"Young Adam" was among the British films premiering at the Cannes Film Festival this year. Directed by David Mackenzie, the dark thriller is based on the book by cult Scottish novelist Alexander Trocchi. The strong cast includes Ewan McGregor, Tilda Swinton and Peter Mullan. McGregor plays Joe, a drifter working on the canal between Glasgow and Edinburgh. We met the star on set.
Film 2003: What's the movie about?
Ewan McGregor: Trocchi wrote the book in the 1950s, "Young Adam" is about a man on the outside of society. Trocchi was very much a man outside society, he was a heroin addict and a pornographer. A very interesting character. It's quite dark, it's very erotic, and it's a very adult film. I feel at the moment we're getting movies that over explain themselves to us, to the point that you come away feeling stupid. This doesn't do that, so as actors we get the chance to play and let the audience decide, which is lovely.
Do you happily flip between Hollywood films and smaller films like this?
I have had a run of big films, like "Moulin Rouge", "Star Wars", "Black Hawk Down", and I was dying to do a small scale film, where you know all the crew. On big films there's maybe 500 people on the crew and you don't know who half of them are. You can end up feeling as if you're being wheeled on to do your bit and wheeled back to your trailer. On a film like this you're surrounded by people you know, you are all working together to make a film and it's a good feeling. But more than anything, this is a cracking script.
Is it important for an actor of your standing to do smaller films?
I certainly wouldn't say it's your duty or anything like that. I have always been most interested in stories more than anything else and I hope that never changes. It's good for you to do different kinds of work, it makes me happy to do big films and smaller films. This is quite a difficult part to play but if you are constantly playing things you know you can do it is going to take the edge off things and everything will become more mundane.
There was a story you had taken an unscheduled dunking in the River Clyde...
That's a complete myth! My folks were in New York and someone came up and said "How is your son, he's fallen in the Clyde" - and I didn't! I did after that but I was meant to... Peter Mullan got an injury to his back which held us up for a couple of days. I might be a jinx - Nicole's ribs, Peter's back... other actors should be afraid to work with me I think!