Ewan McGregor set for directing debut on American Pastoral
February 18, 2015 By Oliver Gettell
Actor Ewan McGregor has a new role lined up for himself: director. The 43-year-old Scotsman will make his feature directorial debut on a long-gestating adaptation of Philip Roth's Pulitzer Prize winner "American Pastoral," Lakeshore Entertainment announced Wednesday.
McGregor was set to star opposite Jennifer Connelly and Dakota Fanning in the film, which features a screenplay by John Romano ("The Lincoln Lawyer"). Phillip Noyce ("Salt," "The Giver") had been attached to direct; Lakeshore offered no explanation as to why Noyce is no longer on the project.
Filming is scheduled to start in September in Pittsburgh.
In front of the camera, McGregor will play Seymour "Swede" Levov, a former high school athletic star who grows up to marry a beauty queen and inherits his father's business, only to see his family life thrown into chaos by the political upheavals of the late 1960s.
McGregor has long alternated between edgy indie fare and mainstream entertainments. He recently appeared in a Broadway revival of Tom Stoppard's "The Real Thing," the Johnny Depp bomb "Mortdecai" and Rodrigo Garcia's Sundance film "Last Days in the Desert," in which he plays both Jesus and the Devil.
"I've wanted to direct for years and wanted to wait until I found a story that I 'had' to tell," McGregor said in the announcement for "American Pastoral." "And in this script I knew I had found that story."
Ewan McGregor and Rashida Jones answer once and for all: Is Adnan guilty? Plus other stars chime in on the Serial podcast. Featuring: Keanu Reeves, Lily Tomlin, Danny McBride, Sam Rockwell, Greta Gerwig & Lola Kirke, Jason Sudeikis, Jake Johnson, Adam Scott, Chris Pine, Brie Larson, Ewan McGregor, Sarah Silverman, Mark and Jay Duplass, Thomas Mann & R.J. Cyler, Alison Brie, Rashida Jones, Rosemarie DeWitt, Chiwetel Ejiofor.
Variety to Honor Halle Berry, Ewan McGregor and More at unite4:humanity Event
February 10, 2015 By Kevin Noonan
Global philanthropy initiative unite4:good and Variety announced the honorees for the second annual unite4:humanity event on Feb. 19 at the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, Calif.
Seven entertainment figures will be recognized for their philanthropic work, including:
Halle Berry; Creative Conscience Award for her work with the Jenessee Center, a domestic violence intervention and prevention program
Ewan McGregor; International Humanitarian Award for his work with UNICEF UK, an organization promoting the rights and well-being of children
Lauren and Aaron Paul; unite2gether Award for their work with the Kind Campaign, a documentary and school campaign working to end girl-against-girl bullying
P!nk, who will also perform at the event; Music Visionary Award for her work with No Kid Hungry, a campaign to end childhood hunger
Josh Hutcherson; Young Humanitarian Award, for his work with Straight But Not Narrow, an LGBT ally organization for straight youth and young adults
Christina Applegate; Saint Vintage Love Cures Award, for her work with Right Action for Women, her breast cancer awareness and action foundation
The event serves as a preview of the conference4:change, hosted by unite4:good, Variety and the University of Southern California’s Media Institute for Social Change at USC on Mar. 14. The conference bring together media figures including writers, directors, musicians, producers, actors and industry executives for discussion aimed at creating action for positive change.
“The mission of unite4:good is to empower people to give back and contribute to their communities through acts of kindness and service. Unite4:humanity will honor exemplary community heroes, and also recognize leaders in the entertainment arena who have used their influential voices for good while making a personal commitment to service,” said unite4:good founder Anthony Melikhov. “The entertainment industry has the most powerful reach of any in the world, and through this event and the conference4:change, we hope to inspire the industry to use its collective creative voice to highlight social causes, develop more avenues for positive content and truly unite to make a difference around the globe.”
UG4 Group is the presenting sponsor of unite4:humanity, with premiere sponsors including Champagne Piper-Heidsieck and Saint Vintage and official sponsors including Jet Edge International.
Ewan McGregor talks OBEs, kilts, Scottish man bags, and his fondness for the bagpipes
Thursday 22nd January 2015 By Sheena McGinley
There Ewan is, jovially quipping about secret zips located behind sporrans laying out all sort of visual gems for Jimmy while he seems to be on a five-second delay. Shame.
When you think about it, a zip behind a sporran (or at least some buttons less There's Something About Mary risk of involved) would be ingenious. That way they wouldnt have to haul up their kilt while using the toilet. I'm assuming they dont pull it down... OK, heres the question of the day how do you use the toilet while wearing a kilt? Answers on a postcard please.
Watch the trailer for Humpback Whales, narrated by Ewan McGregor!
An extraordinary journey into the hidden world of nature’s most awe-inspiring marine mammal, Humpback Whales takes audiences to Alaska, Hawaii and the Kingdom of Tonga for a close-up look at how these whales communicate, sing, feed, play and take care of their young. Captured for the first time with IMAX® 3D cameras, and found in every ocean on Earth, humpbacks were nearly driven to extinction 50 years ago, but today are making a steady recovery. Join a team of researchers as they unlock the secrets of the humpback and find out what makes humpbacks the most acrobatic of all whales, why only the males sing, and why these intelligent 50-foot, 48-ton animals migrate more than 6,000 miles every year.
