Ewan McGregor: Roman Polanski situation is “strange”

Premiere Of "Amelia" - Inside Arrivals

Sigh. I love Ewan McGregor so much it hurts. I love that he wears eyeliner. I love the crinkles around his eyes. I love his crooked smile. I love his style. I love the that dirty, naughty-boy twinkle in his eye. We’re going to be seeing more of Ewan these days because he’s got a few films coming out. Last night he walked the red carpet (with his wife Eve) for Amelia. Ewan has a supporting part as Gene Vidal, Amelia Earhart’s lover. Meanwhile, he and George Clooney will be promoting the hell out of The Men Who Stare At Goats, which looks so good. Then, in February, Ewan’s film I Love You Phillip Morris finally comes out. Ewan and Jim Carrey play lovers… in prison. There’s even a “problematic” graphic gay sex scene. It should be awesome. Anyway, Ewan sat down with the LA Times for a wide-ranging interview on his current and upcoming projects. They talk about everything from French kissing Jim Carrey to the whole Roman Polanski situation.

You play Earhart’s lover-on-the-side in “Amelia,” but the part itself is fairly straightforward. What was the draw?
Hilary Swank, who plays Amelia, has been a good friend of mine for years, and we’ve always talked about working together. I suppose we kind of kept our eyes open for something. She called me about “Amelia” just as I arrived to start shooting “I Love You, Phillip Morris,” and we struggled for quite some time, but I really wanted to make it work dates-wise. So I literally made the two films at the same time, flying back and forth from Toronto.

How did it go?
Oh, my gosh, I was just happy to be working with her because I think she’s such an amazing actress.

What was it like working with Polanski?
He pushes you quite hard and always demands that you look for the truth of the scene and pushes until you get there, until you stop acting it and you start feeling it. But he’s also got quite a brusque manner, so you have to have a thick skin. That said, I’m very fond of him. He’s one of the very few completely brilliant directors that I’ve worked with. There aren’t really very many, I have to say, or it’s a shame to say. To be an artist in terms of what you see and what you want to feel out of each scene, a kind of master of the technique and the technicalities of filmmaking, and a master of directing actors, which is usually the one that’s missing — there are many who have no idea how to speak or to pull good work out of actors — is very rare. Roman was all those things.

Have you been following the news coverage of what’s been happening to him?
No, I try not to. I was pretty upset. I don’t like to think of him sitting in a prison cell. But I wouldn’t comment upon it because it’s a very complicated issue, you know? It seems odd. He’s been living in Switzerland for years and I’ve visited him there, so this is all very strange.

How much of what goes on in “The Men Who Stare at Goats” do you think is true? The LSD, the telekinesis, the military secrecy . . .
Most of it’s true! In fact, the most unbelievable parts of the film are the true ones. The mundane bits are the bits we made up. The journalist in Iraq — my story, the character I play — is an invention. But there was a rumor that the Russian psychics were bombarding the U.S. president with negative energy, and there was a group within the military trying to combat it. It’s crazy, but war is crazy.

For the actors, it certainly looked like a good time.
My first scene with Jeff Bridges we were supposed to be tripping on acid. We had these amazing contact lenses that made it look like our pupils were wide open and we were waiting in this room that just so happened to have this old electric piano in it and I remember Jeff got so excited. He was like, “Oh, man! They put this keyboard here so we can get into it!” And so he started playing these wild, trippy sound effects on this keyboard. Us in our big black eyes, the Dude on keyboard, I just thought, “It doesn’t get much better than this.”

Do you still get recognized for ‘ Star Wars’?
It depends on where I am. At home in Scotland it’s always for “Trainspotting,” but more often than not, I’m stopped in the street for the two motorcycle reality shows I did [titled “Long Way Round” in the U.S.]. Television really is more immediate, isn’t it? It was very successful here in Britain, so I get complimented for my bike riding more than my film work, which I’m not sure is a good thing.

