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Ewan McGregor » Юэн МакГрегор » Статьи, журналы » Статьи из журналов для перевода » Ewan McGregor Made It to 45 in One Piece (статья в журнале Bloomberg Pursuits)
Ewan McGregor Made It to 45 in One Piece
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Ewan McGregor Made It to 45 in One Piece

Twenty years after Trainspotting, the actor and first-time director has never left the spotlight—or the saddle.

By Hannah Elliott | September 7, 2016
for Bloomberg Pursuits

Ewan McGregor hasn’t ridden a motorcycle in weeks. Not because he can’t get to one: The Scottish actor owns dozens—including a 1956 Sunbeam S7, an Indian Larry chopper, and “one of the most beautiful bikes ever built,” he says, a 1972 Moto Guzzi V7 Sport. He’s stashed those and others in garages around the Highlands and at his home in Los Angeles. “You’re getting away with something riding a motorbike,” he says over a cup of black coffee at the City Cafe, an American-style diner in Edinburgh. He’s in town shooting the sequel to Trainspotting, the darkly comic tale of clever, handsome heroin addicts that launched his career in 1996. But he hasn’t been on a bike since filming started. Miramax’s production insurance won’t allow it.
In the past, McGregor would have ignored that part of the agreement. “They stipulate that you’re not meant to parachute, scuba dive, ski, snowboard, all of these things. One of them says that you won’t race motorcycles—I always used to tick that box,” he says with a conspiratorial grin. “I used to just ride because I didn’t care and thought, ‘Whatever.’ But the truth of the matter is that if you fell off and broke your arm or leg or worse, and the production had to shut down for five months while you recuperated, then you’d be split f---ing open for that. Plus, with age and responsibility and children ...” McGregor shrugs.
The word “responsibility” may sound odd coming from an actor who’s spent much of his career—almost 60 films in the last two decades—playing likable rogues and loners who get in over their heads. But it’s his newest adventure behind the camera that’s inspired newfound respect for that pesky “no riding” clause.
In October, McGregor will release his directorial debut, American Pastoral. Based on the 1997 novel by Philip Roth, the movie follows Seymour “Swede” Levov, played by McGregor, whose charmed life unravels after his daughter (Dakota Fanning, doing her best Patty Hearst) plants a bomb in a post office to protest the Vietnam War.
“As a director, it’s like putting on a really heavy backpack,” says McGregor. “I had to find all the locations. I made the creative decisions that would make the film the way I wanted it to be. As an actor, you’re protected entirely from that side of the business. It’s only very recently that I’ve not been living with the responsibility of this movie.”
Now 45, McGregor is balancing the obligations of life and work with the wilder instincts of his younger years, when he was playing the lovesick writer in Moulin Rouge! and a young Obi-Wan Kenobi. After American Pastoral, there’s the sequel to Trainspotting due in February, and next spring, he’s taking over American television, starring in the upcoming season of FX’s Fargo, the Emmy-winning show inspired by the Coen brothers’ 1996 film.
He’s given up drinking and smoking, too, just black coffee, thanks, and has taken up long-distance running with his usual fountain-of-youth enthusiasm. “It’s nice to have something that you enjoy doing that’s good for your body and that you can do till you’re old,” he says.
But bring up motorcycles, and he still sounds like the teenager who walked into a London Ducati dealership and spied a dusty black Moto Guzzi that he thought was a Le Mans but turned out to be a 1978 T3 customized with a Le Mans tank and seat. Didn’t matter. “It was beautiful. I’ve never gotten over motorbikes since the first time I rode one—I’ve never gotten over that I’m allowed to do it, like, I’ve got a license to do it,” he says. “The state lets me ride!”
And unlike blue chip collectors who hire professionals to keep their bikes running, McGregor works on all of his motorcycles himself. “When I grow up, I’ll have somebody take care of them for me,” he says. “That’ll be nice.”
Today is a rare day off; McGregor, wearing a tweed longshoreman’s cap and blue jeans rolled at the cuff, arrived carrying shopping bags. It’s a late Monday afternoon, and the cafe is almost empty. The highly trafficked streets that flank the restaurant are filled with summertime revelers, but the cobblestone road out front is calm.