Humpback Whales is produced and distributed by MacGillivray Freeman Films and presented by Pacific Life. A One World One Ocean production, Humpback Whales is directed by two-time Academy Award®-nominated filmmaker Greg MacGillivray (The Living Sea, Dolphins) and produced by Shaun MacGillivray (To The Arctic, Journey to the South Pacific). Filmed in 15/70mm, Humpback Whales is written and edited by Stephen Judson (Everest, Journey to the South Pacific). The musical score is by Steve Wood (Journey to the South Pacific, To The Arctic).
Ewan McGregor is lending his voice to help educate IMAX audiences on the majesty and beauty of the humpback whale.
The actor, who was considered for the lead role in a biopic on the life of anti-whaling captain Paul Watson, has signed on for director Greg MacGillivray’s Humpback Whales, a 3-D IMAX film that promises to take audiences “to the underwater world of the far away places where humpbacks live and thrive.”
The film is the first IMAX feature captured with the format’s new 3-D cameras, with location shoots in the South Pacific, Africa, Hawaii and Alaska. The film will have its premiere at the Museum of Discovery Science’s Autonation IMAX Theater in South Florida featuring a giant 60-foot by 80-foot screen.
“Humpback whales are simply fascinating creatures. Audiences will get an immersive look at how these whales communicate, sing, feed, play and take care of their young on the biggest screen in South Florida,” said President and CEO Kim Cavendish.
McGregor has previously lent his voice to other environmental documentaries such as 2013’s Wild Scotland and the more recent Ice Bear.
Humpback Whales is slated for release on Feb. 13, 2015.
When the trades announced last February that Albert Nobbs director Rodrigo García was making a small indie starring Ewan McGregor in dual roles, his characters were described as a holy man and a demon. But unveiled in yesterdays announcement of Premieres for the 2015 Sundance Film Festival were the more specific details for Last Days in the Desert that said holy man and demon are actually Jesus and the Devil, in an imagined chapter from his 40 days of fasting and praying in the desert.
In the film, Yeshua—Hebrew for Jesus—is tempted by evil while alone in the wilderness. You can see the demon as the Devil, says McGregor. Or you can see him as another side of Yeshua perhaps, an embodiment of his doubt. Hes there testing him into trying to suggest that his father doesnt love him, that his fathers not interested in his struggle.
While in the desert, Yeshua also encounters a family that is experiencing its own father/son difficulties. Tye Sheridan (Mud) plays the Boy who wants to leave their bleak desert surroundings and travel to Jerusalem for a better life; his Father (Ciarán Hinds) insists he stay close to home.
Playing Jesus Christ and the Devil was initially intimidating for McGregor, who was immediately won over by Garcías spare and intimate 62-page script and the lure of working with Oscar-winning cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki. It helped to tap into the duality of Jesus and focus more on the human aspects of his character. I thought, Okay, hes a man whos struggling to communicate with his dad, says McGregor. I felt actually the pressure come off myself. Im not playing Jesus; Im playing a man whose dad is God and hes trying to speak to his dad. Its really a film about the relationship between fathers and their sons. In every scene of the film, thats at the heart of it.
McGregor played both main characters, with his longtime stunt double Nash Edgerton standing in for those scenes between Yeshua and the Devil. I played Yeshua with total conviction that he was the son of God and that his father had asked him to go on this path, which would lead him to death—to die for peoples sins—and I tried to imagine what that might be like for a man, he says. And then when I played the demon, I was trying to chip away at that conviction. The demons trying to drag him away from that.
That much is very much in line with the Biblical narrative, the story of Jesus being tempted by the Devil during 40 days of fasting in the wilderness, but McGregor is careful to leave the door wide open to interpretation. Its not a Biblical story. Its a story that Rodrigo García invented, he says. You could watch the film and not think that its Jesus. He could just be another holy guy, a rabbi, walking in the desert, looking for answers.
McGregor doesnt think this reimagining of Jesuss life will generate any controversy, like it did for Martin Scorsese and The Last Temptation of Christ. Theres nothing possibly that could upset people [in the film], other than the very nature of imagining a story with Jesus that doesnt exist in the Scripture, he says. Theres nothing offensive. Im not worried about it, because I believe very much in the heart of the film we made.
Jane Got A Gun release delayed again – now set for September
December 3, 2014
Hopefully the third time’s the charm. Relativity again has delayed the release for the Natalie Portman Western Jane Got A Gun. The troubled production now is slated to bow September 4, more than half a year later than its previous February 20 date. The pic, which has been through three bad guys, two directors and one lawsuit, initially had been scheduled to release this summer. As of now, it’s only up against Sony/Columbia comedy Kitchen Sink on the new slot.
Oscar winner Portman plays Jane Hammond, who has built a new life with her husband Bill “Ham” Hammond (Noah Emmerich) after being tormented by ultraviolent outlaw gang the Bishop Boys. She finds herself in the gang’s cross-hairs once again when Ham stumbles home riddled with bullets after dueling with the Boys and their relentless mastermind Colin (Ewan McGregor, who replaced Bradley Cooper, who had replaced Jude Law). With the vengeful crew hot on Ham’s trail, Jane has nowhere to turn but to her former fiancé Dan Frost (Joel Edgerton) for help in defending her family against certain mayhem.
Gavin O’Connor directs, having taken over after Lynne Ramsay exited the project on the first day of production.