Is there anyone you really want to work with?
Yeah, I’ve never worked with Johnny Depp, and I’d really love to. Kate Winslet. Rebecca Hall. Directors, I don’t know. I’m odd with directors because I don’t have a kind of wish list. Daniel Day-Lewis? I don’t know. I think I’d like to work with him.

You think?
Daniel Day-Lewis has made me want to give up acting a lot. Whenever I watch him, I think, “What’s the point? There’s no point in carrying on. That’s it.” I remember watching “In the Name of the Father” and coming out of the cinema and burning my equity card and going “I’m finished.” There’s no way I can ever be that good, and it’s so depressing. I feel like I’m talking myself out of it again . . .

Do you think America is ready for “I Love You, Phillip Morris,” which is based on the true story of a man who falls in love while in prison and then stages multiple successful escapes to be with his lover after his release?
It seemed to go down very well there at Sundance. It’s a love story, an escape movie and a comedy, all about this man who goes to incredible lengths to be with the man he loves. I like it because it’s a gay film, which is to say it’s a film about two men in love, and I think that’s an important element of it. But it’s not a film about them being gay. They just happen to be gay. I also got to French kiss Jim Carrey a lot, and I quite like that too.

[From The Los Angeles Times]

Ewan hasn’t signed the Polanski petition, so I think he was just saying in general that it was for strange for him to have worked with someone he respects, and that person is now in jail.

In one last Ewan related note, George Clooney was recently asked about his costars on The Men Who Stare At Goats, and he said: “I’m now working with goats, we spent a lot of time together. The goat I had to stare at was a great actor – if you told him to do something he would. Now if I only I had got Ewan to take lessons from him we’d be onto a winner!” Clooney later added: “I was shocked at how fun and normal Ewan is. We would talk about the motorcycle trips he takes across the world – he’s a really interesting guy. He’s good to work with as he puts his work first and when that’s done you know you can have some fun. He’s just a great guy.” I’m telling you, guys – Clooney plus Ewan plus Jeff Bridges plus goats equals genius film!

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46 Responses to “Ewan McGregor: Roman Polanski situation is “strange””

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  1. mandajamin says:

    yum yum and yum

  2. Iggles says:

    He sounds like a polanski sympathizer. Not good. I like Ewan but I don’t like his comments on the situation.

    I think it’s “strange” that a 40 year old man can rape an 13 year old child, run to Europe and life like a kind despite being a fugitive..

  3. tooey says:

    I love him to bits!

  4. Sigh. says:

    What I find “strange” is an actor who, for once, is admittedly uninformed about the WHOLE situation and is not trying to pose as a lawyer, philosopher, or freedom fighter.


  5. Trillion says:

    Ewan in an acid scene? Oh hell yes!

  6. Pole says:

    Mmmmmmm… Ewan ♥ ♥ ♥

  7. Firestarter says:

    I have always liked him. He is a good actor and seems to know when to keep his mouth shut.

  8. gg says:

    dreeeeeeamy Ewan … :: sigh ::

  9. Sumodo says:

    My boyfriend refers to actors by their Star Wars names. He wouldn’t know Ewan unless I said “Obi Wan.” Sad, verrrry sad.

  10. Mairead says:

    @ Sumodo…. how does he differentiate between Ewan and Alec Guinness then?

  11. Amy says:

    “What I find “strange” is an actor who, for once, is admittedly uninformed about the WHOLE situation and is not trying to pose as a lawyer, philosopher, or freedom fighter.


    no, it sounds like an actor who doesnt wanna comment on the situation because he sympathises with polanski but doesnt want to basically say hes supporting a paedophile.

  12. Codzilla says:

    Mairead: Sadly, it appears the “new” trilogy has usurped the original in the minds of the youngins’. It seems we’re getting old, my friend!

  13. BitterBetty says:

    Et tu, Ewan?

