Ewan McGregor on Motorcycles, Light Sabers and Getting Naked
The star of The Ghost Writer talks about working with Roman Polanski, his new nude scene and his love for the open road.
When he was a little boy, Ewan McGregor dreamed of being a movie star. “I wanted to be like my uncle who was an actor,” says the Scottish native of his uncle Denis Lawson (who actually had a small role in the original Star Wars movie). “I wanted to be just like him because he was so different from everyone else. So when I was 9, I decided that I would act.” Thirty years later, the star of the new Roman Polanski film The Ghost Writer, has been in more than 20 films. But Ewan will probably always best be known for playing the young Obi-Wan Kenobi in the Star Wars franchise. “Those will always stand out for me,” admits the 38-year-old. “When I go to sleep at night I’m happy to be part of the legend.”
When you look back at Star Wars what are your feelings about re-inventing that classic franchise?
I don’t think about things like that. I just think about the next movie and when I can jump on my bike.
You’ve ridden your motorcycle from Scotland to South Africa on the special Long Way Down. Why did that appeal to you?
I have a real wonder about the world. The idea of just getting out there and away appeals to all of us. Those motorcycle trips totally changed my life. I’ve been able to go to some remote places and see people who lead a very different way of life.
But do you get recognized as the guy with the light saber?
I don’t get recognized very often which is great. I pass as a traveler. I’m just another guy on a trip on his bike. I remember I was in Mongolia and the people were just very friendly and open to travelers, because most of them are travelers. It wasn’t that I’m an actor or I was in this movie. I was just another guy looking for a little bit of lunch on the road.
When people do come up to you, what movie do they want to talk about?
In fact, my motorcycle trips are known now more than even Star Wars. That’s what people ask me about the most.