What’s happened to Ewan McGregor over the last five or six years? It’s almost as his soul was poisoned by playing Obi Wan Kenobi three times for George Lucas (The Phantom Menace in ’99, Attack of the Clones in ’02, Revenge of the Sith in ’05). He’s become Mr. Paycheck — a young Robert De Niro who will make any questionable or lackluster film as long as the money’s right or it fits his schedule. Or maybe he just has terrible taste.
Michelle Williams, Ewan McGregor in Deception
I only know that he used to be this authentic street guy with a kind of glow around his head, and now he’s lost it because he’s made too many slick or inconsequential films.
The down cycle seemed to begin in ’02 with Down With Love, Young Adam and Big Fish — three problem movies in a row. Then came the final Star Wars film followed by Michael Bay‘s The Island (a tank), Stay (a stiff), Stormbreaker (didn’t see it), Scenes of a Sexual Nature (ditto) and Miss Potter (minor film, quick burnout). Granted, his performance in Woody Allen‘s Cassandra’s Dream was strong and affecting but then he did Incendiary (fizzled at Sundance, no distrib deal) and now Deception.
MacGregor was in a near-flawless groove from Trainspotting (’96 — the scene where he dove into that disgusting toilet was probably his career peak) to Moulin Rouge and Black Hawk Down (both ’01). Then the Gods began to turn against him. I remember reading a remark after Young Adam came out that “an indie movie isn’t a full-boat indie movie unless it has Ewan dropping trou.” I said to myself right then and there, “People are starting to think less of him. His Trainspotting aura is dissipating.”