The Evolution Of Ewan McGregor
Shallow Grave (1994)
The Film: Danny Boyle's audacious debut is a kinetic, darkly comic delight. Three flatmates interview a new renter, then discover that he's a foul-mouthed thug who promplty gets offed, leaving a pile of cash behind. Cue jealousy, treachery and loft-hiding madness with great work from Kerry Fox, Christopher Eccleston and…
The Role: …Mr Ewan McGregor, making his leading man debut after a tiny role in Being Human. He makes you believe that he can turn from quippy, likeable lad to cash-nicking con-artist in no time.
Tackle Out? Nope, though he'd broken his cockular cherry the year before in miniseries The Scarlet And The Black.
Blue Juice (1995)
The Film: Slightly shonky drama focused around Sean Pertwee, Catherine Zeta-Jones and surfing.
Various Brit types wander around gabbing away about their lot, occasionally sexing each other up and hitting the waves. It's not a particularly amazing credit for any of the cast.
The Role : McGregor is Dean, a drug-peddler mate of the hero who, like the others, starts to realise his life isn't all it's cracked up to be.
It's not a bad performance, just not a particularly memorable one from a man who had much better work ahead of him.
Tackle Out? He keeps little Ewan covered up. Maybe the water was too cold.
The Film: Choose life… From that pulse-pounding, endlessly admired opening, Boyle's pitch-black comic adaptation is one of the most famous Brit-flicks ever made.
It helped spawn a style and a swathe of copycats and truly announced that British filmmaking was back on form.
The Role: Our anti-hero narrator Renton, determined to get his life back on track - as soon as he can give up heroin. Before that, he'll deal with life, death, sex and who does the best Sean Connery impersonation.
A career-defining, BAFTA nabbing role that's pitch-perfect.
Tackle Out? Twice in one film. The McGregor penis show is on the road.
The Pillow Book (1996)
The Film: Peter Greenaway explores the importance of books and writing and forges the romantic story of a young Japanese woman who discovers her own love.
It's quietly reflective and passionate in the Greenaway style, though very arty to boot.
The Role: Ewan's the bloke she falls for, Jerome, who spends a good deal of the film nekkid alongside his co-star and lots of paint.
The slow-burn romance between the pair is at once sexy and subdued, and it shows a different side of McGregor.
Tackle Out? Yup, though the little fella is shy for most of the film, probably because you can't show erections on screen.
Brassed Off (1996)
The Film: Britain's depressed coal community is the backdrop for this comedy, which finds a brass band struggling with the likely end of their run.
Unfairly compared to The Full Monty (which followed the next year), Brassed is a lightweight affair, but still squeezes some laughs out of the concept and solid turns from Pete Postlethwaite and Stephen Tompkinson
The Role: Showing off some of his charm as band-member Andy, who finds his world in turmoil when old flame Gloria (Tara Fitzgerald) returns. Can she save their musical fun?
Tackle Out? Strictly backside for this one.
The Film: Creepy horror thriller set in a morgue that finds a law student nabbing a job as a night watchman.
He discovers that there's a murderer on the loose and sets about investigating - only to discover the clues point to him. Well, what did he think was going to happen?
The Role: Guess who plays the unlucky bloke. Yes, Ewan does running and screaming and investigating. The part's not very challenging, but it gets the job done.
Tackle Out? Faint outline during a bath. Ladies, get your reading glasses.
A Life Less Ordinary
The Film: Boyle's unofficial McGregor trilogy comes to an end with this slight romantic fantasy.
Nowhere near as edgy as Grave or Trainspotting, this finds the director and actor going Hollywood for a wacky comedy that never quite gels. It yearns to be a Coen-style romp, but just comes off as trying too hard.
The Role: Lowly cleaning bloke who is sacked and replaced by a robot. In protest, he takes his boss's daughter (Cameron Diaz) hostage. Sparks fly.
But while the chemistry between McGregor and Diaz is decent, it's also uninspired. Shame.
Tackle Out? Nada.
Velvet Goldmine (1998)
The Film: Glam rock is the focus of Todd Haynes pic about a newspaper reporter (Christian Bale) looking at the life of musos Brian Slade (Jonathan Rhys Meyers) and Curt Wild.
A patchy but usually effective peek at the madder side of rock that features solid work by Bale, Meyers and McGregor.
The Role: Wild, the main influence for Slade, who loved to indulge in crazed antics on stage, who is always looking to shove the boundaries of what's acceptable.
Tackle Out? McGregor proves that it's entirely possible - nay, essential - to rock out with your cock out.
It's full-frontal ago-go as Wild lives up to his name.
Star Wars: Episode One - The Phantom Menace (1999)
The Film: George Lucas dials back the space-clock to show what happened an even longer time ago in that galaxy far, far away. Mostly? Rubbish action.
Loved by younglings and still lambasted by fans of the original trilogy.
The Role: A tricky turn as Obi-Wan Kenobi, at once trying to channel Alec Guinness and pump some younger life into the Jedi Warrior.
He starts a little stiff, suffering the weight of the role, but soon warms up.
Tackle Out? Unless you count a lightsaber, this is entirely family-friendly fare.
Rogue Trader (1999)
The Film: The based-on-truth story of stockbroker Nick Leeson, whose ambitious eyes were bigger than his financial acumen and led to the downfall of one of the world's biggest banks.
It's a sketchy attempt to round out the man who caused it all.
The Role: The central part of Leeson, mostly because he looks a little bit like him. McGregor gives him a little life outside the scandal, but it's not his best work.
He's limited by the smarmy personality, but scores some nice scenes with Anna Friel.
Tackle Out? A tiny side flash and some moon-happy arse work are the limit. Friel shows a little more skin.
