By Staff Writer
Original Source: soberinfo.com
Ewan McGregor was the world’s most famous junkie in 1996. The low-budget adaptation of Irvine Welsh’s novel Trainspotting was blowing expectations out of the water, as McGregor and the rest of the cast portrayed the stylish travails of heroin addiction in Edinburgh, Scotland. With its perfect BritPop soundtrack, cutting edge fashion, and dashing young cast, the film took McGregor — on only his second feature film — to the brink of stardom.
He would cash that leverage in, going on to appear in A Life Less Ordinary with Cameron Diaz, the musical Moulin Rouge with Nicole Kidman, and as young Obi-Wan Kenobi in the Star Wars prequels.
It’s ironic, then, that a man whose moment in the sun began with his portrayal of an inveterate junkie is now a staunch teetotaler. McGregor never was much for drugs; he considered trying heroin as he researched his role for Trainspotting, but decided against it. However, his drinking was the stuff of legend. McGregor would sometimes arrive to shoots drunk and continue to drink between takes; he once got so drunk he did his Iggy Pop impersonation in front of Iggy Pop.
It was 2001 when the actor decided to sober up. He told The Independent that the decision really wasn’t all that difficult: “I drank too much and it made me really unhappy, so I just thought, ‘I won’t drink and then I can be happy’.” All these years later, though, he wonders about the colleagues that enabled him by looking the other way: “None of my directors ever said, ‘You know, I’d rather you didn’t drink at work.’ None of them. And they must have known…I was reeking of (alcohol).”
It’s possible that they were aware, as McGregor suspects, but simply feared to confront the man who was — by that point — a bona fide star. After all, we’re talking an actor big enough to play Obi Wan Kenobi, and cool enough to actually turn down a chance to play James Bond. That’s right; before Daniel Craig was cast, Ewan McGregor passed.
He suspects that in the early years, the alcohol inhibited his professional technique; he once said “When you work drunk, you find one way to play a scene and that’s it.” It seems he’s right; sobriety has certainly been good for McGregor. His range has increased, and he’s found steady work on screen and stage.
Recently, McGregor won his first Golden Globe, for his role on the Coen brothers’ miniseries Fargo. In 2018, he’ll appear in the widely-anticipated Christopher Robin, which follows Pooh’s childhood friend into adulthood, where the pair reconnect.