Ewan McGregor Reveals How J.J. Abrams Recruited Him for ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’

     March 29, 2016

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When J.J. Abrams kicked off a new Star Wars trilogy with Star Wars: The Force Awakens, he did so with a keen eye looking back towards the franchise’s earlier installments for inspiration (check out the side-by-side video comparison to A New Hope, for an example). The film was filled with callbacks and references, and one of the fun nods for fans was a voiceover cameo from Ewan McGregor‘s Obi-Wan Kenobi when Rey first lays her hands on Luke Skywalker’s old light saber.

While speaking with McGregor for Don Cheadle‘s Miles Davis biopic Miles Ahead, Steve Weintraub took the opportunity to ask the actor about his cameo line in The Force Awakens and how he got involved. Watch for yourself in the video below, or scroll through to read his comments.


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McGregor revealed that the cameo was Abrams’ idea and that he recorded his line a mere matter of weeks before the film hit theaters.

I was literally emailed by JJ Abrams. I don’t know how he got my email, but he emailed me out of the blue weeks before the film came out. Like really, weeks, saying “I really feel like you should be involved somehow. It feels right that you’re a part of it in some way, and there’s a scene where Rey is in this sort of dream land and I want to hear Alec Guinness — I want to hear Obi-Wan Kenobi’s voice speaking to her.” So I replied saying “I’ve been waiting for the call”. [Laughs] I was happy to go in. So I got a chance to go — I was editing a film I directed just here, and I jumped on my motorbike after the edit was finished, rode over to their lot and met JJ for the first time and he took me in.

 

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Image via Lucasfilm

McGregor also talked about how he returned to Alec Guinness’ iconic performance as a source of inspiration.

We started by — obviously, there’s just a simple line of dialogue. We maybe did three or four alt lines, but there was only to be a line. So we started looking at my work from the first three episodes and then I suddenly thought when I was doing it I was only watching Alec Guinness’s work because I was trying to be Alec Guinness so watching me maybe isn’t the most helpful thing.” So immediately he pulled up lots of Alec, he said to someone “Get lots of Alec Guinness scenes.” So we pulled up lots of Alec Guinness scenes, watched them, and then we recorded the line. Because that’s always what I did. I’d be in my dressing room just watching Alec Guinness and then I’d go on set. I was trying very hard to be Alec Guinness as a young man.


Miles Ahead arrives in theaters and Star Wars: The Force Awakens lands on Blu-ray and DVD, April 1st, Catch up with all things Star Wars here, or check out some of our most recent coverage in the articles below:

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