Ewan McGregor was Christopher Plummer’s acting partner for his Oscar-winning turn in Beginners in 2011 and now the Scottish actor is back on screen opposite Emily Blunt in Salmon Fishing in the Yemen. In honor of the charming film, we have gone over the esteemed actor’s career and selected our Top 10 Ewan McGregor Movies.
McGregor jumped at the chance to work with esteemed director Steven Soderbergh (what are his top 10 movies?) on the helmer’s first action picture. The actor had to learn to fight the film’s star Gina Carano, a professional MMA fighter, and lived to tell the tale. The film also allowed him to portray a different sort of character, someone who is not as affable as we’re used to seeing from McGregor.
9. Big Fish
Another movie and another huge director for McGregor to add to his resume arrived with Big Fish. Tim Burton directed the story that many called a modern day Wizard of Oz. The film showcased McGregor’s talents as he worked in tandem with a British legend in Albert Finney as both played the same character.
8. Black Hawk Down
Another great director called and McGregor answered when Ridley Scott cast him in the true story of an American helicopter team trapped behind enemy lines in Somalia. Showing another side of his talent spectrum, the actor was every bit the U.S. Marine living under the cloud of the possibility of death arriving at any moment.
7. The Ghost Writer
In The Ghost Writer, McGregor played the yin to Pierce Brosnan’s yang in a chilling tale that is one of the most underrated of his career. Watching those two actors go at it scene after scene, is one of the great joys of this film. The fact that it is also a truly compelling story is a plus as well.
6. Brassed Off
A film packed with such warmth, joy and heart, Brassed Off follows the exploits of a UK brass orchestra and its efforts to become national champions. McGregor’s charm is on full display and a great film is made even better because of the actor’s presence.
Trainspotting is the film that put McGregor on the map in 1996. The debaucherous story of Edinburgh drug addicts and their lives is as disturbing as it is deliciously real. The toilet scene is still one of the actor’s most memorable of his career.
4. I Love You Phillip Morris
On paper, a love story between Jim Carrey and McGregor’s character may seem like a reach. But the duo are impeccable as two souls who find love while locked away in the darkness of prison.
The quintessential Jane Austen cinematic version of Emma, this 1996 romance starred Gwyneth Paltrow as the title character and featured McGregor as Frank Churchill. With this work, McGregor proved that he can do it all, period pieces, action films, dramas and comedy.
McGregor played the son to Plummer’s coming-out-of-the-closet-at-75 father. Beginners was one of the actor’s greatest performances and his volley with Plummer easily set up the legend to earn his first Oscar. The younger performer's character was expertly played by McGregor and had layers of nuance that only he could have brought out of an individual nursing a broken heart over the loss of his mother as well as dealing with the reality that is his newly announced gay father.
1. Moulin Rouge
McGregor can sing! Who knew? Opposite Nicole Kidman, McGregor took the challenge of making a movie musical and hit it out of the park. His version of Elton John’s Your Song is still one of our favorite music moments from the movies. His performance is a perfect example of the excellence that is the actor proving that he is truly just getting started.