cover image Ewan McGregor: The Unauthorized Biography

Ewan McGregor: The Unauthorized Biography

Billy Adams. Overlook Press, $13.95 (280pp) ISBN 978-0-87951-704-5

According to his awestruck biographer, 29-year-old, publicity-shy Scottish actor Ewan McGregor is set to metamorphose from indie-favorite to megastar with the May release of his next film--Star Wars Episode One: The Phantom Menace, in which he plays the young Obi-Wan Kenobi. This detailed and well-documented portrait will reach bookstores in advance of the upcoming glut of McGregor biographies (by May, there will be four others), and should be hard to best, as Adams got there first, and had access to McGregor's family and close friends. McGregor's near-idyllic childhood in Crieff and almost storybook luck in landing a top British miniseries right out of school doesn't make for compelling reading, but Adams writes clearly and knowledgeably about his film work. The key to McGregor's success, he says, is his blend of on-screen charisma, a determination to be an ""actor"" not a ""star,"" and his ability to forge propitious relationships with other filmmakers. Adams expertly documents the successful teaming of McGregor with director Danny Boyle and writer John Hodge, who created Shallow Grave and Trainspotting. McGregor has not only starred in 15 pictures in five years, but has chosen his roles well, appearing in such acclaimed films as The Pillow Book, Emma and Velvet Goldmine. These choices have created a strong, loyal following with film buffs more than huge box office receipts. All that is likely to change with Star Wars, though his longevity as a cinema icon remains to be seen. 25 b&w photographs. (May)