Ewan News
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News Archive

July - December 2005


The Broons tonight on BBC 1 Scotland

As Scotland's favourite family prepare to celebrate their 70th anniversary, celebrities such as Elaine C Smith, Ford Kiernan and Tam Cowan recall their favourite moments from this great national treasure, while scriptwriter Tom Morton, and artist Peter Davidson reveal some of the secrets behind the making of the strip as they prepare for the new year anniversary edition. Narrated by Ewan McGregor.

On BBC 1 Scotland, at 9pm. 30 mins.

Source: BBC 1 Scotland


Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Friday, December 30, 2005 // 12:13 p.m.


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Interviews with Ewan at Amazon.com

Amazon.com has two interviews with Ewan to promote the 2-disc version of Long Way Round (we still recommend that you buy the 3-disc version at amazon.ca).

There's a video clip that begins with an old promo for Long Way Round followed by Ewan speaking about the trip and there's an interview with Ewan and Charley that was done by Amazon via telephone (unfortunately the sound quality isn't very good) that's worth a listen!

Thanks to Woosgirl for the heads up!


Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Tuesday, December 20, 2005 // 08:27 p.m.


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Listen Online to Ewan on BBC Radio 1

Ewan was on BBC Radio 1 in the UK for Newsbeat today, Friday 16th December. You can listen to that interview again, it was about his time for UNICEF in Malawi. The interview will be available today only.

Go to the BBC Radio 1 website's Newsbeat page, and click on "Latest programme" on the upper-right. Ewan is on 10 minutes into the programme.

Thanks to londinensa and Georginita for the heads up!


Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Friday, December 16, 2005 // 01:34 p.m.


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Listen Online to Ewan on BBC Radio 2

Ewan was on BBC Radio 2 in the UK for the Jeremy Vine Show today, Thursday 15th December. You can listen to that interview again, it was about his time for UNICEF in Malawi. The interview will be available for one week.

Go to the BBC Radio 2 website's Jeremy Vine page, click on "Thu" (Thursday) in the "Listen again" section; Ewan is on for the last 20 minutes.

Thanks to Natascha for the heads up!


Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Thursday, December 15, 2005 // 02:10 p.m.


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McGregor sees Malawi 'Aids' parliament

Wednesday, 14 December 2005
By Fergus Walsh, BBC News health correspondent

As Ewan McGregor walked into the orphan care centre in Malawi the children began to sing their song of welcome.

They are some of the half a million youngsters who've lost one or both parents to Aids.

This was McGregor's first visit as Unicef ambassador - a five day packed schedule visiting hospitals, community projects and people's homes.

At the orphan affairs unit, we met scores of children whose lives had been turned upside down by Aids.

Yet with the education, finance and guidance they get here they are upbeat about the future, not downcast.

The centre helps look after younger siblings while they attend school.

We met a group of 50 teenagers who've formed their own parliament.

They have "MPs" in all the surrounding villages.

Together they discuss problems and provide support, counselling and sexual health advice. Many are HIV positive.

Children orphaned by Aids are encouraged to use theatre, dance, writing and painting to express how the disease has affected them.

'Mind-boggling'

But Ewan McGregor also saw how Aids is robbing children of their youth.

We met Salome, who's 12. Both her parents died of Aids-related diseases, so now she is sole carer for her four-year-old brother and her blind grandmother.

And wherever we travelled in Malawi we came across similar stories.

Aids is wreaking havoc in Malawi. Some of the health statistics here are mind-boggling.

One in five children die before they are five. One in eight women die in childbirth. And average life expectancy has plummeted to just 39 years.

There are 70,000 children in Malawi who are HIV positive.

Almost all were infected at birth, the virus passing from their mother. Only now are anti-retroviral drugs becoming available here which can dramatically improve the chance of a baby staying free of the disease.

One mother, Esnort, who's 32 weeks pregnant, allowed us to witness her HIV test.

She waited 15 minutes and then the result came back. She has the virus.

At least now Esnort and her baby will receive the drugs which should keep them healthy.

And there's another crisis here. Malawi is facing its worst food shortage in over a decade.

Millions are dependant on food handouts. Hunger and HIV make a potent combination.

Both suppress the immune system - together they accelerate the onset of Aids-related disease.

Ewan McGregor was clearly deeply affected by all he saw. "I hope I can use my position to highlight the needs of the children here", he said.

"When I return to Britain I can give talks and help fund-raise for Unicef.

"I will know what I'm talking about because I've seen it with my own eyes.

"British people are very generous but it's very hard to keep such causes in the public eye. Just a small amount can make a big difference."

McGregor is planning a motorbike trip from John O'Groats to Cape Town and hopes to visit Unicef projects along the way including meeting again some of the remarkable children here.

BBC News video clip here.

Source: BBC News

Thanks to Roxanne and Ellie for the heads up!


Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Wednesday, December 14, 2005 // 07:31 p.m.


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Ewan McGregor highlights plight of children affected by AIDS

14 December 2005

Actor Ewan McGregor returned from Malawi this week following his first field trip as a UNICEF Ambassador. The five day trip was an opportunity to see first hand how children are paying a disproportionately high price in the HIV/AIDS pandemic and what still needs to be done to reach the thousands who are orphaned or living with HIV/AIDS.

Malawi, one of the countries most affected by HIV/AIDS in Southern Africa, is home to half a million children who have been orphaned and nearly a million people living with the disease. 70,000 children die of AIDS-related illnesses across Malawi every year.

On his return to the UK earlier this week, Ewan McGregor made an urgent plea for action to reach the millions of children needing care, medicines and support.

“Children in Malawi are facing uncertain futures,” McGregor highlighted. “Their mothers and fathers, teachers, aunts, uncles, doctors and nurses are simply dying around them because of AIDS. They are left alone, forced to grow up too fast, robbed of their childhoods and missing out on the play, love and education they need.”

“Though many are being reached through the UNICEF projects I saw during my trip, we need to urgently reach the ones who are still all alone. UNICEF is calling on everyone – world leaders, governments, corporates and the general public - to unite in action against AIDS and put children at the centre of the global response,” he continued.

The visit took place just 6 weeks after UNICEF launched its largest ever global campaign for children affected by HIV/AIDS. The campaign, Unite for Children, Unite against AIDS, highlights for the first time how children are the missing face of the AIDS pandemic. It reveals how children are missing out of the global response to the pandemic; across the world, fewer than 5 % of children in need of anti-retroviral treatment are receiving it and fewer than 10% of the worlds’ 15 million children orphaned by AIDS are receiving any external assistance.

The global campaign aims to achieve measurable progress for children affected by AIDS, based on goals in four areas:

  • Prevention of mother-to-child transmission: The vast majority of the half-million children under the age of 15 who die from AIDS-related illnesses globally every year contract HIV through mother-to-child transmission. The campaign aims by 2010 to provide 80 percent of women in need with access to services to prevent transmission of HIV to their babies. Currently less than 10 per cent of women have access to these services.
  • Pediatric treatment: Less than 5 per cent of HIV-positive children in need of AIDS treatment are receiving it, and only 1 per cent of children born to HIV-infected mothers have access to cotrimoxazole, a low-cost antibiotic that can nearly halve child deaths from AIDS by fighting off deadly infections. The campaign aims by 2010 to provide antiretroviral treatment and/or cotrimoxazole to 80 percent of children in need.
  • Prevention: Adolescents and young people age 15-24 account for roughly half of all new HIV infections, but the vast majority of young people have no access to the information, skills and services needed to protect themselves from HIV. The campaign aims by 2010 to reduce the percentage of young people living with HIV by 25 per cent, in line with agreed international goals.
  • Protection and support of children affected by AIDS: By 2010, it is estimated that there will be 18 million children who have lost at least one parent to AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa alone. Well before parents die, children – especially girls – have to take on adult tasks such as caring for the sick, looking after younger siblings, generating income to pay for health costs, or producing food. Often they must drop out of school. The campaign aims by 2010 to reach 80 per cent of children most in need of public support and services.

“UNICEF urgently needs money to help give orphans the care and support they need,” Ewan added. “We need drastically increase the number of vital prevention and education projects for young people in Malawi and across the world and ensure access to ARV drugs for all, including children, before 2010.”

For more information on UNICEF’s new campaign, Unite for Children, Unite against AIDS, visit www.unicef.org.uk/aids.

Source: UNICEF

Thanks to Gina for the heads up!


Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Wednesday, December 14, 2005 // 07:21 p.m.


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Ewan McGregor Speaks Gospel of Dakar with BMW Team

Photos by Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images


Click for larger versions

LONDON — Scottish man's man, Ewan McGregor, along with racer Charley Boorman, pose for photographs as one of the new BMW F650 GS Dakar race bikes is unveiled at the official team launch. Boorman and his Race to Dakar team-mates of Simon Pavey and Matt Hall will contest the 16-day 2006 Dakar Rally and ride over 8,500 km encompassing some of the most gruelling off-road terrain imaginable.

There are more pictures at Getty Images.

Source: MPH Magazine

Thanks to Baby Jefer and Elyse for the heads up!


Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Wednesday, December 14, 2005 // 12:54 p.m.


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Win a Motorcycle Jacket Signed by Ewan

Fox Reality will give one Grand-Prize winner a leather riding jacket signed by Ewan McGregor.

500 First-Prize winners will receive a copy of the Long Way Round DVD -- filled with extra unaired footage -- and the companion book "Chasing Shadows Around the World."

Enter to win! Only 1 entry per day per email address will count toward the drawing. Contest ends at 11:59pm PST on December 18, 2005 and naturally it is open only to US residents. Lots of other contest rules to read on the site before you fill out the entry form. Click on the link above to enter.

Thanks to Barbara for the heads up!


Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Monday, December 12, 2005 // 10:47 p.m.


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Jings! Ewan McGregor’s joining The Broons

By David Lewis

Forget Ben Kenobi — it’s Hen Broon who Ewan McGregor really hero-worships.

And the Star Wars idol is about to prove it by laying aside his lightsabre and picking up some black bun on Hogmanay.

That’s when the Crieff-born star will be guest of honour at the Broons’ 70th birthday party.

Ewan is to narrate a special one-off documentary — Happy Birthday Broons! — on BBC1 Scotland on December 31 and he’ll reveal his lifelong love of Scotland’s favourite comic-strip family.

Delighted

David Devenney, of production company angel eye, said, “We were delighted he was really keen to get involved in the narration.

“His fondness for the The Broons really shone throughout the recording, as he laughed and joked about his favourite characters. His parting suggestion was that our next project should be Broons: The Movie!”

The man who shot to fame in Trainspotting — a film Maw and Paw Broon ensured never made it into Horace’s video collection — is one of the legions around the world who keep up to date with the goings-on in Glebe Street via the Christmas annual.

And it’s all thanks to his mum. Carol McGregor said, “I always make sure Ewan gets his copy of The Broons Book, no matter where he is in the world.

Tradition

“It’s a family tradition and he knows it’s coming every time. He always used to get it when he was younger and he loves it because it’s just so typically Scottish. He finds it a bit of a laugh.”

On Hogmanay, Ewan will lead viewers through the history of The Broons from their birth in 1936, showing how their escapades have won the hearts of readers ever since.

He’ll not be alone. Ford Kiernan, Elaine C. Smith and Tam Cowan are just some of the Scots celebrities who’ll recall their favourite Broons memories.

The family’s band of followers will no doubt all have their own enduring memories. But David Donaldson, managing editor of children’s publications at publishers DC Thomson & Co, says it’s impossible to pick his highlight.

He reflected, “There can never be a definitive Broons episode as everyone has their own favourite.

“But for me, the one that contains all the essential elements of a typical story appeared on July 23, 1950. It’s the beginning of their summer holiday fortnight and they end up with a gypsy caravan. Even though it’s obvious something will happen, the storyline still holds the readers’ attention.”

Exploits

He went on, “Even I struggle to describe just what it means to the millions of folk who follow their exploits. Almost every reader has been able to relate to one or other of Clan Broon.

“Whether it’s weight-watcher Daphne in her 70-year struggle to find the ‘richt lad’ or a big laddie like Hen trying to play down his height.

“Every reader is rightly a critic and such is the affection for the strip that change does not always go down well.”

The doors of 10 Glebe Street opened to readers of The Sunday Post on March 8, 1936, with Maw, Paw and the rest of the family winning almost instant fame.

Illustrator Dudley D. Watkins was less than hopeful about the project, reportedly telling his wife it would only last a few months.

But since then there have been nearly 4000 weekly episodes — and this Christmas sees the 32nd edition of The Broons annual. Early copies of the annual now change hands for thousands of pounds.

The Broons was the brainchild of R. D. Low, who apparently based characters on his own family and DC Thomson colleagues.

Stardom

It claimed international stardom during World War 2 when Joe and Hen were sent into battle, while life back home realistically reflected domestic existence during wartime.

David Donaldson said, “Thousands of Scottish soldiers had copies of The Sunday Post sent out to keep in touch with life on Glebe Street. Family life in the tenement flat characterised the spirit of Britain at war.”

After Watkins’s death in 1969 it was left to others to pick up the pencil and keep the family alive.

It’s now illustrated by Peter Davidson in his studio in Glen Esk, with the storylines penned by author and broadcaster Tom Morton at his home on Shetland.

They’ll all feature in the documentary and the lives of all the characters will be fully examined, shedding light on their ongoing appeal and strong family values.

But what would happen if Ewan knocked on Number 10’s door? Would the rest of the family be killed in the rush as Maggie and Daphne fought to be first to click?

Whatever the outcome, Granpaw would no doubt sum it up in five famous words — “Jings, crivvens, help ma boab”.

Source: The Sunday Post

Thanks to Baby Jefer for the heads up!


Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Tuesday, December 6, 2005 // 09:03 p.m.


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Unite Against AIDS

UNICEF Ambassadors are showing their support for children affected by AIDS. Ewan McGregor became a UNICEF Ambassador shortly after his return from a round-the-world motorbike journey, the ‘Long Way Round’, during which he was able to stop off and see first hand the problems facing children and what UNICEF is doing to help.

