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Out of the Archives: Ewan McGregor About Star Wars

Ewan McGregor spoke with the journalists of the Hollywood Foreign Press in 1999 about playing a young Obi-Wan Kenobi in Star Wars: Episode One-The Phantom Menace directed by George Lucas.
“I was six when I saw the first Star Wars, and I was blown away by seeing the film the first time when I was that age, it’s a great age to see it at. Alec Guinness has become a legend for playing that part, and he’s really only in half of the movie, so then becoming him, that was the challenge. One of the most interesting things about playing Obi-Wan was to try and track it back from a guy we know as an older man and work backward, see what he might be like as a younger man, without doing an impersonation of him. I had to make it my part, but, at the same time, with a flavor of Alec.”
“Everything I needed to know was in the first three Star Wars movies, so that’s where my inspiration came from. Then I just put the boots on and the cloak, and that was it really.”
“It’s about creating this world again, to start the whole story up, it’s telling a story, it’s the start of an epic tale, the first part of a nine-part story. It goes back to explore the Jedi Knights, who were always talked about in retrospect, in the three movies that were made before, that they were dying out and there was only a few of them left, but they were always a force to be reckoned with.”
“I wouldn’t personally go and look for the spiritual message in Star Wars, because what’s wonderful about the films is that they work at so many different levels. There is definitely some spiritual side, in the fact that there’s this thing called the Force, but also there’s comedy in it, there’s action. I see them very much as fairytales or fables or legends, in our cynical age where our children are not being taught fairytales anymore. So, in a way this is like a fairytale, you have the prince, the princess, the jester, the wizard, you have characters that we understand, and the fight of good against evil. It also deals with politics in terms of the Trade Federation, which I don’t understand, but anyway it’s all there.”
“The really strong Star Wars fans want it to be the same experience as it was when they saw it the first time when they were kids, but now they’re adults, and it’s not going to be quite the same thing. So, these movies are for the next generation, for our kids.”
“I really like the fact that this film is for children, that they can go and see it. I haven’t made a film yet that kids could or would want to see, so it was great last night watching the film, I hadn’t seen it before, seeing the reaction of the kids in the audience reminded me very much of me being a kid when I watched the first one because I think that children are brilliant.”