Moulin Rouge! (2001)
The Film: Baz Luhrmann indulges his musical fetish and effectively resuscitates the genre with this post-modern flash grenade of music and sequins.
Marrying modern tunes to a classic structure, the film is a celebration of romance, bohemia and excess that dazzles the eye while never troubling the mind.
The Role: Christian, a lovelorn writer who pines after - and wins the heart of - Nicole Kidman's courtesan.
McGregor also proves he's got a set of pipes on him with some impressive singing.
Tackle Out? McGregor's other pipe remains strictly hidden away.
Down With Love (2003)
The Film: Fluffy romcom from Peyton Reed that attempts to recreate a '40s screwball comedy with mixed results.
There are some decent moments (and great supporting work from the likes of Davd Hyde Pierce), but it sometimes veers off into stupid farce.
The Role: Carter Block, a wannabe Bond-style playboy journalist who sets his sights on wooing a strictly feminist author (Renee Zellweger).
It's wacky, and he looks good in a tux, but sometimes it feels like EM can do it in his sleep. And often is doing just that.
Tackle Out? It's not that sort of film.
Young Adam (2003)
The Film: Bleak, biting drama from David Mackenzie that sees a young drifter wander into the lives of a barge-working couple who harbors a dark secret.
Don't plump for this one if you're after an uplifting experience - it's tortured passion, betrayal and deceit all the way.
The Role: As Joe, the central figure in the drama, McGregor shows he can handle the dark side of life adequately, and seduces every woman in sight.
His fizzing chemistry with both Tilda Swinton and Emily Mortimer drives a great leading man performance.
Tackle Out? Lots of rumpy pumpy, and a brief full-frontal shot, but surprisingly light on tackle time.
Big Fish (2003)
The Film: Tim Burton weaves a fantastical tale of Ed Bloom (Albert Finney) whose tall stories about his life might just have more truth than anyone realises.
It's quirksome but also touching and despite the strangeness that seeps through it, BF is deeply emotional in a way Burton rarely finds.
The Role: Young Ed, romancing Alison Lohman, experiencing a strange town and battling the titular fish.
He's believable as a young Finney, and fits in well with the weird world that Burton spins around him.
Tackle Out? Ewan keeps his cod hidden.
The Film: A lesser, but still entertaining 'toon from the Ice Age team, which finds a heroic, if slightly junky machine man heading to the big city to win his dream as an inventor.
The Role: The better of two voice-over roles released that year (the other was the frankly rubbish Valiant) which proves McGregor is a decent if unspectacular voice actor.
He fine for what the part requires - a likeable, easygoing sort, but never really makes much of an impression. Tough when Robin Williams is one of the other voices, we suppose.
Tackle Out? It's a film for kids. With a cartoon robot. So, no.
The Island (2005)
The Film: Michael Bay tries his hand at mysterious sci-fi for the first bit, then ditches any real plot to fall back in love with explosions and bullets flying everywhere.
So much for a change of pace from the master of Bayhem! Plus it feels like a missed opportunity.
The Role: Lincoln Six-Echo, who believes he's the survivor of an apocalypse, but then - spoiler alert! - learns he's a clone grown as a body part farm for a rich man. He's perfectly fine in the part, but mostly there to react to stunts happening and look serene, then desperate, then horny, then scared.
Tackle Out? There's a sex scene with fellow clone Scarlett Johansson but nothing very nude.
The Film: Dodgy mystery thriller as a psychiatrist starts to lose his grip on reality while trying to stop one of his patients from offing themselves.
Despite boasting Marc Forster as a director and work from Ryan Gosling and Naomi Watts, It's largely forgettable and entirely too focused on a - spoiler alert - rubbish twist.
The Role: McGregor does his best, managing some decent moments where his character goes off the deep end, but he's never as convincing as he could be playing the good doctor with real mental problems.
To give him some credit, the script doesn't exactly help.
Tackle Out? Not a sign.
Cassandra's Dream (2007)
The Film: Woody Allen's third crack at a London based film didn't exactly work out as well as Match Point or even Scoop, which didn't even see UK cinemas.
It's a glum tale of crime and punishment that wastes a solid cast and comes off more as a comedy than the drama it wants to be.
The Role: Ian, who with brother Terry (Colin Farrell) takes on a murder in order to life them out of financial ruin.
Suffice to say, he's required to be guilty and resentful for a lot of the time. Undemanding and he's underwhelming.
Tackle Out? The only Woody is behind the camera.
The Film: Surely a movie that features Hugh Jackman, Michelle Williams and McGregor can't be bad? You've clearly never seen this utterly awful potboiler about a man who gets mixed up in a sex club conspiracy, then.
It wants to be erotic and mysterious. It ends up vapid, campy and annoying.
The Role: Jonathan McQuarry, the seemingly innocent type who gets suckered into a whirlwind of sex and violence by smooth-talking Wyatt Bose (Jackman) and lovely lady S (Williams).
Tackle Out? He gets naked, but is kept largely concealed by other things - usually a still-clothed Williams.
Angels & Demons (2009)
The Film: The less successful (but still money-spinning) sequel to The Da Vinci Code finds Tom Hanks' Robert Langdon once more on the hunt for a symbol-based conspiracy, this time in Rome.
The Role: Camerlengo Patrick McKenna, taken in by the Pope years ago and now one of the deceased pontiff's most senior advisers. He seems to want justice. But is there something more to him?
This is McGregor in blockbuster mode - it feels like he's slumming for a lot of the time, though he gets a decent scene here and there.
Tackle Out? He's a Catholic priest, for crying out loud. Please spare us the obvious jokes.