Watch his and other ambassadors' messages by clicking on the link below.

Source: UNICEF

Thanks to Baby Jefer for the heads up!


Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Sunday, December 4, 2005 // 04:45 p.m.


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What's on Stage Theatregoers' Choice Nominees Announced

30th November 2005

The full list of nominations for our 2005/2006 Whatsonstage.com Theatregoers' Choice Awards were announced today, 30 November 2005, at a star-studded celebratory event held at Planet Hollywood.

In this, our sixth annual public-voted awards, more than 1,000 theatregoers took part in determining the shortlisted contenders across 20+ awards categories including Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Director, Best New Musical, Best New Play as well as less conventional categories like Best Ensemble Performance, Best Off-West End Production, Best Regional Production and the Planet Hollywood Theatre Event of the Year.

The two new blockbuster West End musicals of the year, Billy Elliot – fresh from its win at the Evening Standard Theatre Awards – and Mary Poppins lead the way with ten and nine nominations respectively, with the revival of Broadway classic Guys & Dolls following close behind with eight nominations.

Here are the Guys & Dolls-related nominations:

BEST ACTOR IN A MUSICAL:

  • Daniel Evans - Sunday in the Park with George at the Menier Chocolate Factory
  • Douglas Hodge - Guys & Dolls at the Piccadilly
  • Ewan McGregor - Guys & Dolls at the Piccadilly
  • Gavin Lee - Mary Poppins at the Prince Edward
  • George Maguire, James Lomas & Liam Mower - Billy Elliot at the Victoria Palace
  • Neil Patrick Harris - Tick Tick Boom at the Menier Chocolate Factory

BEST ACTRESS IN A MUSICAL:

  • Anna-Jane Casey - Sunday in the Park with George at the Menier Chocolate Factory
  • Haydn Gwynne - Billy Elliot at the Victoria Palace
  • Jane Krakowski - Guys & Dolls at the Piccadilly
  • Jenna Russell - Guys & Dolls at the Piccadilly
  • Julie Walters - Acorn Antiques at the Theatre Royal Haymarket
  • Laura Michelle Kelly - Mary Poppins at the Prince Edward

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A MUSICAL:

  • Adam Garcia - On the Town, ENO at the London Coliseum
  • David Haig - Mary Poppins at the Prince Edward
  • Joe Caffrey - Billy Elliot at the Victoria Palace
  • Martyn Ellis - Guys & Dolls at the Piccadilly
  • Simon Gleeson - The Far Pavilions at the Shaftesbury
  • Tim Healy - Billy Elliot at the Victoria Palace

BEST MUSICAL REVIVAL:

  • Guys & Dolls - at the Piccadilly
  • Hair - at the Gate
  • HMS Pinafore - at the Open Air Theatre, Regent’s Park
  • On the Town - ENO at the London Coliseum
  • Scrooge - at the London Palladium
  • Sunday in the Park with George - at the Menier Chocolate Factory

THE LONDON CALLING BEST DIRECTOR:

  • Alan Rickman - My Name Is Rachel Corrie at the Royal Court
  • Melly Still - Coram Boy at the NT Oliver
  • Michael Grandage - Guys & Dolls at the Piccadilly
  • Phyllida Lloyd - Mary Stuart at the Apollo
  • Richard Eyre & Matthew Bourne - Mary Poppins at the Prince Edward
  • Stephen Daldry - Billy Elliot at the Victoria Palace

BEST CHOREOGRAPHER:

  • Adam Cooper - Les Liaisons Dangereuses at Sadler’s Wells
  • Ann Yee - Hair at the Gate
  • Jason Pennycooke - The Big Life at Theatre Royal Stratford East & the Apollo
  • Matthew Bourne & Stephen Mear - Mary Poppins at the Prince Edward
  • Peter Darling - Billy Elliot at the Victoria Place
  • Rob Ashford - Guys & Dolls at the Piccadilly

You can vote by clicking on the link below!

Vote for What's on Stage Theatregoers' Choice Awards

Source: Whatsonstage.com

Thanks to Barbara and Steffi for the heads up!


Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Wednesday, November 30, 2005 // 10:02 p.m.


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Mayhem at Tonight's Guys and Dolls Performance

A friend of mine went to tonight's performance and... let's just say that Ewan and Jane completely lost it! It must have been quite a treat to see!

"Saw this evening's performance of Guys & Dolls and for a full 5 minutes Jane Krakowski (Adelaide) and Ewan totally lost it. I'm going to paraphrase the line that Ewan/Sky says: You gals! The minute you marry some guy, you take him in for alterations! Before Jane/Adelaide can respond with her line, a baritone voice from the audience yells out "YEAH!" Ewan held his character but Jane started laughing, got control and then started laughing harder. Ewan starts laughing and the audience went absolutely wild. Seriously, this lasted a good two - three minutes until finally Ewan pushes back his hat, walks over to Jane and proceeds to hug and kiss the hell out of her. What a moment! I guess knowing their roles are coming to an end and having been at it since May, it must have just got to them. Jane finally composed herself, looked at the audience and said, "Take two!" When she finally said her line about men being normal, a good part of the female audience started hooting and hollering. Live theater, you gotta love it."

Thanks to (she asked that her name not be posted) for the report!


Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Monday, November 28, 2005 // 10:44 p.m.


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Long Way Round 10-episode series on DVD in North America!

amazon.ca has seen the light: they will be offering the 10-episode, 3-disc Long Way Round series on DVD! This is the one you want to have. They will sell it for $20.29 (regular price is $28.98)

PLEASE NOTE: amazon.ca is selling again the 3-disc version. Thanks to Justine for the update!

Thanks to Woosgirl for the heads up!


Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Monday, November 28, 2005 // 07:54 p.m.


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Tomorrow's Guys and Dolls Performance Cancelled

Update: ITV will broadcast the Royal Variety Performance on December 11 from 8pm to 10:30pm. Thanks to Ester and tinytartplaymate for the heads up!

According to several fans who were at the Piccadilly Theatre this past week, the November 21 performance of Guys and Dolls has been cancelled due to the cast appearing at the Royal Variety Performance. From the press release (PDF): "The cast will give a special performance of Sit Down You’re Rocking the Boat – the biggest number from the hit show.

The Royal Variety Performance will be broadcast on ITV1. Although Ewan is not in that that production number, it's a great chance to see a fantastic part of the show.

Thanks to Fuumin and Violet for the heads up!


Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Sunday, November 20, 2005 // 09:47 a.m.


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Gromit film makes Oscar longlist

Thursday, 17 November 2005

Wallace and Gromit's first film has made it on to the longlist for the best animated feature Oscar.

Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit is among 10 films to make the list, with the final nominations to be announced on 31 January.

Another British-made film, Valiant, which was voiced by Ricky Gervais and Ewan McGregor, is also in the running.

They will compete against the likes of Chicken Little, Robots and Tim Burton's Corpse Bride.

Aardman Animations has previously won best short animated film Oscars for two Wallace and Gromit short films and Creature Comforts.

The other films on the list are Gulliver's Travel, Hoodwinked, Howl's Moving Castle, Madagascar and Steamboy.

The winner will be announced in the full Academy Awards ceremony on 5 March.

Released last month, The Curse of the Were-Rabbit has been a number one film in both the US and the UK, as well as topping the international box office chart outside North America.

A fire destroyed hundreds of props used by Aardman Animations four days after its UK release.

Source: BBC News


Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Friday, November 18, 2005 // 07:48 a.m.


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Celebrities donate watches to help fight global diseases of poverty

‘The Race against time’

26.10.05
LEPRA press release

On 18th November 2005 LEPRA will be launching its fourth annual celebrity auction. This years’ appeal is backed by actor and comedian Mel Smith and watches have already been donated by a host of rich and famous celebrities. Those who have supported LEPRA’s appeal so far include Jude Law, Ewan McGregor, Joanna Lumley, Sir Alex Ferguson, Emma Thompson, Eric Clapton, Robbie Coltrane, Ian Botham and Padraig Harrington.

The chosen theme of “time” highlights the crucial importance of early diagnosis and treatment to help reduce the risk of disease transmission and help save lives. LEPRA works in ten of the world’s most deprived countries to fight leprosy and other diseases of poverty including HIV, TB and malaria. Increasingly the charity’s work focuses on community health education and provides people with the knowledge to protect themselves where possible, identify the early signs of disease and find appropriate treatment when needed.

By bidding in LEPRA’s watch auction, anyone can make a contribution to the cause whilst walking off with a select piece of celebrity memorabilia just in time for Christmas. The auction will take place on ebay’s charity site and our experience suggests that business will be brisk. You can log on to LEPRA’s auction on Ebay from the 18th November. If you want an early glimpse of what will be up for grabs, including watches by Tag Heuer, CK, Hugo Boss, Mulberry and Ebel, why not visit LEPRA’s website (www.lepra.org.uk).

The following global statistics illustrate the enormous scale of the problems faced by LEPRA and their international partners:

  • Leprosy. Although widely thought of as a biblical disease, there are still around 400,000 new cases every year.
  • TB is the leading cause of death for people infected with HIV/AIDS. Approximately 2 million die annually
  • Malaria is estimated to kill one and a half million people every year including one child every 30 seconds
  • HIV. It is thought that there are around 40 million people living with the disease worldwide. A staggering 700,000 children under 15 were infected in 2004.

Notes for the editor

  • LEPRA is a medical development charity established in 1924 and originally called BELRA (The British Empire Leprosy Relief Association).
  • Its mission statement is to: ‘Bring health, hope and dignity to people affected by leprosy and allied diseases”.
  • Earlier this month, LEPRA was recognised by the prestigious American Centres for Disease Control with a £200,000 grant to fight HIV in India.

Thanks to Laura Cameron of LEPRA for the information and photographs.

Update: LEPRA raised nearly £9,000 from the auction (as of December 14, 2005). Source: LEPRA news


Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Tuesday, November 15, 2005 // 07:31 a.m.


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Long Way Round 10-episode version available to everyone

Next month, the 7-episode edition of Long Way Round will be released in North America.

The 10-episode edition is currently available at amazon.co.uk. Did you know that it will play in almost any DVD player in the world?

This DVD is Region 0, which means it has no DVD Region encoding. That's usually the problem with DVDs bought outside our own Region.

The only remaining problem is that it is in PAL, and televisions in North America and in Japan use NTSC. Recent DVD players sold in North America (and presumably Japan as well) will play PAL discs. Mine doesn't, but my computer's DVD drive does.

So, check your DVD player's manual to see if it will play PAL discs. If it doesn't and your computer has a DVD drive, you can still enjoy the 10-episode edition of Long Way Round. It's worth it. :)

Thanks to Rachel for the reminder!


Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Monday, November 14, 2005 // 10:04 p.m.


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The Island DVD info

Title: The Island
Starring: Ewan McGregor
Released: 13th December 2005
SRP: $29.99

Universal has revealed early details on the Michael Bay directed The Island which stars Ewan McGregor, Scarlett Johansson, Steve Buscemi and Michael Clarke Duncan. This new single-disc release will be available to own from the 13th December this year, and should set you back around $29.99 in total. The film itself will be presented in anamorphic widescreen, along with an English Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround track. English, French and Spanish subtitles will also be provided. Extra material will include an audio commentary with director Michael Bay, and a behind-the-scenes look at the creation of some of the film's incredible action sequences and harrowing stunts.

Source: DVDAnswers.com

Thanks to Fuumin for the heads up!


Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Thursday, November 10, 2005 // 09:20 p.m.


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Vote for Ewan's Artwork at 21st Century Leaders!

If you would like to be able to purchase a mug, plate, or t-shirt featuring Ewan's artwork, you must vote first. 21st Century Leaders will only produce those items that have received at least 500 votes.

Vote at Whateverittakes.org.

Thanks to Ester for the heads up!


Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Sunday, November 6, 2005 // 10:50 a.m.


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Sixth Annual Theatregoers' Choice Awards

Not only do you get the final say on who wins what, you can also help determine who's shortlisted in all 23 categories. The fields include Best Fringe & Regional Productions, Best Takeover in a Role, Best Ensemble & Solo Performances as well as all old favourites like Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Musical & the coveted Theatre Event of the Year. Please be sure to submit your nominations by 30 November 2005!

Source: Whatsonstage.com

Thanks to Barbara for the heads up!


Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Tuesday, November 1, 2005 // 01:00 p.m.


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Ewan’s big adventure

Tara Merrin
Calgary Sun
October 28, 2005

When best friends Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman decided to ride their motorcycles around the world, they worried about the dangers that might lie ahead.

They feared the treacherous roads in Mongolia, the weather in Russia — even the bears in Canada.

What they didn’t expect, however, was for the most terrifying moment of the trip to happen on a calm stretch of Canadian highway just outside of Calgary.

“We drove 20,000 miles (32,000 km) and some 12-year-old kid, who just got his driver’s licence, almost kills Ewan as we were literally coming into Calgary,” says Boorman from his home in London.

“The traffic had slowed down and this kid just smacked his car into Ewan. How Ewan stayed on and alive, we’re still not sure. That was the closest either of us came to being killed.”

McGregor, who starred in the latest Star Wars films, and Boorman, who appeared in The Serpent’s Kiss, began their quest to circumnavigate the globe in April 2004.

After setting off from London, they chased their shadows through Europe, Russia, Siberia, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, Alaska and across North America to New York.

Long Way Round, a seven-part documentary series which makes its Canadian premiere on the Outdoor Life Network on Nov. 1, is the result of that journey.

“Until you actually go out and do it, you’re just not sure if anything interesting is going to happen,” says Boorman. “In the end, it certainly exceeded everything we thought it would be.”

During the four-month excursion, McGregor and Boorman, along with one cameraman, were courted by men with large guns in the Ukraine, had their lives threatened in Kazakhstan, suffered from hunger and exhaustion in Siberia, helped fight forest fires in B.C. and took in the Stampede.

