Star Wars: Where Are They Now? – Ewan McGregor
In 1987, Carol and James McGregor encouraged their son to leave school in pursuit of his dreams. They simply wanted Ewan to be happy, but their faith paid off massively. After studying at Perth Repertory Theatre and Guildhall School of Music and Drama, alongside the likes of Daniel Craig and Alistair McGowan, Ewan landed a leading role in Dennis Potter's made-for-television musical comedy Lipstick on Your Collar. Then, shortly after making his film debut in Being Human, McGregor performed in Danny Boyle’s thriller Shallow Grave, which won him an Empire Award and led to his international breakthrough role. In collaboration with Boyle once more, Ewan shaved his head and lost 30 lbs to portray heroin addict Mark Renton in Trainspotting, garnering him worldwide critical acclaim. His career then reached even greater heights when he landed the role of Obi-Wan Kenobi in the Star Wars prequel trilogy. But what has Ewan McGregor gone on to do since his days as the wise Jedi Master? Well, let’s find out!
If you were to ask someone to list ten things they loved about the Star Wars prequels, there’s a good chance they’ll mention Ewan McGregor’s performance as Obi-Wan Kenobi. In the shoes of one of the most beloved and integral characters in the entire Star Wars saga, McGregor had to treat the role with a great deal of respect. Whether it was his multiple spectacular lightsaber duels or the fact he took very special care to closely resemble the mannerisms, speech timings and accent of Sir Alec Guinness’ version, Ewan’s dedication to the role was second to none. In addition, the dry wit and humour that he showed, especially in times of stress, was nothing short of fantastic. Fans loved his performances as Kenobi so much that they are clamouring to see him don the Jedi robes once more in the rumoured Obi-Wan spin-off movie, which McGregor is open to:
“I’d very much like to do one too. I think the story between Episode III and Episode IV, I think there’s a story there. I think that’s the Obi-Wan Kenobi movie, if there is one. The one that bridges my Obi-Wan Kenobi and Alec’s Obi-Wan Kenobi because there’s a—I don’t know how long he’s in the desert there, but it’s got to be twenty or thirty years.“
However, his eagerness to once more portray Kenobi was rewarded in 2015, when he recorded a line for Rey’s Force vision in Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens.
Although a return to the galaxy far, far away would be fitting for McGregor, it’s not a career move he necessarily needs to make. His success away from Star Wars began in the early 2000s, when he began his own production company, Natural Nylon, alongside fellow actors Jude Law, Sadie Frost, Jonny Lee Miller and Sean Pertwee, with the aim to produce innovative films that did not conform to Hollywood standards. Following the group’s first movie, Nora, Ewan took on the challenging role of young poet Christian in Baz Luhrmann's musical Moulin Rouge! As a result, McGregor was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Actor and a Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast. Since then, Ewan has gone on to perform in many blockbusters and critically acclaimed films, such as Black Hawk Down, Big Fish, The Island, The Ghost Writer, Beginners, Haywire, and The Impossible. Furthermore, he will reprise his role of Mark Renton in 2017’s Trainspotting 2. However, it seems as if Ewan is not just content with being one of Scotland’s most successful actors; he wants to prove himself behind the camera also. In 2016, on the 21st of October, McGregor’s first directorial effort will hit US screens. Based on Philip Roth’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel of the same name, American Pastoral will explore the political and social upheaval in the USA during the 1960s.
Away from his successes on both the small and silver screens, Ewan has performed in his fair share of theatre productions. Most notably, he took on the role of Sky Masterson from 2005 to 2007 in the revival of the play Guys & Dolls at London's Piccadilly Theatre. As a lover of motorcycles, he and best friend Charley Boorman combined their passion with charity work. In their 2004 documentary, to raise awareness for UNICEF, both men rode their motorcycles from London to New York, covering over 19,000 miles and 12 countries. Then, in 2007, McGregor and Boorman chronicled their journey from John o' Groats in northern Scotland to Cape Town, South Africa. However, Ewan’s charity work doesn’t end there! He has also worked alongside Go Campaign and the Children's Hospice Association Scotland. In his personal life, McGregor is married to Eve Mavrakis, whom he met on the set of Kavanagh QC and married in 1995. Together, they have four daughters, one of which they adopted from Mongolia.
Are you surprised at all by any of Ewan McGregor’s career choices since his days as Obi-Wan Kenobi? And let me know in the comments below what you thought of his performances throughout the prequel trilogy. Before I go, just because fun facts always equal fun times, here are three awesome facts about McGregor. Fact number one: when Ewan landed the role of Obi-Wan, he celebrated the fact by duelling his neighbour with two lightsaber toys. Oh, his neighbour happened to be none other than Mr. Noel Gallagher. Fact number two: during McGregor’s proper lightsaber duels, he unwittingly made the classic swoosh and hum sounds, which had to be edited out in post-production. And last but not least, fact number three: in 1987, during Ewan McGregor’s year of drama study in Kirkcaldy, he lived in student accommodation. Don’t worry that’s not the fact. As it so happened, my very own mother worked in the same student accommodation at the same time. So, as a general assistant and someone who cleaned the complex, she regularly served Ewan his food and changed his bed sheets. From her encounters with McGregor, my mother says he was a down to earth and really friendly guy. I know I’ve mentioned that story once before, but I just think it’s too cool to not share with you all once more.