The Atonement actor's heavy Scottish brogue often confuses Americans - and when they discover where he hails from, many presume he is Trainspotting star McGregor.
McAvoy says, "Even now, in America, people will go, 'Hey, I didn't know you were Irish.' You go, 'I'm not.' They go, 'What? Where are you from? Australia?' What?
"People hear your accent and go, 'Are you Ewan McGregor?' I look nothing like him."
McAvoy's first major movie role came in 2005's The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, and he went on to win a string of high profile parts in period dramas, including a turn in 2006's The Last King of Scotland and Atonement a year later (07).
And the 30 year old is adamant he only found fame fame in Hollywood because he doesn't fit in the movie industry's usual mould for leading men.
He says, "People sometimes ask me why I get cast in so many period roles - The Last King Of Scotland, Atonement and my latest film, The Last Station, which takes place in 19th-century Russia, have all taken place at various times in the past.
"It may sound strange, but I think it's because I'm pale and thin.
"If you look at most of the big Hollywood actors, it's getting harder and harder to find someone who has pale skin: they are tanned, they have perfect teeth and gorgeous buff bodies. Me, I look like a malnourished urchin, and there aren't too many of us around.
"I'm healthy, but I've never been a big guy, which is unusual for a Scottish actor, because, if you look at Sean Connery, Gerard Butler or Ewan McGregor, you'll see that they're big men, and I'm just a little, skinny, weak guy, and always have been."
Warner Bros.' highly anticipated sci-fi sequel The Matrix Reloaded crushed the competition at the box office with a mind-bending five-day take of $135.7 million*, making it the second best weekend opening of all time. The megahyped actioner also set a new record for the biggest consecutive four-day domestic box office gross in cinema history with $134.3 million, became the highest grossing R-rated film ever and broke the one-day box office record on its formal opening day, with $42.5 million. Reloaded premiered on about 2,750 screens across the country Wednesday night--two hours before its nationwide release Thursday in some 3,603 theaters with a record 8,517 prints. But its early release could also be why it failed to beat Sony Picture's Spider-Man's still-standing record as the best weekend opener of all time.Reloaded went on to gross $93.2 million Friday through Sunday, which was not enough to defeat Spider-Man's record three-day haul of $114.8 million. The previous No. 2 spot was held by Warner's Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone with $90.3 million.Still, Reloaded managed to sell out most evening showtimes despite its restrictive rating, which many industry insiders believed would lessen its chance to reach a broad audience. With the highest playdate count of any R-rated film, Reloaded blew away the previous record for the best opening for an R rated pic, held by Universal's horror sequel Hannibal, which raked in $58 million in its opening weekend in February 2001."This just shows that ratings matter to a point, but if people want to see the movie, they're going to see the movie," Paul Dergarabedian, president of box office tracker Exhibitor Relations Co. told The Associated Press Sunday. "It was review proof and it was ratings proof." "You had a whole legion of fans under 17 whose parents were obviously willing to take them to see this movie," he added. "You can almost call this an R-rated family film."Other R-rated blockbusters opening this summer, including Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, Bad Boys II and American Wedding--the third installment in the American Pie trilogy--will no doubt see Reloaded's weighty box office take as a positive sign. THE TOP TENWarner Bros.' R rated sci-fi sequel The Matrix Reloaded easily debuted at the top of the box office with an ESTIMATED three-day take $93.2 million at 3,603 theaters. The film's $25,884 per theater average was the highest of any film playing this weekend. Its cume is approximately $135.7 million.In the trilogy's second installment, Neo, Trinity and Morpheus continue their battle against the Machines both in and out of the Matrix as mankind has just 72 hours before the destruction of the human city of Zion. Directed by Larry and Andy Wachowski, it stars Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, Carrie-Anne Moss and Hugo Weaving.Sony Pictures' PG-rated Daddy Day Care remained in the No. 2 spot in its second week with an ESTIMATED $19.2 million (-30%) at 3,408 theaters (+38 theaters, $5,634 per theater). Its cume is approximately $51.3 million.Directed by Steve Carr, it stars Eddie Murphy, Jeff Garlin, Steve Zahn, Regina King and Anjelica Huston. Lats week's box office topper, 20th Century Fox's comic book sequel X2: X-Men United skipped second place and went straight to No. 3 in its third