Ewan McGregor has been promoting the release of his directorial debut, American Pastoral, and in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter where he reflected on his time working on the Star Wars prequels. He spoke about reading the script for The Phantom Menace for the first time, working with Yoda, and the amount of blue screen that was used in the prequels. You can watch Ewan discuss the prequels below,
When he was asked to reflect on his first meeting with George Lucas, McGregor said,
I don’t remember. I remember my first, one I had the job, I remember I had to go to studios in Watford, the north of London where they shot all the Harry Potter movies. And it’s now like an attraction, I think (...) You can go there and see Harry Potter World but when we worked there, it was an old-factory. It wasn’t really a film studio yet. And they took over because it’s an enormous thing, Star Wars. So they took over. I remember going there meeting George and being allowed to read the script. So I had to read it in the producer’s office like literally being almost locked in with the script, so that it doesn’t get leaked and then being shown around the sets with George and walking around and I remember we looked. There was a great big submarine thing that I end up in with Liam and Jar Jar Binks. And then I remember looking at these props, this art department guys sort of carving this huge polystyrene thing into the submarine and there was a cockpit. And I looked at it and I went will be go under? He looked at me and went, “What?” I said will we go underwater with it. And he looked at me like I was insane. [LAUGHTER] He said, “None of that it’s real, you know.” And I went oh, yeah.
On the amount of blue screen used in the prequels, McGregor said,
Well, it was more and more blue screen as we went along. The first one I remember more sets. And there was like an environment to work in and as we got into episode two and three, they moved the shoot to Australia and we were shooting in Australia in the studio there in Sydney. By that point, it became more and more blue screen and green screen. I thought it was a shame. You know, in the first one I worked with Yoda like it was on set. Frank Oz I think was operating him with his team of people. And I scenes with Yoda, it was amazing. It was like working with a star that you have known all your life, you know. [LAUGHTER] I worked with Yoda today and it was easy to work with him. He was like a good actor. [LAUGHTER] And when he said cut, you know, you’d be really in the moment with Yoda and then they would go cut and all the puppeteers would stop. So Yoda would be like this, suddenly die. And you’d always go are you OK? Are you OK? [LAUGHTER] And then by episode two and three, he was, and R2D2 was the same way. It was computer generated. It was a shame not to be sort of working with the real thing.
McGregor also did a Twitter Q&A to promote American Pastoral, where he was asked who he would want to play his Jedi padawan should he make another Star Wars film (or two, or three),
American Pastoral opens in theaters on October 21st, check out the trailer below,
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