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Ewan McGregor: British Film and Stars

jclarke | Thursday December 20, 2012

Categories: A Level, EDUQAS A Level, EDUQAS AS, FM2, Section B: British Film Topics, Analysis, Film Analysis, Film Industry, Film Distribution, Film Marketing, Film Publicity, Film Promotion, Production Companies, Films & Case Studies, Non-Hollywood Films, Trainspotting, Genres & Case Studies, British Film, Social Realism, Hot Entries, Key Concepts, Audience, Film Language, Representation, Theory, Film Theory


Ewan McGregor is a major British film star who has appeared in a wide range of films that have been released globally since 1994. His career has combined performances in a range of lower budgeted feature films and work in highly budgeted, event films released by the major film studios. Over the course of almost twenty years McGregor has appeared in nearly fifty films.


Professionally trained as an actor at London’s Guildhall, McGregor hails from Scotland and the narrative of his career progression from provincial Scotland to being an internationally recognized film star has been a constant of media coverage and their role in partly constructing his identity as a film star.

In this resource we will focus on McGregor’s work in British movies, specifically: Shallow Grave, The Pillow Book, Brassed Off, Trainspotting, A Life Less Ordinary and Little Voice.

In examining McGregor as a film star it’s appropriate to consider him in terms of three key areas: narrative, audience and representation. It’s correct to say that McGregor has avoided being typecast.  Of his status as a film star, McGregor has said that “..diversity is what I think it’s all about…? (

Understanding an actor’s cultural context is useful in examining their work. The film star is a media text that is encoded with meanings. McGregor was a part of the Cool Britannia cultural moment of the late 1990s. The term Cool Britannia was made very well known when it was used on the March 1997 cover of the American lifestyle magazine Vanity Fair. Significantly, the cultural construction of Cool Britannia tied in with the return of the Labour Party to government under the leadership of Tony Blair in spring 1997. The Spice Girls, Oasis and Blur all formed a part of the Cool Britannia cultural moment and whilst it was a term that was perhaps particularly relevant to pop music and fashion it...

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