week of release with an ESTIMATED $17.1 million (-57%) at 3,489 theaters (-260 theaters, $4,910 per theater average). Its cume is approximately $174 million, heading towards the $200 million mark.Directed by Bryan Singer, it stars Patrick Stewart, Hugh Jackman, Ian McKellen, Halle Berry, Famke Janssen, James Marsden and Rebecca Romijn-Stamos.In fourth place is 20th Century Fox's PG-13 romantic comedy Down With Love, which debuted in one New York theater last week and expanded into 2,123 theaters this week with an ESTIMATED $ 7.5 million, with a $3,573 per theater average. Its cume is approximately $7.6 million.The film, an homage to Doris Day/Rock Hudson movies, follows a feminist writer who knocks heads with a playboy journalist. Directed by Peyton Reed, it stars Renee Zellweger, Ewan McGregor and David Hyde Pierce.Buena Vista's PG rated The Lizzie McGuire Movie fell two notches to fifth place in its third week with an ESTIMATED $4.5 million (-38%) at 2,825 theaters (-167 theaters, $1,693 per theater). Its cume is approximately $32.1 million.Directed by Jim Fall, it stars Hilary Duff, Adam Lamberg and Yani Gellman.*Box office estimates provided by Exhibitor Relations, Inc.Sony Pictures' PG-13 rated comedy Anger Management fell one rung to No. 6 in its sixth week with an ESTIMATED $3.6 million (-37%) at 2,476 theaters (-343 theaters, $1,454 per theater). Its cume is approximately $128.3million.Directed by Peter Segal, it stars Adam Sandler, Jack Nicholson, Marisa Tomei and John Turturro.Sony Pictures' R-rated psychological thriller Identity dropped three places in its fourth week with an ESTIMATED $3.4 million (-48%) at 2,196 theaters (-422, $1,548 per theater). Its cume is approximately $44.8 million.Directed by James Mangold, it stars John Cusack, Ray Liotta, Amanda Peet, Rebecca DeMornay and Alfred Molina. Buena Vista's PG rated teen comedy Holes fell from sixth to eighth place in its fifth week with an ESTIMATED $3 million (-38%) at 2,232 theaters (-220 theaters, $1,344 per theater). Its cume is approximately $45 million.Directed by Andrew Davis, it stars Rick Fox, Sigourney Weaver, Jon Voight, Tim Blake Nelson and Shia LeBeouf. Warner Bros. PG-13 A Mighty Wind, dropped from seventh to No. 9 in its fifth week with an ESTIMATED $1.7 million (-42%) at 770 theaters (+5 theaters; $2,253 per theater). Its cume is approximately $12.1 million. Directed by and starring Christopher Guest, it also stars Michael McKean, Harry Shearer, Bob Balaban, Eugene Levy, Catherine O'Hara and more. Rounding out the Top Ten is Fox Searchlight's PG-13 rated Bend It Like Beckham. The soccer comedy fell one notch in its tenth week of release stateside with an ESTIMATED $1.5 million (-13%) at 553 theaters (-2 theaters, $2,731 per theater). Its cume is approximately 15.1 million.Directed Gurinder Chadha, it stars Parminder Nagra, Keira Knightley and Jonathan Rhys Meyers.OTHERSMiramax Film's G rated animated sequel Pokémon Heroes opened with an ESTIMATED $225,000 at 196 theaters ($1,148 per theater).This is the fifth in the series of Japanese anime films including: Pokemon The First Movie (1999), Pokemon The Movie 2000 (2000), Pokemon 3 The Movie: Spell of the Unknown (2001) and Pokemon 4Ever (2002). Lion Gate's R rated prison drama Sweet Sixteen, meanwhile, debuted in three theaters with an ESTIMATED $30,000, with an impressive $10,000 per theater average.The film revolves around a young teen struggling to realize his dream in the gritty streets of Glasgow while waiting for his mother's release from prison.Directed by Ken Loach, it stars Martin Compston, William Ruane, Annmarie Fulton and Michelle Abercromby.WEEKEND COMPARISONThe Top 12 films this weekend grossed an ESTIMATED $156 million, up a whopping 52.3 percent from last week when they totaled $102.4 million.The Top 12 were down about 4 percent from last year when they totaled $162.6 million.Last year, Fox's PG rated Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones premiered at the top of the box office with $80 million at 3,161 theaters ($25,317 per theater); Sony's PG-13 rated Spider-Man came in second in its third week with with $45 million at 3,615 theaters ($12,458 per theater); and Fox's R rated Unfaithful came in third in its second week with $10 million at 2,624 theaters ($3,816 per theater).
Go to our Box Office section for recent weekend movie analysis.
Even as the world stood still on Tuesday to watch the swearing-in of President Barack Obama -- and the festivities that surrounded it -- Sundance has been heating up with a bevy of deals concluded and more on the way.
Among them: Sony Pictures Classics picked up North American rights to Lone Scherfig's An Education while IFC Films took U.S. rights to Tommy Wirkola's Nazi zombie horror film Dead Snow, Lionsgate bought rights in North America and the U.K. to James Strouse's The Winning Season.
On Monday night, Fox Searchlight bought worldwide rights to Max Mayer's Adam, which it hopes to turn into the next Once.