    I agree, Iggles. I think it’s “strange” that some celebrities thinks Polanski’s crimes are ancient history because he’s a famous director now. I think it’s “odd” a convicted pedophile was running around Europe for decades, having sex with a 15 year old, getting fundings to direct high profile movies and winning an Oscar he couldn’t even collect being AN ESCAPED FREAKING FELON. yeah, thats pretty “odd”.

  14. Sigh. says:

    WHATEVER the intent of his statements (or lack of statement, read as you wish), he, unlike A LOT of actors, must recognize that what they say or do DOES have an impact on their success, and is choosing to keep his mouth closed. An actor keeping their trap shut = strange.

    I am NOT a fan (and Polanski can rot), but IF he does sympathize, S’ing-T-F-U is a lead his fellow actors should follow, because he’s obviously not alone in his loyalty to Nasty Man (for some sick reason).

    To this day, Jane Fonda is STILL living down her political statements made decades ago.

  15. original kate says:

    i’ll bet ewan is a naughty, naughty boy…yummy!

  16. Cowbell says:

    [quote]But I wouldn’t comment upon it because it’s a very complicated issue, you know? It seems odd. He’s been living in Switzerland for years and I’ve visited him there, so this is all very strange.[/quote]

    I believe he is saying that he thinks it’s strange that he was arrested because afterall he’s been living in Switerzland for years. To me, he’s not saying much because he doesn’t understand why after all these years he was arrested.

    Whatev. I am just glad he didn’t prattle on about what a great cinematographer Polanski is. Yes, he makes good movies. But he should have done his time for raping that girl.

  17. hannah says:

    i would love to see ewan work with depp, that would be awesome…especially if they could work in a long, drawn out sex scene together;)

  18. Sumodo says:

    @Mairead Easy! That’s Original Obi Wan.

  19. Giz says:

    It’s the old, “well it wasn’t my daughter, so what’s the big deal” mentality. If it were some unknown schmoe and/or their daughter, they’d be screaming for his testicles. What I find interesting is that some of the same directors/actors defending Polanski, were the same individuals who thought it that Elia Kazan should have been forgiven for the lives he helped to ruined during the McCarthy era. No, the two instances aren’t alike, but it does make you think.

    Regardless of what Ewan thinks about the Polanski case, at least he’s had the common decency to keep it to himself.

  20. cara says:

    I’m pretty sure he has three young daughter’s, that could have something to do with his not signing the petition. Let’s hope it stays that way.

  21. fizXgirl314 says:

    I kind of feel the same way about Daniel Day Lewis… Damn I’d do him 😐

  22. YoMomma says:

    What movie was he in that Polanski directed? I’ve loved him ever since Moulin Rouge. He can really sing.

  23. Cea says:

    He looks so gay in these pictures. Not digging the quaff he’s sporting.

  24. Nita says:

    I like Ewan. He has a boyish charm about him and its good to know that his favourite is my favourite too! Johnny Depp! I think Depp is the greatest actor around if I was an actor, it would be Depp I would want to work with too!

  25. ksue says:

    Oh, Ewan and Johnny Depp – not sure i could stand the heat. I have loved him forever and ever…

  26. clementine says:

    oh 🙂 you guys are on a witchhunt again, huh?

    First off Mr. Polanski did not rape anyone (read wiki for the explaination of rape). He admitted to unlawfully having sex as part of a plea bargain the judge tried to renege on. This girl was very sexually mature for her age, even the judge said “the prosecutrix was a well-developed young girl, who looked older than her years, and regrettably not unschooled in sexual matters.” She had a 17 year old boyfriend whjo she had sex with previously. She had used both the sedative Quaalude and alchohol before. She knew what she was doing. This was clearly a case of consensual sexual relations.

  27. 88Modesty88 says:

    YoMomma, Ewan’s in the movie that Polanski is trying to finish in prison. I think it’s called The Ghost (with Pierce Brosnan as well).

  28. babybiceps says:

    I agree with Cowbell, except for the fact Polanski lived in France, not Switzerland.

