Ewan McGregor on How He Feels Before a New Role: “The fear is unbelievable”


“At the beginning of every project, you’re very nervous…. I always go through a period of great fear before something.” – Ewan McGregor

Through appearances in film, on television, and on stage, actor Ewan McGregor has starred in a variety of films — from early successes like Trainspotting to major blockbusters like the Star Wars prequel trilogy and Beauty and the Beast to critical favorites like Fargo and August: Osage County. Nonetheless, for McGregor experience does not equal confidence in his performances — as he explains to CBS News, it’s a mental struggle every time he signs on for a new role.

McGregor admits that even though he has been acting since the early 1990s, he still doubts his abilities before he starts on any project. He explains, “At the beginning of every project, you’re very nervous. And you know, for the last two weeks before you start something, I am always a wreck. Like, just thinking, This is the one. I can’t do this. I won’t be able to do it. I always go through a period of great fear before something.”

However, he continues by explaining that he is careful not to over-prepare to try to soothe his fears. He says, “The fear is unbelievable. But the night before I’m not at home practicing how I’m gonna – How am I gonna do it? I don’t do that. I want it to happen in front of the camera. ‘Cause I don’t … that’s how I’ve always been really. Just lazy.”

But McGregor does eventually come around to his performances because he derives enjoyment when he eventually feels positive about his acting abilities. He continues, “I’m very satisfied. I like it. I like it. So in that side of things, you learn that that’s actually what makes you happy, is striving to do the best job you can at work and not feeling like you’re sort of dogging it or phoning it in. And then, that feels pretty good.”

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