“He was a huge manipulator… I really enjoyed that” – Ewan McGregor gets candid

Ewan McGregor and Brenton Thwaites in Son of a Gun

Brendan Lynch is quite a departure from the range of characters you’ve previously played. What attracted you to the role?
Brendan totally fit the bill in terms of doing something that was different for me. There’s something really interesting about how hardened he is, and how clever he is and manipulative. I played Iago [from Shakespeare’s ‘Othello’] on stage some time ago, he was a huge manipulator and I really enjoyed that aspect of playing him. So this was a chance to further that, and also to play somebody who’s unwaveringly in charge. Nobody really questions Brendan. That was good fun.

Brendan’s character is hardened by prison life, emotionally and physically. Did you work out especially to fit the mould of the character and what did you routine involved?
I did a lot of working out at home for about two or three months leading up to the film to get fit. I wanted to look like I could take care of myself, so I did quite a lot of working out with trainers in LA and in Perth. But then I got to the prison and met all these enormous guys, and I was like ‘oh cheers Julius (Avery, the director), thanks. You made me look really small in front of all these guys!’

Where was the film shot and what struck you about the locations?
The film was shot in Western Australia. I had never been before and I was really impressed by it. Kalgoorlie is dominated by the mining industry of course so the landscape is peppered with these massive pits; they were quite amazing to see, I mean just the scale of them.

Another place we went was Rottnest Island, which is spectacularly beautiful. I saw the most amazing sunset of my life there. I went for a run after work one day and I just had to stop and just take it all in. And there are those little animals that live on Rottnest, the quokkas… funny little things! We shoot with the light so by the time you get out for a run, it’s already getting a little bit dark, so you’d be running along and they would shoot out and scare the shit out of you! Like little furry bowling balls coming at you or something!

Son of a Gun is in UK cinemas on 30 January 2015