Put simply, Ewan McGregor has not had the most conventional Hollywood career. Sure, he's been in critically acclaimed films like Velvet Goldmine, Trainspotting, and Big Fish and box-office hits like Star Wars and Moulin Rouge!. But McGregor, who turns 45 on March 31st, has never been content with the road more travelled: he's experimented with dark psychological thrillers (Shallow Grave), wacky romantic comedies (Down With Love), and a host of downright weird cinematic adventures (I Love You Phillip Morris). Add in award-winning documentary series and you get one of the bravest and most unconventional careers out there.
To celebrate 45 fascinating years, here are just a few of the moments that made us all love Ewan McGregor.
Getting Busy With Batman
Velvet Goldmine is a surreal, glitzy look at the English music scene (and the rumored love affair between the late David Bowie and Iggy Pop). While the whole film is a feast for the eyes and the ears—in particular McGregor's version of 'TV Eye' needs to be heard to be believed—the actor particularly loves retelling the story of one special scene with Christian Bale. McGregor also uses the opportunity to discuss the fact that while he has no problem doing sex scenes (and has frequently appeared nude on camera), they're not exactly the most enjoyable of experiences—despite what audiences may think.
Carry A Tune
If you haven't heard Ewan McGregor sing, you're in for a real treat: the actor is a gifted musical talent, and has lent his vocals to numerous performances. Moulin Rouge! in particular showcased his singing chops (and those of Nicole Kidman) against a lush and visually stunning background. Even for people who don't like musicals, this is one to try. But McGregor does more than showtunes; he rocked out in Velvet Goldmine, and performed a touching tribute to David Bowie shortly after the singer's death.
The Force Awakens?
Many young fans know and adore McGregor for his role as a young Obi-Wan Kenobi in the Star Wars prequels (and he's widely considered one of the best parts of the whole trilogy). McGregor was unabashedly giddy about being part of the franchise (he lent his voice to The Force Awakens as well), and took particular delight in his light-saber skills. Admit it: if you were a Jedi, you'd show off too.
Before he was battling it out in a galaxy far, far away, McGregor was earning his street cred with dark and gritty independent films like Danny Boyle's Trainspotting. The pitch-black comedy about heroin addiction struck a chord with audiences around the world, and gave birth to one of the most disturbing scenes ever put onscreen. McGregor recently confirmed that after much rumor and hearsay, the sequel will finally begin production in May of this year. This is one followup (based on Irvine Welsh's book Porno) you definitely don't want to miss.
In between making a wide variety of acclaimed movies, McGregor is also a huge motorcycle fan who's done numerous documentaries on his favorite hobby. He's traveled the world on a bike and even used these endeavors as a way to raise awareness for charities close to his heart. But through all his adventures and pratfalls, his most memorable occasion may be the time he ran out of gas... in the middle of Utah. Even celebrities can have mechanical issues, although few could retell the story with quite the same humor and panache as McGregor.