In other Sundance doings, interest is also swirling around the well-reviewed Jim Carrey-Ewan McGregor film, I Love You Phillip Morris. Summit is said to be circling that film while other pics driving interest include The Cove, World's Greatest Dad, Spread, Amreeka and Push.
Meanwhile, the Hollywood Reporter opines that romantic comedies are the new subgenre at Sundance. Films like Adam, Phillip Morris, Jay DiPietro's Peter & Vandy, Greg Mottola's Adventureland, the Michael Cera-film Paper Heart and 500 Days of Summer with Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zooey Deschanel have been generating a lot of feel-good buzz.
"There's been such innovation in really simple love stories this year," fest director Geoffrey Gilmore said. "For 20 years, everything stayed the same, and then suddenly we have a half-dozen films dealing with different approaches to being in a relationship."
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Atonement emerged victorious at London's Empire Awards on Sunday, taking home three prizes including Best British Film.
The drama also netted its stars James McAvoy and Keira Knightley the trophies for Best Actor and Best Actress, respectively, at U.K. movie magazine Empire's annual awards ceremony.
Elsewhere, Best Film went to Matt Damon sequel The Bourne Ultimatum, while David Yates took home Best Director for Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.
Hot Fuzz was named Best Comedy and American Gangster claimed the Best Thriller prize.
Control, a biopic of late Joy Division frontman Ian Curtis, won two awards--Best Newcomer for star Sam Riley and Best Soundtrack.
Scottish actor Ewan McGregor was honored with the Empire Icon Award.
The full list of winners is:
Best Comedy--Hot Fuzz
Best Actor--James McAvoy, Atonement
Best Thriller--American Gangster
Empire Icon Award--Ewan McGregor
Best British Film--Atonement
Best Newcomer--Sam Riley, Control
Best Horror--28 Weeks Later
Empire Inspiration Award--Guillermo Del Toro
Best Actress--Keira Knightley, Atonement
Sony Ericsson Soundtrack Award--Control
Best Director--David Yates, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Outstanding Contribution to British Film--Shane Meadows
Best Film--The Bourne Ultimatum
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Miss Potter is a biopic about Beatrix Potter (Renee Zellweger)—the literary phenomenon of the early 20th century who created the hugely popular Peter Rabbit books. The film examines how she rose to fame in Victorian England a time when women were only expected to marry and run a home. As the story begins Beatrix 32 is well-adjusted despite being unmarried and living with her well-to-do parents. An accomplished painter she dreams of publishing her pet animal drawings as well as the stories that go with them and in neat small-sized books perfect for children. Of course most publishers scoff but one decides to publish Beatrix’s “bunny book ” as a lark and soon sets in motion a publishing juggernaut. During the process Beatrix also falls in love with her young editor Norman Warne (Ewan McGregor) and agrees to marry him much to her mother’s chagrin (he’s a “tradesman ” after all). Basically Miss Potter ends up living the life she wants to lead bucking whatever rigid system put before her. Zellweger is playing yet another English rose but this time without the extra weight. Although not nearly as endearing and quirky as Bridget Jones Zellweger’s Beatrix is still plucky and outspoken willing to stand by her beliefs and forge ahead despite the opposition she faces. In other words Zellweger—who won her Oscar playing a similar part in Cold Mountain—could do this in her sleep. McGregor too seems comfortably fitted for the role of Norman an earnest fellow with good moral fiber a determination to succeed and love in his heart for Miss Potter. Veteran British character actors Barbara Flynn (HBO’s Elizabeth I) and Bill Paterson (Bright Young Things) effectively play Beatrix’s parents with Dad Potter being the more sympathetic and Mom Potter being the uptight battleaxe. And finally Emily Watson who does a nice turn as Norman’s spinster sister Millie. A brash intelligent woman who also speaks her mind Millie thoroughly enjoys life as an unmarried woman and quickly takes Beatrix under her wing. Director Chris Noonan waited a decade after helming the Oscar-nominated Babe before finding his follow-up project setting his sights on Miss Potter. There’s definitely some symmetry to his choice with both beautifully framed films having much of the same sweet-natured sensibilities as well as er animals. Much like Finding Neverland which showed how James Barrie came up with Peter Pan Miss Potter works best when Beatrix is standing up for her rights falling in love and drawing her adorable illustrations her “friends ” as she calls them who come to life and talk to her. Thankfully Noonan and screenwriter Richard Maltby don’t have the animated characters actually speak—only Miss Potter can hear them--but its still a clever device and definitely brings up feelings of hearth and home remembering those stories all over again. Unfortunately the film stalls a bit towards the end when the scenery shifts to England’s the Lake District where the real Beatrix Potter eventually retired to and helped preserve for future generations. Still overall Miss Potter is a charming look at one of the literary world’s more successful authors who was also a feminist and an environmentalist. Pretty amazing lady actually.
