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Digital Subscriptions > Psychologies > No. 144 Screw work break free > “I am an optimist. I’m just built that way. I can find joy in many things”

“I am an optimist. I’m just built that way. I can find joy in many things”

From gritty indie darling in the 1990s, to polished Hollywood superstar in the noughties – and now a serious director too… We celebrate the depth and daring of Ewan McGregor

This has been quite a year for Ewan McGregor, kicking off with the reprisal of his most famous role as Renton in T2 Trainspotting. Twenty years after the original, it feels as if McGregor is not only older, but wiser. Officially, the long gap between the two films was down to director Danny Boyle’s desire to have the cast suitably ravaged by age, in order to pick up the plot in real time, but it may also be because of the infamous rift between McGregor and Boyle, which allegedly began when the lead role in The Beach (2000) went to Oscar winner Leonardo DiCaprio, instead of McGregor.

Having put their differences firmly behind them, McGregor has no hard feelings for his long-time collaborator Boyle, expressing only regret for the years gone by, and the possible projects on which they may have joined forces. ‘As happy as I was to be working together again on T2, it also reminded me of all the years lost that we could have been collaborating, because I’ve always said that he has pulled the best performances out of me. And then there’s all the years of friendship we missed out on…’ says McGregor.

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