“Calgary was a bit of drunken blur,” admits Boorman. “The Stampede was on and we hung out in all the bars — it was brilliant. It’s a great, fun place.”

While Cowtown may have been a blast, it was a far cry from Mongolia, which Boorman calls the most difficult and most rewarding part of the trip.

“The beauty of Mongolia and the people were so nice, but it was tough,” says Boorman. “There was no roads, no sign posts — it turned out to be everything we wanted from this experience.”

Mongolia also presented its share of danger. At one point, the men phoned one of their support vehicles, which became involved in a serious accident during the call.

“It was a terrible, huge crash — they rolled the car three times. They were only 80 miles (130 km) away, but … to get to a hospital was a four-day journey,” says Boorman, adding it’s amazing no one was seriously injured.

“That’s when we suddenly realized this wasn’t a holiday or a game.”

Despite the dangers, Boorman says he and McGregor would do it all over again. In fact, they are currently planning a trip to Africa where they’ll do some work for UNICEF.

Actor Jude Law, however, will not be joining them on the trip as reported in British newspapers last week, he says.

“We were laughing about that. Maybe someone thought it would be a good idea for Jude to have a sabbatical, but I don’t even think Jude rides a motorbike,” laughs Boorman. “But, you know, if Jude wants to come along without a bike, I don’t see why not.”

Long Way Round airs on the Outdoor Life Network at 7 p.m., 8 p.m. and 11 p.m. Nov. 1.

Source: Calgary Sun

Thanks to Mary for the heads up!


Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Friday, October 28, 2005 // 09:42 p.m.


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Long Way Round USA Release Dates

The official Long Way Round site has added this on their news page:

USA Release Dates
Long Way Round will be aired on Fox Reality in November/December. The 7-episode DVD will be released on the 13th December.


Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Friday, October 28, 2005 // 08:15 a.m.


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Buy your Ewan wristband!

Wristbands to help support 21st Century Leaders -- of which Ewan is an ambassador -- are now available for £2.99 each at www.whateverittakes.org. Each ambassador donates a symbol of hope, a self portrait and a message of hope for the future. Ewan has asked that 100% of net funds raised from the sales of this wristband are donated to UNICEF.

Thanks to Ester for the heads up!


Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Wednesday, October 26, 2005 // 08:02 a.m.


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Have you sent your letter for the Guys and Dolls cast recording?

Ewan fan Elyse has written up two generic letters requesting the release of a CD (or DVD) just in case anyone is too busy to write one, or doesn't want to (more details here). She hopes this makes it as easy as possible for everyone to participate in this. There is a picture of dice on each letter, so they are ready to send!!



DOWNLOAD LETTER 1
(Microsoft Word document)


DOWNLOAD LETTER 2
(Microsoft Word document)

If you can, please at least type your name at the end of the document just to mix it up a bit! :)

Send them to:

Piccadilly Theatre
16 Denman Street
London, ENGLAND
W1D 7DY

Huge thanks to Elyse!


Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Tuesday, October 25, 2005 // 05:47 p.m.


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Acting honours for Ewan and Sienna

Mon 24 Oct 2005

Sienna Miller and Ewan McGregor have taken top acting honours at the lastminute.com theatre awards.

Miller was named best actress for her role as Celia in Shakespeare's As You Like It. She appeared in the play each night despite her break-up with boyfriend Jude Law.

McGregor won best actor for his lead role in Guys and Dolls. The awards were voted for by more than 16,000 theatregoers.

Miller said she was "thrilled" with her win.

"I had such a great time working with such a wonderful cast and really miss being on stage," she said.

"I definitely want to return next year."

One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest, starring Hollywood actor Christian Slater, was voted best play.

West End favourite The Lion King was best musical, and Kevin Spacey's Old Vic was named the best theatre.

The Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious song and dance number from Mary Poppins was named best moment.

Mark Bower, head of theatre for lastminute.com, said: "Once again the big musicals like The Lion King and Mary Poppins have proved their continued popularity and big names like Sienna and Ewan are drawing new audiences into London's West End."

Source: The Scotsman


Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Monday, October 24, 2005 // 07:37 a.m.


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No Guys and Dolls Soundtrack!

It has been confirmed to Ewan News that there will be no cast recording from Guys and Dolls; the recording label has pulled its financial backing. One Ewan fan who attended the play on Monday spoke with the Guys and Dolls orchestra conductor who told her about it.

Numerous Ewan fans travelled from all over the world to see this play -- some more than once! It would be so wonderful to have a lasting memory of the brilliant cast and the songs they sang. Many more were unable to make the journey and a cast recording would be their only way to share the remarkable Guys and Dolls experience.

We are going to try to sway the powers that be in our favor. We would like every Ewan fan -- and that includes you! -- to write to the theater between October 23 and 29 to let them know how much you want to be able to buy a cast recording. And while we're at it, let's really grab their attention: include a pair of dice with your letter. The play revolves around the love lives of craps players, and the game of craps is played with a pair of dice.

Here is the address to the Piccadilly Theater:

Piccadilly Theatre
16 Denman Street
London, ENGLAND
W1D 7DY

Thank you! :-)


Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Wednesday, October 19, 2005 // 10:59 p.m.


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Jude Law and Ewan McGregor set for motorbike adventure

Oct 19, 2005, 12:43 GMT

Jude Law is to go on a motorcycle tour of South America to escape the aftermath of his break up with Sienna Miller - and has persuaded actor pal Ewan McGregor to go along for the ride.

The 'Closer' star was inspired by McGregor's 20,000 mile bike ride with best friend Charley Boorman which was televised in hit documentary series 'Long Way Round'. Now 32-year-old Jude wants to follow the adventures of Che Guevara, featured in last year's hit movie 'The Motorcycle Diaries'.

A source said: 'It's been an awful year for Jude and he's been thinking of a way to escape all the madness ever since he finished with Sienna for good.

'He felt that he needed some kind of sabbatical and when Ewan sent him a DVD of 'Long Way Round' the idea just grabbed him.

The insider added to Britain's Daily Star newspaper: 'Like most people, he was inspired by the scenery in 'The Motorcycle Diaries' and quickly suggested to Ewan that they follow that route for a sequel.

'Ewan didn't need much persuading and agreed to join Jude with Charley for the second big adventure.'

Jude ditched Sienna Miller after the actress reportedly cheated on him with new James Bond actor Daniel Craig.

The split comes months after Law begged the 23-year-old for another chance after admitting sleeping with his children's nanny.

Source: Monsters and Critics

Thanks to Patty for the heads up!


Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Wednesday, October 19, 2005 // 07:39 p.m.


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Bafta launches 'new stars' award

Wednesday, 19 October 2005

The 2006 Bafta Film Awards will feature a new prize given to the year's most promising young star.

The Rising Star Award, said a Bafta spokesman, "will honour a young actor or actress who has demonstrated exceptional talent and ambition".

A panel including Ewan McGregor, Cate Blanchett and Sir Alan Parker will select a shortlist of five nominees, to be revealed on 9 January next year.

The recipient of the prize will then be chosen by a public vote.

Nominees - who can be of any nationality - must feature in a film eligible for the 2006 British Academy Awards, to be announced on 19 February 2006.

The prize replaces the Film of the Year Award, the only other Bafta Film Award decided by members of the public.

The prize has been created in honour of the casting director Mary Selway, who died in April 2004.

"This exciting award will shine an early spotlight on the talented young actors and actresses who are the future of our industry," said Bafta chairman Duncan Kenworthy.

Source: BBC News

Thanks to Georginita for the heads up!


Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Wednesday, October 19, 2005 // 07:35 p.m.


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Long Way Round DVD update

Contrary to what had been reported earlier (on October 3rd), the Long Way Round DVD will be released in North America on December 13, on the same day as the DVDs for Valiant and The Island. The Long Way Round DVD has a suggested retail price of $19.98 but amazon.com will sell it for $13.99. Start saving now!

Source: amazon.com

Thanks to Barbara for the update!


Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Tuesday, October 18, 2005 // 10:41 p.m.


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Valiant DVD Details & Menus

Reported by: Anthony Lizarraga
October 17, 2005 (09:09pm)

Walt Disney Pictures and Vanguard Animation’s VALIANT, the wildly entertaining animated adventure of the little pigeon who becomes a hero in World War II, comes to roost on DVD on December 13, just in time for the holidays. From the producer of Shrek and Shrek 2, VALIANT delivers stunning animation, a topflight voice cast and an action-packed story loaded with laughs. It’s a soaring family comedy that truly earns its wings. Available for $29.99 (S.R.P.) from Walt Disney Home Entertainment.

The whole world is looking for a hero, and it's up to a little pigeon named Valiant to step up and bravely serve his country. Valiant (Ewan McGregor, “Star Wars Episode III: Revenge Of The Sith”) and his fine feathered friends take to the sky on a wing and a prayer and prove that it’s not your wingspan but the size of your spirit that truly counts. Together, this ragtag squadron of birdbrains engage in hilarious aerial adventures at a spitfire pace. From the first bumbling day of basic training through the final feather-raising mission, VALIANT’s flock of comical characters save the day.

Bonus features created exclusively for this DVD release include: hysterical, never-before-seen bloopers; and the “Valiant Training Challenge,” a game which takes you through 3 levels of special training to become a member of the Royal Homing Pigeon Service.

VALIANT brings together a top flight voice cast of British vocal favorites including Ewan McGregor, Ricky Gervais (TV’s “The Office”), Tim Curry (“The Wild Thornberrys Movie”), Jim Broadbent (“Bridget Jones’s Diary;” Oscar®-winner, Best Supporting Actor, “Iris” 2001), Hugh Laurie (TV’s “House”), legendary comedian John Cleese, John Hurt (“Hellboy”), Pip Torrens, Rik Mayall, and Olivia Williams (“The Sixth Sense”).

Story by George Webster. Screenplay by Jordan Katz, George Webster, George Melrod. Co- Producers Eric M. Bennett, Curtis Augspurger, Buckley Collum. Executive Producers Barnaby Thompson, Ralph Kamp, Neil Braun, Robert Jones, Keith Evans. Produced by John H. Williams. Directed by Gary Chapman.

STREET DATE: DECEMBER 13, 2005
Direct prebook: October 18
Suggested retail price: $29.99 (DVD)
Rated: “G”. Bonus material not rated or subtitled.
Bonus materials subject to change.
Aspect ratio: 1.85:1, enhanced for 16x9 TV screens
Language: English, French, Spanish audio
Subtitled in English for the hearing impaired.
Not All Technical Specifications Apply To All Elements

Source: DVDtoons


Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Tuesday, October 18, 2005 // 07:48 a.m.


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Disney Abandons Gnomeo and Juliet

10/18/2005

[...]

Wild Life isn't the only musical comedy that Disney has dropped in recent times though. The successful songwriting team of Sir Tim Rice & Sir Elton John were supposed to be providing the music for Gnomeo and Juliet, a retelling of Shakespeare's classic play with the twist being that the two warring families were to be portrayed by pottery gnomes. The Capulets were to be pampered porcelains living inside cabinets in an English cottage, while the Montegues would have been played by the outdoors garden ornament gnomes. Played strictly for laughs, this co-production between Disney and John's Rocket Films company was to have starred the voices of Kate Winslet and Ewan McGregor as the lovers. It was announced for release in 2006 but canned late last year.

[...]

Source: Mickey News (fan site)


Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Tuesday, October 18, 2005 // 07:38 a.m.


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Velvet Goldmine Screening in New York City

October 13 2005

Todd Haynes' glam rock epic Velvet Goldmine starring Ewan McGregor and a pre-Batman Christian Bale will be playing at the IFC Center Friday through Sunday at midnight.

Source: The Gothamist

Thanks to ParisRouge for the heads up!


Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Thursday, October 13, 2005 // 09:35 p.m.


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'Guys and Dolls' recoups in just 17 weeks
Brit hit for Broadway classic

Thurs., Oct. 13, 2005
By MATT WOLF

The West End revival of "Guys and Dolls," starring Ewan McGregor and Jane Krakowski, has recouped its £3 ($5.24) million capitalization in 17 weeks. Producers are claiming the payback as a record West End recoupment in so short a time.

Michael Grandage's staging opened June 1 at the Piccadilly and has more or less gone clean ever since. Along with "Billy Elliot - The Musical," the Frank Loesser revival was one of the few West End shows to withstand the summer downturn in business following the terror attacks in London in July.

The Broadway classic has always been particularly beloved in Britain. Richard Eyre directed a famous National Theatre revival in 1982, which was itself revived in 1996.

It remains to be seen, of course, whether the brisk business will continue into 2006, once McGregor has left the cast. (He departs early December.) "The Producers," for instance, was fast out of the West End starting gate and into the black but has seen bizbiz drop more recently now that it is well into its second cast at Theatre Royal, Drury Lane.

"Guys and Dolls" is produced by Howard Panter for Ambassador Theatre Group and David Ian for Clear Channel Entertainment. They plan to open the show on Broadway in fall, 2006.

Source: Variety

Thanks to ParisRouge for the heads up!


Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Thursday, October 13, 2005 // 06:41 p.m.


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New Yorker comes to UI

Saturday, October 8, 2005
Magazine will bring contributors, staff
By Gregg Hennigan
Iowa City Press-Citizen

The New Yorker magazine has attracted readers across the nation -- and world -- with its prose, poetry, journalism, criticism and cartoons.

Now the University of Iowa has drawn to its campus the 2005 National Magazine Award winner for General Excellence.

The New Yorker College Tour will be here Monday through Wednesday. The event will feature discussions, readings, films and performances by some of the magazine's top contributors and editors as well as other artists.

UI is one of only two stops for the tour this fall. The other is the University of Washington in Seattle.

"It's an honor to have them come," said Jennifer Hitchon, a joint law and health administration graduate student and a member of the University Lecture Committee, which booked the event. "It was a coup to get them to come."

