I try to catch him out with a question primed to expose the inner rnegalornaniac. ‘This isn‘t the first time you've appeared in a musical.‘ 1 say. ‘You played an Iggy Pop look and soundalike in Velvet Goldmine. So. have you always wanted to be a rock star‘."

‘At that point.‘ he says. ‘I was going through a mad ()asis

thing.‘ Here we go . . . I've caught him . . . but no. he gets all self-deprecatory . . . ‘I became incredibly fanatical about them

in a way that was embarrassing beyond my years. I was having an obsession that I should have had when l was sixteen for another band. but didn’t and then had it when I was 24 and married with a baby. To get over that I decided to sing with them live to see if it would give me a bit of a taste of what it would be like to be a rock star. Which it did.‘

As I say. down to earth (though quite when liwan ‘played live‘ with ()asis is uncertain: he introduced them at the 19%

MTV Music Video Awards. sang their b-side ‘Round Our Way‘ in A Life Less ()nlinmjv and hung out with them after

the movie premiere. but we‘ve traced no evidence of a live appearance). What‘s less in doubt is liwan's musical background. At school the fee-paying Morrison’s Academy in (‘rieff he was more interested in music than academic work. because of the ‘performance element'. He sang in the choir. played French horn and drummed in both the pipe band and. he‘s embarrassed to recall. the school rock group. At home his father is musical. ‘so it‘s always been around‘. And liwan loves old (lolden lira Hollywood musicals from the 30s and 40s. ‘()n a wet afternoon. there‘s nothing quite like it. sitting by the fireplace watching one of them.‘

Bored by school and inspired by his uncle. the actor and director Denis Lawson. liwan dropped out before his Highers. still only sixteen (he‘s amazed his parents let him do that. both being teachers and all). He continued his interest in music at drama school in London. which. he says. he sting his way through. Sung his way. in fact. into Dennis Potter's television musical Lipstiek On Your ('n/lur. It brought him to public

18 THE LIST 642‘; Sept 708‘.

Ewan says Moulin Rouge y in

was‘asgoodasitgots'as ., an acting challenge, but we’re not 108;. "

attention. got him his first ever front cover shot in 1993 in a publication called. oh yes. The List. a magazine whose cover he has graced a record-breaking eight times including this issue. liwan‘s first film appearance was in Being Human. the unfairly-ma!igned and now rarely seen Bill l‘orsyth drama which spans 6000 years of human history. His three films with Danny Boyle. Andrew Macdonald and John Hodge. the creative team behind .S'lrul/mt- (imve. 'li'uins/mniirg and A Life Less ()nliirmjv. set liwan tip for international stardom (though let's not talk about them succumbing to pressure to cast Leonardo l)i(‘aprio in their fourth lilm. 'I'lie Bette/1). But though liwan‘s probably the most

f” A « .s- —<‘-s'> . ~-_ .- .. .~ { ‘l t ; l til-{:1\J all; (i. successlul actor of his Brrtpack generation ,.,,: - A; pimp certainlv he‘s the most hard—working. making .\ J t :t 15 i; 1th: ‘1 _ - . _ e u e y l ' y i lrlrns back-to-back since playing the Leith drug l' 1! H734": abuser Renton in 1995 —— he‘s shunned f 3% ; rmfaxflal-r Hollvwood. In a recent interview he said. "l'he :5 1.. rte £7491 r"— ' - . ,. svstem makes me sick . . . thev put actors onto A. it ' \trplry lest-1,7 m . .h . . e i t. .. rc.‘ :s-ttlyfir it ts a; (CL: B and ( lists according to how much money each '— v t??? person can make for the studio.’

\ Y - '3‘} l: k. l' {w - ’_ r m‘ l ; “fl E31833 L“ if?“ m .1 x.) Ln. .4 - w l Ar vs Emil” 1M3 i Erma.

Far right: In 1993 we gave Ewan his first front cover and said, ‘He looks certain to be high profile for the next couple of months at least’

Ah. but didn‘t he make The l’liunrimr .llenuee. a film which prioritises digital effects over human performances and which places commerce before art'.’ Yes! But then a cursory glance at liwan‘s filmography reveals a list of titles largely comprised of small dramas and arthouse films. from the grim-up-north black comedy Bl'llSXt't/ ()flto Peter (‘rreenaway's 'l'lie l’illmr lino/t. And though he's had his llops Nile/Initial]. lllt’ liiW’ (Hill/Iv lit'ltultlt'l‘ ~ liwan's‘ (‘V is ltlll of enough hits Iimmu. Little l'niee. most of the films mentioned above - to keep him at the level of success where he can be choosy about the roles he wants to play.

Here’s another thing about liwan: though he‘s made it into the top ten of more than one glossy maga/ine readers‘ poll of most fanciable man. sexiest movie character. etc. he’s not the first name which springs to mind when thinking of top-rate