McGregor, Ewan 1971–
McGREGOR, Ewan 1971–
First name is pronounced "You–in"; full name, Ewan Gordon McGregor; born March 31, 1971, in Crieff, Perth, Scotland; son of James (a physical education teacher) and Carol (a school administrator and teacher) McGregor; nephew of Denis Lawson (an actor); married Eve Mavrakis (a production designer), July, 1995; children: Clara Mathilde, Esther Rose. Education: Attended Guildhall School of Music and Drama, London; studied drama at Kircaldy College of Technology (later known as Fife College). Avocational Interests: Long distance motorcycling.
Addresses: Agent— Brandt Joel, Creative Artists Agency, 9830 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills, CA 90212; Lindy King, Peters Fraser & Dunlop, Drury House, 34–43 Russell St., London WC2B 5HA, England.
Career: Actor. Worked with Perthshire Repertory Theatre in Scotland; Natural Nylon (production company), cofounder. Appeared in commercials. Affiliated with charities, including Children's Hospice Association.
Awards, Honors: Dinard Film Festival Award, best actor, 1994, and Empire Award, best British actor, 1996, both for Shallow Grave; London Film Critics Circle Award, British actor of the year, 1997, for Trainspotting, Brassed Off!, Emma, and The Pillow Book; Empire Award, best British actor, and MTV Movie Award nomination, best breakthrough performance, both 1997, for Trainspotting; Emmy Award nomination, outstanding guest appearance on a drama series, 1997, for "The Long Way Around," ER; named one of "the top 100 movie stars of all time," Empire magazine, 1997; Empire Award, best British actor, and MTV Movie Award nomination (with Cameron Diaz), best dance sequence, both 1998, for A Life Less Ordinary; Screen Actors Guild Award nomination (with others), outstanding cast performance, 1999, for Little Voice; Saturn Award nomination, Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films, best supporting actor, Blockbuster Entertainment Award nomination, favorite actor—action/science fiction film, and MTV Movie Award nomination (with Liam Neeson and Ray Park), best fight, all 2000, for Star Wars: Episode I—The Phantom Menace; International Federation of Television Archives Award nomination, best actor, 2000, for Nora; Hollywood Film Festival Award, actor of the year, 2001; honorary doctorate, University of Ulster, 2001; European Film Award, outstanding European achievement in world cinema, and Australian Film Institute Award nomination, best actor, both 2001, Golden Satellite Award, International Press Academy, best actor in a comedy or musical motion picture, London Critics Circle Film Award, British actor of the year, Empire Award, best British actor, Film Actor Award, Variety Club Showbusiness Awards, MTV Movie Award (with Nicole Kidman), best musical sequence, Golden Globe Award nomination, best actor in a musical or comedy motion picture, Film Critics Circle of Australia Award nomination, best actor, Screen Actors Guild Award nomination (with others), outstanding performance by the cast of a theatrical motion picture, and MTV Movie Award nomination (with Kidman), best kiss, all 2002, all for Moulin Rouge!; Entertainment Personality Award, British Independent Film Awards, 2002; British Independent Film Award nomination, best actor, 2003, and Empire Award nomination, best British actor, 2004, both for Young Adam.
Alvarez, Being Human, Warner Bros., 1993.
Alex Law, Shallow Grave, Gramercy Pictures, 1994.
Dean Raymond, Blue Juice, 1995.
Jerome, The Pillow Book, Cinepix Film Properties, 1995.
Andy, Brassed Off!, Miramax, 1996.
Frank Churchill, Emma, Miramax, 1996.
Mark Renton (also known as "Rents" or "Rent Boy"), Trainspotting, Miramax, 1996.
Meneer Chrome, The Serpent's Kiss (also known as Le baiser du serpent and Der Schlangenkuss ), 1997.
Robert Lewis, A Life Less Ordinary, Twentieth Century–Fox, 1997.
Billy, Little Voice, Miramax, 1998.
Curt Wild, Velvet Goldmine, Miramax, 1998.
Martin Bells, Nightwatch, Miramax/Dimension Films, 1998.
Stroller, Desserts, 1998.
Obi–Wan "Ben" Kenobi, Star Wars: Episode I—The Phantom Menace (also known as The Phantom Menace, Star Wars: Episode I: The Beginning, Star Wars I: The Phantom Menace, and Star Wars: The Balance of the Force ), Twentieth Century–Fox, 1999.
Himself, Killing Priscilla, 2000.
