Ewan McGregor almost didn’t accept a role in Star Wars. The 45-year-old actor played Obi-Wan Kenobi in Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace but admitted he struggled with the decision to take on the role because he worried it was too mainstream for him.
He told the Telegraph magazine: “‘Star Wars’ is ‘Star Wars’, it’s something I grew up with as a kid. At first, I was very reluctant to do it, because I saw myself as this urban, grungy actor doing films about heroin and stuff, and that’s who I felt like I really was. But the nearer I got to it, the more I wanted to do it: and it wasn’t for money reasons, because it was back in the day I got paid nicely for it, but it wasn’t ridiculous by any means. It was to do with being in it and it didn’t feel like Hollywood. George Lucas hated Hollywood he was in San Francisco following the beat of his own drum.”
Ewan also revealed he felt betrayed by Trainspotting director Danny Boyle when he cast Leonardo DiCaprio in the beach instead of him.
He said: “I felt at that time that as an actor I was part of the new wave of something. I was lucky to be Danny’s actor, and I felt part of something that was bigger than all our careers with ‘Shallow Grave’ and ‘Trainspotting’ less so, perhaps, with ‘A Life Less Ordinary’. I felt we’d left our mark on British cinema. So when we were approaching ‘The Beach’, I thought I was playing that role and I was encouraged to think so; I was told for many months I would be doing it; and then I was told I wouldn’t. And I was mystified and it had been handled badly, and whatever. But it hurt me very much at the time. I was rocked a bit, and my confidence was dented. And I didn’t quite understand why they went down that path when I thought we were about something else. I understood when it came down to dollars. But it was a Hollywood version of something we weren’t really about.”