by Henrick Ibsen, transferred to the West End from the Almeida in London, helping to distribute nominations fairly equally between the capital’s leading venues. The National Theatre secured seven, principally for the new play, Coram Boy, adapted by Helen Edmundson from a novel by Jamila Gavin.

The Royal Court, the traditional home of new writing, gets one shot at the best new play title, with Richard Bean’s work on pig farming, Harvest, while the National secures three - for Coram Boy, On the Shore of the Wide World by Simon Stephens and Paul, the examination of the life of the apostle, by Howard Brenton.

Other productions to be recognised include the Young Vic’s A Raisin in the Sun, The Big Life, which was the first British black musical in the West End, and Frank McGuinness’s Someone Who’ll Watch Over Me, for which David Threlfall gets a shot at best actor.

His rivals include the American Brian Dennehy for his performance as Willy Lomax in Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman, Derek Jacobi in Don Carlos and Richard Griffiths for Heroes.

The nominations threw up some oddities. Though the critics had reservations about Victoria Wood’s Acorn Antiques - the Musical! it is up for three awards. Ducktastic, the latest show from the Right Size duo directed by Kenneth Branagh, has a best entertainment nomination despite poor audiences which forced it to close early.

The winners will be announced in London on 26 February.

The contenders


* Eve Best for Hedda Gabler
* Clare Higgins for Death Of A Salesman
* Helen McCrory for As You Like It
* Janet McTeer for Mary Stuart


* Brian Dennehy for Death Of A Salesman
* Richard Griffiths for Heroes
* Derek Jacobi for Don Carlos
* Con O’Neill for Telstar
* David Threlfall for Someone Who’ll Watch Over Me


* Haydn Gwynne for Billy Elliot - The Musical
* Jane Krakowsky for Guys And Dolls
* Jenna Russell Guys And Dolls
* Julie Walters for Acorn Antiques - The Musical!


* Douglas Hodge for Guys And Dolls
* Ewan McGregor for Guys And Dolls
* James Lomas, George Maguire and Liam Mower for Billy Elliot - The Musical


* Stephen Daldry for Billy Elliot - The Musical
* Richard Eyre for Hedda Gabler
* Michael Grandage for Don Carlos
* Phyllida Lloyd for Mary Stuart
* Melly Still for Coram Boy


* Guys and Dolls
* HMS Pinafore


* Rob Ashford for Guys and Dolls
* Peter Darling for Billy Elliot - The Musical


* Billy Elliot - The Musical designed by Rick Fisher
* Don Carlos designed by Paule Constable
* Mary Stuart designed by Hugh Vanstone
* Guys and Dolls designed by Howard Harrison


* Billy Elliot - The Musical designed by Paul Arditti
* Coram Boy designed by Christopher Shutt
* Guys and Dolls designed by Terry Jardine & Chris Full

The Laurence Olivier Awards, the highlight of the London theatre year, will be held at the Park Lane Hilton on 26 February. Officiallondontheatre.co.uk will be there, rubbing shoulders with a whole host of A-list theatrical bodies, to bring you live interactive commentary on the night, reporting on who has won which award the moment they are announced. There’s still the chance to be there and experience the glamour for yourself by entering our Biggest London Theatre Enthusiast quiz. Simply click here to give it a try.

Source: The Independent and London Theatre Guide

Thanks to ParisRouge for the heads up!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Wednesday, January 18, 2006 // 07:32 a.m.


Ewan McGregor highlights plight of children affected by AIDS

Actor Ewan McGregor returned from Malawi in December after his first field trip as a UNICEF Ambassador. The five day trip was an opportunity to see first hand how children are paying a disproportionately high price in the HIV/AIDS pandemic and what still needs to be done to reach the thousands who are orphaned or living with HIV/AIDS.

View 2 short films recorded by Ewan McGregor in Malawi by visiting the UNICEF website (link below).

Ewan McGregor is shown here wearing a stylish black hooded sweatshirt featuring the UNICEF logo. Proceeds from sales will support UNICEF’s new campaign – Unite for Children, Unite against AIDS, which seeks to bring children – the missing face of AIDS – into the spotlight and scale up action on their behalf. The sweatshirt can be purchased online at UNICEF’s shop.

Sign up and tie in to the Unite for Children, Unite against AIDS Campaign

Source: UNICEF

Thanks to Baby Jefer for the find!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Monday, January 16, 2006 // 05:27 p.m.


Ewan McGregor tells Riders’ story

This inspiring film provides a great insight into the work of Riders for Health. Narrated by biker and actor Ewan McGregor, it also features interviews with racing legend and Riders co-founder Randy Mamola.

Visit the site (link below). The film will start to download and play automatically, so turn up the volume, sit back and enjoy…

Source: Riders for Health

Thanks to Trevor for the heads up!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Friday, January 6, 2006 // 08:44 p.m.


The Chinese cinema industry: China’s cultural revolution

5 January 2006

When three members of the Redgrave acting dynasty - Vanessa, her sister Lynn, and her daughter Natasha Richardson - set about filming the final collaboration between James Ivory and the late Ismail Merchant, it looked like the culmination of a film career famed for its Anglo-Saxon pedigree.

But, despite its British and American cast, The White Countess, just released in American cinemas and due to open in the UK in March, is a Merchant-Ivory production with an Oriental twist. Set among the nightclubs and teeming streets of a city engulfed in political conspiracy and consumed by its own flamboyant decadence, where Chinese nationalists and White Russian aristocrats mingle with Jewish refugees and Japanese spies, it is the first Western film to be made entirely in China.

And, as the cast began shooting in a Fifties-era film studio in Shanghai’s old city, the Chinese crew manning lights and cameras could have been forgiven for smiling. Until recently, they were mostly consigned to working on soap operas. Now, thanks to a recovery in which the Chinese film industry has blossomed into the third-largest in the world, they are back in serious work.

Only Hollywood and India’s Bollywood produced more than the 260 films made in China last year, while many Western actors have headed east to work there. Tom Cruise was in Shanghai last November filming Mission: Impossible 3. Next month, Nicole Kidman, Ewan McGregor and Edward Norton arrive in Beijing to shoot Headhunters.

At the same time, Chinese actors are moving to Hollywood. One of the country’s first internationally known actresses, Gong Li, is starring in Memoirs of a Geisha, the first mainstream Hollywood film to cast Asian actors in the main roles. Li, who will soon be featuring in a cinema adaptation of the television series Miami Vice, is playing alongside Chow Yun-fat, China’s most famous male actor, who is himself due play the villain in sequels to Pirates Of The Caribbean.

She is supporting fellow Chinese star Zhang Ziyi, who came to fame at the age of 21 with her performance in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. The three geishas are played by Chinese actresses speaking in English with Japanese accents, a decision triggered by a perception that, while Japan lacks many good actresses, China seems to be burgeoning with young talent.

With last year marking 100 years of film-making in China, the revival has come at an appropriate time. At a centenary celebration last week in Beijing, President Hu Jintao said, a little triumphantly: "You have shared the people’s breath and the fate of our motherland."

Chinese films have never been as popular in the West, and domestic revenues last year passed £140m for the first time. The writer/director Wong Kar-Wai has made a reputation on the arthouse circuit, and films such as Kung Fu Hustle are measuring up to Hollywood competition in the United States. When Hero, a historical epic directed by Zhang Yimou, reached the top of the US charts in August 2004, the achievement was a source of national pride and provided a warning to Hollywood that a film with subtitles could out-perform homemade films.

The film industry is being marketed as part of China’s modernisation process. With the world growing used to the influence wielded by the country’s economy, the rise of what are domestically known as "cultural industries" is seen as the next step along a path from developing nation to world power.

That the ruling Chinese Communist Party backs film-making is ironic because the CCP under Mao Zedong came close to destroying Chinese cinema. Before the 1949 revolution, China had a vibrant film industry. Studios in Shanghai - known as the Hollywood of China - made comedies, romances and melodramas on an almost weekly basis which were very popular with domestic audiences.

Shots of the city’s bustling, and usually romanticised, port were also used in Hollywood films from The Shanghai Gesture to Charlie Chan in Shanghai. The city had its place on the global cinema map - to the extent that its name was found in the titles of films that had not been shot there, such as Orson Welles’ The Lady from Shanghai.

In the 1950s though, the purpose of the industry became propaganda rather than entertainment. Heroic tales of resistance against Japanese invaders and stern accounts of self-sacrificing farmers became staples. And this situation deteriorated further. During the Cultural Revolution of the mid-1960s leading film-makers were exiled to the provinces to make industrial-training films, or to become labourers in re-education camps. The film industry almost ceased to exist. Not one film was made on mainland China between 1966 and 1972.

Source: The Independent

Thanks to ParisRouge for the heads up!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Thursday, January 5, 2006 // 09:16 p.m.


Charley Boorman forced to retire from Dakar rally


Charley Boorman has been forced to retire from the 2006 Euromilhões Lisbon to Dakar Rally after crashing and breaking his hand on day five of the event - one third of the way through his first Dakar rally. The stage from Ouarzazate to Tan Tan was 819km in length and included a 315km special stage.

Charley will continue to follow the rally to support his fellow Race to Dakar team-mates Simon Pavey and Matt Hall on their quest to get to the end of the arduous event. Charley will also be assisting with the further production of the Race to Dakar television series, which is due to be aired on Sky in October.

The remaining members of the Race to Dakar team left the tricky tracks of Morocco behind them today and entered Mauritania. Today’s sixth stage was another a big one (792 km) from Tan Tan to Zouerat, with Pavey and Hall starting a long liaison (336 km) in the middle of the night before having to cope with the 444 km special, which included wide open fast sections as well as stretches of sand in the second half.

Navigation came into play today on the fast off-road terrain, where it was easy to make mistakes and lose time. However, both riders made it successfully to Zouerat (in 107th and 111th place), as did BMW rider Nick Plumb, who finished marginally ahead in 101st place. These results put Plumb in 90th, Hall in 108th and Pavey in 117th position in the overall rankings.

Chilean Carlo De Gavardo, won today’s stage in just over four hours, with Italian Giovanni Sala second and Spaniard Isidre Esteve third. Yesterday’s stage winner Cyril Despres broke his collarbone today but has decided to continue racing, despite struggling to hold on to his second place in the overall rankings. Marc Coma remains at the top of the leader board after finishing fifth today.

For more information about the Race to Dakar team, enthusiasts can visit www.racetodakar.com.

Source: World of BMW

Thanks to Geets for the heads up!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Thursday, January 5, 2006 // 08:38 p.m.


Stormbreaker site up

The official site for the film Stormbreaker, in which Ewan has a small part, is up and running. There’s nothing Ewan-related yet on the site, except for his name during the trailer:

Thanks to Baby Jefer for the heads up!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Monday, January 2, 2006 // 10:08 p.m.



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