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News Archive

January - June 2008


Long Way Down - The Big Screen Version!

They say everything is bigger in the United States of America and as far as the Long Way Down franchise is concerned, those in the ’land of opportunity’ are being treated to an especially large slice of McGregor and Boorman pie on Thursday July 31st. A special two-hour ’Director’s Cut’ of Long Way Down will air just once at 7.30pm in 400 movie theaters nationwide.

American audiences have yet to see the Long Way Down series on television and this exclusive director’s cut is a unique prelude to the 10-part TV series, which starts on 2 August on Fox Reality Channel. Airing for one night only, attending the two-hour special will be the only way the public are able to see this film on the big screen. Consequently, demand for tickets (which go on sale June 27th) is expected to be extremely high.

It was the original Long Way Round odyssey in 2004 that helped bring the BMW R 1150 GS Adventure and the possibilities of adventure travel to the masses. The series also catapulted Charley Boorman to fame and did no harm to Ewan McGregor’s reputation either. The established movie star’s dream of traversing Europe, Russia, Central Asia and the USA with his best mate became a worldwide hit and inspired countless riders to leave the safety of their daily existences for life on the road.

Fast-forward a couple of years and talk started about a new adventure for the boys - on BMW’s new R 1200 GS Adventure. But what could be better than riding from London to New York the Long Way Round? How about a 15,535 mile journey starting at John O’Groats, Scotland and finishing several months later at the most southern point of South Africa - Cape Agulhas? Taking in 20 spectacular countries in total, Ewan and Charley’s long and arduous journey took them across Libya, through the deserts of Sudan, the tribal wastelands of Ethiopia, the jungles of Uganda, through Rwanda, Tanzania and Botswana before arriving at their destination.

The television series is currently airing in many countries all over the world on the National Geographic channel, and all will be revealed to American audiences nationwide when the two-hour High-Definition movie premiere begins at 7.30pm on July 31st all over the USA.

BMW Motorrad dealers are expected to encourage all their customers to pack out each movie theater with BMW fans, as well as organizing ride-outs to many of the local theaters. With such a great branding opportunity, expect to see GS displays in lots of theatres, as well as dedicated BMW motorcycle parking provided outside.

Tickets go on sale June 27th and are only $10, so if you know that you will be in the United States on this day - for business or pleasure - make sure you visit www.fathomevents.com to find out where the nearest movie theater showing the film is.

Source: Motorcyclist Online

Thanks to Fuumin for the heads up!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Monday, June 30, 2008 // 07:28 a.m.


New photo of Ewan from Amelia

Here’s something to look forward to in 2009:

Source: Film Releases

Thanks to ParisRouge for the heads up!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Wednesday, June 18, 2008 // 08:04 a.m.


National Geographic bags deal for Ewan McGregor series

By Adam Benzine
12 Jun 2008

National Geographic Channels International (NGCI) has secured global premiere rights outside the UK for 10-part docu-series Long Way Down, featuring British actors Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman.

NGCI acquired the series, which is produced by Big Earth productions and Elixir Films, along with four extra hours of previously unreleased footage. The series is scheduled to air on both National Geographic Channel and Nat Geo Adventure later this month.

David Alexanian, Charley Boorman, Russ Malkin and Ewan McGregor are the exec producers for Big Earth productions and Elixir Films.

"Ewan and Charley spend three months pushing their physical and emotional abilities, experiencing life-changing moments in some of the world’s most dynamic and complex countries," said Sydney Suissa, NGCI exec VP of content.

"Their unfiltered experiences perfectly complement the core values that viewers associate with our brand. Following their amazing journey is a tremendous opportunity for National Geographic Channel and Nat Geo Adventure."

Source: C21Media

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Thursday, June 12, 2008 // 07:42 a.m.


Ewan designs 50th anniversary Triumph Bonneville

May 28, 2008
Mark Hinchliffe

Hollywood actor and motorcycle enthusiast Ewan McGregor is helping British bike company Triumph celebrate 50 years of Bonneville.

McGregor, known as much for his roles in movies such as Trainspotting and Star Wars as for his round-the-world travels on BMW motorcycles, has designed the 50th anniversary Bonneville with copper-plated tanks and Belstaff black-waxed cotton on the seat and side panel.

It is inspired by a bike in his collection of vintage machines, as well as his love of the legendary motorcycle enthusiast, Triumph rider and fellow Hollywood actor Steve McQueen.

"I wanted to use a traditional waxed cotton material as it has such a resonance with the history of style in motorcycling, and mix it with the tradition of coppering tanks," he said. "I am a huge fan of Steve McQueen and his films from the 1960s, and the font that I have chosen for the Triumph logo harks back to that golden era of biking. This is such an exciting project for me. The Bonneville has to be the ultimate in British motorcycles, so the chance to create my own design and see it through to production is amazing."

McGregor’s specially designed bike will be auctioned for his chosen charity, UNICEF, for whom he is an ambassador.

Details of the auction are yet to be released.

Motorcycle clothing manufacturer Belstaff is also producing a bespoke design of the Bonneville incorporating a sophisticated black-and-gold colour scheme synonymous with the fashion brand’s identity, of a gold seat cowl and a black-and-gold pannier bag. There will also be a limited-edition biker-style jacket to mark the anniversary.

The Bonneville was named in recognition of Johnny Allen’s 1950s record-breaking feats on a Triumph at the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah.

The first Bonneville, the T120, was showcased at the Earls Court Bike Show in 1958.

Source: Couriermail.com.au

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Wednesday, May 28, 2008 // 07:31 a.m.


Ewan McGregor flies with ’Amelia’

May 26, 2008
By Tatiana Siegel

Ewan McGregor has signed on to co-star in the Amelia Earhart biopic "Amelia" for Fox Searchlight.

Hilary Swank, Richard Gere and Virginia Madsen have already boarded the project, which Mira Nair is helming.

Story centers on the legendary aviatrix (Swank) and chronicles her rise to fame, marriage to publisher George Putnam (Gere) and passionate affair with Gene Vidal (McGregor), father of author Gore Vidal. Ronald Bass penned the screenplay.

The filmmakers have long been trying to land McGregor but were having trouble working out the scheduling. The actor is about to wrap "I Love You, Philip Morris" alongside Jim Carrey and will begin work on Ron Howard’s "Da Vinci Code" follow-up "Angels and Demons" in early June. McGregor will sandwich the "Amelia" role in between.

The film, which is being produced by Ted Waitt, Lydia Dean Pilcher and Kevin Hyman, is shooting in Toronto. Don Carmody, Bass and Swank executive produce.

Source: Variety

Thanks to ParisRouge for the heads up!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Tuesday, May 27, 2008 // 07:20 a.m.


Ewan looking delicious in Toronto

Ewan was spotted in Toronto yesterday, on (we suspect), the set of Amelia, a film about the legendary American pilot Amelia Earhart, starring Hilary Swank and Richard Gere.

Click on the source below to get a larger version!

 Update:  More pictures at Just Jared (thanks, Patty!)

Source: enewsbuzz.com

Thanks to ParisRouge for the heads up!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Monday, May 26, 2008 // 07:16 a.m.


I love you, Phillip Morris poster in Cannes!

May 13th 2008

The film has only just started shooting and there’s already a billboard in Cannes!

Source: cinematical

Thanks to walkingguide for the heads up!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Tuesday, May 13, 2008 // 09:53 p.m.


Ewan’s latest Japanese commercial

Ewan’s been busy, but he’s found the time to star in a new Japanese commercial for Toyota. We’re not sure what the relationship is between a hotel and an oversized vehicle, but there you go.

Source: Hotel Alphard

Thanks to Fuumin for the heads up!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Tuesday, May 13, 2008 // 06:57 p.m.


Long Way Down 10-episode DVD

It was bound to happen, amazon.com is announcing a 10-episode DVD 3-disc set that will be released on June 3rd. amazon.co.uk also has it listed, to be released a day earlier, for £14.99.

Thanks to Barbara for the heads up!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Tuesday, May 13, 2008 // 06:45 p.m.


Bonnie Ewan’s turned all ginger!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Oh no! Scottish scruff Ewan McGregor has not only turned gay on his female fans but ginger as well!

But don’t worry, the Trainspotting actor and co-star Jim Carrey were just playing out their roles on a ’romantic’ boat trip on the set of new film, I Love You Phillip Morris.

The pair play a pair of gay cellmates, who fall in love in a new film based on the true story of a Texan convict.

In this scene, the two stars are filmed during a fumbling man on man moment aboard their dinghy, bobbing off Florida Keys.

Carrey was left with his legs sprawled in the air and his pants around his ankles, as McGregor looks on suspiciously.

Source: Metro.co.uk

Thanks to Kimmy for the heads up!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Thursday, May 1, 2008 // 07:36 p.m.


Legend of the Motorcycle’s concours d’élégance

April 30, 2008
By Susan Carpenter

Legend of the Motorcycle enters its third year with an emphasis on the first word of its name -- the legendary riders who have ridden many of the bikes on display and the award-winning builders who have used those motorcycles as inspiration in the present day.