The three-a-day events are free and open to the public. Among those on campus will be New Yorker fiction editor Cressida Leyshon, cartoon editor Robert Mankoff and humor writer Andy Borowitz.

On Tuesday, director Marc Forster ("Finding Neverland," "Monster's Ball") will screen his new movie "Stay," starring Ewan McGregor and Naomi Watts.

Hitchon said she expected the biggest draw to be investigative reporter Seymour Hersh, who will take part in a roundtable discussion Tuesday night. Hersh is perhaps best known for exposing the My Lai massacre during the Vietnam War, for which he won a Pulitzer Prize. More recently, Hersh broke the story on the U.S. military's treatment of detainees at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.

UI journalism professor Stephen Berry will lead the discussion with Hersh. He said that while he hopes the event provides a learning experience for students, he won't limit talk to the practice of journalism.

"I'm a news reporter ... so my first and foremost goal will be to see what news he can provide the community," Berry said.

Hitchon said that's also the aim of the event as a whole.

"The New Yorker has a reputation for being a writer's magazine and a reader's magazine," she said. "The writing is just great and approaches everything from a national and an international perspective."

For a schedule of events, go to www.uiowa.edu/~lectures.

Source: Iowa City Press Citizen


Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Saturday, October 8, 2005 // 10:40 a.m.


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The Island DVD Release

Universal has officially announced some major new titles for December and January. First up, look for Michael Bay's The Island on December 13 (SRP $29.99). Separate anamorphic widescreen and full frame versions will be available, each with Dolby Digital 5.1 audio. Extras are still TBA, but we expect them to include audio commentary with Bay, several behind-the-scenes featurettes on the stunt work and more.

Source: The Digital Bits

Thanks to Barbara for the heads up!


Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Saturday, October 8, 2005 // 10:19 a.m.


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Stay: Soundtrack Artwork & Details

By Mark Sung Oct 4, 2005, 11:50 GMT

Varese Sarabande have released the latest details of the artwork and track listing for their forthcoming ‘Stay: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack.’

Music by Thad Spencer. Release Date: 10/25/05

‘In this reality-bending thriller, a distraught young man (Ryan Gosling) announces to his psychiatrist (Ewan McGregor) that he plans to commit suicide in three days. In a desperate attempt to help his new patient, the psychiatrist makes a frantic chase through the city on an incredible, nightmarish journey which tests his own rapidly weakening grasp on reality.

The mesmerizing and darkly beautiful score is by Monster’s Ball composer Thad Spencer.’

Full Track Listing:

1. Mahlus Gardens (3:28)
2. Opening Bridge (2:20)
3. Dance Class (1:42)
4. You’re Real (2:34)
5. Is That Your Voice? (1:17)
6. Fortune Cookie (1:50)
7. Leaving The City (1:33)
8. Chasing Henry (2:43)
9. Leon Sees (1:50)
10. The World Is An Illusion (2:50)
11. Stay With Me (2:28)
12. A Walk In the Rain (1:30)
13. Sam And Lila (1:19)
14. From Another Life (1:02)
15. Forgive Me (2:04)
16. It’s Too Late (2:17)
17. Fountain (:38)
18. Troubles Will Cease (2:18)
19. I’m Never Gonna Sleep Tonight (6:39)

Source: Monsters and Critics


Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Wednesday, October 5, 2005 // 07:53 a.m.


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Stay With These Stills

Update: Monsters and Critics has some of the same, plus a few extras, photos in larger format. Thanks to Patty for the find!

Now that the new Star Wars trilogy has come to an end, Ewan McGregor has been looking for a hit ever since The Island bombed in the domestic box office. To be honest, I greatly enjoyed the film but, judging by the numbers, there are only some in America that agree with me. But nevermind that, Ewan McGregor looks to be coming back strong in the upcoming psychological-thriller Stay.

In this latest thriller from Marc Forster, a distraught young man announces to his psychiatrist that he plans to commit suicide in three days. The psychiatrist's desperate attempts to help his new patient, lead him through the city on an incredible, nightmarish trip to the place between life and death. Marc Foster is also the creator of the films Finding Neverland and Monster's Ball.

Check out the latest set of movie stills below for Stay.

Source: The Can Magazine


Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Tuesday, October 4, 2005 // 07:51 a.m.


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Ewan McGregor's "Long Way Around" Coming To DVD In December

Oct 03, 2005

From a Press Release:

2 MEN… 2 BIKES… 20,000 MILES…EWAN McGREGOR AND CHARLEY BOORMAN STAR IN LONG WAY ROUND

The Adventure of a Lifetime Rolls onto DVD December 6, 2005 from Goldhil Entertainment

CAMARILLO, CA. -- The adventure of a lifetime comes to DVD this December 6, with the DVD release of Long Way Round, from Goldhil Entertainment. Long-time pals Ewan McGregor (Star Wars, Moulin Rouge, The Island) and Charley Boorman set off on their motorcycles taking the "long way round" the world: west along the rough terrain of Euro-Asia, across the Bering Straight, and covering 20,000 miles before completing their journey in New York City.

"This is an exceptionally entertaining title that has a lot of cross-over appeal. In one respect it's full of action, adventure, exploration and discovery, and yet there's also great deal of political intrigue, suspense and most of all, a great friendship," said Bill Perrault, Senior Vice-President of Marketing, Goldhil Entertainment. "Ewan and Charlie take us on a trip that most of us can only dream of."

Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman (director John Boorman's son) met on the set of Serpents Kiss in 1997, and quickly formed a strong friendship through their mutual passion for motorcycles. After winning the British Superstock in 2000, the dream of a round the world bike adventure was born. After four months of preparation getting together a crew and support vehicles, Ewan and Charley began their 20,000 mile road-trip.

The seven-episode, 2-disc set contains the entire adventure as well as numerous extras including never-before-seen footage, photo gallery and exclusive interviews with these two best friends. From below zero temperatures and dangerous run-ins in remote lands to breathtaking landscapes and an odd cast of characters, these two men complete what is surely the journey of a lifetime.

Source: RoadracingWorld

Thanks to Barbara for the find!


Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Monday, October 3, 2005 // 09:20 p.m.


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Long Way Round Coffee-Table Book Info

The book, dubbed "the illustrated edition", contains 288 pages. It will be available through online resellers like amazon.

amazon.co.uk will release it on October 6, 2005 and it will sell for £15.00.

amazon.com will release it on October 30, 2005 and will sell it for US$26.40.

amazon.ca will release it on November 1, 2005 and will sell it for CND$38.50. While £15 equals CND$30, the book qualifies for free shipping in Canada; otherwise ordering it from the UK would end up costing CND$45 (still cheaper than the list price of CND$55).

Other countries:

amazon.co.jp: October 6, 2005, ¥4,494
amazon.de: October 30, 2005, €36,90
amazon.fr: October 6, 2005, €38,51


Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Sunday, October 2, 2005 // 10:44 a.m.


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New Project for Ewan?

29 September 2005

Renée Zellweger will topline "Miss Potter," a biopic about Beatrix Potter for David Kirschner Prods. and Phoenix Pictures. Ewan McGregor is in talks to play Norman, Potter's publisher and love interest.

Chris Noonan, who has not helmed a feature since 1995's "Babe," will direct a script by Richard Maltby Jr. Shooting is skedded to begin on location in the U.K. in March.

Source: Hollywood Stock Exchange

Thanks to ParisRouge for the find!


Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Thursday, September 29, 2005 // 07:50 a.m.


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McGregor and Staunton among star teachers at Actors Centre

Tuesday 27 September 2005 12:05 PM
Nuala Calvi

Ewan McGregor, Imelda Staunton, Patrick Stewart and Brian Cox are some of the screen stars who have been recruited to run classes at the Actors Centre in London.

The stars will give lessons at the subsidised rate of £38 to a pool of actors and directors selected by audition and interview, and will fit the classes around their own filming schedules.

Entitled the Skillset Film Lab, the programme is being supported by government agency Skillset and talent agents PFD.

Matthew Lloyd, the Actors Centre artistic director, said: “In the States a lot of actors ‘take class’ on a regular basis. But the distinguishing feature of the Film Lab is that people will not be selected by who’s able to pay.

“The lab will run over the course of 12 months and we will be able to use dynamic performers when they’re available. We’ll fit in with their diaries.”

The initiative follows on from last year’s Actors Lab, which boasted names such as Corin Redgrave, Nigel Planer and Barbara Jefford. “We had very prestigious figures coming in to look at classical and innovative theatre techniques,” said Lloyd. “It worked so well and created such a lot of excitement we decided to adapt the idea to the medium of film, and were lucky enough to get funding.”

The organisation has been diversifying in recent times and earlier this year launched the Actors Centre In Business, allowing it to target the corporate market for the first time. West End actor Mark Bowden and Faking It coach Jeremy Stockwell are among those teaching presentation skills to business people as part of the enterprise.

Source: The Stage


Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Thursday, June 30, 2005 // 03:04 p.m.


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Long Way Round Coffee-Table Book & DVD Info

Watch out for the Long Way Round - Illustrated Edition which contains extracts from the bestselling Long Way Round book and hundreds of stunning photos, including many by renowned photographer Julian Broad.

UK Release Date: 6th October, 2005 - Worldwide Release Date: To be announced...

The new ten-episode DVD of Long Way Round contains previously unseen footage and an exclusive interview with Ewan and Charley one year on.

UK Release Date: 7th November, 2005 - Worldwide Release Date: To be announced...

Source: Official Long Way Round site


Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Wednesday, September 21, 2005 // 08:04 a.m.


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Long Way Round International Broadcast & Tour Dates

The official Long Way Round site has added international broadcast dates for the series as well as three stops on an international tour.

International Broadcast Dates

  • Africa on BBC Prime
  • Australia on Lifestyle Channel. Starts 30th November 2005
  • Bangladesh on Discovery Communications India
  • Belarus on ViaSat Eastern Europe
  • Bhutan on Discovery Communications India
  • Bosnia on ViaSat Eastern Europe
  • Bulgaria on ViaSat Eastern Europe
  • Canada on Outdoor Life Network. Starts 1st November 2005 at 9pm
  • Croatia on ViaSat Eastern Europe
  • Czech Republic on ViaSat Eastern Europe
  • Denmark on ViaSat World (also broadcast on SBS). Starts 1st September 2005
  • Estonia on ViaSat Eastern Europe
  • Finland on ViaSat World (also broadcast on MTV3). Starts 1st September 2005
  • Georgia on ViaSat Eastern Europe
  • Hungary on ViaSat Eastern Europe
  • India on Discovery Communications India
  • Israel on DBS. Starts July 2006
  • Italy on Banabana. Starts May 2006
  • Japan on Wowow. The first episode will be shown following the movie 'Big Fish' on 30th October 2005. After short interval, the show will be aired weekly from mid-November.
  • Kazakhstan on ViaSat Eastern Europe
  • Kyrgyzstan on ViaSat Eastern Europe
  • Latvia on ViaSat Eastern Europe
  • Lithuania on ViaSat Eastern Europe
  • Maldives on Discovery Communications India
  • Moldova on ViaSat Eastern Europe
  • Nepal on Discovery Communications India
  • New Zealand on TV2. Starts September 2005 on Wednesdays at 10.25pm
  • Norway on ViaSat World. Starts 1st September 2005
  • Pakistan on Discovery Communications India
  • Poland on ViaSat Eastern Europe
  • Romania on ViaSat Eastern Europe
  • Russia on ViaSat Eastern Europe
  • Serbia on ViaSat Eastern Europe
  • Slovakia on ViaSat Eastern Europe
  • Slovenia on ViaSat Eastern Europe
  • Sri Lanka on Discovery Communications India
  • Sweden on ViaSat World. Starts 1st September 2005
  • Tadjikstan on ViaSat Eastern Europe
  • Turkmenistan on ViaSat Eastern Europe
  • U.K. on The new ten episode series has enjoyed a full run on Sky One and Sky Mix and is now airing every Sunday from the 4th September 2005 until 6th November 2005 on Sky Travel at 21.00
  • Ukraine on ViaSat Eastern Europe
  • U.S.A. on The seven episode series enjoyed two full runs on Bravo last year and will be broadcast again this year- although broadcaster T.B.C..
  • Uzbekistan on ViaSat Eastern Europe

Please check your local listings.

International Tour

?? November 2005 - New Zealand
18th-20th November 2005 - Charley and Russ will be at the BMW stand at the Sydney Motorcycle Show
1st-4th December 2005 - Charley and Russ will be at the BMW stand at the Toronto Motorcycle Show

Thanks to Fuumin for the heads up!


Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Monday, September 19, 2005 // 11:02 p.m.


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Big Fish Special Edition DVD With Book

On November 8, 2005, Amazon.com will release a special edition DVD of Big Fish (with a book) for US$13.96. No other details are available on the amazon.com site, but amazon.ca has some details:

  On the DVD
Featurette: The Character's Journey - Edward Bloom at Large
Featurette: The Character's Journey - Amos at the Circus
Featurette: The Character's Journey - Fathers and Sons
The Filmmakers' Path - Tim Burton: Storyteller
The Filmmakers' Path - A Fairy Tale World
The Filmmakers' Path - Creature Features
The Filmmakers' Path - The Author's Journey

Exclusive - 24 Page Hardbound Book, "Fairy Tale for a Grown Up"

Thanks to Jean-Pierre for the find and Georginita for the additional information!


Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Sunday, September 18, 2005 // 11:15 p.m.


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Official Stay Site Launched

September 17, 2005

20th Century Fox has launched the official website for the Marc Forster (Finding Neverland, Monster's Ball) thriller Stay, starring Ewan McGregor, Naomi Watts and Ryan Gosling.

The site features a collective subconscious experiment which ties into the movie.

In the psychological thriller, opening, October 21, a distraught young man announces to his psychiatrist that he plans to commit suicide in three days. The psychiatrist's desperate attempts to help his new patient, lead him through the city on an incredible, nightmarish trip to the place between life and death.

