Audience: You started playing Obi-Wan Kenobi in 1999 in Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace and you still play him today! Did your parents introduce you to this cult saga?
Ewan McGregor: No way ! I think it bothered them prodigiously to go and queue for a film! (laughs) They were both teachers and, to be honest, they didn’t really see where the educational values of such a production lay. But my uncle Denis (Lawson) helped my brother Colin and me to convince them, since he played Wedge Antilles, a pilot of the Rebel Alliance, in the three episodes of the saga. He was one hell of a character! One night he came home barefoot, with long hair and a scruffy beard. Its “alien” side intrigued me. So I immediately tried to find out what his job was. I was nine years old! It was he who gave me the first advice when I started. My brother became a pilot. But a real one, in the Royal Air Force! Since the age of 16, flying was his passion. I also tried to pass my pilot’s license but, unlike him, I stopped halfway!
“As a child, I often wore a kilt”
Tell us about your childhood…
I grew up in a small town called Crieff, Scotland. I spent most of my childhood, very young, in a wood called The Knock, just above the city. In the summer, with my friends, we built dens there. Generally, I left the house in the morning by bike and only returned in the evening for dinner! I left with a small sandwich and a water bottle, I didn’t need more to be happy!
“I was a tractor driver”
As a good Scot who respects himself, did you ever wear a kilt?
Yes, there were plenty of opportunities when I was a child! But growing up, the tradition was a bit lost.
At what age did you leave the family nest?
I was 16 when I left home, with my parents’ blessing. To acquire my independence, I had to manage very quickly! My first job was a dishwasher in a restaurant. I was wiping plates and cutlery with incredible efficiency! I also worked, during the summer, in a fish farm in Scotland, where we raised trout, then I was also a tractor driver on a large farm. In a different genre, I held the position of parking valet in a very select establishment.
It is also said that you were a singer in the subway before being the star of Trainspotting?
It’s true ! I was performing in the middle of bums. But I hope you’re not going to ask me, right now, to push the song! (laughs) I’ve always been immersed in music. My father played percussion. I can still see him giving me a drum when I was 13. For the little anecdote, he had won a music prize in his school. It turns out that I was in this same institution. One day there was a drumming competition in this school, I won it and they gave me the prize won by my father many years before! Later, I learned to play the french horn.
Do you ever sing songs, like in Moulin Rouge, to your daughters?
They prefer that I tell them things that have happened in my life. It interests them far more than their father’s vocal talents. They had to admit that I too could have been a child! What fascinated them!
Do they watch your movies?
It depends which ones! I don’t see the point of telling them, ‘Hey, did you see the guy jumping off the building? Whooo! Well, it’s daddy!’ At home, when the eldest were younger, I avoided watching TV. Ditto with the computer and video games. On the other hand, they had the right to watch old films. Classics! I encouraged them to opt for books as well. It’s so much better than a video console, isn’t it? I would never understand the parents who chose to put their children all day in front of a TV. For me, they are irresponsible!
You have five children. What dad are you?
I noticed that I was a better father today. I’m less stressed with the youngest and youngest than I was with my eldest daughter when she was the same age! Of course, I gained experience. I panic less in certain situations. I’m cooler. And then there’s something that’s absolutely wonderful when you have older kids, they’re there to support you when the younger ones don’t want to brush their teeth or finish their plate! Sometimes I feel like I’ve lived two lives. A life before having children and a life after their birth! Honestly, it’s like talking about two different men, but I’m very happy today!
1. March 31, 1971
Ewan Gordon McGregor was born in Perth, Scotland. His parents, Carol and James, are both teachers. At 18, he left for London.
Danny Boyle who has already made him turn in Small murders between friends gives him the role of Mark Renton in Trainspotting. It is a worldwide card.
April 2022 Ewan marries actress Mary Elizabeth Winstead, whom he met on the set of the Fargo series at the end of 2016 and for which he left Eve Mavrakis, the mother of his daughters, in 2017.
4. May 2022
Ewan McGregor takes over the cult role of Obi-Wan Kenobi that he had held in episodes I, II and III of Star Wars, in the eponymous series broadcast on Disney +.
See also: Excluded Video: We’re all cracking up: actor Ewan McGregor, New York Fashion Week’s sexiest man!
Interview by Frank Rousseau, in Los Angeles