Taking place Saturday at the Ritz-Carlton in Half Moon Bay, Calif., the country’s premier concours d’élégance of motorcycling features 250 bikes that span the sport’s history, from its bicycle-frame beginnings in the late 1800s to mid-century cafe racers and the customs of today, such as Jesse James’ new Airstream sidecar bike.

MV Agusta and Norton are the featured marques for 2008. There will be 40 bikes from each manufacturer, including the ex-works MV Agusta that Giacomo Agostini raced on the Isle of Man and Reg Pridmore’s Norton racer.

In addition to the bikes, there will be two exhibits -- a collection of photos from Ewan McGregor’s recent Long Way Down tour and a display of Dainese racing suits that includes Agostini’s leathers and the cutting-edge biosuit the company co-created with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for a future NASA mission to Mars.

The six-hour event is topped with a Bonhams & Butterfields auction of 200 items: half motorcycling memorabilia and half bikes, including a 1940 Indian Sports Scout owned by Steve McQueen, a 2004 Harley-Davidson Heritage Softail owned by Evel Knievel and a 1967 Triumph TR6R Bud Ekins tribute bike.

Source: LA Times

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Wednesday, April 30, 2008 // 05:36 p.m.


Forces join forces for charity

By Lesley Bates

Ewan McGregor, James Blunt and Ozzy Osbourne are among the big names backing the Big Salute, the military’s own version of Comic Relief’s Red Nose Day, which will run from May 4-11.

A new annual fundraiser on BFBS TV and radio, the Big Salute is designed to encourage British Forces communities around the globe to raise money for five nominated service charities.

BFBS radio and television entertain troops overseas but Big Salute organisers are very keen to encourage UK forces to get involved.

A special Big Salute launch show will be streamed live on the web from 6.45pm on Sunday so supporters here can watch and take part.

Broadcasts will continue for the rest of the week on BFPS Radio, and can be heard on Sky Guide 0211 or online.

The five charities to benefit will be BLESMA (The British Limbless Ex-Service Men’s Association), Combat Stress, Headley Court, Veterans Aid and St Dunstan’s.

BFBS television controller, Helen Williams,said: "We want to encourage all members of the British Forces community to join in with our campaign.

"Normally, those back in the UK miss out on BFBS Radio and TV events - that’s why we’re streaming the TV show live on the BFBS website and urging everyone in the UK who wants to "salute" our Forces to watch, join and listen to BFBS Radio for charity auctions and so on."

For more information on the Big Salute and to watch the streamed launch, visit www.bfbs.com/big salute.

Source: Salisbury Journal

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Wednesday, April 30, 2008 // 05:32 p.m.


Watch and listen to interviews with Ewan online

First, we have Ewan on Front Row, which aired on BBC Radio 4. You can listen online at bbc.co.uk/radio4/arts/frontrow/, it is Thursday’s show and it will be available until next Thursday (May 1). Thanks to mckiki!

Next, we have an interview with Ewan that aired on GMTV. We don’t know how long it will be available.

It can be viewed online at gm.tv. Thanks to Viv!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Saturday, April 26, 2008 // 09:26 a.m.


Ewan McGregor in negotiations for Angels and Demons

Apr 24, 2008
by Nicole Sperling

Casting of Sony Pictures’ Da Vinci Code prequel Angels and Demons is shaping up quickly (Israeli actress Ayelet Zurer will play the lead female role). Ewan McGregor is in negotiations to take on the role of Camerlengo Carlo Ventresca, the Pope’s closest aide, who helps Robert Langdon (Tom Hanks) with his investigation. McGregor, who will be seen in Fox’s Deception, opening Friday, is currently filming I Love You Philip Morris opposite Jim Carrey.

Angels and Demons is being directed by Ron Howard from a script by Akiva Goldsman. Brian Grazer and John Calley are producing. Filming is set to begin in Europe in June, with a May 2009 release date.

Source: Entertainment Weekly

Thanks to ParisRouge for the heads up!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Friday, April 25, 2008 // 07:20 a.m.


Ewan McGregor says cancer scare was ’no big deal’

Tuesday, 22 Apr 2008

Ewan McGregor has revealed he had a mole removed after a doctor discovered "a little skin cancer" beneath his right eye.

The Star Wars actor has explained that medical experts advised him to have the growths removed after he had been for a routine check-up.

Talking to the BBC (click here to see the interview) while promoting his upcoming erotic thriller Deception, the 37-year-old said he is now fine and that the mole removal is "not that big of a deal".

"I just went to have them checked, you have to be careful if you’re pale skinned and you spend time in the sun, with moles," he explained.

"So I went to see a specialist who thought they were better to be removed and indeed he was correct."

When asked if he had been at all frightened by his brief experience with the disease, he joked: "It was great fun having skin cancer, it was great, I really enjoyed it."

As well as starring alongside Hugh Jackman and Michelle Williams in Deception - set for UK release on Friday April 22nd - the Scottish actor is currently working with Jim Carrey on I Love You Philip Morris.

However, he dismissed suggestions that some critics had dubbed the dark comedy ’Brokeback Prison’, due to its tale of male inmates in love.

"That’s putting it in a box before it’s even started being made," said McGregor.

"It’s a story about two men who are in love, so in that respect - Brokeback Mountain was a film about two men who are in love. There the similarity ends, I would say."

Source: inthenews.co.uk

Thanks to Fuumin for the heads up!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Tuesday, April 22, 2008 // 07:39 a.m.


Two clips from Deception online

IGN has two scenes from Ewan’s Deception, which opens on April 25. Click on the link to watch them!

Source: IGN

Thanks to Barb for the heads up!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Friday, April 18, 2008 // 09:36 p.m.


New Deception poster and stills

Source: Ropes of Silicon

Thanks to Fuumin for the heads up!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Thursday, April 17, 2008 // 07:38 a.m.


Leading man Ewan’s embarrassing slip-up

16 April 2008

Ewan McGregor takes a break during filming of Incendiary

Film star Ewan McGregor was in Islington shooting his latest movie - but admitted to a watching student that the finer details about his character’s role had slipped his mind.

Final shooting for new flick Incendiary took place in Northampton Square, Finsbury, chosen for the dramatic contrast between the tower blocks and period houses. In the movie Ewan plays a reporter - but he admitted to a bystander that he didn’t even know whether his character was a tabloid journalist. A member of the production staff had to step in to remind him his character worked for the Daily Express, a typically tabloid paper.

Onlooker, student Iain Withers, 20, said: "It was quite funny. He was telling me that he plays a rather sleazy journalist, a bit of a toe-rag, when he checked himself and asked a woman whether his character was a tabloid journalist or not. She said, ’Of course he is, he works for the Express!’ He said ’I really should have known that shouldn’t I?’"

Mr Withers added: "The movie had already been filmed and they were in post production just re-doing a scene, so it’s a bit alarming he doesn’t know he’s been playing a tabloid hack all this time. You expect actors to be a bit more switched on when they have been living a character 24-7."

The film’s producer Andy Patterson heaped praise on the architecture of Islington, which he thought was perfect for the role.

He said: "Incendiary is about how London is built from the wreckage of itself - so you have tower blocks built in holes that Hitler bombed cheek by jowl with expensive houses.

"We scoured all over London to find something that photographically combined things as beautifully as that does.

Source: Islington Gazette

Thanks to walkingguide for the heads up!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Thursday, April 17, 2008 // 07:23 a.m.


Ewan McGregor talks about his new erotic thriller Deception

April 12, 2008
James Bone

Driving through the main gate at New York’s Steiner Studios feels rather like entering Guantanamo Bay prison camp. A guard checks your identity and raises the security barrier. Ahead lies a vast car-park that was once a parade ground, dotted with newly built hangars. The similarity with Guantanamo is no coincidence. Though just across the river from Manhattan’s famous skyline, the Steiner Studios lie in the old Brooklyn Navy Yard.

Deception, Ewan McGregor’s new erotic thriller, is being shot on a sound stage in one of the glass-and-steel hangars, and the Scottish star has a busy schedule ahead of him. Over the next two days, he is to film a montage of sex scenes that requires him to get it on with five different actresses - none of whom he has met before.

The director has left the sex scenes until the last two days of the seven-week shoot. McGregor, looking very American in black jeans, a striped jersey, a baseball cap and baseball boots, seems, if not downright nervous, at least preoccupied with the marathon of sex scenes on which he is about to embark.

“They’re interesting. I’ve done a lot of them. I try to find something about them that is realistic,” he explains. “There are Hollywood glistening sex scenes, and I’m not very interested in them. I don’t think they’re very interesting to watch… I think sex isn’t like Hollywood sex. It’s very often many things, but it can very often be awkward. In these scenes, they’re strangers, so they can be embarrassing. And things don’t just go off like they do in a Hollywood movie. I think finding those moments that make it real makes for the audience a much more erotic experience, or a much more powerful experience, because you recognise things you do yourself, or things that have happened to you.”

Despite his family role as Obi-Wan Kenobi in Star Wars, McGregor has earned a reputation as one of the few male actors who will happily shoot full frontal nudity, dropping his trousers for explicit scenes in Trainspotting, Velvet Goldmine, The Pillow Book, and Young Adam.

