Friday 19 January 2018

Ewan McGregor 'learned a great deal' while directing his first movie

Ewan McGregor at the Filmhouse in Edinburgh.
Ewan McGregor at the Filmhouse in Edinburgh.

Ewan McGregor admits he loved "from start to finish" the experience of directing his first movie.

The Scot has spent more than two decades on sets as an actor but has now turned his hand to directing his first feature-length film, American Pastoral.

Unveiling the film at a gala screening organised by the Edinburgh International Film Festival, he said it was "brilliant" to be behind the camera.

McGregor told Press Association Scotland: "I learnt a great deal. I loved very much the experience from start to finish.

"The shooting part of the film of course I'm very familiar with; I've been on film sets for 25 years so I know what that world is all about.

"But the pre-production and the post-production was very interesting to me and I learnt a great deal about that by doing it."

McGregor cites his first director Danny Boyle - with whom he was recently reunited for the making of Trainspotting 2 - among the influences on his directing style.

He said: "He rehearsed in a way that I know made me work at my best, so I copied that. I rehearsed with the actors alone on set before we shot every scene.

"There's no right or wrong way to direct, it's very much about your personality, I think at the end of the day. I just like to direct the way I like to be directed, I suppose."

Based on the novel by Philip Roth of the same name, American Pastoral follows a family whose seemingly idyllic existence is shattered by the social and political turmoil of the 1960s.

McGregor also takes lead role in the film, starring as Seymour "Swede" Levov, a successful businessman.

When his teenage daughter disappears after being accused of committing a violent act, Swede dedicates himself to finding her and reuniting his family - but what he discovers shakes him to the core.

McGregor said he tried not to think too hard about the pressure of adapting a book widely praised as one of the greatest modern American novels.

Speaking on the red carpet at Edinburgh's Filmhouse, McGregor said: "I think it's true that when you're adapting any novel you've got a responsibility to the author of the novel and then you've got a responsibility to all the people that know and love the book. That being said, that leads you to try and do your best work in adapting it.

"But I try not to think of it in a negative way. I've been involved in adaptations as an actor and I've tried not to let it feel like pressure.

"I thought, if you're going to base a movie on a novel, it's probably quite a good idea to base it on a really good one and that's what I was doing here."

Press Association

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