Not Born Yesterday

Doing the write thing.

Chasing Ewan McGregor

A Symptom of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder?

What to do if you are completely, irrationally and compulsively obsessed with someone or something? Write a book, of course!

It was all Ewan McGregor's fault. I am a playwright, and had never thought of writing a book until five years ago, when I saw this handsome and talented young actor in London, playing the part of Sky Masterson in a revival of the musical "Guys and Dolls." It was a show I hadn't even planned to see, but a poster outside the theater drew me irresistibly in. As luck - or fate - would have it, there was one seat left, a box seat, and I threw down my credit card without another thought.

The box was just above Stage Left. When Ewan McGregor sauntered in, wearing a three-piece white suit and a jaunty blue Fedora on the back of his head, he happened to glance up at the box with a little smile. In that one fleeting moment my life was forever changed, for here was the perfect Teddy Soberjowski, the brash and cocky hero of my play, "Boardinghouse Stew" which, like "Guys and Dolls," is set in the 1940s.

Instantly, I became obsessed with the idea, if not with Ewan McGregor himself, that he should take the part of Teddy in a new production of the play. But how to entice a rising young British movie star to act in a little-known American play? Even in my wildest dreams, I realized how impossible that would be. Undaunted, I saw "Guys and Dolls" three times, and tried (unsuccessfully) each time to get backstage to talk to my idol personally.

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Would psychologists call my behavior a form of obsessive-compulsive disorder, or OCD?

Back home in California, friends began wringing their hands and shaking their heads over my obsession - so unbecoming in "a woman of a certain age." When I announced, six months later, that I was going back to London to see "Guys and Dolls" three more times, they whispered darkly about having me committed.

In London once more, I did manage to get backstage in the theater where "Guys and Dolls" was playing, if only to collect the script of my play that I had left with the manager a week earlier. Ewan McGregor wasn't there, and neither was the script. (It was later returned to me by his agent, without explanation.)

Back home again, I decided that if I could not get Ewan McGregor to be in my play, how about a movie? This then became the plan: I would re-write the play as a book, and hope that someone would make a movie of it.

So now, five years later, the first part of the plan has been implemented. The book has been published. But I am still waiting for someone to make a movie of it.

Meanwhile, Ewan McGregor is getting too old for the part of Teddy, leading me to conclude that obsessions are a waste of time.

 

E. E. Smith is a playwright and book author. Her new series of murder mysteries debuted in 2013. The first is titled Death by Misadventure. 

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