McGregor, 37, the married father of three daughters, argues that nakedness is a part of life that deserves to appear on screen. “I’m not inhibited to take my clothes off in movies, because I think movies are a reflection of life, and in life we are naked a lot of the time - at least I am,” he says.

In Deception, billed as a “seductive psychological thriller”, McGregor plays the solitary Wall Street auditor Jonathan McQuarry, who is lured by a flashy New York lawyer called Wyatt Bose, played by Hugh Jackman, into a high-priced sex club known simply as “The List”. He meets and falls in love with a beautiful woman known only as “S”, played by Michelle Williams, who is kidnapped.

“The whole idea about this character is that he is being born. That he is becoming alive having been dead. At the end, there is a line. Wyatt says to him, ’You were dead already, and I gave you life,’” McGregor explains. “In a sense he is right. He suddenly has this glamorous alpha male guy who wants to be his friend. Through that, he makes a step forward out of his detachment. And through the sex clubs, the sexual experience, he is further brought out. And then he meets “S” and falls deeply in love. And it almost completes his journey into being a human being from having been a very detached, cut-off guy.”

As an actor, McGregor found the key to the character in the casual revelation that the auditor was brought up as a single child by his mother, who died when he was 19. “That one line of dialogue did it all for me,” he says. “It doesn’t always happen. Always with characters, there are character types you can play. But it’s much more interesting to find out why people are the way they are. People refer to him as ’being nerdy’, and ’he’s a nerd’. It’s not very helpful for me to hear. I find it much more interesting not just to play a nerd, but to find out why he’s so detached.”

Deception is shot in a noir-ish style - much of it in New York night-scenes - by the first-time director Marcel Langenegger and Dante Spinotti, the Oscar-nominated cinematographer of LA Confidential and The Insider. Langenegger, an energetic, floppy-haired Swiss man in a black T-shirt, blue jeans and boots, is an established commercial and music-video director who has lived in Los Angeles for the past decade. He described making his first feature films as “like running a marathon”. “I was always interested in storytelling. In commercials or music videos you always have a little story to tell,” he says. “If you break down the movie, it also is made out of little pieces. The moment that something happens is actually small. The moment is a brick; a short film or a commercial is a wall; and a movie is a whole house.”

As well as co-starring Jackman, Deception is also being co-produced by the Australian actor, known for his role as Wolverine in the X-Men series. But while McGregor is tense about his upcoming sex scenes, his co-star cracks jokes about them.

“One of the girls rang up because the day had been rescheduled. She rang up and said: ’What’s the matter, am I not…?’” “They said: ’No, no, no. The day has just been pushed’. She said: ’I just want you to know I’ll do anything, and I’m really flexible’. I said: ’Marcel, I know this is your first movie, but I don’t think she was talking about the scene!’”

Deception is released nationwide on April 25.

Source: The Times

Thanks to Barbara H. for the heads up!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Saturday, April 12, 2008 // 09:13 a.m.


Ewan on Ellen DeGeneres!

Ewan will be on The Ellen DeGeneres Show on Monday, April 21. The show airs in syndication, so you will need to check your local listings to find out on which channel it airs.

Source: The Late Night TV Page

Thanks to ParisRouge for the heads up!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Wednesday, April 9, 2008 // 11:03 p.m.


Ewan and Charley win award

Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman beat Jeremy Clarkson, Andrew Marr and Nigella Lawson to win the Play.com Popular Non-fiction Award for A Long Way Down at the Galaxy British Book Awards held tonight.

Source: The Herald

Thanks to Barbara for the heads up!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Wednesday, April 9, 2008 // 10:52 p.m.


Ewan in frame for Burns award

Apr 5 2008
Beverley Lyons And Laura Sutherland

Ewan McGregor has been nominated for the Robert Burns Humanitarian Award.

The award is presented to someone who has saved, improved or enriched the lives of others.

The Hollywood star, who is an avid supporter of kids’ charity Unicef, said: "As a father myself, I know what a force for life children are. They represent our futures."

Source: Daily Record

Another article:

Outstanding Humanitarians honoured for the first time

April 03, 2008

Humanitarian surgeon, international film-star and charity-founder short listed for Robert Burns Humanitarian Award.

Three individuals who have shown an outstanding commitment to improving the lives of others have reached the final shortlist for the prestigious Robert Burns Humanitarian Award today. And surprisingly this is the first time any of the individuals have short listed for an award of this kind.

Humanitarian-aid surgeon Jonathan Kaplan, film-star and UNICEF ambassador Ewan McGregor, and founder of Scotland’s Ozanam Clubs for disabled young people James Lynch, have all been short listed for the award, which reflects the humanitarian values of Scotland’s national poet, Robert Burns.

Announcing the short list today the Chair of the Robert Burns Humanitarian Award judging panel, Sir Tom McKillop said:

"This was one of the most difficult selections we have had to make to date as we received so many outstanding nominations for individuals and charities from around the world.

"After much debate we all agreed that Jonathan Kaplan, Ewan McGregor and James Lynch each deserved the recognition that comes with being short listed for this prestigious award. Through very different means they have each carried out selfless acts that truly personify the enduring spirit of Burns; his connection with people’s cares and desire for a better life."

Now in its seventh year, the Robert Burns Humanitarian Award is presented to someone who has saved, improved or enriched the lives of others or society as a whole.

Speaking of his work with UNICEF, film star Ewan McGregor recently highlighted the inspiration behind his humanitarian work: “As a father myself I know what a force for life children can be. They represent all of our futures. UNICEF is successfully giving children and young people all over the world opportunities and hope. Just like the ones we met on the Long Way Down - protecting them from exploitation and giving them chances in life.”

On hearing of today’s news Jonathan Kaplan said: “I am awed and amazed to have been included in the shortlist for the 2008 Robert Burns Humanitarian Award. There are many people deserving to be nominated for this honour, but I am delighted that this will help to raise awareness of the effects of some of the lesser known conflicts that I have experienced through my work in the field of international humanitarian medicine."

James Lynch added: "I couldn’t believe it when I was told I was short listed for such a prestigious award. It is a joy to see the entertainment the young people get through our Ozanam Clubs and to be recognised for this work through the Robert Burns Humanitarian Award is just fantastic. I look forward to taking my family to the award ceremony at the burns an’ a’ that! Festival in May to celebrate."

The winner will be announced at a special award ceremony in Ayr, the birthplace of Robert Burns on 17 May, kicking off the 2008 burns an’ a’ that! Festival. The prize will include the equivalent of 1759 guineas signifying the year of the bard’s birth and the coinage then in circulation and a specially commissioned award by a Scottish artist. The judging panel includes author and UNICEF ambassador Andrew O’Hagan, TV broadcaster Muriel Gray, President of the Robert Burns World Federation John Haining and the Burns Festival Chairman, Graham Peterkin.

The Award is presented by EventScotland, the national events agency, and VisitScotland, Scotland’s national tourism organisation.

For more information please visit RobertBurnsAward.com

Source: EventScotland

Thanks to ParisRouge for the heads up!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Sunday, April 6, 2008 // 01:42 p.m.


Radio 3 snaps up Othello rights

Friday April 4 2008
By Ben Dowell

Radio 3 has snapped up the broadcasting rights to the recent West End hit production of Othello starring Ewan McGregor and Chiwetel Ejiofor.

The planned Radio 3 broadcast on May 4 of last year’s awards-laden production, which sold out at London’s Donmar Warehouse within three hours of the tickets going on sale, is the centrepiece of the station’s spring and summer drama lineup.

Radio 3’s drama season will also include a broadcast of David Hare’s latest play, The Vertical Hour (May 25), which had its London premiere at the Royal Court at the beginning of this year, starring Indira Varma as an idealistic Yale politics professor visiting her English boyfriend’s cantankerous father in Shropshire, who was played by Anton Lesser.

The network’s season also includes a new adaptation of William Wycherley’s Restoration comedy The Country Wife (April 13), with comic actors Ben Miller and Celia Imrie in the lead roles.

The station is airing its own adaptation of Giuseppe de Lampedusa’s play The Leopard (May 11), about changes in Sicilian society during the republic unification of Italy in 1860 through the eyes of an aristocratic family. The drama stars Stanley Townsend and Hayley Atwell.

Radio 3 will also broadcast Rudolpho’s Zest (April 6), a new play by award-winning writer Tanika Gupta, starring Ray Panthaki as a man who has lived for 192 years, and Lindsey Marshal, who plays the nurse looking after him.

Source: The Guardian

Thanks to Barbara H. for the heads up!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Friday, April 4, 2008 // 07:35 a.m.


Ewan on The Tonight Show!

Ewan returns to The Tonight Show with Jay Leno on Thursday, April 17!

From Ewan’s appearance on The Tonight Show in 2005

Source: TV Guide

Thanks to Kimmy for the heads up!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Friday, April 4, 2008 // 07:20 a.m.


Deception trailer online

Thanks to Fuumin for the heads up!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Thursday, April 3, 2008 // 07:41 a.m.


’I’ve got a big mouth at times’

1 April 2008

Ewan McGregor, 37, rose to fame in 1996 playing the role of Renton in the cult British film Trainspotting. He has since established his reputation in movies such as Moulin Rouge, Black Hawk Down and the Star Wars trilogy. He lives in North London with his wife, Ève Mavrakis, and their three children Clara, 12, Esther, five, and adopted daughter Jamiyan, five.

