Ewan McGregor: Daddy Complex

Starring as a gay father’s son in Beginners, Ewan McGregor cracks open the Hollywood closet, challenges casual homophobia, and considers the legacy of I Love You Phillip Morris.

BY Brandon Voss

June 03 2011 12:50 AM ET

EWAN MCGREGOR BEGINNERS X390 (FOCUS) | ADVOCATE.COMWhy isn’t Oliver more shocked or upset upon discovering that his father is gay?
He’s meeting a new dad. Mike talks about how much more emotionally available and accessible his gay father was to him than his straight dad was, so I think Mike actually benefited from his father’s coming-out. He had a richer relationship with him before he died. So, like Mike, Oliver was happy for his dad to finally feel like he could be himself. I’m really fascinated by Mike’s story. When I first met him, I was hungry for details about his life and what his relationship had been like with his father and his mother. I was more interested in finding out about the story than I was about the script or the film.

Like Beginners, I Love You Philip Morris also deals with a gay awakening. Why do you think it took so long for Phillip Morris to —
To come out? It’s sort of funny, the idea of the film being in the closet.

Yes, exactly. And once it did come out in the U.S., it struggled to find an audience. Although Beginners also focuses on a gay relationship that’s based on a true story, does it have more mainstream appeal?
No, I think Philip Morris is more mainstream. Beginners feels like much more of a lovely art movie to me. I really don’t know why Phillip Morris didn’t come out for so long, but I don’t know that it was purely its gay nature that prevented it from being released. I think it was with a distributor that ended up going bust or something. But Jim Carrey was in that big Christmas Carol movie, and I did hear rumors that Disney didn’t want to have Phillip Morris released before that because they didn’t want people to think that Ebenezer Scrooge was gay. It’s like, bloody fuckin’ hell, that’s unbelievable if we’re going to go to that level.

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