"I've been waiting nearly twenty years to have my own light saber. Nothing's cooler than being a Jedi Knight." Ewan McGregor
Scottish actor Ewan McGregor is widely recognized for his portrayal of heroin addict Renton in Danny Boyle's adaptation of Irvine Welsh's Trainspotting (1996) and young Obi-Wan Kenobi in the Star Wars trilogy (1999, 2002, and 2005). He also played roles in such films as Emma (1996), Velvet Goldmine (1998), Black Hawk Down (2001, with Josh Hartnett), Moulin Rouge! (2001, with Nicole Kidman), Down With Love (2003, co-starring Renee Zellweger), Young Adam (2003, costarring Tilda Swinton) and Tim Burton's Big Fish (2004). More recent, he lent his voice to the animated movies Robots and Valiant, as well as starred in The Island. On stage, McGregor is currently performing at the West End production of the musical “Guys and Dolls.”
Blue-eyed, 5' 10˝” tall Ewan McGregor is one of the many actors speculated to be in the running for the next James Bond movie in 2006. He was also on Empire (UK) magazine's "The Top 100 Movie Stars of All Time" (October 1997) and Orange Film Survey’s “Greatest British Actors” (2001) lists. McGregor’s upcoming films include Stay, Scenes of a Sexual Nature, Stormbreaker, an Untitled Peter Capaldi/Ewan McGregor Project, Gnomeo and Juliet (voice) and Flora Plum. Behind the screen, McGregor has formed a production company called Natural Nylon, along with friends Jonny Lee Miller, Sean Pertwee, Jude Law and Sadie Frost.
Childhood and Family:
In Crieff, Perthshire, Scotland, U.K., Ewan Gordon McGregor was born on March 31, 1971, to teacher parents James and Carol McGregor. His brother is Royal Air Force pilot Colin McGregor (born in 1969) and his uncle is actor Denis Lawson (born on September 27, 1947, appeared in the three Star Wars movies). Ewan attended Morrison's Academy in Crieff, Scotland and studied drama at the Perth Repertory Theatre in Scotland and Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London. In July 2001, he was presented with an honorary doctorate from the University of Ulster.
"I am a married man. I haven't been personally involved with all my leading ladies. It would maybe be somewhat glamorous if I had been, but I have not." Ewan McGregor
While filming Kavanagh QC in 1994, McGregor met and fell in love with French production designer Eve Mouvrakis (born on June 22, 1966). They exchanged wedding vows in July 2005 and now have two daughters: Esther Rose (born on November 17, 2001) and Clara Mathilde (born in February 1996).
Off screen, McGregor has been an eager motorcyclist since his youth. Along with friend Charley Boorman (son of famed Irish-based British director John Boorman), McGregor undertook a marathon motorcycle trip from London to New York in 2004.
"He had long hair, beads and a furry waistcoat. I aspired to be as different as he seemed to me." Ewan McGregor said about his uncle, who inspired him to become an actor.
Following his uncle’s inspiration, 16-year-old Ewan McGregor left Crieff and Morrison Academy to sign up with the Perth Repertory Theatre and later with Kirkcaldly in Fife and London's Guildhall School of Music and Drama. Before graduation, he won roles in 1993’s Family Style (TV) and the Channel 4 series, Dennis Potter's six-part "Lipstick on Your Collar,” playing Private Mick Hopper. McGregor eventually got his first leading role as Julien Sorel in the BBC TV miniseries adopted from Stendhal's novel, "Scarlet and Black.”
Writer-director Bill Forsyth's drama comedy Being Human (1993, starring Robin Williams) was McGregor feature film debut. He followed it up with the costarring role as journalist Alex in Danny Boyle's stylish, noir-influenced feature Shallow Grave (1994, with Kerry Fox and Christopher Eccleston) and as drug dealer Dean in Carl Prechezer's British surf drama Blue Juice (1995, with Sean Pertwee and Catherine Zeta-Jones).
Rejoining director Danny Boyle, McGregor snagged the breakthrough role of smart, funny, sickly, and sometimes just plain unconscious, heroin addict Mark Renton in the adaptation of Irvine Welsh's novel, Trainspotting (1996). The role earned him a London Film Critics' Circle Award for British Best Actor. That same year, he landed roles in Peter Greenaway's romantic drama film, based on Sei Shonagon's book, The Pillow Book (alongside Vivian Wu) and in Douglas McGrath's film version of Jane Austen's novel, Emma (starring Gwyneth Paltrow). He also made his US TV debut appearance in an episode of HBO’s anthology series "Tales From the Crypt" and received an Emmy nomination for his guest appearance as a robber who takes Nurse Hathaway (Julianna Margulies) hostage in "The Long Way Around" (February 13, 1997) episode of the hit NBC drama "ER."
