Ewan McGregor is always ready for a change of pace on the big screen, from dancing and singing in Moulin Rouge, to being drugged out in Trainspotting, to wowing audiences in Star Wars. He’s now teaming up with controversial director Roman Polanski in The Ghost Writer.
Father of three girls – Clara, 13, Esther Rose, 8, and Jamiyan, 8 – McGregor says that Polanski’s house arrest for sexually assaulting a 13-year-old girl does not affect him. “He’s a legend. He’s one of the best living film directors there is. So I was excited to work with him,” McGregor says and adds, “It has nothing to do with me. It’s none of my business.”
McGregor sat down with Parade and further discussed his new film and how his wife was opposed to him doing sex scenes – but only while she was pregnant with their first child.
On his wife’s ‘hormonal’ reactions to his sex scenes: “I have done quite a few sex scenes in my career. But my wife has always been okay with them except when she was pregnant with our first daughter, Clara, and I went off to do the sex scene in Trainspotting. Hormonally, she was all over the place. We had a massive fight about it. But that’s the only time it’s ever been an issue. Look, it’s a weird situation to be seeing your partner in an emotional and sexual embrace with someone else in front of an audience of people. But it’s my job. And, ultimately, she’s completely cool with it.”
On being comfortable with sex scenes: “I’ve never understood actors who have rules against nudity. I wouldn’t consider myself an actor if I had a list of things I won’t do. In my everyday life, I’m naked quite a lot of the time. And yet, the second we put it onscreen everybody has a heart attack. I really don’t get it. I’m not an exhibitionist. I’m just very comfortable being naked in movies because I think and I believe that movies reflect real life. I never thought that it was gratuitous.”
On tabloids: “I come from a country where we’ve probably got the worst tabloid press — all these publications based on people’s private life. It’s disgusting. It’s nobody’s business. As actors, we put ourselves on the screen and that should be enough, that’s exposing enough, without people routing around your dustbins looking for stuff. They’re making millions off people spying and following you around. It’s disgraceful.”
On being his own biggest fan: “I love nothing more than going to see one of my films for the first time. Without fail, the first thing I think is ‘Is that me?’ You know, I’m sitting there, and then it goes dark and the projection starts and I go, ‘Flipping heck.’ I say to myself, ‘That’s me up there.’ I always dreamed of doing it, and I still can’t quite believe I’m doing it.”
On creating his own destiny: “I don’t want to accept the fact that it’s all there, pre-destined and all laid out for us. Then every decision you make and all your choices don’t mean anything. I don’t like the idea of somebody else, or something else, calling the shots. I think we’re both God and heaven. I think every decision that faces you, or every choice you make, alters your path and will lead you to where you go. I think we supply the force of fate in our lives and, therefore, we’re in charge. Anything else is a bit of a cop out.”