Ewan McGregor rose to fame by starring in three 90s movies directed by Danny Boyle – Shallow Grave (1994), Trainspotting (1996), and A Life Less Ordinary (1997). When Boyle was preparing his next film, The Beach, McGregor assumed that he would be cast as the lead in that one too. But, Boyle went with Leonardo DiCaprio instead, prompting McGregor to stop talking to Boyle for years.
Fittingly enough, Boyle and McGregor were reunited in 2017 for T2: Trainspotting, which was very much dealing with the fall-out of friendship break-ups and betrayal. Speaking to Graham Norton when the sequel came out, McGregor and Boyle spoke emotionally about their falling-out.
McGregor says; “it’s a big regret of mine that it went on for so very long and it’s a shame that we didn’t work together for all those years…we didn’t speak for a long time, which was such a waste.” Boyle says; “I handled it badly, I feel a shame about it…I’m not proud of the way I handled it. He [Ewan] handled it with enormous grace and courage. They say; courage is grace under pressure.”
Boyle continues; “Ewan presented me with an award for Slumdog Millionaire and he stood up and did an amazing speech, and I was in tears backstage.”
McGregor describes an awkward 15 hour flight back from Shanghai with him and Boyle both in first class; “my wife fell asleep, but my light was on and Danny’s light was on. I was thinking; ‘this is it, this is the moment, this is when we get it all out.’ But we just couldn’t. Eventually Danny’s light went off and mine went off.”
McGregor of course shot to a whole other level of fame by starring in the Star Wars prequels, and Boyle won the Oscar for directing Slumdog Millionaire – so it all worked out in the end.