McGregor played roles in Brassed Off, Nightwatch and The Serpent's Kiss before he reunited with director Danny Boyle and screenwriter John Hodge in the comedy A Life Less Ordinary (1997), starring as adorable janitor Robert, opposite Cameron Diaz. He then received positive reviews for portraying American rock singer Curt Wild in Todd Haynes' musical drama Velvet Goldmine (1998, with Jonathan Rhys-Meyers and Christian Bale), in which McGregor also sang the soundtracks "Gimme Danger," "My Unclean" and "T.V. Eye."
After returning to the London stage in Uncle Denis Lawson’s revival of "Little Malcolm and His Struggle Against the Eunuchs,” McGregor played the supporting role of an introverted telephone installer who befriends the odd title character (played by Jane Horrocks) in Mark Herman's adaptation of Jim Cartwright's play, Little Voice (1998). McGregor also snagged another prominent role as the young Obi-Wan Kenobi in writer-director George Lucas' highly celebrated sci-fi movie, Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace (1999). McGregor later reprised his role in the sequels: Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones (2002) and Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith (2005).
The rest of the 1990s saw McGregor starring as the real-life Nick Leeson, an ambitious bank clerk who did insider trading to dissolute the British-based Barings Bank, in James Dearden's biopic Rogue Trader (premiered in USA on Cinemax). He also became a nameless private eye in Australian writer-director Stephan Elliott's voyeuristic thriller based on the novel by Marc Behm, Eye of the Beholder (opposite Ashley Judd).
In the new millennium, writer-director Pat Murphy handed him the lead role of Irish novelist James Joyce in his adaptation of Brenda Maddox's book, Nora (opposite Susan Lynch). McGregor later gathered rave reviews for his portrayal of sensitive poet Christian, who fell in love with a high-kicking courtesan (Nicole Kidman), in Baz Luhrmann's visually opulent, fast-paced, funny, heartrending romantic musical drama Moulin Rouge (2001, premiered as the opener in the 2001 Cannes Film Festival). In the film, McGregor also sang the duet with Kidman titled "Come What May," which ranked a place on charts around the world.
Filmmaker Ridley Scott subsequently offered him the role of John Grimes in his action/war drama, based on Mark Bowden's best-selling book, detailing a near-disastrous mission in Somalia, Black Hawk Down (2001, with Josh Hartnett). Afterward, he costarred with Renee Zellweger, playing a womanizing journalist and playboy in Peyton Reed's romantic comedy Down with Love and with Tilda Swinton, playing a rootless young drifter in David Mackenzie's adaptation of Alexander Trocchi's novel, Young Adam (both in 2003). Also in 2003, McGregor starred as young Ed Bloom, a larger-than-life story teller, in Tim Burton's screen version of Daniel Wallace's novel, Big Fish (with Albert Finney and Billy Crudup).
McGregor lent his voice to the lovable robot Rodney Copperbottom in Robots and to the title role in Valiant (both in 2005). He then teamed with Scarlett Johansson, playing human clone Lincoln Six Echo/Tom Lincoln, in Michael Bay's 2005 big-budget sci-fi action The Island and is currently starring as Sky Masterson in "Guys and Dolls" in London’s West End.
Soon, McGregor will star in Marc Forster's reality-bending thriller Stay (costarring Naomi Watts), Edward Blum's drama comedy Scenes of a Sexual Nature and Geoffrey Sax's adaptation of the first of the best-selling series of Alex Rider novels by Anthony Horowitz, Stormbreaker (with Alex Pettyfer). He is also scheduled to complete the upcoming films: writer-director Peter Capaldi's comedy The Great Pretender (starring as Hollywood star Leslie Grangely/Bonnie Prince Charlie), the animated version of Tim Rice's book, Gnomeo and Juliet (costarring voice with Kate Winslet) and Jodie Foster's Flora Plum (opposite Meryl Streep).
"[My fans] say, 'I've seen Star Wars and Moulin Rouge. What else should we try to see you in?' I always tell 'em to get The Pillow Book (1996). That would be a bit of an eye-opener for them, wouldn't it?" Ewan McGregor
- London Critics Circle Film: British Actor of the Year, Moulin Rouge!, 2002
MTV Movie: Best Musical Sequence, Moulin Rouge!, 2002, shared with Nicole Kidman
Empire Awards: Best British Actor, Moulin Rouge!, 2002
British Independent Film: Entertainment Personality Award, 2002
European Film: Outstanding European Achievement in World Cinema, Moulin Rouge!, 2001
London Film Critics' Circle: Best British Actor, Trainspotting; tied with Ian McKellen (Richard III), 1996