Click here to visit the site. The experiment can be found directly here as well.

Source: ComingSoon.net

Thanks to ParisRouge for the heads up!


Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Saturday, September 17, 2005 // 09:57 a.m.


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The Island's DVD Release

According to an anonymous source, DreamWorks is aiming the DVD for The Island this coming December.

No details have been given but I am told that the DVD will have good amount of extras for Bay fans and should hit DVD shelves close to Christmas.

Source: DreamworksFanSite

Thanks to Fuumin for the heads up!


Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Thursday, June 30, 2005 // 03:04 p.m.


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Stay at CMJ FilmFest

Sep 13, 2005

This year's CMJ FilmFest is looking to be one of the best yet, with advance screenings of Martin Scorcese's Bob Dylan documentary No Direction Home, the new Tony Scott thriller Domino starring Keira Knightley and Walk The Line, the story of June and Johnny Cash. Here are some last minute film additions, director appearances and schedule changes that did not make it into the Marathon Guide:

The opening night screening of A History of Violence starring Viggo Mortensen will be immediately followed by a Q&A with director David Cronenberg and screenwriter Josh Olson: 5 pm, DGA Theater - 110 West 57th St.

The Elizabethtown screening has been moved to Saturday, when it will screen twice at 2:30 pm and 5 pm: The Paramount Screening Room - 1515 Broadway at 44th St. (picture ID required for admittance).

Director Marc Forster (Monster's Ball, Finding Neverland) will be in attendance for a Q&A after his film Stay starring Ewan McGregor and Naomi Watts on Thursday at 2:45 pm: DGA Theater - 110 West 57th St.

Newly added film Spend an Evening With Saddle Creek to screen at 12:30 pm on Friday. Loews State Theater - 1540 Broadway at 45th St. (inside the Virgin Megastore).

www.cmj.com/marathon/filmfest

Source: CMJ

Thanks to ParisRouge for the find!


Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Tuesday, September 13, 2005 // 08:49 p.m.


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Valiant out on DVD in December

A leaflet inside the 10th anniversary edition DVD of Toy Story announced the release of Valiant in December 2005 (in North America).

Thanks to Javahound for the heads up!


Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Tuesday, September 13, 2005 // 12:49 p.m.


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Oh Yes, McGregor is The Great Pretender

September 9, 2005
Source: Variety

Relativity Media will finance Ewan McGregor comedy The Great Pretender, reports Variety. The $18 million film, written and directed by Peter Capaldi, starts shooting in January in London.

McGregor, fresh from his sell-out West End run in Guys and Dolls, will play four roles in two time settings -- 1938 and 1745.

The trade says that the script concerns two ambitious producers in the 1930s who hire the hell-raising Hollywood legend Leslie Grangely to play Bonnie Prince Charlie in a movie about Scotland's Jacobite Rebellion in the 18th century.

But when Grangely hits the bottle and disappears, they trick an unassuming extra with an uncanny likeness to the star to fill his shoes.

McGregor plays Grangely and the extra, as well as the two characters they play in the film-within-a-film -- Bonnie Prince Charlie, dubbed the "Great Pretender," and the double used by the prince to confuse his enemies.

Source: Coming Soon

Thanks to Elyse for the find!


Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Friday, September 9, 2005 // 07:31 a.m.


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Long Way Round Extended Edition on November 7

According to amazon.co.uk, the extended version of Long Way Round will be released on November 7. The "regular" edition was released on December 7, 2004.


Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Wednesday, September 7, 2005 // 07:40 a.m.


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Another Ewan and Scarlett Video Interview

commeaucinema.com has an interview with Ewan and Scarlett about The Island. It is subtitled in French (though not very accurately). Click on the link to check it out!

Thanks to Fuumin of Ewan Watching Japan for the find!


Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Saturday, September 3, 2005 // 11:57 a.m.


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Long Way Round on Canadian Television

Long Way Round will start airing on the Outdoor Life Network on November 1st, according to the current issue of TV Guide (Canadian edition).

Thanks to Dianne for the heads up!


Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Tuesday, August 30, 2005 // 11:02 p.m.


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A Long Way to a Bestseller

August 25, 2005
By Giles Elliott

The prevalence of fiction in booksellers' summer-reading promotions means that one of the traditional mainstays of the suitcase or backpack book—the travelogue—now has to fight hard to make itself heard. Paperback editions of Christmas bestsellers have the easiest task, featuring, as they do, celebrities with maximum exposure on television.

Long Way Round (Time Warner), the account of a motorbike trip around the world taken by actors Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman, is one such title and it tops the travel chart. The broadcast on which the book is based was shown only on Sky One—cable and satellite subscriptions in the U.K. are still relatively small—but McGregor's high profile and the popularity of motorcycling books in general has helped sales stay steady and high. The No. 1 TV travel presenter is former Monty Python star Michael Palin, and Himalaya (Phoenix), which chronicles his latest travels—and last, for a while, so the story goes—is going along nicely still in fourth place.

Lower down the celebrity scale, but with a prodigious output of ideas for shows and books, is Danny Wallace. Warner Bros. recently bought film rights to his latest book, Yes Man (Ebury), along with those of its predecessor, Join Me, and he has kept busy in the meantime with a BBC show, How to Start Your Own Country. Wallace's old flatmate, co-author and travel and comedy sparring partner Dave Gorman, meanwhile, has been relatively quiet since his bestselling Googlewhack Adventure was published.

Time Warner and Ebury also provide the two more traditional travel literature titles in the Top Five, both with a distinctly British air about them. Charlie Connelly traveled around all the areas mentioned on radio's nautical weather forecast for his Attention All Shipping (Abacus), while a late-in-life debut comes from Don Shaw, whose The Hike details the adventures of three retired friends walking across northern England.

Lower down the chart, among the multiple Bill Bryson books, lies another couple of new names on the travel-writing map. Another pensioner, Terry Darlington, took his canal boat across the English Channel for Narrow Dog to Carcassonne (Bantam), while Joe Bennett opted to hitch-hike around New Zealand for A Land of Two Halves (Scribner). The status of the genre may have dropped from previous heights, but it still continues to produce excellent and popular books.

The market as a whole is going nowhere fast, though, with mid-August revenue stagnant. It seems that everyone is on holiday.

Top Five Travel Books

1. LONG WAY ROUND, Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman (Time Warner, 0751536806)
2. YES MAN, Danny Wallace (Ebury, 0091896738)
3. ATTENTION ALL SHIPPING, Charlie Connelly (Abacus, 0349116032)
4. HIMALAYA, Michael Palin (Phoenix, 0753819902)
5. THE HIKE, Don Shaw (Ebury, 0091906075)

* Based on sales in Nielsen BookScan's Total Consumer Market in the week to 20th August.

Source: The Book Standard


Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Friday, August 26, 2005 // 07:53 a.m.


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Ewan McGregor talks terrorism

Aug 23, 2005, 10:41 GMT

The past year's terrorist attacks around the world hit Ewan McGregor particularly badly because he had developed a true love of humanity following his 2004 four-month motorbike trek.

The Scottish actor, who is currently performing in musical Guys And Dolls in London, has been left shattered by the terrorist attacks on the English capital because he felt sure humanity was coming together after witnessing true acts of kindness on the road.

He explains, "We were meeting real people who lived close to roads in the middle of nowhere, who were willing to share what they had with us.

"Then immediately after we got back, those children were blown up in that school in Russia. It's such a contradiction in terms of the happiness about humanity that I felt, and now what's going on in London and what went on in Iraq.

"I kinda felt that the people we met, whether they were in Mongolia or whether they were in America, weren't so very different from one another.

"And it doesn't seem to reflect those people, the fact that we fight each other."

Source: Monsters and Critics


Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Tuesday, August 23, 2005 // 07:59 a.m.


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Pictures from Guys and Dolls

Cheryl McLarnon wrote in and sent pictures that she took during a Guys and Dolls performance last week along with two videos that she made. Her video camera was unable to record the sound.









The videos are no longer available thanks to floppy83.

Please, no direct linking to the files!

Huge thanks to Cheryl!


Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Saturday, August 20, 2005 // 07:18 p.m.


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The Long Way Round on New Zealand Television

Premieres Wednesday 31 August at 10.30pm.

Ewan McGregor has performed in musicals, an epic sci-fi and in gritty Scottish dramas. Now the esteemed actor is leaving his acting roots behind to hit the road with mate Charley Boorman in The Long Way Round.

Motorbike enthusiasts Ewan and Charley met on the set of The Serpent's Kiss in 1997. Now the two actors have set themselves a gruelling challenge, to complete an epic motorbike journey across some of the world's toughest terrain. The journey will test their patience, endurance, and ultimately, their friendship.

First on the agenda is trip preparation. Ewan and Charley must decide what motorbikes to use and the best way to raise money for the trip. The two mentally and physically prepare for the trip with a vigorous fitness regime, kidnap avoidance training and first aid instruction.

There are personal issues to deal with; the boys will be on the road, away from friends and family for an extended period of time. Both Ewan and Charley's families air their concerns about the trip as the boys prepare to take off.

Having completed the groundwork, the boys hit the road, along with a third biker/cameraman. Throughout the season, Ewan and Charley will use video diaries to reveal their thoughts and moods on the road. On-board cameras attached to their crash helmets and mounted on their motorcycles capture moments of adventure and excitement supplemented by additional footage from the support crew as the boys overcome atrocious weather, biting ticks and road-less terrain.

"Now it's come to an end I can hardly believe that we've made our dreams come true and although at times it's been very, very tough, the people and places on the way have moved and touched me to my core," McGregor says.

The Long Way Round is produced and directed by Russ Malkin, who says, "It was essential that the television production did not swamp the original concept of freedom and two men on two motorcycles. Getting the balance was critical but when you see The Long Way Round we believe we've got it right."

Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman get their motors running in The Long Way Round Wednesdays at 10.30pm on TV2.

Source: TVNZ


Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Wednesday, August 17, 2005 // 07:27 a.m.


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Parklife a silver screen favourite

9:54am today

Next time you're in Battersea Park, watch out you might find yourself starring in the latest blockbuster.

The park, which has played host to films including Love Actually, End of the Affair and Wilde, came second in a list of top film locations in London.

Film London released a list of the capital's most popular film locations, with Battersea Park only beaten by the London Eye.

Filming manager for Wandsworth Council Sue Russo said it was so well liked because of its diversity.

She said: "Battersea Park has everything. It's got the central avenue and the bandstand which can be used for period dramas.

"There are lots of sports facilities, with tennis courts, an athletics track and the Millenium arena. There's also the peace pagoda and the stretch beside the Thames as well as playgrounds and a wealth of green spaces."

On Sunday, Ewan McGregor and Mickey Rourke were in the park, shooting a children's film called Stormbreaker, which will be released next year.

Miss Russo said filming brings in a substantial amount of revenue for the council, which is ploughed back into local initiatives, such as the film awards for young people in the borough.

Big Brother's Little Brother even made an appearance when Dermott O'Leary interviewed Battersea's Derek Laud in the park after he was evicted.

Source: Wandsworth Guardian


Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Tuesday, August 16, 2005 // 07:52 a.m.


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Novice film team captures big stars for low-budget masterpiece

By Dalya Alberge, Arts Correspondent
August 13, 2005

A-LIST actors including Ewan McGregor are taking a fraction of the fees they can command in Hollywood to star in a low-budget film by a writer and a director who have never made a feature film before.

Every actor approached by Edward Blum and Aschlin Ditta, whose careers have been limited until now to Crimewatch reconstructions and television dramas, wanted to be involved with Scenes of a Sexual Nature. They included Sophie Okonedo, the Oscar-nominated Royal Shakespeare Company actress who starred in Dirty Pretty Things and Hotel Rwanda, Dame Eileen Atkins, whose films include Gosford Park and The Hours, and Adrian Lester, the Olivier award-winner.

The story traces seven relationships during one afternoon on Hampstead Heath, where filming was taking place yesterday. Each tale has a comic element, but a dark undertone in exploring fantasy and reality.

McGregor, Scotland’s most successful actor since Sean Connery, became an overnight sensation as the heroin addict in Trainspotting. He is reported to earn $8 million (£4.4 million) a film since making it in Hollywood in Star Wars.

During a break from a morning’s filming of Scenes of a Sexual Nature, he said: “It’s so brilliantly written.” He plays a man discussing with his longstanding gay partner whether to have children, a comic scene in which they discuss who would give up work.

Dame Eileen and Benjamin Whitrow, whose many films include Chaplin, play an elderly couple who meet on a park bench. Each has been visiting that bench for the past 50 years, once a week, dreaming of the teenager they met there 50 years ago. They were those teenagers, they realise.

Blum, 37, was taken aback at the enthusiasm of such high-calibre actors to be in his film: “They just came thick and fast. It was unbelievable. Ditta, also 37, who has written for various television shows, most recently a Channel Four comedy drama No Angels, said: “We are so blessed with this cast. We are getting these amazing performances.”

They have been friends since they were 12. They were at school together in Ely, Cambridgeshire. Both were avid filmgoers, with Woody Allen a particular hero. Blum had previously made television documentaries and dramas, such as the ITV drama The Bill, and reconstructions for Crimewatch UK. He also directed a short film, The Last Post, which was nominated for a Bafta in 1996.

He had taken part in an annual competition at the Cannes Film Festival, which gives budding film-makers two minutes to pitch a film idea to a panel. He beat 400 entrants with his synopsis for another film, Crimebusters, co-written with Ditta and which they also hope to film.

That win led to being introduced to Emma Style, a casting director who had worked on films such as Tea With Mussolini, starring Dame Judi Dench and Dame Maggie Smith. She read their script, loved it and introduced him to agents.

Scenes of a Sexual Nature is believed to have a budget of £500,000, raised from private investors. The whole process, from finishing the script in June to raising the money and attracting the cast, took less than six weeks, rather than years of development.

Source: The Times

The two pictures below were taken today (Friday August 12). Click on them to see a huge version!

Thanks to Georginita for the pictures!


Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Friday, August 12, 2005 // 06:30 p.m.


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Video interview with Ewan and Scarlett

Aftonbladed TV in Sweden has an interesting video interview with Ewan and Scarlett about the various injuries they sustained while filming The Island.

While the segment is in Swedish, the interview itself is subtitled so we hear the original audio.

Click on the link above to check it out!

Thanks to Sessan for the find!


Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Friday, August 12, 2005 // 06:22 p.m.


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Why is The Island doing poorly at the US box office?

Various people, including the producers of The Island have blindly been pointing the finger at everything and everyone (including Ewan and Scarlett, for not being big enough stars) in an effort to explain The Island's failure at the U.S. box office.

Here are two commentaries written by fans:

I'm really puzzled by this [the disappointing box office]. I don't think it was marketed that well, there weren't all that many TV commercials - the concept was a bit confusing in the trailers and the title probably didn't help either.

Also, another factor that I haven't seen mentioned is the fact that it was released mid-summer AFTER all the other big blockbusters and who knows if people were just burned out on action movies, were away on vacation or what. Box office has been down across the board the past few months anyway and I think a good part has to do with the US economy - people have less money to spend, gas prices are outrageous and if people have to cut back on expenses - movies would be a logical thing to cut. And if they already spent money on these other movies, maybe they figured that was enough.

But none of these reasons have anything to do with the actors or if the movie had a good storyline, etc. When it opened at #4 I was hoping that it was just getting a slow start, but I think all the negative publicity about it not opening at #1 hurt it all the more. Because most of the reviews were pretty decent before it was released. Then after - all anyone talked about was how it bombed the first week out - instead of giving it a chance to get some legs.

- by Marilyn

I'm guessing there's a number of things at play here with regards to the the box office.

1. "The Island" did not have a built-in audience unlike movies like "Revenge of the Sith", "The Fantastic Four" and "Batman" which already had a lot of pre-release anticipation and an established fan base.

2. The concept didn't really capture anybody's imagination. A lot of the early reaction to the storyline in "The Island" before it was released was that the movie was "Logan's Run" meets "Bladerunner". This isn't going to strike anybody as a "must-see" movie.

3. Audiences are overloaded with lots of special effects and big action sequences. The bar keeps getting raised higher and higher. While the actions scenes in "The Island" were well executed, they didn't break any new ground. They were not in themselves sufficiently compelling to generate word-of-mouth.

4. I don't think Michael Bay's name is a draw (although I'm sure he thinks otherwise). Do you know anyone that says "Hey, this movie was directed by Michael Bay -- let's go see it!"? In fact it may have a certain amount of negative impact -- as in "Oh no, another crappy Michael Bay mindless big budget action picture".

Could the movie have opened better if they'd had "bigger" box office stars than Ewan and Scarlett Johanson? Sure. If it had Brad Pitt it would have done better the first weekend, but would it have been a hit at the box office? No. Let's not forget the number of box office failures that Brad Pitt has been in. "Mr and Mrs Smith" was helped by the publicity about the break-up of his marriage to Jennifer Aniston and his romance with the "other woman" Angelina Jolie. Unlike the Ben Affleck - Jennifer Lopez relationship, the media was not so saturated with endless coverage of their relationship that audiences were already tired of them. Don't forget Angelina Jolie was also in her share of box office failures. So would Brad Pitt's presence have been enough to have made the movie a hit? No.

Ewan was good at playing both characters and while some people thought Scarlett Johanson was bland, her character is supposed to be passive. However, while it was a very competently executed summer action blockbuster -- and truly undeserving of some of the criticism leveled at it -- the story itself did not capture one's imagination.

It looks like Hollywood never gets it. Sure, big stars may get the audience into the seats that first box office weekend, but if there isn't enough in the movie itself that grabs the audience, then the drop-off is huge. Remember "Daredevil" with Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner? It didn't completely tank but its overall box office performance was very disappointing.

And those stars who are successful at drawing big box office -- Tom Cruise and Julia Roberts -- it's because audiences want to see them as Tom Cruise and Julia Roberts on the big screen. In movies where they play against type -- against what the audiences expect of them -- their movies don't do as well. I liked "Collateral" and saw it because I like to watch Michael Mann when he's on his game. However, overall it did not do that well at the box office because people don't want to see Tom Cruise as a hit man; he was "out of character".

Remember "The Matrix"? Yes, Keanu Reeves was familiar -- and he's had his share of box office duds before and since -- but Carrie Ann Moss was a complete unknown (and have we seen much of her lately?). Yet that movie did huge box office. Why? It certainly had nothing to do with Keanu's fan base. No, it was because "The Matrix" had a compelling concept and story -- the world we live in is computer generated -- and that led to a great hook -- "What is the Matrix?". And the action sequences were new and exciting to many. How cool was bullet time back then?

So it's unfair to say the movie didn't succeed at the box office because it didn't have big enough stars. Overall movie audiences are down and the studios just aren't putting movies out there that really capture anyone's imagination. And let's not even get into the whole DVD thing.

Unfortunately the studios always have to blame someone but they never blame themselves.

As to Michael Bay, if he's willing to take the credit for when a movie does well at the box office, then he should also take the responsibility when they don't succeed at the box office. He's a one-trick pony and we've seen it all before.

- by Nutbar


Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Thursday, August 11, 2005 // 06:28 p.m.


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Stay International Trailer

IFILM has the international trailer for Ewan's upcoming film, Stay.

Thanks to Baby Jefer and Mary for the find!


Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Wednesday, August 10, 2005 // 06:47 p.m.


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Videos from last night's The Island Premiere in London

BBC News (Click on video and audio section on the right-hand side)
GMTV (click on "clips" link)
Scotland Today

Thanks to Violet, Baby Jefer and Rose for the heads up!


Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Monday, August 8, 2005 // 10:32 a.m.


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No Sunset Boulevard for Ewan

At least not for now. At today's The Island premiere in London, Empire magazine talked with Ewan:

After doing all of this big blockbuster stuff for such a long time now, we enquired if the actor was looking forward to some smaller, quieter projects next. "Yeah, I don't have any plans at the moment – I've got a film coming up with Peter Capaldi in January, and we'll see after that." He also put the brakes on a rumour going around that he was to appear in the movie version of Lloyd Webber's Sunset Boulevard musical. "No, I'm not doing it - it's news to me!", he said, before we lost him in a wave of screams of adulation.

Source: Empire Online

Thanks to Barbara for the find!


Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Sunday, August 7, 2005 // 09:00 p.m.


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The Island's UK Premiere

Thanks to Elyse for the find!


Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Sunday, August 7, 2005 // 03:48 p.m.


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Win premiere tickets to The Island

We're giving away 3 pairs of tickets to the European Premiere of action thriller The Island, in London's West End on Sunday 7 August 2005.

The Island is released in cinemas nationwide by Warner Bros. Pictures on Thursday 11 August 2005.

Ewan McGregor and Scarlett Johansson star in Michael Bay's blockbuster The Island. Lincoln Six-Echo (Ewan McGregor), is one of a small colony of clones who live underground, their only hope of escape being a lottery which grants access to a paradise known as The Island. However, when Lincoln discovers that The Island is a lie, he makes a break for the surface with Jordan Two-Delta (Scarlett Johansson). Will they find their doubles before the authorities recapture them?

For a clue to the answer below, check out our The Island preview.

To find out more click on www.theislandmovie.co.uk.

Closing date: 04 Aug 2005

Source: Channel 4

Thanks to Holly for the heads up!


Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Friday, July 29, 2005 // 08:11 a.m.


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The Island London Premiere Tickets Giveaway

See the film The Island before anyone else at the London premiere

Imagine leaving the mundane and joining the chosen few in a near perfect world. Not only is it the idea behind the stunning summer blockbuster, The Island, but it's also the reward for the lucky winners of tickets to the European premiere in London on Aug 7th.

Lincoln Six-Echo (Ewan McGregor) is a resident of a seemingly utopian but contained facility in the mid-21st century. Like all of the inhabitants of this carefully controlled environment, Lincoln hopes to be chosen to go to "The Island"—reportedly the last uncontaminated spot on the planet—until he makes a terrible discovery that everything about his existence is a lie...and that he is actually more valuable dead than alive. Together with a beautiful fellow resident named Jordan Two-Delta (Scarlett Johansson), Lincoln makes a daring escape to the outside world he's never known. Now, with the forces of the institute that once housed them relentlessly hunting them down, Lincoln and Jordan engage in a desperate race for their lives.

Michael Bay ("Armageddon", "Pearl Harbor") directs this futuristic action thriller, IN CINEMAS AUGUST 11 - to find out more visit The Island movie website.

To be one of our 3 winners, each receiving a pair of premiere tickets for Aug 7th, all you have to do is answer a simple question...

Visit the GMTV site to enter!

Competition closes 04 August 2005 at 05:00 PM

Source: GMTV


Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Friday, July 29, 2005 // 07:47 a.m.


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Video interview with Ewan

Before the premiere screening of The Island in Japan on July 14, a video message from Ewan was shown. You can see it by clicking here.

Thanks to Fuumin for the find!


Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Monday, July 25, 2005 // 09:50 p.m.


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Midnight Moulin Rouge Screening in L.A.

Moulin Rouge will be playing at midnight on Friday August 19th at the Nuart Theater (11272 Santa Monica Boulevard, just west of the 405 Freeway in West Los Angeles, CA 90025 (Phone: 310-281-8223)).

Thanks to Gina and Mary for the heads up!


Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Sunday, July 24, 2005 // 08:49 p.m.


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You know Ewan it!

JASON ANDERSON
07.21.05

I pity Jude Law. It's not the same kind of pity I have for NASCAR fans or Nicky Hilton but it's pity all the same. He's a worthy actor in a business that demands he be something greater. After starring in an overabundance of recent films in which he was outgunned by everyone from Clive Owen (Closer) to Angelina Jolie's eye patch (Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow), Law became the epitome of a system run amok. Hollywood logic holds that if you market actors as stars, then that's what they must be. It barely seems to matter if they've yet to provoke any evidence that the movie-going public likes them very much. Chris Rock pricked the balloon during his Oscar rant when he asked, "Who is Jude Law and why is he in every movie I have seen in the last four years?" In response to this humiliation, Law did the only civil thing: he fired his agent.

Having seen (or heard) another young British actor in three major Hollywood features this year -- Star Wars Episode III, Robots and now The Island -- I have to wonder whether Rock's joke would've been as funny if he'd picked on Law's friend Ewan McGregor. Probably not. For one thing, McGregor's name may have been even less familiar to the audience -- it's too Scottish to garner that instant recognition factor. Plus, he's not so bent on garnering face time -- besides the Star Wars trilogy, he's avoided prefab blockbusters. Even the relatively populist offerings in which he's starred --Big Fish, Moulin Rouge, the underrated Down With Love -- have been idiosyncratic. Most importantly, Rock would probably know that a shot at McGregor wouldn't have offended him. Whereas Law's vanity bleeds into his screen persona, McGregor has the air of a man who just doesn't give a toss.

That much was clear from the first moment most filmgoers laid eyes on him: as Renton in Trainspotting. In the opening moments (scored indelibly to Iggy Pop's "Lust for Life"), Renton's mad dash down an Edinburgh street is interrupted when he's knocked down by a car. He gets up, leans on the hood to catch his breath then looks into the windshield. The shot holds for a long beat, his mouth frozen in laughter, his eyes bright and hard. It's a star-making moment, even if the elements that continue to mark McGregor's performances -- a manic edge, coiled athleticism, open-hearted wonder, a Scotsman's sense of discipline contrasting with a wolfish appetite for pleasure -- make him both an unpredictable presence and a valuable one. As Obi-Wan, McGregor was the only thespian in the second trilogy to successfully weather George Lucas' turgid dialogue and indifferent direction of his actors. By the time of Episode III, McGregor had fully mastered Alec Guinness' ability to accord his scenes with some dignity -- that air of Jedi Knight haughtiness contributes to the impression that McGregor is not taking this with the seriousness that Lucas demands.

There's something equally playful about his efforts as a romantic lead despite the fussy level of stylization in Moulin Rouge and Down With Love. In another scene in Trainspotting, Renton's jailbait hook-up articulates the character's (and McGregor's) appeal. "The truth is that you're a quiet sensitive type," she says, "but if I'm prepared to take a chance, I might just get to know the inner you: witty, adventurous, passionate, loving, loyal. A little bit crazy, a little bit bad. But hey, don't us girls just love that?" Unlike Law, McGregor is too much of a shark to come off like a sensitive priss. In Young Adam, he crafted his best performance to date as an existentialist hunk who can only relate to women in the most sexually mercenary terms. (All those shagging scenes also gave Ewan the chance to properly showcase his meat-and-two-veg for the first time since The Pillow Book.)

He himself has been less mercenary. After Trainspotting, McGregor skipped Hollywood offers and stuck with smaller pics. The drift toward the big time came with Obi-Wan, but he defended his decision by saying, "Hey! This is Star Wars!" Yet even McGregor has been wondering how his well-cultivated cred can survive a product as seemingly crass as The Island (see On Screen). As he recently said to a reporter, "People will say, 'What's he doing fucking off to America doing that shite?' On the other hand, unless you've done a big American action movie, you're not really given any credit."

It's sad but true that McGregor's career trajectory demands the move. (And maybe Law's real affront was neglecting to call Jerry Bruckheimer.) It's happier news that The Island doesn't suck. Though it initially positions his character as a straight-up action hero, the film ends up giving the actor all kinds of opportunity to play around. By making a mockery of the heroic poses, McGregor gives them some vitality. Whether the movie takes him to another level of stardom hardly seems to matter to him -- he seems far more interested in global motorcycle treks (as documented in the series and book Long Way Round) and spending time with his kids (who, in another gesture of solid-bloke-ness, he won't let be photographed by the media). Is there anyone else working in Hollywood who's as likely to buy you a pint? All those real movie stars aren't half as useful as he is.

Source: eye

Thanks to ParisRouge, silverthoughts and Mary for the find!


Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Thursday, July 21, 2005 // 07:46 a.m.


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Suggest alternatives for the Piccadilly Theatre

Two German Ewan fans have started an online guestbook that they will print out and present to the Piccadilly Theatre (where Guys and Dolls is playing) in early August, containing suggestions for alternatives to the no-autographs-after-the-show directive from the London police.

Many fans are travelling from all over the globe to see Ewan and each and every one of them hopes to meet Ewan and the rest of the cast after the show at the stage door, and get their programmes signed. The London police has made this impossible following the events of July 7.

If you have any ideas or suggestions on how this could be accomplished, please fill out the Save the Signings guestbook. Be sure to include which country you are from!


Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Wednesday, July 20, 2005 // 09:37 p.m.


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Stay Release Date Changed

Stay's release date has been changed from October 14 to October 21. Instead of being up against Keira's Knightley's "Dominoe", Orlando Bloom's "Elizabethtown" and "The Fog", it's now up against Jennifer Aniston/Clive Owen in "Derailed", The Rock in "Doom" (based on the videogame), Steve Martin/Claire Danes in "Shopgirl", Richard Gere's "Bee Season", and a Dreamworks movie with Dakota Fanning.

Source: Box Office Mojo

Thanks to ParisRouge for the heads up!


Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Wednesday, July 20, 2005 // 07:43 a.m.


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Long Way Round DVD information

Ewan News has learned that the extended version of Long Way Round currently airing on Sky TV in the UK will be released on Region 2 DVD "later in the year", according to the official Long Way Round site.

There are bittersweet news for North American fans. While there are no plans to release the extended version in North America (or outside Region 2 for that matter), the 7-part series that aired in the UK (not the Bravo version) will be released on DVD in the fall for Region 1.

It's time to invest in a Region-free DVD player to get around this ridiculous nonsense and stop being pawns.


Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Monday, July 18, 2005 // 12:47 p.m.


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The real McGregor

By JOE NEUMAIER
July 17, 2005

Shortly after Ewan McGregor finished filming "Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith," he went round the world on a motorbike. When the three-month trek was over, he had to decide if he wanted to dive into another big summer action movie, "The Island."

Directed by Michael Bay, the sci-fi cloning thriller opens Friday - and McGregor is in it all right, playing not one character, but two.

"I met Bay the day after I arrived in New York from the motorcycle trip," the 34-year-old actor says. "I had a beard down to my chest, I'd been in Siberia three weeks earlier, and my first question was, 'How much [computer graphics] will this have?' Because I just didn't need to do any more after 'Star Wars.'

"But there was hardly any, and the stunt work was, in a way, like doing theater - if the stunt team says, 'Okay, Ewan, this is it, we got one chance for it,' that's incredibly liberating," he adds. "[Filming those scenes] your whole mind is focused on that. Plus, the film had social satire, complex ideas about cloning politics, and the fun of playing two very different sides of the same person."

McGregor's characters are Lincoln Six-Echo, an inquisitive member of a futuristic clone society (with the mind of a 15-year-old) and Tom Lincoln, a smarmy architect in the real world. Six-Echo, naturally enough, is Lincoln's carbon copy.

Inevitably, the two come face-to-face.

"I liked playing against myself," McGregor says. "Tom is rich, spoiled, a bit of an idiot. And as for Six-Echo, I'm not too far away from being 15 years old in my own head anyway. It's not that big of a leap for me. I just think back a second, and say, 'Okay, here you go, 15!'"

At that age, McGregor was already turning his mind to acting. He was influenced by an actor uncle, Denis Lawson ("Local Hero"), whose life in London - and small roles in the original three "Star Wars" films - seemed appealing to McGregor, the working-class son of schoolteachers living in Crieff in central Scotland.

At 16, he began working backstage jobs at local theaters, then attended the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. Director Danny Boyle cast him as the pretty-boy member of a trio of conniving roommates in "Shallow Grave" then gave him the breakout role of Renton, the heroin-addicted antihero in "Trainspotting."

McGregor has consistently delivered layered, mature performances in tough, urban films like "Trainspotting" and "Young Adam," as well as in glitzy pop culture confections like "Velvet Goldmine" and "Moulin Rouge," the high-concept comedy "Down With Love," and, of course, the second "Star Wars" trilogy.

One of Britain's hottest stars, he recently admitted fame has been hard to handle. (Early on it brought him a drinking problem that he overcame.) Though he never sought to become a Hollywood star, he became one anyway, despite his taste for independent films.

"My goals were never to come and get onto the top list in Hollywood," he says. "I wanted my career to be as unlimited as possible. My happiness comes from going from one experience to another new experience."

GLOBETROTTING

Driving from London to New York last year on motorcycles with an actor friend, Charley Boorman, was such an adventure. After playing the young Obi-Wan Kenobi in the "Star Wars" prequels and acting in other high-profile films like "Black Hawk Down" and "Big Fish," McGregor needed to recharge his batteries.

He and Boorman chronicled the trip in a book and documentary, "Long Way Round."

"I think it was absolutely necessary for me to get away," he says. "It was the kind of thing you can spend your whole life dreaming about but not ever doing.

"It turned out to be one of the most satisfying things I've ever done. I've never been more happy than waking up in the morning in my tent in the middle of Siberia. Things become very clear: You need fuel for the bike and fuel for you - water and food - and that's it. I loved the freedom of it, and the remoteness."

McGregor - married since 1995, and the father of daughters aged 9 and 3 - has voiced one of the World War II carrier pigeons in the upcoming kids' film "Valiant." (Following "Robots," it's his second animated project this year.) He's currently starring as rascally Jazz Age gambler Sky Masterson in "Guys & Dolls" in London's West End. For the show, which could come to Broadway as early as this fall, he has again swapped his Scottish brogue for an American accent.

"It's the first musical I've done on stage, and the very nature of singing live every night is as challenging as anything I've ever done," he says. "But I think everything gets easier as you get older, if you're open to learn - and maybe make a few mistakes."

Source: New York Daily News

Thanks to ParisRouge for the heads up!


Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Sunday, July 17, 2005 // 10:31 p.m.


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Denerstein: 'Island's' script stirs McGregor

July 16, 2005

Ewan McGregor, actor and resident of London, had just spent a couple of hours watching brutal, over-the-top destruction.

Don't get the wrong idea: He wasn't tuned into more footage of London's recent subway attacks. Rather, McGregor had just finished screening The Island, a Michael Bay-directed slice of action which opens Friday across the U.S.

McGregor, who has ridden his motorcycle through Europe, Russia, Mongolia and North America and who, at age 34, already has appeared in nearly 30 movies, talked in a phone interview from London about the recent attacks with no discernible trace of panic.

"We're getting on with it," said McGregor, who currently is appearing as the fabled gambler Sky Masterson in a West End production of Guys and Dolls, a return to the London stage after an absence of nearly six years.

"It's incredible how Londoners get on with it. It's a weird thing. Almost everything happened underground, so there's no visible scarring. There's lots of emotional scarring - of families.

"We just missed that night." he said, referring to the performance of Guys and Dolls on the day of the bombing. "We missed the show because people couldn't get in. The tube was down. We opened again Friday."

McGregor's reaction to the terrorism is not far removed from the rest of us, a mixture of frustration and resolve.

"I don't know what to do about it. It's a part of our world. It wasn't so long ago that the IRA was blowing up London. It's horrendous, but I don't know what to do other than get on with my life. I'm not going to let them (terrorists) have that power over me, to alter things."

In The Island - an A-list summer movie that mixes action and a semisophisticated science-fiction story - McGregor finds his second role in a big summer movie. He played Obi-Wan Kenobi in Star Wars: Episode III - Return of the Sith. That's an unusual repetition for McGregor, whose resume is nothing if not diverse. He has appeared in movies such as Moulin Rouge, Down With Love, Big Fish, Brassed Off and Trainspotting.

"I'm notoriously lazy about reading scripts, but I have a really good agent," said McGregor. "He puts all different kinds of pressure on me to read scripts. I go on my instincts about the story and the character and try not to let anything else enter into my decision. The director plays a part, too. If I'm attracted by the idea of saying the lines, I do it."

There are lines to say in The Island, but Bay (Bad Boys, Armageddon, Pearl Harbor and Bad Boys II) never has been known for eloquent dialogue.

McGregor said he likes the balance Bay achieved in a story that has his character, Lincoln Six-Echo, and a woman named Jordan Two-Delta (Scarlett Johansson) trying to escape from a facility that has been constructed to protect survivors of a mysterious worldwide "contamination." It's not giving too much away to say that the script eventually attempts to raise issues about the perils of human cloning.

"When I read it, I immediately was quite captured by the story and the discussion about human cloning."

Big movie. Big issues.

"You're talking about something that could potentially save hundreds of millions of lives and eradicate disease, but at the same time you're also talking about altering the very nature of being born.

"I don't know what the implications of that are. It's quite mind-bending ethically. It doesn't surprise me that the debates for it and against it are so passionately fought; you're talking about the very essence of being."

In The Island, which is set 20 years in the future, McGregor and Johansson leave the antiseptic cocoon of a high-tech facility and try to function in a world that's entirely foreign to them. This allows Bay to pump up the movie's action. The Island involves a variety of chases as McGregor and Johansson race through desert and urban terrain, trying to elude their pursuers.

"There's hardly any CGI (computer-generated effects) in this film," said McGregor. "Most everything is done for real. At one point, a burning helicopter dropped from 100 feet in the air. Michael does these special effects in front of the lens.

"It's a very old-fashioned way. Cars are crashed. Stunt men fall from great heights. It's old-school stunt work, and it's more satisfying, quicker and cheaper than shooting actors against a green screen.

"Michael's a very interesting character. He can drive you crazy. But there's something extraordinary about his talent. I admire him."

So what's the crazy-making part?

"He's quite an impatient gentleman. The filmmaking process is almost too slow for him. But, boy, does he know how to shoot a film."

McGregor's also enthusiastic about his costar, Johansson.

"She's incredible, an extraordinarily talented actress and wise behind her years. She's very straightforward. I really like the relationship we have in the movie. I think it works very well. It's a sweet, innocent romance, and it's delicately played."

McGregor and Johansson did some stunt work, but much of it was deemed too dangerous for them. Still, both spent lots of time running. Maybe that's why McGregor is staying put for the moment.

"Rehearsing is probably the most rewarding part of the acting profession, and I needed that more than anything," said McGregor of his theater stint. "I have more time with my kids (daughters, ages 9 and 3). I love it."

Source: Rocky Mountain News

Thanks to ParisRouge for the heads up!


Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Saturday, July 16, 2005 // 03:01 p.m.


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Ewan McGregor in autograph ban

Sat 16 Jul 2005

POLICE have banned Ewan McGregor from signing autographs for fans outside a London theatre.

McGregor, 34, is currently performing to crowds in the musical Guys and Dolls at the Piccadilly Theatre in the West End, but police, fearful of a further terrorists attacks, have told bosses at the theatre that they should act to stop large crowds gathering outside the auditorium.

Now a ban has been imposed on McGregor and the rest of the cast signing autographs after the show. The move has left fans of the Crieff-born star, keen to meet their idol, disappointed.

A spokesman for the Piccadilly confirmed that McGregor and other stars have been warned not to stop and talk to fans.

Source: The Scotsman

Thanks to Holly for the heads up!


Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Saturday, July 16, 2005 // 02:52 p.m.


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Bikers targeted in tourist drive

Thursday, 14 July, 2005

A new drive to "welcome" motorcyclists to Scotland has been launched by tourist organisation VisitScotland.

The scheme will give guidance to the tourism industry on the services it can offer to improve the holiday experience for motorbike enthusiasts.

VisitScotland's Peter Lederer said: "We can deliver a high-quality product to compete with the best in the world."

Minister for Parliament Margaret Curran said Scotland was a "fantastic country for motorbike touring".

VisitScotland has worked with the fighter pilot brother of Hollywood film star Ewan McGregor to launch its new drive to promote Scotland as a top destination for motorbike touring.

Border guides

Scotlandbybike.com was co-founded by Colin McGregor and experienced biker Stewart Buchanan, with a view to urging tourists from around the world to see Scotland on two wheels.

Star Wars star McGregor toured the world on a motorcycle with his friend Charley Boorman, who has also backed the new initiative.

He said there was "no better place" to ride.

"Ewan McGregor and I went around the globe on motorbikes but you're hard pushed to beat the freedom, scenery, history and welcome you receive touring Scotland," he said.

McGregor and Boorman completed their epic 20,000-mile motorbike journey around the world last July.

For three months the friends travelled from London through Europe, Russia, Siberia, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, Alaska, and across North America, suffering near-fatal crashes and being detained by border guards along the way.

Source: BBC News


Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Thursday, July 14, 2005 // 11:06 p.m.


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No more autographs after Guys and Dolls

Someone posted this on a Live Journal: "However, I thought I'd let you all know that autographs and photos are off for the time being due to the events on the 7th July. The police have asked the theatre to keep the area outside the stage door clear and they've asked the cast not to do any signings. Although I was obviously disappointed the show is so fantastic my spirits weren't dampened. On with the show!"

Thanks to Mary for the find!


Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Thursday, July 14, 2005 // 09:02 p.m.


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Film review: The Island
Warning: Spoilers

Mon Jul 11, 2005 5:45 AM ET
By Kirk Honeycutt

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - "The Island" starts off an aggressively derivative sci-fi thriller, then morphs into an above-average chase melodrama.

With a pair of classy actors, Ewan McGregor and Scarlett Johansson, aboard for the ride and director Michael Bay injecting high-octane fuel into the story's engine, the movie kicks into gear through a series of implausible though fun sequences of pursuit that utilize nearly all the movie action toys from digital effects to daunting stunts to massive sets and locations.

