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In getting behind the camera for the very first time on his directorial debut American Pastoral, Ewan McGregor freely admits that he had advice from his industry connections and collaborators, including the likes of Ben Affleck and — of course — Danny Boyle.
But speaking at a special private screening of the film for friends and family in London, the Star Wars star revealed that he turned to his own father to help with a scene later on in the film where his character Seymour “Swede” Levov is shown aging several decades in just a few shots.
“It’s quite difficult to pull that off these days with HD cameras — there’s nowhere to hide latex seams and what have you,” McGregor said during a Q&A with Boyle, with whom he worked on the Trainspotting sequel immediately after finishing American Pastoral, flying to Edinburgh the very next day. “But we’ve got an amazing special effects and makeup artist called Mike Marino, and he asked for any references.”
McGregor went to his parents, who were both present at the screening, asking if his mother could take some photos of his dad, Jim McGregor.
“I really like them,” the younger McGregor said of the photos to his father. “They’re really beautiful pictures because it’s just a close-up of your head, and top of your face and profile. I can feel like you’re doing it for me in the pictures, it’s rather beautiful,” he continued. “And my god, I look like you at the end. Every time I was in the edit room and saw it I just thought, ‘Oh, my goodness!'”
Although he admitted working on American Pastoral had perhaps changed his attitude towards directors (“especially when they’re running out of time on set”), McGregor said the experience hadn’t put him off and that he was already considering his follow-up, which he described as “his first movie.”
“I feel like [American Pastoral] is my second, because I had quite a lot of money and I had Jennifer Connelly and Dakota Fanning and Peter Reigert and all these amazing actors and this backing from Lakeshore,” he said. “So next I’d like to do something small, quick — maybe five or six weeks’ shoot — with young people, teenagers or actors in their early twenties … I feel like it should be rough and ready, and maybe in Scotland and maybe not with me in it.”
However, McGregor’s description had, he said, led others to make comparisons: “When I tell people, everyone just says that I want to make Trainspotting again!”
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