Short Starts presents a weekly short film from the start of a filmmaker or actor’s career.
Twenty years ago, a young Ewan McGregor began his acting career with a short film made for Channel 4 called Family Style. The 11-minute, black and white effort was also the directorial debut of Justin Chadwick, whose latest, Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, was just acquired for distribution by The Weinstein Co. Back in 1993, McGregor still had long hair, a look you’ll find familiar if you’ve seen Shallow Grave, and was far from being a great actor. His crying scene in Family Style is pretty awful.
But look at what two decades does for a guy, going from a breakthrough role in Trainspotting to portraying a young Obi-Wan Kenobi and working with Woody Allen, Baz Luhrman, Peter Greenaway, Todd Haynes, Tim Burton, Ridley Scott, Ron Howard, Steven Soderbergh and Roman Polanski, earning two Golden Globe nominations… And now co-starring in a big budget, live-action adaptation of Jack and the Beanstalk (Jack the Giant Slayer). Well, he’s mostly had a great run.
In Family Style, he plays a young man whose brother has just died. He fights with his father, who wants to sell their home. He has a girlfriend (FeardotCom‘s Amelia Curtis) who turns out to be pregnant. He rides around on a motorcycle (one of McGregor’s passions). He plays guitar rather badly in a room filled with heavy metal and grunge posters. And that’s about it. As with many short starts, his wasn’t all that remarkable. Fortunately, he found some other roles to push him forward, and for much of the ’90s he seemed to get around notably because he didn’t mind waving his penis about and having kinky custard sex.
No, he doesn’t get naked in this film. But he does have a really awkwardly shot scene where he beats his dad up.
Watch it in full below, courtesy of screenwriter Matthew Cooper: