Catch a rising starFor a warp-speed career leap, it's hard to surpass what's happened to Ewan McGregor. He was known for his performances in iconoclastic cult films. Then came the role of the young Obi-Wan Kenobi in the breathlessly awaited Star Wars prequel, The Phantom Menace. Suddenly, McGregor is being touted as the hottest Scottish import since Sean Connery. Certainly, he is an undeniably visible presence and not just on the screen. For McGregor is the subject of several recent and upcoming books. Aimed squarely at the actor's fans, and those of the crowd-pleasing Star Wars franchise, the various books are odes to a performer distinguished by his determination to be an actor rather than a star. Of the tomes, Ewan McGregor: The Unauthorized Biography by Billy Adams takes honors for the most in-depth portrait. Based on interviews with family, friends, and colleagues, as well as existing materials, it details his road to success. Shooting Star: The Ewan McGregor Story (Ballantine, $5.99, 0345427246), by Janine Pourroy, moves film-by-film to explore McGregor's emergence as the ultimate GenX icon. His life (29 years, so far) and career (15 movies in just five years) are also chronicled in titles including: Ewan McGregor by Chris Nickson (St. Martin's, $5.99, 0312969104), Ewan McGregor: Rising to the Stars by James Hatfield (Penguin, $5.99, 0425169006), Ewan McGregor: An Unofficial Biography by Martin Noble, (DK/Funfax, $5.95, 0789446677, ages 4 and up), and Ewan McGregor: From Junkie to Jedi by Brian J. Robb (Plexus Publishing, $16.95, 0859652769). The latter title refers to McGregor's rise to fame as the heroin-addicted central character of the off-beat film Trainspotting. McGregor will also be among the cast members of the various Phantom Menace tie-in books from Ballantine, to include Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace Illustrated Screenplay by George Lucas, The Making of the Phantom Menace, and a novelization by popular fantasy author Terry Brooks. Books were the impetus for many of McGregor's earlier films, including Trainspotting, based on the controversial Irvine Welsh novel of the same name, and Jane Austen's Emma, for which McGregor donned period costumes. He bared all for The Pillow Book, the story of a writer who uses her boyfriend's body on which to write the chapters of her book. The screenplay is included in The Pillow Book (Distributed Art Publishers), in which Peter Greenaway discusses his adaptation and reinterpretation of the Oriental classic, The Pillow Book of Sei Shonagon (Columbia University Press), which examined life in 11th-century Japan. And next up for McGregor is an adaptation of the Marc Behm psycho-thriller, Eye of the Beholder, in which he'll play a private eye stalking a serial killer. Let's just hope The Force is with him.
Biographer Pat Broeske's latest book is about Elvis Presley.