Ever since bursting onto the movie scene as the loveable heroin addict Mark Renton in the 1996 cult classic Trainspotting, Ewan McGregor has been one of Hollywood's most skilled and reliable leading men. From single-handedly rescuing George Lucas' Star Wars prequels by lending them a dignity and wit they sorely lacked, to documenting his motorcycle trip around the world in the docu-series Long Way Round, he's able to mix raffish charm with heroic manliness like no other actor working today. He's also maybe the only working actor who could credibly portray Jesus and Satan in the same film, as he just did at Sundance. In our latest issue, we accompany the 43-year-old actor, whose latest film Mortdecai hit theaters last week, to the International Motorcycle Show at the Javitz Center, where we look back on his incredibly wild ride.
On Trainspotting’s ridiculous Cannes after party: ““I don’t remember very much of the party, but it was apparently one of the great, legendary Cannes parties. Underworld played. It was fucking amazing. I missed their whole set. I was somewhere else doing something else.
On his pornstar moment with Woody Allen: “And suddenly there was a lull in the conversation. I looked over and there was a wee old lady standing next to what looked like a porn star—this girl with peroxided hair, massive tits, mini skirt, big plastic shoes. They were both stopped. They didn’t know if they should walk all over the equipment. I hear Woody saying, No,bring your daughter through. Bring your daughter through. We both had a little ogle at the girl as she went by. It clearly wasn’t the old lady’s daughter. Anyway, Woody turned to me and rubbed his hands together and went, Well, life could be worse.”
On his wild, late-‘90s London life with Jude Law and Angelina Jolie: “Jonny and Angelina were shooting Hackers, Jude had done Shopping. I’d done Shallow Grave. We were all kicking off. It was happening. We were having a right laugh. It’s the ’90s in London. It was quite fun… That’s all you’re getting.”
On a Trainspotting sequel: “He’s now a Glaswegian running a gym in Amsterdam,” McGregor says with a laugh, thrilled at the prospect. “I haven’t seen a script or anything. But it seemed to be quite real. I spoke to Danny [Boyle] about it. I met him randomly in a restaurant [last year] before he went up to Scotland to sit with our writer John Hodge and Andrew Macdonald, the producer.”