Himself, Welcome to Hollywood, Phaedra Cinema, 2000.
Stephen Wilson (The Eye), Eye of the Beholder, Destination Films, 2000.
Anno Domini, 2000.
Christian, Moulin Rouge!, Twentieth Century–Fox, 2001.
Specialist John "Grimsey" Grimes, Black Hawk Down, Columbia, 2001.
Obi–Wan Kenobi, Star Wars: Episode II—Attack of the Clones (also known as Attack of the Clones: The IMAX Experience, Star Wars II, and Star Wars II: Attack of the Clones ), Twentieth Century–Fox, 2002.
Catcher Block, Down with Love, Twentieth Century–Fox, 2003.
Narrator, Faster, Spark Productions, 2003.
Young Edward "Ed" Bloom, Big Fish, Columbia, 2003.
Joe Taylor, Young Adam, Sony Pictures Classics, 2004.
Sam Foster, Stay, Twentieth Century–Fox, 2004.
Obi–Wan Kenobi, Star Wars: Episode III—Revenge of the Sith, Twentieth Century–Fox, 2005.
Coproducer, Nora (also known as Nora—Die leidenschaftliche Liebe von James Joyce ), Andora Pictures International, 2001.
Television Appearances; Miniseries:
Julien Sorel, The Scarlet and the Black (also known as Red and Black ), BBC, 1993.
Private Mick Hopper, Lipstick on Your Collar, Channel 4, 1993.
Young man, Karaoke, 1996.
Television Appearances; Movies:
Tom Clayton, Doggin' Around, BBC, 1994.
Nick Leeson, Rogue Trader, Cinemax, 1999.
Television Appearances; Specials:
(Uncredited) Himself, An Audience with Elton John, 1997.
Himself, Comic Relief: The Record Breaker, BBC, 1999.
Himself, The Concorde: A Supersonic Story, The Discovery Channel, 2000.
(And in archive footage) Himself, The Night Club of Your Dreams: The Making of "Moulin Rouge!, " HBO, 2001.
(Uncredited) Himself, R2–D2: Beneath the Dome, 2001.
Trips Money Can't Buy, Travel Channel, 2002.
The 100 Greatest Musicals, 2003.
100% NYC: A Concert Celebrating the Tribeca Film Festival, MTV and VH1, 2003.
Also appeared as Obi–Wan Kenobi in A Big Histeria Crossover Party 2: The Summer Party.
Television Appearances; Awards Presentations:
Presenter, The 1996 MTV Music Awards, MTV, 1996.
Presenter, 1997 MTV Movie Awards, MTV, 1997.
2002 MTV Movie Awards, MTV, 2002.
Television Appearances; Episodic:
David Armstrong, "Nothing but the Truth," Kavanagh QC, ITV, 1995.
Ford, "Cold War," Tales from the Crypt (also known as HBO's Tales from the Crypt ), HBO, 1996.
Duncan Stewart, "The Long Way Around," ER (also known as Emergency Room ), NBC, 1997.
Himself, Parkinson, BBC, 1998, 2003.
Himself, The Late Show with David Letterman, CBS, 2001.
"Moulin Rouge," AMC Backstory, American Movie Classics, 2001.
Himself, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, NBC, 2001, 2002, 2003.
Himself, "The Polar Bears of Churchill with Ewan McGregor" (also known as "Polar Bears in the Wild"), Nature, PBS, 2002.
Himself, Revealed with Jules Asner, E! Entertainment Television, 2002.
Himself, "Steve McQueen," Hollywood Greats, BBC, 2002.
Himself, The South Bank Show, London Weekend Television, 2003.
Himself, Film '04, BBC, 2004.
Appeared as the voice of Gennai in "The Legend of the DigiDestined," Digimon: The Live Action Series.
Television Appearances; Other:
Jimmy, Family Style, 1993.
Phil, Solid Geometry, 2002.
Appeared in a British broadcast of Charlotte's Web; voice of Nigel Spot for Secret Crisis on Infinite Worlds.
Television Director; Movies:
"Bone," Tube Tales, SKY TV, 1999.
Nicholas "Nick" Beckett, What the Butler Saw, Salisbury Playhouse, c. 1993.
Scrawdyke, Little Malcolm and His Struggle against the Eunuchs, Hampstead Theatre, London, 1998.
Himself, The Essence of Combat: Making "Black Hawk Down, " 2003.
"Black Eyed Boy," by Texas, 1997.
(In archive footage) "Lust for Life," by Iggy Pop, c. 1997.