Here in Edinburgh, locals are familiar with McGregor’s love of bikes. His British documentary television series Long Way Round and Long Way Down, which originally aired on Sky 1, followed McGregor and his best friend, Charley Boorman, as they circumnavigated the globe on BMW motorcycles. McGregor calls that journey “the ultimate ride.”
Boorman, a TV presenter, actor, and travel writer, met McGregor on a movie set 20 years ago, when both men had baby daughters. They bonded quickly over their love of riding. “When you have a big passion for something—horseback riding, climbing—you always find a way to do it. And you’ll find any excuse to do it,” Boorman says.
During their trip, McGregor and Boorman ended up pushing their bikes through muddy fields, repairing wheel spokes, and dealing with broken body frames, each helping the other in turn as conditions required. “Ewan always has your back,” Boorman says.
Although McGregor uses his bikes now only “to get from A to B, if I’m not taking one of my kids somewhere,” he’s kept up with Moto Guzzi. For the past four years, the Italian company that built his first bike has hired him for its ad campaigns and gifts him a new bike each time. At the moment he has four modern Guzzis, including a V7 and a grand tourer, plus two of the brand’s police bikes from the early ’70s.
McGregor has crashed twice, one a forced slide in London traffic several years ago, where he “laid the bike down” in order to avoid hitting a pedestrian and broke his leg when the motorcycle fell on it. The other was a much closer call, though without injury. It was the late ’90s, and he was racing a Ducati 748 on the Brands Hatch Indy Circuit, a track outside of London. Somehow, as if in slow motion, he simply came off the bike at 100 mph. “On one corner, I went too wide, and I was annoyed with myself,” he says. “C’mon, c’mon, I thought. I tapped into this left-hander and …” The next thing he knew, he was standing upright, unhurt, in the middle of the track. “I had no knowledge of the in-between bits. I didn’t even know I’d crashed.”
His habit of embracing a challenge extends to other, newer obsessions. He’s been reading Born to Run, Christopher McDougall’s paean to long-distance running, and he maps out a 4-mile loop around Holyrood Park, a mile from Edinburgh Palace, on his phone. “I run clockwise,” he says, around Arthur’s Seat, the city’s highest point, up a big hill around the back, then “a great downhill.”
“His enthusiasm is contagious,” says Jennifer Connelly, who plays Swede’s beauty-queen wife, Dawn, in American Pastoral. “He’s always so positive, so happy, and supportive to work with.” McGregor signed on to play the lead role in the film in 2014. Shortly after, the original director was moved off the project, and McGregor fought for the opportunity to direct it himself.
“It’s the most difficult thing I’ve ever done,” he says. “The prep was the scariest part, because when you start off, you’re on your own.” He arrived on location in Pittsburgh 12 weeks before filming began, checking on the wallpaper in a therapist’s office and the kinds of cars on the street during a riot scene.
Connelly met McGregor for the first time only days before shooting started. “Ewan was very interested in listening to what people thought,” she says. “He didn’t steamroll anyone. At the same time, he was strong and confident in his choices as a director, because the opposite of that can be scary, too. He clearly knew where he was going.”
That conviction, he says, comes from the way he understood the book’s premise, that of parents learning to let go. “I’ve got four girls, so I know all about it,” McGregor says. “My eldest daughter is in her 20s, and she’s left home. I’ve experienced that, and it’s why I felt like I was the right guy to tell this story. My daughter taught me everything that I needed to know to play this part and to direct this film.”
His sense of duty even extended to the budget. “For me, it would’ve been embarrassing to be given $20 million and make it for $24 [million]. I wouldn’t sleep very well.”
For now, he’s enjoying the relative ease of starring in someone else’s film. “It’s nice to just think about the acting,” he says. And then there’s the promise of future motorcycle trips. “It’s just so much fun,” he says of his hobby of almost 30 years, which he plans to continue as long as he’s physically able. “Whether it’s just dawdling along enjoying the view or having your heart in your mouth on every corner, it certainly beats the hell out of jumping in a car.”
Ewan McGregor » Юэн МакГрегор » Статьи, журналы » Статьи из журналов для перевода » Ewan McGregor Made It to 45 in One Piece (статья в журнале Bloomberg Pursuits)
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