    It struck me as “strange” as well. Like many people I was familiar with the situation for a long time, and found it at least odd he lived in freedom all this time.

    I just assumed the US justice system didn’t find it high priority or something and would let it rest till his death, provided he’d never return to the US.

    So, in short: Why now, after all this time? And that’s what I think is what Ewan is trying to say.

    Regardless, now that he’s in prison, keep him there.

  29. Cece says:

    I’m sure all these supporters would feel a bit different if it were THEIR daughter Polanski got his hands on

  30. Granger says:

    clementine, I agree that the sex was consensual, but that’s not really the point, is it? When a grown-up has sex with a child, it’s statutory rape, no matter how you cut it. And in this case, Polanski was CLEARLY a grown-up and she was CLEARLY a child.

    I don’t care how sexually active a 13-year-old is, she still isn’t as emotionally or mentally mature as a 30-plus year old man. She may have been the most beautiful, sexy, and flirtatious 13-year-old he’d ever met, but he was still the adult in the room, and he should have had the wherewithal to realize that if he had sex with her, he’d be taking advantage of her both physically AND emotionally. Especially considering that, as an influential Hollywood director, he wielded some pretty frightening power over her, an “aspiring” actress. That alone makes him pretty sick, in my opinion.

  31. coucou says:

    What i would like to know is WHY this 13 year old was hanging out with Polanski and Nicholson? Was she a child of one of their friends?

    Ewan is hot, and has to be neutral re Polanski due to his having recently worked with him…but i doubt he’d be so neutral if this happened to one of his daughters.

  32. CourtneyH says:

    How was the sex consensual? She testified that she made up a story about her having asthma to get out of the hot tub, and then when he took her to a room to get changed, he performed oral sex on her as well as raped her vaginally and anally as she repeatedly said “No” and “Stop”. Textbook definition of rape.

    Her sexual history does not matter in the eyes of the law, though I’m sure the misogynistic judge thought it did during the 70s. Prostitutes, strippers, ANYONE can be raped. It doesn’t matter if you just got done with the whole football team– if you tell the next person “no” or “stop” and they don’t, it’s RAPE.

  33. Jazz says:

    @hannah – I like the way you think! 😉

  34. princess pea says:

    I really don’t think he’s a secret Polanski fan, or however you want to put it. It IS strange. It is strange to have made a film with a highly respected director, who still receives Oscar noms, even, and then to have that guy arrested and in prison before the movie is even finished. It is strange that the US government ignored this for so long; you can admit that it’s not a new case and that his whereabouts were NOT unknown. I imagine it would feel really weird if one of my bosses or colleagues was arrested today for something they did in the 70s, having walked around free for all this time. I am NOT saying that makes what Polanski did okay, just that it is strange. I can sympathize with Ewan on that level.

  35. Gladdy says:

    Big Fish – god he was good in that….I cry my eyes out at the end every time I see it.

  36. Bill Hicks is God says:

    Princess Pea, “strange” isn’t the word, this is more along the lines of mondo-bizarro.

  37. Anonymous says:



    WTF is so hard for some — not everyone, but some — of you to grasp? Whether she had sex willingly with some other other person is MEANINGLESS. The minute she said stop, begged for him to stop, pleaded with him to stop AND HE ANALLY PENETRATED her instead… Um… RAPE.

    Why is it if a 27 year old woman is raped, and the hospital and police say, “Yes, she said no, she pleaded with her attacker to stop, look at her brusies! Look at her pain!” none of you would be saying, “Well, she’s 27 and obviously had sex before so it can’t possibly be rape?”

    If it were anyone else, and even those of you who have said “she was sexually experienced,” or “it was so long ago,” know it’s true: you’d want him to go to jail. You would want that, and you’d feel bad for the 13 year old girl he hurt. Anyone should pay if they committ a crime and run away like a skeevy coward. I pray he’ll get what’s coming to him and I pray that some of you will seriously rethink your statements. I have seldom been so hurt by humanity than I was when respectable, intelligent people have come out to support a pedophile. Have said it’s not “rape-rape.” I don’t think you need to HAVE daughters to care about sexual violence against women or to feel as though every woman, regardless of age, has a right to safety and health.