McGregor's performance in the film Desserts was included in the compilation video Film–Fest DVD: Issue 3—Toronto, BroadcastDVD, 2000.
Newsmakers 1998, Issue 2, Gale, 1998.
Pendreigh, Brian, Ewan McGregor, Thunder's Mouth Press, 1998.
Robb, Brian J., Ewan McGregor: From Junkie to Jedi, Plexus Publishing, 1999.
Buzz, Volume 8, issue 2, pp. 71–77.
Details, November, 1997, pp. 142–47, 192.
Detroit Free Press, June 1, 1997, p. G1.
Empire, March, 1996, pp. 96–97; October, 1997, p. 194; August, 1999, pp. 122–28; June, 2000, pp. 10–12, 15.
Entertainment Weekly, December 27, 1996; June 13, 1997, p. 28.
Esquire, May, 1999.
Evening Standard (London), August 3, 2001.
Face, issue 98, 1996, pp. 68–76, 220–22.
GQ, May, 1999, p. 198.
Interview, November, 1998, pp. 98–106; May, 2004, pp. 86–89.
Los Angeles Times, October 19, 1997.
Maxim Fashion, spring/summer, 2002, pp. 78–83.
Movieline, August, 1996.
New York Times, June 1, 1997, p. H17; October 24, 1997, p. E12.
People Weekly, June 14, 1999, p. 60.
Premiere, July, 1996, pp. 60–61; May, 1999, pp. 96–97; November, 2001, p. 100; December 1, 2003, pp. 86, 88.
Teen, September, 1997, p. 64.
Time, July 15, 1996, pp. 64–66; November 3, 1997.
Total Film, November, 1997, pp. 58–59.
TV Guide, May 15, 1999, pp. 24–26.
USA Weekend, May 9, 2003, pp. 6–7.
Vanity Fair, December, 1998, p. 262.
W, February, 2002, pp. 152–55.
Washington Post, May 18, 2003, pp. N1, N4–N5.
E! Online—The Hot Spot, http://www.eonline.com, February 5, 1998.
Nationality: British. Born: Crieff, Perthshire, Scotland, 31 March 1971; nephew of theatre director Denis Lawson. Education: Guildhall School of Music and Drama. Family: Married production designer Eve Mavrakis, July 1995; one daughter: Clara Mathilde. Career: Began acting at Perth Repertory Theatre before going to Guildhall School; co-founded production company, Natural Nylon; appeared on American television series ER, 1994, for which he was nominated for an Emmy Award. Awards: London Critics Circle ALFS Award for British Actor of the Year, for Trainspotting, 1996. Agent: John Altaras Associates, 13 Shorts Gardens, London WC2H 9AT, United Kingdom.
Films as Actor:
Family Style (for TV) (as Jimmy)
Being Human (Forsyth) (as Alvarez); Shallow Grave (Boyle) (as Alex Law); Doggin' Around (Davis—for TV) (as Tom Clayton)
Blue Juice (Prechezer) (as Dean Raymond)
Trainspotting (Boyle) (as Mark "Rent-boy" Renton); Emma (McGrath) (as Frank Churchill); The Pillow Book (Greenaway) (as Jerome); Brassed Off (Herman) (as Andy)
The Serpent's Kiss (Le Baiser du Serpent) (Rousellot) (as Meneer Chrome); A Life Less Ordinary (Boyle) (as Robert)
Desserts (Stark) (as Stroller); Nightwatch (Bornedal) (as Martin Bells); Velvet Goldmine (Haynes) (as Curt Wild); Little Voice (Herman) (as Billy)
Killing Priscilla (Gardiner—doc) (as himself)
Star Wars: Episode II (Lucas) (as Obi-Wan Kenobi)
By MCGREGOR: articles—
Interview with John Naughton, in Empire (London), March 1996.
Interview with Dean Evans and Darren Vaughn, in Total Film (London), November 1997.
Interview with Matt Wolf, "Great Scot: Feisty McGregor Is On a Roll," in Chicago Sun-Times (Chicago), 20 December 1998.
Interview with Tom Roston, in Premiere (New York), May 1999.
"Ewan McGregor—The Esquire Interview," in Esquire (London), June 1999.
Interview with Ian Nathan, in Empire (London), August 1999.
On MCGREGOR: books—
Adams, Billy, Ewan McGregor: The Unauthorized Biography, Edin-burgh, 1998.
Brooks, Xan, Choose Life: Ewan McGregor and the British Film Revival, London, 1998.
