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Thursday, 19 October, 2000, 11:33 GMT 12:33 UK
McGregor to play Billy Fury
Ewan McGregor
Ewan McGregor will act alongside his uncle in Billy Fury
Scottish star Ewan McGregor is to play Billy Fury in a biopic of the British rock'n'roll pioneer.

McGregor, star of Trainspotting and The Phantom Menace, will play the Liverpool sailor turned pop star, after completing Star Wars Episode II - in which he plays the young Obi-Wan Kenobi.

Fury, whose real name was Ronald Wycherley, was dubbed the "Blond Elvis Presley" after a string of hit singles, including Maybe Tomorrow, Colette, Halfway to Paradise and Jealousy.

But the singer-songwriter, whose popularity suffered with the coming of the Beatles, disappeared from the limelight after illness and bankruptcy.

He died in 1983, aged just 43, after a long battle against heart disease - just as he was trying to resurrect his career.

The film is being made by movie and theatre producer Bill Kenwright, who was responsible for The Sound of Fury, a musical based on Fury's life.

Billy Fury
Billy Fury started out as a tugboat hand before being signed to Decca in 1958

Also starring in the film, which begins shooting next summer, will be McGregor's actor/director uncle, Denis Lawson, who played small parts in the Star Wars films.

"We have been trying to get together for a long time," McGregor told Empire Online.

Described by Lawson as "a feel-good, rock and roll, romantic road movie", the film's script is still being finalised.

Treading the boards

McGregor, who recently finished shooting Baz Luhrmann's Moulin Rouge, is also keen to return to the stage.

"I would like to do a play early next year before the film. That's my plan because I've done two really huge films back-to-back and I've just about had enough of it," he said.

"I've been away from home for a year and a half doing really big, big films, which is great.

"But at the end it's been taxing in a lot of ways so I want to do some theatre next year and then make this film with my uncle," he said.

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