Ewan McGregor is now starring in Doctor Sleep even though he was originally too scared to watch The Shining. Mike Flanagan’s sequel to Stanley Kubrick’s 1980 horror classic hits theaters next week and McGregor is out promoting it. Additionally, the actor is able to finally talk about his role in the less-scary Obi-Wan Kenobi series for the Disney+ streaming service. The actor has known about his return for years, but had to keep it a secret from Star Wars fans, which was no easy task. However, watching The Shining may have been even harder for him.
“It took me years to watch The Shining because I’d just heard it was so scary,” says Ewan McGregor. Stanley Kubrick’s classic is not for the faint of heart, and it’s only recently that McGregor was able to sit down and watch it all the way through. As it turns out, there was a particular horror movie that scarred him for life, which turned him off from The Shining and all other horror movies for a long time. Ewan McGregor explains.
“I watched Halloween when I was about 13 or 14. I went away with a pipe band I played into Holland. We were playing in the streets of Den Bosch in Holland. One night, the people who had had us over there, in a little screening room, showed Halloween to a bunch of kids! I don’t know what they were doing! F**king sadists! And when we left, the projectionist, he’d hung a towel up outside the door, a wet towel, so as we left, we walked into this wet towel. (It) freaked everyone out. And then I just realized that horror films weren’t for me.”
It was horror legend John Carpenter that scared a young Ewan McGregor away from horror movies. That’s completely understandable, especially considering how young the actor was when he saw it for the first time. Halloween can have that kind of effect on people and proves that the horror genre isn’t for everybody.
Now that his horror trauma is behind him, Ewan McGregor took on the role of the elder Danny Torrance in Doctor Sleep. Danny Torrence is battling alcoholism in the movie, which is something that the actor had to deal with in his own past and it informed his work on the movie. The real-life horrors of addiction came flooding back to McGregor and made it all seem much more real to him and made the Danny character more relatable.
Doctor Sleep hits theaters on November 8th and has been getting early praise from critics who have seen the movie. It’s been called a worthy sequel to The Shining, which also taps into Stephen King’s source material in an accurate way, while adding things to the story. Even King is a fan of what Mike Flanagan was able to pull off with his adaptation. The interview with Ewan McGregor was originally conducted by Entertainment Weekly.