While entering the marketplace with less noise than "War of the Worlds" and "Fantastic Four," "The Island" should soak up much box office coin in the coming weeks, both domestically and internationally.

For a while, the dystopian story about human cloning by Caspian Tredwell-Owen, Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci seems more likely to inspire viewer games of Spot the Movie Clone as the filmmakers shuffle through any number of old science-fiction movies for plot points and design ideas. These range from "Coma" to "Logan's Run." Since human cloning itself has become such a hot-button topic, the film feels contemporary. Even Kazuo Ishiguro's recently published novel, "Never Let Me Go," deals with a similar story minus, of course, the chases.

What's troubling from a political point of view is that these filmmakers have, perhaps unwittingly, delivered a film certain to give succor to the religious right. In this ethical horror story, scientists experimenting with human genetics to advance medicine and cure illness are cast as Dr. Frankenstein villains. The chief villain, Dr. Merrick (Sean Bean), mouths platitudes about curing leukemia but clearly has greed in his heart.

The early going sets up a humdrum, meticulously controlled environment where white-clad inhabitants lead aimless lives while supposedly being sheltered from worldwide contamination resulting from an ecological disaster. From the first moment, we know this is all a ruse. An omnipotent police force monitors every bodily function, obsesses over the "proximity" of males to females in the quasi-segregated population and refers to inhabitants behind their backs as "products."

Only when the curious and restless Lincoln Six Echo stumbles onto the truth about the facility, which 95% of the audience will already have guessed, and grabs his pal Jordan Two-Delta (Johansson) for his comrade-in-escape does the film take off. Fleeing the fake environment for the real world, the pair stumble into the Arizona desert with a private army led by ex-Special Forces commander Albert Laurent (Djimon Hounsou) in hot pursuit.

Their ace in the hole is a cynical but accepting worker at the facility, McCord (Steve Buscemi), who in the past has sneaked booze and other contraband to Lincoln. They track McCord to a desert bar and, feeling guilty about his involvement in the cloning enterprise, he agrees to help them.

There is an unfailing law of filmmaking that once Buscemi gets cast in a movie, all the best lines and comic business automatically gravitate to him. Here again he almost single-handedly jump-starts the movie. When he abruptly exits the picture, his presence is truly missed.

Two striking things animate the remainder of the picture. One is highly creative chases on freeways and airways of the future. In one, wheels on a big rig turn into lethal weapons. In another, a futuristic two-man flying machine slams into a glass skyscraper and ends up dangling out the other side, entangled in a sign.

The other gimmick has McGregor playing both the original Lincoln and his clone, one with a Scottish accent and the other American. In an amazing fight scene, using motion control cameras and careful physical movements, McGregor actually wrestles with himself.

McGregor and Johansson's characters comprise an impossible combination of innate smarts and born-yesterday naivete. Yet the young though veteran actors pull these conflicting conceits off with a fair amount of conviction and credibility.

Bay's team hits on all cylinders as designer Nigel Phelps captures the extremes of an ominous future, Steve Jablonsky's surging music urges the action on and Mauro Fiore's energetic cinematography blends nicely with the many digital effects.

Reuters/Hollywood Reporter

Source: Reuters


Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Monday, July 11, 2005 // 07:40 a.m.


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Close and McGregor to star in Sunset Boulevard film

By Chris Hastings, Arts Correspondent
(Filed: 10/07/2005)

Glenn Close and Ewan McGregor are to star in a £33 million film adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical Sunset Boulevard.

Close, 58, who won a Tony Award for her portrayal of Norma Desmond in the Broadway version of the show, has told Lloyd Webber that she will reprise the role for the big screen.

Austin Shaw, who is co-producing the film, said: "Andrew would love Glenn to do the role and she has been approached. The pair spoke about it privately at this year's Golden Globes ceremony and she said she would be happy to take it on again. We are making the film with Paramount and it should be out in time for Christmas 2006."

The musical, which has lyrics by the Oscar-winners Don Black and Christopher Hampton, is based on Billy Wilder's 1950 film about the doomed romance between Norma Desmond, a fading star of the silent cinema, and Joe Gillis, an ambitious young writer. The film, which starred Gloria Swanson and William Holden, is regarded as one of cinema's finest moments.

Close was initially reluctant to transfer her performance on to the screen for fear of drawing comparisons with Swanson's acclaimed performance.

The five times Oscar nominee, whose credits include Fatal Attraction and Dangerous Liaisons, is now convinced, however, that she can bring something fresh to the role.

Her new-found love for the role is a blow for Barbra Streisand who had been keen to star in the film. Streisand, herself a double Oscar-winner, included two of the show's best-known songs With One Look and As If We Never Said Goodbye on a 1993 album.

Mr Shaw, who runs Lloyd Webber's Really Useful Film Group, said: "We were made aware by Streisand's friends that she was keen to take on the role but Glenn is the obvious choice."

Mr Shaw said that McGregor and Hugh Jackman were both in the running for the role of Gillis. Both are box office stars. Jackman, who won rave reviews in the National Theatre production of Oklahoma!, is regarded as the better singer. But McGregor, who is at present playing to packed houses in the West End revival of Guys and Dolls, is considered a bigger draw.

Close, who won a Golden Globe this year for her role as Eleanor of Aquitaine in an American television remake of The Lion In Winter, made the role of Norma her own when she opened the US stage production in 1994. The London production, which opened the previous year, had already begun to flag after a mixed response from critics and audiences.

Close's turn as the faded star took Broadway by storm and gave the show a new lease of life. It won seven Tonys, including awards for best musical and best actress.

Source: The Telegraph


Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Saturday, July 9, 2005 // 11:07 p.m.


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Pre-Order The Island Soundtrack

amazon.com is taking pre-orders for The Island soundtrack ($18.98), which will be released on July 26, 2005.

Thanks to Link57 for the heads up!


Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Saturday, July 9, 2005 // 01:27 p.m.


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Robots UK DVD Release Date

Robots will be released in the UK on September 19, 2005. It will be released a day later in North America.

Thanks to Baby Jefer for the heads up!


Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Saturday, July 9, 2005 // 01:23 p.m.


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The Island Tonight and New Clips Online

RopeofSilicon has a list of theaters that will have a sneak preview of The Island tonight.

The Movie Box has a new clip and TV spots from The Island

Thanks to Mary for the finds!


Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Saturday, July 9, 2005 // 08:30 a.m.


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The Island Sneak Peek & Spin-off Sites

Source: DreamWorks Pictures
July 7, 2005

DreamWorks Pictures is doing a nationwide public sneak preview of director Michael Bay's The Island, starring Ewan McGregor and Scarlett Johansson, this Saturday, July 9th (check your local theater). The futuristic action thriller will be released on July 22.

To promote the anticipated film online, the studio has also created several fictional websites. The first, MerrickBiotech.com (the same company is in the movie) is an elaborate Flash site that tells visitors they offer an organ cloning and transplant service.

The second is a non-profit organization called CloneWatch.org. Clone Watch is dedicated to stopping evil corporations like Merrick Biotech from breaking the world's "natural laws." The site even contains clips from The Island that have been altered to make them look as though they were taken from a hidden camera.

There is also an online petition about Merrick Biotech here.

Source: comingsoon.net


Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Thursday, July 7, 2005 // 09:42 p.m.


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Shows Cancelled Following Terror Attack

7th July 2005

Following this morning’s terror attacks on the London Underground and buses - which have crippled the capital’s public transport network and caused police to issue an advisory against travelling in central London - all of this afternoon’s matinees and some of this evening’s performances have been cancelled.

The majority of West End shows have also now confirmed cancellations of today’s evening performances, including: As You Like It, Billy Elliot, Blood Brothers, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Fame, Guys and Dolls, Hedda Gabler, Les Miserables, Mamma Mia!, Mary Poppins, Saturday Night Fever, Some Girls, Stomp, Telstar, The Countess, The Far Pavilions, The Genius of Ray Charles, The Home Place, The Lion King, The Mousetrap, The Phantom of the Opera, The Philadelphia Story, The Postman Always Rings Twice, The Shaughraun, The Woman in Black, The Woman in White, This Is How It Goes and We Will Rock You.

A spokesperson from Clear Channel Entertainment, which manages the Apollo Victoria, Lyceum and Dominion theatres, “Our plans for tomorrow onwards will be announced in due course."

Source: What's on stage

Thanks to Monika and Barbara for the information.


Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Thursday, July 7, 2005 // 12:23 p.m.


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Special The Island Sneak Preview this Saturday

Check your local listings!

Source: The Island Official Site

Thanks to ParisRouge for the heads up!


Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Wednesday, July 6, 2005 // 07:55 a.m.


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Trainspotting screening in L.A.

Landmark's Nuart Theatre will screen Trainspotting on Friday, July 15 at midnight!

Thanks to Mary for the heads up!


Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Tuesday, July 5, 2005 // 07:31 p.m.


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Ewan McGregor in plea for poor children

Mon 4 Jul 2005
FERGUS SHEPPARD

THE Scottish actor Ewan McGregor yesterday made an impassioned plea for the G8 leaders to hear the voices of children from the world's poorest countries as he opened a summit on behalf of the United Nations children's fund, UNICEF.

The star of Trainspotting and Star Wars joined children from across the globe for the launch of the UNICEF C8 children's summit in Dunblane. McGregor said: "Next week at the G8 summit, the eight leaders are going to have... the power to make extraordinary change in the world, truly to make poverty history. We want to make sure that they are concentrating on issues concerning child poverty."

McGregor is a UK ambassador for UNICEF and has seen child poverty at first hand in that role. He said urgent action was needed to stop the statistic of one preventable child death in the world every three seconds.

The UNICEF C8 summit is taking place at the Hilton Dunblane Hydro Hotel over the next two days and it will produce a manifesto of demands and recommendations tomorrow.

Children taking part in the C8 summit in Dunblane are aged 11 to 18 with some coming from the world's poorest countries, including Cambodia, Moldova, Yemen, Sierra Leone, Lesotho and Bolivia. They are also being joined by teenagers from the well-off G8 countries.

However, it is unclear how the UNICEF children's summit, which is meeting just down the road from Gleneagles, will be able to get its findings through the security surrounding the Perthshire hotel.

McGregor said UNICEF had attempted to arrange meetings with the G8 leaders or their wives. He said he remained hopeful a meeting could be arranged to communicate the C8 conclusions to Gleneagles.

The actor was joined on stage by the Scottish violinist Nicola Benedetti, 17, who said she was awed by how articulate the UNICEF-appointed ambassadors were. Nabil Afef-Al-Yafai from the Yemen urged the G8 representatives to hear the manifesto of the world's children. "If they don't listen to children, who will they listen to?" he asked.

Source: The Scotsman


Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Sunday, July 3, 2005 // 10:13 p.m.


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Youngsters stage 'C8' gathering

Sunday, 3 July, 2005

Young people from the world's poorest and richest nations have gathered in Scotland to host their own version of the G8 summit.

The "C8" summit in Dunblane saw the 11 to 18-year-olds discuss issues like poverty, HIV/Aids and education.

The delegates will produce a manifesto which will be presented to G8 leaders at Gleneagles.

The Unicef event was opened by the actor Ewan McGregor and young Scottish violinist Nicola Benedetti.

Mr McGregor is a Unicef ambassador and was joined by the 17-year-old BBC Young Musician of the Year at the start of the three-day event at the Dunblane Hilton Hydro.

He said: "At stake, there is one preventable death every three seconds. Nearly 11 million children die every year from preventable diseases.

"More than 100 million children are unable to go to school, there are 15 million children orphaned by AIDS throughout the world and there are one billion children living in poverty around the globe.

"Next week at the G-8 summit these eight leaders are going to have at their finger tips the power to make extraordinary changes in the world, truly to make poverty history for these people."

'Stop children's suffering'

The eight representatives from the poorer nations have travelled to Scotland from Bhutan, Moldova, Yemen, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Cambodia, Lesotho and Bolivia.

They were joined by eight counterparts from the UK, France, Germany and Italy.

Together they made up the C8 forum for what was the first event of its kind to be staged by Unicef.

Eleven-year-old Aminata Palmer, from Sierra Leone, was among the Third World delegates and has high hopes for the G8 summit.

She said: "I want the G8 leaders to help stop suffering among children in the world. People are suffering - especially in my country.

"They have the power and money to change things - they have everything. I don't know how they change things, but they will."

A similar event comprising school groups from across the UK and the rest of the G8 countries is being run in Edinburgh called the J8, or Junior 8.

'Real contribution'

The 13 to 16-year-old delegates will also draw up a J8 communiqué which will be presented to the G8 leaders during the full summit this week.

Pupils from Waid Academy in Anstruther and Wallace High School in Stirling are among those taking part.

Commenting on the importance of the event, First Minister Jack McConnell said: "Young people can make a real contribution to the debates that must take place on climate change and poverty in Africa.

"J8 is a great chance for schoolchildren from different countries to form friendships and learn from each other."

Source: BBC News

Thanks to Mary for the heads up!


Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Sunday, July 3, 2005 // 03:06 p.m.


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New photos from The Island

Michael Bay's website (he's The Island's director) has numerous high-resolution pictures from The Island

Click on the link above and check them out!

Thanks to Fuumin for the find!


Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Sunday, July 3, 2005 // 01:20 p.m.


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Ewan back on stage

Barbara wrote in to let us know that Ewan was back on stage at today's matinee performance of Guys and Dolls.

While we don't know why Ewan was absent for a few days, Ewan may have attended the funeral of a good friend of his, William Mather-Brown, with whom he worked on Troy's Story. M. Mather-Brown drowned while saving his son.

Update: word from the theater is that Ewan was having problems with his throat.

Thanks to Barbara and ParisRouge!


Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Saturday, July 2, 2005 // 02:55 p.m.


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Stay poster!

It finally looks like Stay is going to get released! A poster has been spotted online:

Thanks to ParisRouge for the find!


Posted by Best of Ewan McGregor on Friday, July 1, 2005 // 08:20 p.m.


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