What has been your biggest challenge?

Playing Iago in Othello on stage this year was the hardest thing. Learning the lines was so boring that I would often find myself thinking I would rather wash the car or walk the dog — and I don’t even have a dog.

At least it meant I was better in rehearsals because I had done my homework, but then I had to overcome my fear. It’s definitely been the biggest challenge of my working life so far.

What were your dreams as a child?

From the age of nine I wanted to be an actor like my uncle Denis Lawson (star of the film Local Hero). Whenever he came to see us it was a special occasion.

He would wear sheepskins and no shoes and it was all such a contrast to the tweed other adults generally wore.

Crieff in the Scottish Highlands, where I was born, was such a small town that it seemed to me he represented the wider world. I started getting into trouble at school and my parents saw me struggling and said I could finish my education early. So then I applied to drama school.

Would you rather be rich and famous or poor and anonymous?

There are negatives to both. When you become successful and start getting recognition it’s easy to shut the real world out of your life. Acting is supposed to come from the real world, but if all you have to inspire you is your experiences on set it’s not good enough.

That’s one reason why I like going on bike rides round the world. Travelling on a bike I feel exposed to the elements.

You have only what you can carry and you have to make all the decisions yourself, which beats being on a film set.

Do you have any regrets?

I once did a terrible audition for Sense And Sensibility. I had to act with Emma Thompson for the part Hugh Grant eventually played.

It would have been a wonderful opportunity to work with Ang Lee, who is a terrific director, but I thoroughly mucked it up. I was so unprepared that I was garbage.

It got to the point where I was almost saying: ’Please, for God’s sake, don’t ask me to do this scene again — let’s just make everyone’s lives easier and send me home.’

What’s your greatest fear?

All actors fear drying up. It happened once during a performance of Guys And Dolls.

Suddenly, I had no idea where I was in the play and what I was supposed to do. I started making stuff up and it was awful.

I tried to persuade myself it hadn’t happened, and people were kind enough to say they hadn’t noticed, but it really bothered me.

My friend Douglas Hodge said: ’Ewan, are you looking for re-assurance that this will never happen again? You won’t get it — it’s a part of acting and it might happen.’ That helped me accept it.

What would surprise us about you?

I detest method acting. It means you have to work with people who might suddenly hate you for no reason just because they are doing a part where they have to be angry at you. You turn up early on set and say: ’Good morning,’ only to find they seem p***ed off.

It would be a lot easier for everybody if, when you first met, they said: ’Hi, I’m a method actor, so if you ever find me acting strangely, don’t worry — I’m just trying to get into the part.’

Have you had to change your life since you became a celebrity?

Yes, fame can be hard to deal with. After I made Trainspotting I tried to pretend nothing had changed, but it had. I could no longer meet people in an ordinary way.

Everyone already has an expectation of who I am and what I will be like. You have to learn to deal with it. It’s not made easier by living in a culture in which the media wants to knock people down all the time.

And I resent it when people come up to me just to be rude about my work. Why do they feel the need to say: ’That film was rubbish’? It happens a lot in Scotland.

What is your greatest regret?

I’ve got a big mouth at times. It’s not my greatest regret, but I’m sure I once said something stupid about Sean Connery. It was because he always talks about how things should be in Scotland but he doesn’t live there — although it’s not really my place to pass comment. I don’t really know what’s right or wrong for Scotland.

Who is your role model?

I think Michelle Williams (from Dawson’s Creek) is a brilliant actress. I have done two films with her and I always have a great time. But the man I admire most is Jimmy Stewart -there’s something very special about him.

Source: Khaleej Times

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Tuesday, April 1, 2008 // 07:42 a.m.


Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Monday, March 31, 2008 // 07:06 a.m.


Othello on CD and DVD!

Amazon.co.uk will be selling, for £9.23, a "3 CD + DVD with interviews" of Othello starting July 1st, 2008.

Update: Amazon.com also has it for pre-order, for $22.98, and Amazon.ca has it for $17.17.

Source: Amazon.co.uk

Thanks to Ester and Lisa for the heads up!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Tuesday, March 25, 2008 // 07:33 a.m.


Lipstick On Your Collar on 4oD

Ewan in Lipstick On Your Collar4 on Demand (in the UK) is showing Lipstick On Your Collar! This is a great opportunity to watch the role that started Ewan’s career.

Lipstick On Your Collar was made in 1992 and Ewan celebrated his 21st birthday while on the set.

You can watch clips here. Don’t miss it!

Source: 4oD (link only works if you are in the U.K.)

Thanks to Fiona for the heads up!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Sunday, March 23, 2008 // 09:27 p.m.


Deception website up and running

The site contains the trailer and a few pictures. Hopefully more will follow in the near future!

Source: deception-movie.com

Thanks to ParisRouge for the heads up!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Friday, March 21, 2008 // 10:09 p.m.


Ewan at the Empire Awards

Pam Emailed in to let us know she’s uploaded Ewan’s speech from the Empire awards to YouTube!

You can download a larger version from here: http://www.mediafire.com/download.php?1jiczz2m111

She also uploaded the red carpet video:

You can download a larger version from here: http://www.mediafire.com/download.php?zddozzjtsjh

Thanks to Pam for the videos and the heads up!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Tuesday, March 11, 2008 // 07:09 a.m.


Ewan honoured at Empire Awards

Sunday, 9 March 2008

Scottish film star Ewan McGregor received an icon award to mark his career on the big screen. (rest of article snipped)

Source: BBC News

Thanks to Barbara for the heads up!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Sunday, March 9, 2008 // 09:29 p.m.


Red Hot Chilli Pipers Get Platinum Disc From Ewan McGregor

Mar 7 2008
By Beverley Lyons and Laura Sutherland

The Red Hot Chilli Pipers were presented with a platinum disc by Ewan McGregor at his charity Burns supper, for reaching record sales of 40,000 with their album Bagrock to the Masses.

Stuart Cassells from the band said: "The band is delighted, we’d like to thank everyone for buying it."

To celebrate, Ayrshire Bagpipe makers McCallum Bagpipes gave them custom designed bagpipes.

Source: Daily Record

Thanks to Ester for the heads up!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Saturday, March 8, 2008 // 09:27 a.m.


Deception eagerly anticipated by Entertainment Weekly

Deception (was The Tourist, then The List) is one of 20 spring movies Entertainment Weekly cannot wait to see:

Release date: April 25
Starring: Hugh Jackman, Ewan McGregor, Michelle Williams

Why we’re excited: It’s a suspenseful parable in which a mild-mannered accountant (McGregor) becomes entangled in the goings-on at a nefarious underground sex club. Sounds a lot like Eyes Wide Shut — only, you know, good.

Source: Entertainment Weekly

Thanks to Jane for the heads up!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Thursday, March 6, 2008 // 09:41 p.m.


Ewan McGregor & Sharleen Spiteri Plan Burns Night Duet

Mar 3 2008
By Ian Dow

Photos from Getty

Ewan McGregor and Sharleen Spiteri have vowed to sing a duet as the highlight of a celebrity-packed charity Burns Supper tonight.

The pair are hoping it will be a repeat of a raucous event last year that raised £160,000 for their favourite charities.

Career commitments meant the stars had to skip January 25 for their Burns Night.

The actor will wear tartan to give the toast to the lassies, while the Texas frontwoman gives compliments to the lads.

Moulin Rouge star Ewan said: "We should sing My Love Is Like A Red, Red Rose."

Ewan’s uncle, actor Denis Lawson, used to organise an impromptu evening in the 1990s. His nephew has revamped the idea.

Sharleen said: "There are so many charity things going on. We thought what can we do where we will get a lot of money, where will people be slightly intrigued?"

Ewan said: "We don’t do a traditional Burns Supper. We get stuff wrong in it, it’s not an uptight night. Let’s put our cards on the table, some of them can be boring, ours isn’t."

Around 220 guests have paid £250 each for an evening that starts with malt cocktails.

Sharleen said: "Most people are absolutely paralytic before they get to their table but that’s our ploy, to get them to spend more money." The cash will be going to Children’s Hospice Association Scotland and children’s cancer charity Clic Sargent.

Haggis, neeps and tatties will be the starter, then beef or salmon, followed by raspberry cheesecake with whisky ice-cream.

Deep-fried Mars Bars were ditched after the chef at the venue, St Martin’s Lane Hotel in London, couldn’t get them to work.

KT Tunstall is rumoured to be attending, as are Dougray Scott and Fred MacAulay.

The organising committee include David Tennant, Peter Capaldi and Bill Nighy.

Sharleen said: "The most important thing is to raise as much money as possible."

Source: Daily Record

Thanks to Barbara for the heads up!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Monday, March 3, 2008 // 09:42 p.m.


Ewan and Charley donate T-shirt to auction for deaf-blind charity

3 March 2008

Sense, a UK national charity for people who are both deaf and blind, is currently holding a celebrity clothes auction and Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman have very kindly donated a signed The Long Way Down t-shirt to them which is currently being auctioned on ebay.

The items can be viewed here: www.stores.ebay.co.uk/sense-clothing (direct link to Ewan and Charley’s t-shirt) and the press release follows.


Ewan McGregor donates T-shirt to auction for deaf-blind charity.

Do you fancy wearing clobber from your favourite stars, but think that stealing clothes from their washing lines takes fandom too far? Or do you have a lust for the celebrity look but don’t quite have the wallet-power to match?

Step forward national deaf-blind charity Sense with a surprise pop-up celebrity charity boutique from March 4th –7th. Ewan McGregor is just one of the many stars who has donated an item of clothing.

Plus Dame Helen Mirren, Dame Judi Dench, Kevin Spacey, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint, Frank Lampard, Ashley Cole, Graham Norton, Corinne Bailey Rae and Roisin Murphy have also donated their favourite clothes to raise money for people who are both deaf and blind.

Jane Arnell from Sense says: “When we asked show-business’ finest to give us the clothes off their backs – they literally did. Their clothes will become a charity auction with a difference. All the celeb items will be displayed instore, so you can check out the gear for yourself at 70 Marchmont Street London WC1 N1AB (two mins from Russell Square tube).

Or even easier visit www.stores.ebay.co.uk/sense-clothing and bid online.”

And if all that isn’t enough there are many other bargains in store to buy. Fab gear donated by Alexander McQueen, Helmut Lang, Harrods, Selfridges, Frost French, Coast, BHS will ensure that you too can dress like an A-lister. All non-celebrity items can be bought instore - there’s no need to bid.

Vanessa Langford
Ambassador Relations Manager
07810 838 707
Sense’s London office is moving from Finsbury Park.
From 20th February 2008 our new address will be:
Sense, 101 Pentonville Road, London, N1 9LG
Tel: 0845 127 0060

Thanks to Vanessa from Sense for the heads up!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Monday, March 3, 2008 // 07:12 a.m.


Global adventurer Ewan launches book and fragrance

By hellomagazine.com - Friday, February 29 2008

Despite his absence from the big screen recently Star Wars actor Ewan McGregor has been continuing to consolidate his action man credentials in real life. The adventurous star’s 2004 motorcycle trip from London to New York and a second journey from John O’Groats to Cape Town spawned two successful Long way… documentary series.

And this week the actor was in Germany launching A Long Way Down, the print version of his three-month journey from Scotland to South Africa with actor pal Charley Boorman and camera-man Claudio Von Planta.

His new reputation as a global adventurer has brought with it another role - that of the face of Davidoff’s latest male fragrance - Adventure. "My greatest passion is motorcycling, which I see as a huge adventure," explains the famously private star about his decision to front a new scent.

Source: Yahoo News (UK)

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Sunday, March 2, 2008 // 08:53 a.m.


Ewan McGregor in London for Exclusive Interviews

LONDON, February 26 /PRNewswire/ --

To publicize the launch of the new Davidoff Adventure Fragrance, Ewan McGregor was in London at the Langham Hotel where he gave exclusive interviews.

Launched last week in the UK, McGregor has signed to do worldwide television and print ads for the Davidoff Adventure fragrance. His trips "Long Way Down" and "Long Way Round" embody the spirit of the new fragrance.

"Ewan McGregor is a natural choice to represent Davidoff’s new male fragrance. Not only is he one of the most talented actors of his generation, but he also has a charisma and an authenticity that will be very important for the new Davidoff Adventure fragrance," said Françoise Mariez, SVP International European Marketing Licenses, Coty Prestige.

Scottish-born Ewan McGregor first came to world attention as Renton in the critically acclaimed "Trainspotting," followed by playing a Jedi Master in "Star Wars" and singing alongside Nicole Kidman in "Moulin Rouge." He has starred in films such as "The Island", "Big Fish", and his latest release is the award winning Woody Allen’s "Cassandra’s Dream." McGregor also took time out between his film projects to fulfill a dream - a 20,000-mile motorcycle trip across the world for the documentaries "Long Way Round" and "Long Way Down", revealing his adventurous real-life personality.

The scent and style of the new Davidoff Adventure fragrance mark the beginning of a new era for the Davidoff fragrance portfolio.

Source: PR Newswire

Thanks to Patty for the heads up!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Wednesday, February 27, 2008 // 07:50 a.m.


UK Hardcore Ewan McGregor Fan?

Endemol UK is looking for hardcore Ewan McGregor fans to talk about him in a show for ITV2.

Please e-mail them 20 words about why you love Ewan along with your full name and a contact phone number to ewan@endemoluk.com.

Unfortunately they aren’t able to respond to all e-mails.

Thanks to Endemol UK!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Wednesday, February 20, 2008 // 12:51 p.m.


Meet Ewan in Hamburg, Germany

On February 27, from 4:30pm to 5 pm, Ewan will only sign Davidoff Adventure bottles (which sell for €59) at the Karstadt Store on the Mönckebergstraße.

Source: Karstadt

Thanks to Ester for the heads up!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Sunday, February 17, 2008 // 09:50 a.m.


OMG!!! Ewan McGregor!

January 18, 2008

Ewan McGregor talks to Good Day Sacramento about his newest flick, Woody Allen’s Cassandra’s Dream. Click here to watch it.

Source: CBS13

Thanks to ParisRouge for the heads up!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Monday, February 11, 2008 // 11:19 p.m.


Ewan McGregor…

Feb. 9, 2008

…is a malicious, deceitful swine. He’ll whisper sweet words in your ear then stab you in the back. Even his so-called best friend is not immune to his lies.

NO, scratch all that. Ewan McGregor - when he’s playing Iago in the Donmar Warehouse’s stage version of Othello - is a malicious, deceitful swine. The rest of the time, he is the same funny, easygoing, generous guy he has always been. Today he is being open and honest in a restaurant in St John’s Wood in London - a boundary ball away from Lord’s Cricket Ground, within hearing distance of Abbey Road and literally around the corner from his family home.

McGregor doesn’t make a big show of an entrance. There is no agent, publicist or stylist in tow. Just the 36-year-old actor, dressed down in an old black pullover, black jeans and a battered leather jacket. A batch of good reviews for his stage performance lends him a certain Shakespearean distinction, but it will be back to business as usual in a couple of weeks’ time when the run of Othello comes to an end. Besides, any sense of gravitas bestowed by his theatrical credentials disappears as soon as we start talking about Cassandra’s Dream, the film he made with Woody Allen and which opens the Glasgow Film Festival this week.

"Every young boy wants to get a good Woody," he cackles, never one to knowingly miss out on a cheap innuendo. The film casts him as Ian, a cocksure young cockney who wants to break free from his father’s small restaurant by investing in a Californian hotel empire. Meanwhile, his brother, played by Colin Farrell, is in serious debt after a losing streak at the poker table. The money comes, but at a price: cue guilt, despair and the death of brotherly love. Annie Hall this is not. It’s as far from Allen’s "early funny ones" as East London lock-ups are from the Manhattan skyline.

McGregor, however, couldn’t care less where the movie is set. "Having worked with Allen once, I’d work with him again in the blink of an eye. As an actor, you really have to raise your game. I wanted to work with him because there are only a few grandmasters of film-making, and he’s one of them. Tim Burton is another person who completely understands how he makes films. Ridley Scott too. They know what they’re doing, and it’s nice to be along for the ride."

Working with Allen, McGregor found, meant quickly sorting out myths from reality. He was offered Cassandra’s Dream after a rather brusque meeting in the director’s New York office. "I went to the edit suite where he has cut every movie he’s made since the 1970s," he remembers. "All his jazz records are along one side of the screening room and it’s full of brown carpets. The place just feels like him, like Woody Allen, as it should be. All he said was, I’m making a film in London. I’ve seen some of your work. There’s a part I think you might be good for. We’re making the film this summer. I just wanted to see you in person.’ And that was it. It was very clear that he was done and I should leave. So I did."

Allen shoots without rehearsals and with a minimal number of takes. To keep on the ball, each morning during make-up, McGregor and Farrell would run through the day’s dialogue-heavy scenes together. Perhaps it’s no surprise that the pair got on so well. Both are Celtic sons who gained a reputation for living it up and over-indulging on the trappings of fame once they hit it big (although McGregor, who reckons he worked his way up to being a borderline alcoholic, hasn’t touched a drop for seven years).

"I adored Colin from the moment I met him," McGregor says. "I’d read a lot about him over the years and, because I used to be a big drinker, I recognised some of the things he’d said in myself. Because we were both in LA, I got in touch and asked him to our house there one Sunday. We were having lunch with the kids when he arrived in this great big Bronco truck, but he got out in his pyjamas. He was so lovely with my girls, he’s such a sweet soul. Colin is a very quiet character now. He focuses on the work and has incredible commitment. He’d never falter on his lines while I was fluffing away."

As he talks, McGregor cuts into a fairly rare steak, leaving the side salad for later. I wonder if I should point out that almost every time he dunks his fries then pops them into his mouth, he drips hollandaise sauce on to his pullover. Instead, I let him get into full flow about that kid-in-a-sweetie-shop feeling that comes with the first rush of success. One minute he was a boy from Crieff studying drama; the next, as Renton in Trainspotting, he was the poster boy of the Britpop generation. International stardom came as he serenaded Nicole Kidman in Moulin Rouge and waved Obi-Wan Kenobi’s lightsabre in Star Wars.

