From Drinking With Oasis To Leaving Iggy Pop Speechless: The Wild Life Of Ewan McGregor
Cream of the Scottish acting coffee, Ewan McGregor, turned 46 on Friday and what a 46 years it's been for the guy.
An early-starter, when McGregor landed a role of Dennis Potter's six-part Channel 4 series Lipstick on your Collar, he was six months away from graduating from Guildhall School of Music and Drama.
Within a year, he'd been cast in Danny Boyle's first feature, Shallow Grave, in which he played a rather unlikable antihero who along with two other flatmates is forced to cover up the mysterious death of their new flatmate after he leaves them a suitcase full of cash.
Impressed, Boyle would then establish a relationship with McGregor similar to that of Martin Scorsese and Robert De Niro in the late 1970s.
McGregor in 1996. Image: PA
In 1996, McGregor was again cast as the unlikely protagonist in Boyle's adaptation of Irvine Welsh's bestseller, Trainspotting.
Such was his dedication to the role of hapless heroin addict Mark Renton that he even toyed with the idea of taking the class A narcotic himself to get a true feel for the character. Eventually, thankfully, he vowed against it, instead choosing to venture over the pond into Hollywood, quickly landing the role of a lifetime in 1997 as the younger incarnation of Obi-Wan Kenobi in the first Star Wars prequel, The Phantom Menace.
That was the film that rocketed McGregor into the mainstream. In between filming the Star Wars movies, he proved his worth and range in releases like Black Hawk Down and Moulin Rouge.
With bigger responsibility, though, came bigger concentration.
Once a product of the Britpop scene, McGregor now found himself knee-deep in box office offers. And after a good shift on the sesh, the actor decided to pack drinking on the head.
Reminiscing in a 2012 Daily Mail profile of those times, McGregor said: "It was unbelievable to feel part of it. I used to hang out a bit with Oasis, and Damon Albarn was always knocking about somewhere or other, and like a fan, I felt part of it.
"It was certainly a high point of my life. But it was also a time of massive debauchery - but then again, I was in my twenties.
"I got away with it more or less unnoticed. I was a maniac on the booze but I only remember it fondly."
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McGregor at Reading Festival 1998. Image: PA
One occasion saw him come across Iggy Pop, whose 'Lust for Life' famously featured on the Trainspotting soundtrack.
"Oh, it was awfu," said McGregor. "That was back in the bad old days. I'd played a version of him in a film called Velvet Goldmine. I'd worked with a choreographer to move like him and sang all his music live on stage.
"He was playing at this Versace fashion show I'd been invited to so I went backstage to meet him. But I was blootered by that point."
McGregor thought it'd be good to do his Iggy Pop impression in front of the man himself.
He said to BULLETT magazine: "The alcoholic fog sort of cleared and I could see myself doing it, and I went, 'What? What are you doing? You must stop.. what the fuck are you doing?' and Iggy Pop was sitting there going, 'Yeah, that's cool, man'.
"I didn't know what to do," McGregor admitted. "It was so embarrassing. I think I just shuffled out of the dressing room and got the fuck out of there as quickly as possible."
"I enjoyed myself," McGregor said in an interview with Jonathan Ross when quizzed about quitting booze. "But it just got to the point where - there wasn't any real drama about it - where I just... you know I was married, I had a kid and a good career and I was trying to be a very good drinker as well, so it was just the best one to go."
Since then he has enjoyed continuous success, starring in films like The Men Who Stare At Goats, August: Osage County and even cameoing as a voice in The Force Awakens in 2015.
Rumour has it that McGregor is up for reprising his role in a future Star Wars film. What route such a project would take is not known, but I'm sure we'd all love to see it.
Happy Birthday, chief.
Featured Image Credit: PA