t's that nice young doing dropping his leather breeks on stage like Iggy Pop? Velvet Goldmine lets the young Scottish star live a life of rock 'n' roll excess.
\i‘i/or'as: Alan Morrison
SCOTLAND HAS HAD ITS FAIR SHARE OF ROCK 'N' roll legends. from Alex llaryey to Shirley Manson. Strangely enough. Scarlet l’ride aren‘t listed among the greats. But w ho in genteel I’erthshire would haye thought that the hoy hanging on the drums for the school hand. red paint in his spiky hair. would one day perform to an ecstatic audience in Briston Academy and record Vocals with a hacking hands featuring Radiohead's Thom Yorke. Sonic Youth's Thurston Moore and Andy McKay of Roxy .\Itisic'.’
Then again. not cyery schoolhoy from (‘rieff has enjoyed the same meteoric rise to fame as Iiwan Mc(it‘cgot'. Back in his teens. the closest he got to rock 'n‘ roll fame was a Billy Idol haircut and an lilyis poster on his hcdroom wall. Now. in Todd Ilaynes‘ glam rock film. li’ll't'l Goldmine ~ which opens the 1998 Iidinhurgh International liilm I‘estiyal. prior to a general cinema release in ()ctoher
.\lc(}regor liyes out his musical dreams in a manner that owes more than a passing nod to Iggy lknx
"Yeah. there's certainly a lot of Mr I’op in there.‘ the actor admits. ‘lleh. heh. heh. .\lr l’op - it sounds like an ice lolly.‘
.'\lc'(}i'egtii"s character. American rock star ‘(‘urt Wild’. hecomes the ohsession and inspiration of Bowie—esque Brian Slade (Jonathan Rhys Meyers). Slade then hecomes a huge hit with British audiences during the 7()s heforc a hotchcd publicity stunt causes him to go into hiding.
‘A mad rock ‘n‘ roller.’ is how .Vlc(iregor descrihes his role. 'Ile‘s completely tip for it. On stage he’s an eshihitionist child. This was just a hirthday present of a part. it was an amazing piece of writing and [We always had a desperate desire to he a rock star. I thought if I played one I‘d get over it. hut it seems to haye had the reyerse effect.‘
Those muso longings have frequently floated to the surface in .\lc(}regor‘s career -— the musical interludes in Lipstick On Your ('o/lur. the otherwise superfluous drtun kit in the Slut/lair (z'rui't' flat. the karaoke routine in A [.1]? Less ()nlinury and the same film‘s hurst of unaccompanied ()asis. But the actor would he the first to admit that glam rock isn‘t his chosen field.
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'l was neyer really into glam rock.‘ he says. 'I thought it was a hit. you know. silly. I rememher watching 'l'op (If The Pops and seeing these guys with weird hair and make-up. and wondering. "What are they looking like that for‘.’". Iiyeryone looked a shamhles. I got off lightly in the film and liked what I wore - lots of hleached hlond wigs. leather. smudged mascara and silyer hipsters. I‘m the hutchest person in it. We definitely shouldn‘t go hack to wearing flowery shirts and flares — they look i‘idictilousf
Neyerthclcss. the Iggy Pop style of performance helped giye him an edge. 'I foolishly asked if I could do my singing liye. hut it‘s worked out well and I find that exciting.’ says .VIcUregor. 'Iiyeryone sings with an American accent anyway. so that‘s not hard. and the vocals come from the thrashing around on stage. hut it‘s definitely the most physical part I‘ye done.‘
And. yes. like some of his preyious films. there‘s a particular ‘physical part‘ of Iiwan McUregor that makes an appearance on screen. Ilc could of course claim that Iggy Pop is renowned for dropping his trousers and letting his talent hang out. But an interview in Details magazine regarding the forthcoming Star Wars prequel — in which he plays the young ()hi-Wan Kenohi — indicates that the flasher impulse is very much McGregor‘s own.
‘I'm just waiting for that moment.‘ he said. ’to drop my Jedi knickers and pull out my real light sahre.’
At least he‘s still got a lust for life.
I've always had a desperate desire to be a rock star. I thought if I played one I'd get over it, but it seems to have had the reverse EffECt.' Ewan McGregor
Velvet Goldmine (Film Festival) Odeon, 623 8030, 16 Aug, 10pm, £6.50 (£4).