"When Trainspotting came out, it was the 1990s, Oasis, Blur, Kate Moss, way-hay, f***ing unbelievable! But there were casualties there, people who didn’t make it through. I’m lucky now to understand how to defend myself from it if I need to. The most basic thing is the work. If you can make that the centre of it all, then you’re in good shape. As soon as any of the other trappings of it become more important to you, you’re f***ed. The most obvious example of it in the world at the moment is with Britney Spears. She’s not without responsibility for her actions - of course not - but the pressures of that amount of fame on her shoulders when she was 15 or 16? She was a child. And the whole part of being a child is that you shouldn’t have to deal with those things yet. I feel sad for her because I look at those pictures of ambulances outside her house and there are hundreds of paparazzi photographers. It makes me sick."

So what is the work that’s keeping him from a similar fate? Already in the can is Incendiary, in which he plays the adulterous lover of Michelle Williams, whose husband and son are killed in a suicide bombing at a football match. He shares the screen again with Williams in The List, this time playing an accountant who is seduced into a sex club then set up for a heist by Hugh Jackman. He has also done a voiceover role for stop-motion animation spoof Jackboots On Whitehall, in which the Scots save the English after a second world war German invasion. In April, he begins work on dark comedy I Love You Phillip Morris, co-starring as the prison lover of Jim Carrey. For this one, he’s as excited about the script - written by Bad Santa duo Glenn Ficara and John Requa - as he is about shooting in New Orleans for the first time.

And then there is Othello. Night after night of transforming into Shakespeare’s most morally complex, hard-to-fathom villain. Stepping into buckled shoes previously filled by Kenneth Branagh, Ian McKellen and Henry Irving. Mind you, that’s probably nothing to the man whose last West End stage outing involved taking the Marlon Brando role in Guys And Dolls. But surely the theatre critics were sharpening their knives as yet another "Hollywood" star took a stage sabbatical?

"I believe in myself as an actor and I belong as much in the theatre as I do on the film screen," McGregor counters. "Although I don’t do as much of it as I do filmmaking, it’s still my job. This is the hardest thing I have ever done. To begin with, I found the process of it absolutely terrifying but it paid off. I don’t concern myself with what people will say or that kind of pressure. The pressure is in playing the part itself."

Of course, acting isn’t all that McGregor does now. Last year, he and best friend Charley Boorman set out on their second major motorbike tour, heading from John O’Groats to Cape Town. The route took them through the heart of Africa, which was fascinating in itself but not quite as satisfying for viewers of the subsequent television series as their earlier east-to-west Long Way Round trip.

"The rush of it upset me a bit," he admits. "I wanted to get to Cape Town on that final day because I had a holiday booked with my family, and after three months of not seeing them, I wanted to fly up to Kenya and spend two weeks sharing some of the Africa I’d learned about."

But his wife, Ève, came along for part of the trip - an unnecessary risk, surely, with three young daughters back home?

"I was worried when we were riding around in London behind her when we first started, because I suddenly realised how vulnerable she was," he concedes. "But not in Africa. I never understood why there was a problem about Ève coming - I still don’t."

Not even when it seemed to rock the two-men-together dynamic he had with Boorman?

"But Charley has known Ève for as long as he has known me. He has always known me with her. She’s my wife, so I would put her before anyone else. So it’s difficult for me to see the problem. We rode for a week, doing 1500 miles through Zambia and Malawi. She loved the freedom and adventure of it, stopping and meeting people."

There is talk of completing the motorbike trilogy with what could become Long Way Up, heading north through South America. But if that doesn’t pan out, at least McGregor got the chance to visit Brazil for a shoot for men’s fragrance Adventure by Davidoff. Celebrity endorsement of a smell?

The knife and fork go down, and lunch pauses for a moment. "The smell of adventure " McGregor is not easily offended by the accusation. "Yeah, we tried to make it smell like my boots from the bike trips. Actually, it’s quite ehm I’m not really good at describing it peaty and earthy." But there is a slightly more serious and definitely more interesting side to his decision to become the face of a male perfume. And it says something about how he regards - and exploits - his public persona.

"It’s not something I would have done in the past, but they said that the concept was completely based on Long Way Round and that experience of adventure. If Charley and I have inspired people to travel and see the world, then I’m very proud of that. In Africa, who’s on the Oscars list bears no relevance to their lives because they’ve got no medicine or no food. It’s good to remember that. Those TV shows are me - they’re not some script and I’m not playing a part. So the Adventure fragrance does more directly relate to me as opposed to the image of an actor."

For McGregor, charity work seems to be more than your typical celebrity conscience-cleanser. A long-time supporter of Unicef and the Children’s Hospice Association Scotland (CHAS), in March he and Texas singer Sharleen Spiteri will be reviving their now annual (but slightly postponed) Burns Supper in London, raising money for children’s charities. ("I can do every line of Iago but I can’t remember the Address To The Haggis," he admits.) In the footage from his two motorbike tours, it was the plight of children that most openly affected him. Maybe that comes of being the relatively young father of three girls - one just turned 12, one six and one adopted from Mongolia two years ago. Given his Britney Spears comments, it’s not surprising to learn that this area of his life is strictly off the interview radar.

Nevertheless, McGregor is no soft touch when it comes to promotional events. There’s often a personal, politicised-with-a-small-p agenda involved on his part. Like when he agreed to go to Iraq last October to present Staff Sergeant Michelle Cunningham, a bomb disposal expert, with a televised Pride Of Britain Award.

McGregor’s older brother, Colin, served with an RAF Tornado squadron in the Gulf - which is probably why, although critical of the West’s involvement in Iraq, the actor remains sympathetic towards the soldiers he met there.

"The place we flew to in Kuwait before going up into Basra was where my brother was based," he explains. "Since I made Black Hawk Down, I have had this fascination about soldiers and warfare, how people deal with it and how the human condition survives through it - if it does or it doesn’t. I met the guys from the rifle division that had been holding Basra Palace, and you could see in their eyes that they’d been through it. They’d been getting mortared 16 times a day, really in the thick of it.

"It was an experience to land in a Hercules at Basra International Airport. Because of the possibility of someone firing an RPG rocket-propelled grenade at the plane, you come in very high and you can’t do a normal landing. The plane goes into blackout, and you have to put on your helmet and your body armour. It does this dive with sharp turns to lose height, and then they just bump it down. In pitch black. My mum despairs. If I’m not riding a bike through Sudan."

The meal is over, the plates are cleared, and we’re on to the coffee. It’s time for McGregor to indulge in a more reflective mood.

"I’m happy, I really am," he says. "I’m more excited about my work than I’ve ever been. I mean, I could be going for another lead and thinking, shit, I’m not getting the parts that so-and-so is getting. But if you’re chasing that sort of thing, I don’t know that you’ll ever be happy. This feels like another fresh start because I’ve had the trip, I’ve had the play, and I haven’t been on a film set since this time last year. I really feel like it’s time to get back to work. I’m inspired by having seen There Will Be Blood, seeing Daniel Day-Lewis’s performance and realising that there are depths to this job that I do that I’ve yet to plumb."

Ah, but Daniel Day-Lewis isn’t on a stamp. In America, Ewan McGregor is now part of a Star Wars postage set.

"But the thing is," he argues, "it’s Obi-Wan Kenobi who is on the stamp, not me."

Nevertheless, people are now licking his backside.

"They’ve been doing that for years, love," he laughs. "They’ve been doing that for years."

Cassandra’s Dream opens the Glasgow Film Festival on Thursday and goes on general release on May 9.

Source: Sunday Herald

Thanks to Barbara for the heads up!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Monday, February 11, 2008 // 10:45 p.m.


A very different version of Hamlet

February 9, 2008
By Sophie Heawood

It’s not often you go to the bar during the interval of a play and overhear Ewan McGregor asking his friend if “that was a real baby that Hamlet just carried on stage”. Yet in a production of Shakespeare as unorthodox as the Factory’s, people are bound to get confused. It was indeed a genuine newborn, plucked from its mother’s arms, though it must be said she looked delighted.

He might be a veteran actor, and on a night off from starring in Othello across town, but McGregor is as surprised as any other audience member by the turn of events this Hamlet is taking. How can we remain so tense while Gertrude is poisoned by smeared chocolate cake? So thrilled as Laertes warns Ophelia about men’s wicked ways while toying with a bulky marrow? So genuinely terrified as Hamlet and Laertes duel over who can read the loudest from a leaflet?

All these props are plucked at random from the audience, who are reseated at the start of each act as the actors progressively take over the chairs, the bar and the corridors. Oh, and the cast decide who will play which part only as the performance begins - they have all memorised several.

It’s a rare feat for a play to use such gimmickry to create real profundity, yet it works - McGregor tells me afterwards that it was “just the most amazing thing to see. Brilliantly directed, brilliantly played, brilliantly executed. I thought it was incredible - and terrifying. I mean, can you imagine not even knowing if you’re going to play Hamlet or not?” Yet without McGregor it might not be happening at all.

Alex Hassell, 27, co-founder of the Factory theatre company, explains how the A-list actor got involved with these fledgeling stars. Hassell was rehearsing for a show at the Globe in early 2006 when McGregor, who happened to be walking past, grabbed him to say that he and his wife had loved the BBC3 comedy show that Hassell had starred in, Bonkers. “But they’d missed the last episode, so I sent him a video of it and then thought, well, why not enclose a letter about this theatre group I’d started up with my friends, see if he likes the sound of it.”

The Factory was set up because, on leaving drama school, Hassell and the group’s co-founder Tim Evans, also 27, “wanted to know why all of our mates, who were brilliant, were still so frustrated. “Acting’s not like writing, you can’t just do it in isolation, you need a part. But the repertory system isn’t what it was,” says Hassell.

As it turned out, McGregor did indeed like the sound of it - and sent them a generous cheque. Delighted with this unexpected cash injection, the actors realised they could try other wealthy stars for donations, especially since the Arts Council had turned them down. They don’t wish to name too many names, but Elton John was another who came to their aid. And with the esteemed actors Bill Nighy and Mark Rylance agreeing to be patrons, it seemed they were all set. But why do they make their performances so difficult for themselves?

Evans says: “We want to do the total opposite of what people think they need to do to get a good show on, which is get it in the listings, get a good review and sell all the tickets before the day.

“We don’t want to be listed in Time Out, really. And a review is pointless because you will only be seeing one production out of endless different ones. We’re never going to do a press night. We ask, what has become accepted as necessity in the theatre? And then scrape those things away, to see if you don’t need them to put on great performances.” Of course, they didn’t really mind when one paper [London’s Evening Standard] reviewed them anyway, calling it: “a theatrical coup … unbearably poignant, unrepeatable” (and clearly won’t mind any publicity generated by this piece either).

The Factory perform Hamlet at 5pm every Sunday, somewhere in London, preferably hijacking a theatre stage currently dressed for a different production. Word of mouth or an e-mail announcement a few days before are the only ways of knowing where it’s on. Audiences are given badges so they can recognise each other later, like a secret society - I’ve already been spotted with mine. Every ticket costs a tenner and the cast are a big revolving group of unpaid actors, so if anybody is away working, the show will go on.

As Evans explains: “Most young theatre groups will stage one production and it’s an immediate endgame. Rehearsing for weeks for a five-night run in a small theatre, nobody really comes to see it and afterwards they’re right back in exactly the same position they were in before - stuck and frustrated again. So we thought long-term.”

They workshopped this Hamlet for a year first, having taken their inspiration from their main director, the Globe’s former associate director Tim Carroll, who invented the main premise of the production while working in Hungary in 2005. “When I rehearsed Hamlet in Budapest,” says Carroll, “I often found that some of the actors were unavailable. I didn’t care: I just rehearsed with whomever I was given. Because I had four Horatios, two Poloniuses etc, there was always something I could work on. In this it was more like training a football team than rehearsing a cast.”

There is a trend towards this deconstructed method of audience involvement, with the Punchdrunk group’s radical productions of Faustus and The Masque of The Red Death making audiences chase around after the cast. But the work of the Factory feels more welcoming to the paying guest. Even McGregor says that, while he tries to aim Iago’s soliloquies directly at somebody in the Donmar’s audience, he can’t hope to get as close as these guys can.

The Factory liken their methods not to theatre companies but to Radiohead, who have escaped their major record label by distributing their album online and announcing their gigs by e-mail on the day they happen, or to the guerrilla graffiti art of Banksy, or flash mobs. Indeed, their dream is to have Jonny Greenwood from Radiohead strumming guitar on stage, while Philip Seymour Hoffman, just passing through town, takes on a part. It might be a pipedream - “but then we thought that about having a beer after our play with Ewan McGregor”. Watch this space. Or, for that matter, updates on their website www.seehamlet.co.uk.

Source: The Times

Thanks to Barb for the heads up!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Monday, February 11, 2008 // 10:33 p.m.


Ewan: I Won’t Get Off My Bike For £5M

Jan 20 2008
By Toby Mcdonald

Scots superstar Ewan McGregor has revealed his cross-country motorbike adventures cost him £5 million a time - but he won’t quit them.

The 36-year-old Hollywood hunk rode round the globe with actor pal Charley Boorman in Long Way Round and gone from John O’Groats to Cape Town in Long Way Down.

Ewan admits the treks forced him to turn down roles which would have netted him around £5 million each.

But the star, of Crieff, Perthshire, reckons they are worth losing the bumper paydays and is already planning his next trip, Long Way Up.

He and Boorman, 41, will travel from the southernmost tip of South America up through North America.

Ewan said: "I don’t worry about finding work. I take time to do these big bike trips.

"My agent might draw in his breath when I tell him I would like to do another one because it’s four to five months out of the game but this is what life is all about.

"I am satisfied and happy with the work I’ve done and I think people hire me because I am good at what I do. I like to think so anyway."

Ewan - who has three children with his French wife of 12 years, Ève - has also claimed his breakthrough role as junkie Mark Renton in Trainspotting made more impact than his turn in the Star Wars blockbusters.

He said: "In terms of impact, something like Trainspotting has more because people went, ’F***! What’s with this?’.

"It’s got more of an impact than Star Wars, when people are expecting something like that anyway.

"They are so much of their own thing. It’s about Star Wars. It isn’t about me.

"It’s difficult to tell how they affect you career-wise. That’s why it is best not to play that game.

"It’s best to be in it for the stories and for the love of it - and because I like to be paid well when I can be."

Source: Sunday Mail

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Sunday, January 20, 2008 // 10:45 a.m.


Ewan McGregor’s New ’Dream’

By Gregory Kirschling

In Cassandra’s Dream, Woody Allen’s latest movie (which opens in limited release on Friday), Ewan McGregor and Colin Farrell play brothers in London who try to improve their lots in life by falling into crime. It’s a dead-serious thriller from Allen, one that makes his previous dark London movie, Match Point, look almost chipper by comparison.

When the film played at the Toronto Film Festival last September, EW sat down with McGregor to see if every actor is still dying to be in a Woody Allen movie, what it’s like working with the guy, and what Star Wars and The Island did for his career.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: So this is Woody Allen doing something different, huh?

EWAN MCGREGOR: I don’t know. I don’t know what it is. Last week we were at the Venice Film Festival, having our press conference, and all of the questions were to Woody Allen, as it should be. So, we just sat and listened to his quiet answers, and it was lovely to listen to because there were some great European, deeply intellectual questions flown out that he listened to very intently, and then went, "Well, all I can tell you is that it’s a story I wrote about two nice boys that were brought up by two nice parents and things went wrong in their lives." And he is just so simple about it!

He lets the work speak for itself.

Yeah, yeah. People were asking about Greek tragedy and Cassandra and Cain and Abel and the murder being discussed under a tree, and he was like, "You know, it’s very possible that I’ve read all of the books, and it’s possible that it subconsciously ended up on the paper. But I just wrote a story of two nice boys."

I always wonder what its like when an actor gets a call and Woody wants to meet with you. Was this the first time for you, getting a call from Woody?

Yeah, yeah. I mean, in terms of directors there isn’t anyone else, is there? There are great directors out there, and I’ve been able to work with some fantastic directors, but there isn’t anybody else like him so, of course, when you get the call, you go straight over to New York.

Have you talked to other actors about that — the idea that if you’ve had some success, you hope that Woody calls at some point, and if he does, you go? Is that the consensus in the community?

Of course. I think so. I mean, sadly, that’s how I felt. Drop everything and go. Not to the point where I pulled out of anything else, because luckily I didn’t have anything else on at the time. You have to do it, and it’s quick. He shoots so quickly, and that’s another thing about him that we can talk about. But in terms of feeling like you’re in a Woody Allen film, there is so much myth about him as well. In the acting community there are so many stories that I had heard about how he doesn’t speak to you or call you by name or direct you, and I heard he fires you. So, you go into it with all this — and then he spoke to me every day, called me by my name, directed me really thoroughly, and I wasn’t fired! So, luckily, none of it came to be true.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: What’s it like to read a Woody script for the first time with the idea that you might be in it? Did you know anything about it?

EWAN MCGREGOR: No, he didn’t tell me anything about it. My first meeting with him, he came and he said, "I’ve seen some of your work, and I have a part I think you might be nice for, and I just wanted to meet you in the flesh. Thanks for coming." And that was it. And I felt like I should say something, even though it was probably a mistake, so I said, "When are you making a film?" And he said, "Well, we are making the film in May and really that’s all I can tell you, thanks for coming in," and off I went. And the next day after they sent the script, and I said I wanted to do it.

Did you read page by page looking for the laughs? Or did you know by that point that it wasn’t a comedy?

No, I had no preconceived ideas about it at all.

Are you disappointed at all that you didn’t get to be in a Woody comedy, just because?

No, just because I think the stuff that we got to play was brilliant. And the brother stuff is unique and not often explored. I have played countless movies against women and exploring the male-female relationship but never a brotherly relationship. I can’t think of any other film of mine, anyway.

And were you eager to go head to head with Colin? Did you know him before?

No, I’d never met him. So, this was the first time, and I got on with him straight away. We worked very hard and we threw ourselves into it because the scenes were massive and full of dialogue, and we were shooting three or four or five of them a day.

Did you ever get to sit and talk to Woody and ask what his reasons were for writing this? Or does he let the script speak for itself, even with the actors?

Yes. And he wasn’t too interested. Even if you wanted to discuss your motivations or whatever. I got the impression that he wasn’t interested. I thought that he beautifully directed the acting, and I was amazed at how challenging he was. For instance, for one scene in the movie, he told me to take it down so you could hardly hear what I was saying, and that kind of force, that’s all Woody. He really directed it beautifully, but I don’t think he was interested in how you got there. Not really.

Interesting. What are your favorite Woody Allen movies?

I like Zelig and I liked Purple Rose of Cairo and Bullets Over Broadway. I really liked Zelig. I really like the Sean Penn one, Sweet and Lowdown.

Just because some of his movies are "bad" and some of his movies are "good," do you worry about that at all when you’re going in?

No. I just think he is a great filmmaker, and he’s made an enormous amount of films. And there are a number of them that are great, and far greater than any other director you could name. In terms of how many great films he’s made, Woody Allen has beaten everyone, hands down. He’s got so many great films and so I don’t worry about it being a bad one, and if it were, in other people’s opinion, I still would have gotten a chance to work with him.

So, this is something you can check off your to-do list?

I’d really like to do it again. I really would.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Where are you in your career now? What kind of stuff do you want to do next?

EWAN MCGREGOR: I just go on stories, really. I always have done that, and unless I was going to write stuff for myself to do, or produce stuff, which isn’t really my bag, I wait for something to plop down on the doormat and grab me. That’s what I like to do.

Did the Star Wars films give you the freedom to do what you want for a long, long time?

I don’t think so.


No, I don’t think so. I think that they are so much of their own thing. It’s about Star Wars. It isn’t really about me or Hayden [Christensen]. But it’s difficult to tell how they affect you career-wise. That’s why its best not to play that game. It’s best to be in it for the stories and for the love of it and — well, not just for the love of it, because I like to be paid well, when I can be — but what is more important is the stories, really. If you’re making your decisions based on that, then you do end up working with first time directors and you work with Ridley Scott and Tim Burton, and I’ve been lucky to work both with fantastic directors who were starting out and others who have been making films for a long time. But my feeling is that, in terms of impact, something like Trainspotting has more, because people went, "F---! What’s with this?" You know? So, in a way it’s got more of an impact than Star Wars, when people are expecting something like that anyway.

Do you still worry about finding work?

I don’t worry about it. I take time to do these big motorbike trips and my agent might draw in his breath when I tell him I would like to do another one because its four to five months out of the game, but I think this is what life is all about. I am satisfied and happy with the work I’ve done, and I think people hire me because I am good at what I do. I like to think so anyway. I sometimes get parts that are more challenging than others, and I think, from what I’ve been reading recently, that there’s an awful lot more of that to come. A lot of the scripts that I’ve been reading lately are quite brave, independent films that are about things that matter, and some of the roles quite extreme. So, I’ve got a feeling, and I don’t know what you think, that people are demanding more of movies.

So, you think you’ll always go make movies like The Pillow Book?

Oh, I hope so. But at the same time if you get something that appeals to you from the bigger studios, I don’t mind that either. I’m happy to do both. There is a lot of potential at the moment because it seems to be changing. I think studios are less [sure] about what to finance, since throwing $200 million at a film doesn’t guarantee success like it used to. And that’s good.

Was The Island a sting for you?

I liked it. I thought that was a good film! I thought for that kind of movie, it was a good one. I thought Scarlett was good in it and I had a good time working with her. And Djimon [Hounsou] was f---ing gorgeous in it, and brilliantly mean in it and cool. And Michael Bay blew up a lot of s--- in it. And it was at this time when, after Pearl Harbor, people just wanted to pan [his work] and it just so happened that I was working with him when it happened.

Source: Entertainment Weekly

Thanks to ParisRouge for the heads up!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Thursday, January 17, 2008 // 07:31 a.m.


Othello a stunner of a show

U.K. production not just vehicle for star Ewan McGregor as feared by cynics

Jan 16, 2008
Richard Ouzounian, theatre critic

London–Have you ever heard an entire audience hold its breath?

It’s an amazing thing. No papers rustle, nobody coughs, you can hear the proverbial pin drop. Everyone is totally focused towards what happening onstage.

That takes place twice during the stunning production of Othello now playing at the Donmar Warehouse.

The first time is when Ewan McGregor’s quietly malevolent Iago is convincing Chiwetel Ejiofor’s tragically malleable Othello that his wife, Desdemona, is unfaithful.

McGregor spins his web of deceit – believing his lies as deeply as only the true psychotic can – and we watch in horror as Ejiofor falls right into his demonic trap.

There’s no over-the-top villainy happening here, just one quietly demented madman turning the screws on his susceptible victim.

The scene in question takes over 10 minutes and while it’s happening, it truly seems like no one in the theatre dares to even take a single breath. McGregor is so quietly convincing and Ejiofor so blindly trusting that you study their interaction like the proverbial car crash: too horrible to look at closely, but too fascinating to turn away from.

The same things happens at the end of the play when Othello finally confronts, corners and strangles his innocent wife, Desdemona, who he is convinced has betrayed him.

Ejiofor spins himself into a whirlpool of violence, while Kelly Reilly’s classically cool Desdemona suddenly throws all control away and begs desperately for her life.

Once again, the powerful emotions onstage command our attention at a level far beyond the ordinary. We know Desdemona is going to die, but we don’t want it to happen and the resulting tension again fills the theatre with tense silence.

The bottom line is that this is an extraordinary production of Othello on every level and not just the star vehicle for McGregor that cynics feared it would be.

How is McGregor? He’s damn good and he takes risks that many other actors would never dare. His villainy is never obvious or theatrical; it’s of the far more dangerous quietly controlled variety.

Like everyone else in Michael Grandage’s splendid production, he speaks the verse with a clarity that makes it a pleasure to hear. Not empty "word music," but actors using the rhythms of Shakespeare’s text to achieve their emotional goals.

Christopher Oram’s design is dangerously simple: a giant textured wall that look like a terra cotta fantasy or a nightmarish prison, depending on what light the brilliant Paule Constable shines on it.

And Adam Cork’s sound design is also a major asset, alerting us to the subtext in every scene, rather than merely underlining the obvious.

Grandage stages the whole thing with a clarity and briskness that make for magic. The evening is over three hours long, yet it never drags for a single second.

The actors bring the whole thing home. As mentioned, McGregor delivers far more than a star turn, playing the motiveless malignancy in Iago with maximum subtlety and only showing his desperation once, near the end, when his wife Emilia blows his cover. Ejiofor is also a superb Othello. The Nigerian actor builds his performance slowly, allowing the rage and terror inside the character to emerge bit by bit. The pathos he summons when he feels he must kill his beloved wife is exquisitely painful.

There’s also fine work from Reilly, a thoroughbred of a Desdemona who falls into desperation before our eyes, as well as Tom Hiddleston, who captures the callow charm and accidental tragedy of Cassio better than I have ever seen it done.

The Donmar Warehouse continues to be the go-to place in London for edgy, arresting productions of classic plays as well as forgotten modern ones.

This production of Othello may have been one that people went to see because of McGregor, but they got smashing work from him as well as everybody down the line.

Source: The Toronto Star

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Wednesday, January 16, 2008 // 07:44 a.m.


NYC screening of Scenes of a Sexual Nature

The UD Screening Series makes its triumphant return with Scenes of a Sexual Nature starring Ewan McGregor and presented by HSBC Bank USA, N.A. with a Q&A after from director Ed Blum. We assume it will contain… well, you know.

Thursday, January 17 at 6:30pm, Bryant Park Hotel, 40 W. 40th St, 212-869-0100, RSVP here.

Source: NeoSemantic Online Events Community

Thanks to ParisRouge for the heads up!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Friday, January 11, 2008 // 07:31 a.m.


Cassandra’s Dream to bypass German theaters

Wed., Jan. 2, 2008
By Ed Meza

Woody Allen’s Cassandra’s Dream is skipping the bigscreen and going directly to DVD in Germany after Constantin Film yanked the Ewan McGregor and Colin Farrell drama from its theatrical lineup at the last minute.

Constantin declined to provide a reason, but industry observers suggest it could be irked by a recent distribution pact between French international sales group Wild Bunch, which sold it Cassandra’s Dream, and Berlin-based Senator Entertainment.

Wild Bunch acquired a 50% stake in Senator distribution Central Film last month as part of a partnership in which Central Film will release Wild Bunch pics in German theaters.

A number of German distributors have handled Allen’s movies in the past. Scoop went out via Concorde in 2006, grossing $2.4 million, while Match Point was released by Prokino/Fox in 2005, taking in $7.9 million.

Cassandra’s Dream, which was to be released Thursday, will go out on DVD this summer.

The last Allen film that failed to make it onto German screens was 2002’s Hollywood Ending, which has yet to be released on DVD here.

Source: Variety

Thanks to ParisRouge for the heads up!

Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Thursday, January 3, 2008 // 07:25 a.m.



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