Pendreigh, Brian, Ewan McGregor, London, 1998.
Nickson, Chris, Ewan McGregor, New York, 1999.
Pourroy, Janine, Shooting Star: The Ewan McGregor Story, Lon-don, 1999.
Robb, Brian J., Ewan McGregor: From Junkie to Jedi, London, 1999.
On MCGREGOR: articles—
O'Hagan, Andrew, "The Boys Are Back in Town," in Sight and Sound (London), February 1996.
Jones, Oliver, "Shoot Me Up Scotty," in Premiere (New York), July 1996.
Svetkey, Ben, "It Had to be Ewan," in Entertainment Weekly (New York), 13 June 1997.
Edwards, Gavin, "From Junkie to Jedi," in Details (New York), November 1997.
Heller, Zoe, "A Star's Wars," in Vanity Fair (London), Decem-ber 1998.
Collins, R., "The New Star Wars: Special Collector's Issue," in The Sunday Times Magazine (London), 16 May 1999.
* * *
Now famous for playing the young Obi-Wan Kenobi in Star Wars: Episode I—The Phantom Menace, Ewan McGregor made his name in low-budget British films like Shallow Grave and Trainspotting. Although he has appeared in an astonishing variety of films in his short career, his trademark characters are men whose ill-advised bravado takes them out of their depth. But whatever role he is playing, McGregor exudes an enthusiasm for acting and filmmaking that is almost palpable. His versatility means he has been equally successful in small-scale dramas such as Little Voice, art-house films like The Pillow Book, and blockbusters like Star Wars. McGregor first became widely known in the United Kingdom with the menacing comic thriller Shallow Grave, funded by Channel Four, a British television company with a reputation for producing unusual films which often combine dark humour with acute observation. Shallow Grave is a cautionary tale of three Edinburgh flat sharers who find a large amount of money after the death of their mysterious new tenant. The plot centres on the gruesome disposal of the body in a shallow grave, and the friends' subsequent involvement with local gangsters as they try to keep the money for themselves and double-cross each other.
McGregor's role as the most greedy and manipulative of the flatmates established him as a major talent in only his third feature, but it was as heroin addict Mark "Rent-boy" Renton in the hit Trainspotting that he emerged as a star in the making. The film itself received mixed reviews from the critics, but its dark humour suited McGregor in the lead role. Supposedly an ironic treatment of the image of heroin and other illegal drugs, McGregor's high profile among his young audience led to worries that the film contributed to the popularity of a look that, in the 1990s, became known as "heroin chic."
The notoriety of Trainspotting might have damaged the career of a less versatile actor than McGregor, whose next project, playing Frank Churchill in an adaptation of Jane Austen's novel Emma, introduced him to an entirely new audience, and revealed an English accent comparable with Gwyneth Paltrow's in the title role. Peter Greenaway's beautifully photographed The Pillow Book saw McGregor return to controversy playing Jerome, the bisexual lover of a Japanese woman seeking revenge against her father's publisher, and determined to write a "pillow book" of her own through having her lovers paint calligraphic script on her body. Because of its slow pace, explicit sex scenes, and stylized imagery the film provoked enthusiasm and derision in equal measures, but McGregor's fourth film of 1996, the sentimental romantic comedy Brassed Off returned him to mainstream cinema audiences.
McGregor's break into American cinema came with A Life Less Ordinary. Directed by Danny Boyle, the British director responsible for Trainspotting, McGregor starred with Cameron Diaz in a romantic comedy involving a fake kidnap plot that saw him unable to curb Diaz's little rich girl antics despite his being threatened and eventually shot. He has continued to work in challenging and smaller scale film roles, playing the writer James Joyce in Nora, for example, but in Star Wars: Episode I—The Phantom Menace, McGregor became a world wide celebrity.
While his film career has gathered momentum, McGregor has also been successful in television, in Dennis Potter's dramas Karaoke (1996) and Lipstick On Your Collar (1993), and making an Emmy nominated guest appearance as a convenience store gunman in ER in 1997. He made his debut as a director in 1999 with a segment of the TV film Tube Tales entitled "Bone." The diversity of McGregor's career suggests an enthusiasm for the work rather than an interest in any particular type of film. He continues to specialize in likeable rogues, but while his career has not suffered from his making controversial choices in film roles, it seems certain to be affected by his involvement in the Star Wars saga. Should he decide to go that way, one wonders how he will manage the difficult transition from character actor to movie star.