  38. Iggles says:

    clementine – you haven’t got your facts strange. It wasn’t “just” statutory rape — which is heinous too — this man ignored her pleas for him to stop. That is rape in every sense of the word. Her sexual past is irrelevant.

    CourtneyH and Anonymous – I applaud you both for setting the record straight. This man is a rapist plain and simple.

  39. Firestarter says:

    Clemetine- It is illegal to have sex with a 13yr old!That is the LAW! Are you dense? You think it is okay for a 40 yr old ADULT male to have “consensual” sex with a 13 year old CHILD? You would be okay with a 40 yr old plying your 13 year old with liquor and pills, RAPING her? Seriously, did you even think before you posted that nonsense. Ever hear of STATUTORY RAPE? It matters not if she willingly (which she didn’t) had sex, the bottom line, what he did was illegal, sick and criminal.
    I would hate to think that you are the type of person who would say that a woman deserved getting raped because she wore a short skirt and had a drink with a man, because that it how your statement sounds to me. A 13 yr old is not someone a NORMAL 40 yr old man should be having sex with. That is called PEDOPHILIA! Look it up. By the way, I would hardly use Wiki as my source for accurate ref. as it is notoriously incorrect with many things, since the public is allowed to add citations. Just a thought.

  40. TaylorB says:


    I have been sexually active for decades. Does that mean that if I say ‘no’ to someone it does not constitute rape, because I am already sexually active?

    You have asked us to read the Wiki definition of rape, well in turn please read the testimony of the girl in question. She said no, several times, and was drugged and drunk, and beyond that she was 13 and he was in his 40’s. People have consensual sexual relationships (doing, at times, things that make others squirm but they are consenting adults and it is a personal choice) but all sexual relations should involve at the core honesty, equality, and respect; when one of the partners says no or a safe word, then the sex must stop, if it does not, it is rape. A 40+ year old who has drugged up a 13 year old and has sex with them is not engaging in an equal or respectful act.

  41. Firestarter says:

    Good post TaylorB!

  42. Praise St. Angie! says:

    frankly, I don’t need Wikipidia (seriously?!) to tell me the definition of rape.

    Rape is when one person is forced to engage in a sexual act against his or her will. That’s what this was, cut and dry.

    for anyone to say that it was consensual is a) a rapist themselves b) an apologist for Polanski or c) completely oblivious to what constitutes rape.

    regardless of how she looked (mature beyond the age of 13), or whether or not she had previously engaged in sex is IRRELEVANT to the case.

  43. Zoe (The Other One) says:

    Oh clementine. Dear me. So by your reckoning anyone who is sexually experienced, sexually active or acts in a provocative fashion can’t be raped? Is the air thin where you are? Perhaps it’s affecting your rational thought processes? And let’s not use wiki-anything as our basis for proof or facts. Please. It’s unreliable at best.

    In happier news; if Ewan, Johnny and Rebecca Hall ever made a film together it could be about watching paint dry and I’ll still pay to see it thrice daily and buy the DVD.

  44. Sakota says:

    What the fuck is wrong with Hollywood that they are supporting this filth? He’s not Nelson Madela or some jailed African on the verge of getting shot for protesting white racism. He RAPED A THIRTEEN YEAR OLD GIRL!

  45. jaz says:

    ewan mcgregor i dont know were to begin.
    his hair looks so soft and smooth
    but even better when he makes his move
    his eyes sparkle were ever he looks at the stars the sun or the moon
    no he aint got the face of a babboon
    he looks at you like an ordanary person because that is what he is
    although you do not see that you just take the piss
    his nose is cute and buttoned to
    but the best thing i like is your smile ewan and that is why i love you.