Daniel Craig only won the coveted role of James Bond after Ewan McGregor turned it down, says the director of new 007 movie Casino Royale.
Filmmaker Martin Campbell claims Scottish Ean McGregor decided against playing the iconic superspy because he worried about becoming typecast.
Campbell says, "I think he got another job or decided he didn't want to do it."
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Or maybe it’s because there’s a really cute teenage super spy in it. Meet Alex Rider (Alex Pettyfer) said cutie who lives with his uncle Ian (Ewan McGregor) a boring bank manager. Or is he? After Ian mysteriously disappears Alex soon learns his uncle was a spy for Britain’s secret intelligence service MI6 and unbeknownst to Alex has been secretly training him—scuba diving mountaineering martial arts as well as knowing several languages—so Alex can take up the family business. Suddenly Alex’s whole world is turned upside down. He is immediately recruited by Mr. Blunt (Bill Nighy) to go after billionaire Darrius Sayle (Mickey Rourke) who created a mega-computer Stormbreaker which could bring about the end of the world. With the help of his housekeeper Jack Starbright (Alicia Silverstone) and his friend Sabina Pleasure (Sarah Bolger) Alex takes Sayle head-on in a dangerous race against time to stop the evil plan. No big whoop. Newcomer Pettyfer—who apparently beat out over 500 teenagers to win the role of Alex Rider—does an admirable first attempt if a tad stiff. He’s got some big shoes to fill bringing to life a character beloved by fans of the best-selling series by novelist Anthony Horowitz but he has more than enough potential to hone those skills. And with his wind-swept blonde hair dreamy eyes and lilting British accent he should be a surefire hit with tweens of the female persuasion. The rest of the colorful cast fits in nicely. Nighy (Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest) with all his delightful little ticks is fun as Mr. Blunt—the “M ” as it were of the spy organization—and Sophie Okonedo (Hotel Rwanda) as his second in command Mrs. Jones. Silverstone who was once Clueless but now grown up is surprisingly quirky as the devoted housekeeper while Rourke is sufficiently slimy as the villain. Then there’s a small laundry list of character actors who add to the proceedings including Missi Pyle (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory) as Sayle’s dominatrix-esque paramour and Andy Serkis (Lord of the Rings’ Gollum AND King Kong) as Sayle’s severely scarred grunting henchman. Wonder if Serkis will ever get to play someone normal for once. British director Geoffrey Sax (White Noise) keeps to the spirit of the books something author Anthony Horowitz was adamant about before finding the right people to adapt his stories. No big studio feel here but there is plenty of action—motorcycle racing dangling from tall buildings and even a chase on horseback. There are also plenty of cool gadgets all things a typical teenager might have such as a super-charged PDA. And numerous and nefarious ways to dispose of our young hero. At one point Alex finds himself in a water tank with a giant jellyfish who won’t necessarily attack but if Alex gets tired of treading water and drifts into the marine invertebrate—well you get the picture. This kind of standard James Bond fare reminds me of Dr. Evil who says in the first Austin Powers “No no no I'm going to leave them alone and not actually witness them dying I'm just gonna assume it all went to plan. What?” Thankfully Stormbreaker doesn’t take itself too seriously but rather has fun with the genre and introduces a new young hunk to make the young girls swoon.
Daniel Craig was the producers' first choice to replace Pierce Brosnan as James Bond, dispelling reports that the prestigious role had been turned down by other actors during the protracted selection process.
Producer Michael G. Wilson told Friday's press conference in London that he spent two years searching for the new British superspy, and a host of contenders including Clive Owen, Hugh Jackman and Ewan McGregor were not offered the part in Casino Royale.
Wilson said, "(Daniel Craig) was the only one we offered the film to. There's been some speculation that we offered it to other people but that's not accurate."
The 37-year-old, who will be the first blond Bond, is expected to portray a stripped down Bond in what is expected to be a darker exploration of the world of espionage.
Craig added, "I want to take Bond somewhere he's never been before."
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Irish heartthrob Pierce Brosnan has branded the producers of the iconic James
Bond movies "stupid" for dismissing Ewan McGregor as too short for the coveted
The 52-year-old, who made his debut as the superspy in 1995's Goldeneye, was
controversially axed from the role earlier this year and speculation over
the identity of his successor has been rife ever since.
But Brosnan was amazed to learn the charismatic Star Wars hunk is not being
considered for upcoming movie Casino Royale simply because, at 5
feet, 10 inches tall, he stands 1.5 inches shy of the
minimum Bond measurement.
Brosnan, who is a towering 6 feet, 1 inch, fumes, "It's
ridiculous. I thought, 'That's a stupid reason.'
"Ewan's a fine actor and he's tall anyway. I couldn't believe it."
A galaxy of other male stars have been linked with the Bond role including
Clive Owen, Daniel Craig and Julian McMahon.
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