EXCLUSIVE: Ewan McGregor on Last-Minute 'Star Wars' Voice Cameo: 'It Was Nice to Be Involved'
By Zach Seemayer
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Ewan McGregor's voice cameo in Star Wars: The Force Awakens may have been subtle but for fans of the series, the Easter egg was a fun gesture that went a long way towards binding the franchise together.
McGregor sat down with ET's Ashley Crossan, where the 44-year-old actor opened up about how his vocal cameo came to be.
"I just got an e-mail from J.J. Abrams," McGregor recounted at the press junket for Miles Ahead on Tuesday. "I don't know how he got my e-mail, but he did, and he sent me an e-mail like -- I'm not joking -- it was like three weeks before the film came out. It was really last-minute."
Abrams requested that McGregor to reprise his role as Obi-Wan Kenobi, Luke Skywalker's Jedi mentor, from the Star Wars prequels. McGregor was asked to come into the studio and record the line, "Rey, these are your first steps," directed towards Daisy Ridley's character.
"I haven't played Obi-Wan Kenobi for years, so to get his voice right… I said, 'You know I think we should watch Alec Guinness.' Because when I was playing [Obi-Wan], I was always watching Alec Guinness' stuff," McGregor explained of the actor who played Obi-Wan in 1977's original Star Wars. "I was trying very hard to be a younger Alec Guinness."
During the course of their recording, Abrams found a clip of Guinness saying the world "afraid" with an inflection that allowed them to edit the word down to just say "Rey." The final line ended up as a combination of both Guinness and McGregor's voices, bridging the gap between the multiple episodes even more effectively.
While McGregor was excited to be involved he admitted that, due to his minimal participation, he didn't really feel "like I was back into [the character]."
"I went over there for 20 minutes, but it was nice to involved. It's nice to be in it," he told ET. "I’m very happy that it's back, and I'm very happy that he's done such a brilliant job. I love the film. I love watching it very much."
According to the Mortdecai star, Cheadle did an "amazing job" as the iconic trumpeter, and some of that came from Cheadle's insistence on method acting.
"Don stays in character. You're sort of getting notes from Miles Davis," McGregor shared. "Whenever I'm talking to people about this film, I always catch myself saying, ‘Yeah, I made a film with Miles Davis -- er, Don Cheadle."