Wednesday, October 12, 2016

INTERVIEW: Ewan McGregor on the Star Wars Prequels and Being Obi-Wan Kenobi

Earlier this week I had opportunity to chat with Ewan McGregor about his directorial debut, the Phillip Roth adaptation American Pastoral. I'll share the entirety of that conversation next week closer to the film's release, but for now I thought you might enjoy looking at a bit that came near the tail-end of our chat as we ended up segueing into his long time ago tenure in a galaxy far, far away as Obi-Wan Kenobi in the Star Wars prequels. Read on to for his thoughts on those divisive films one generation after their release, as well as the possibility of reprising his iconic role as the Jedi Master in Disney's new spin-off films.

A few weeks ago – before I knew I was going to meet you – I was reading a storybook to my children, a Star Wars book. And there was a picture of you, and they said, “That's Obi-Wan Kenobi.” And there was a picture of Alec Guinness and they said, “That's old Obi-Wan Kenobi.”

Ha!

And I thought, for us, you're young Obi-Wan Kenobi.

Yeah!

And I was wondering – it's been a generation of children for whom you are what Alec Guinness was to you. Do you ever process that?

No, no, it's odd. It's funny, 'cause, when these Star Wars films came out – the ones that I was in – the children who were watching, the generation who they were made for, weren't the people who were being vocal about them, 'cause they're kids.

So what I heard was the adults who were disappointed by not feeling like children again like they were in the '70s. That became sort of the general impression you got was that people were, with the first one, disappointed by it, because it didn't feel like the first one. And then nowadays, now that it's been thirteen, or fifteen, or when did the first one come out?

'99.

Sixteen years, seventeen years, almost. So now, I'm hearing from that generation of children who watched them, and they're like, “Oh no, we love them!” So now I'm getting the feedback from the people they were actually made for, and now I get the sense like, “Oh yeah, we nailed it.” (laughs) So that's nice!

It's amazing, the impact of Star Wars is an extraordinary thing. It's sort of baffling at the same time as being wonderful. It's just...its far reach into culture and society is enormous. I don't know how he managed to pull that off, George, but he did.

Well, I think I speak for everyone in saying we really hope you get to come back.

Yeah, yeah, me too. I hope so too. I mean, I'd love to do it. I've said that – to the point that people are sort of thinking I'm pitching for work, but I would, I'd be very happy. There's no plans for it at the moment, but it'd be nice.

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Given how beloved Ewan remains in the role, even by those who may not necessarily have dug the movies, it great to hear that he's proud of being associated with it, and that he's optimistic about donning the Jedi robes again. Hopefully it happens soon! Listen for the entirety of this interview on the MovieFilm Podcast next week.

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