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28 October 2014
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Ewan McGregor
Young Adam
Written by Nev Pierce
updated 25th September 2003


Ewan McGregor
Web Links

Read our review of "Young Adam

Interview with Tilda Swinton

Hear Tilda Swinton talk about "Young Adam" on Collective

Film 2003 Video: Ewan McGregor talks about the book

Film 2003 Video: On working on smaller scale films

Film 2003 Video: On the importance of the story

Film 2003 Video: On rumours of a dip in the Clyde

The sometime Jedi and "Trainspotting" star on starting out, sex and the superb "Young Adam".

How did you get involved with "Young Adam"?
I was sent the script and I thought it was one of the best things I'd read in a long time. It was a blinding script and due to its lack of dialogue - it's very sparse - it struck me as very different and brave.

This is the inevitable sex question. There have been quite a few sexually explicit films in your career. What's the appeal of that? Is it just the stories?
Yeah, it's just that... This story is about a guy who uses sex to kind of fill a gap, I suppose. I don't know exactly what he's doing. There's a lot of it going on in life, so there's a lot of it going on in the cinema, I think. I think if it reflects life, it's got to be in there.

So you're not contractually obliged to get your tackle out in every film?
No, no I'm not, no, but I just think... when people are naked it tells you a lot about their relationships.

Why did you get into acting in the first place?
Er, I've got no idea. I think because I loved old movies, I loved old black and white movies and my uncle [Denis Lawson] was an actor, so he kind of paved the way if you like. He came from a small town that I came from in Scotland [Crieff], so the possibility of becoming one wasn't so unbelievable because he'd already done it. In many ways he paved the way. It's just always what I've wanted to do, since I was nine or something.

How did you get started?
I played music all through school and I kind of performed that way. Then I left school at 16 and worked in Perth Repertory Theatre, which was quite nearby where I lived. And I worked there for about six or seven months, as part of the stage crew. From there I did a one year theatre acting course in Fife, and then three years of drama school in London. I left halfway through my third year to start Lipstick On Your Collar, which was the first thing I ever did.

Were your family supportive of you moving into acting?
Yeah, absolutely. I'm sure it's not great fun for them, or for any parent, when their child says they want to be an actor, 'cos it's quite an uncertain business and it can be terribly hard for most actors. But I just... I never imagined it wouldn't work out for me. I had that absolute certainty in myself that has seen me through, I think, and my parents were absolutely behind me all the way.

A lot of parents tell their children that if they want to be an actor, that's fine, but they should do something else first, so they've got something to fall back on. It doesn't work like that, as far as I'm concerned. It certainly wouldn't have worked out for me. It's important, that spirit of youth, and when you're 16 that can get you kickstarted.

If you're suddenly doing something you don't want to do for four years, just so you've got something to fall back on, by the time you come out you don't have that 16-year-old drive any more and you'll spend your life doing something you never wanted to do in the first place.

So, maybe that's a good thing for parents to encourage their children to do. I personally don't think so. Encourage your kids to spend a life doing something they don't like? That's a bit ****house isn't it?

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