HOLLYWOOD star Ewan McGregor has branded the BBC “ridiculous” for criticising fellow thespian James McAvoy for his latest theatre role.
Theatre legend Jonathan Miller claimed on a BBC programme that theatre bosses were of “dumbing down” by casting film actors such as McAvoy in high-brow stage productions.
But McGregor – who himself has trodden the boards – took to Twitter to condemn the BBC and called McAvoy a “brilliant actor”.
X-Men star McAvoy, who is currently playing Macbeth in London, was criticised in an episode of Hardtalk on Monday.
Miller was asked whether theatre bosses are “dumbing down” by hiring Hollywood actors such as McAvoy.
Miller replied: “Yes, I think it might be… I suspect… that if you are only interested in casting celebrities, the chances are that you are not interested in directing the negligible details of reality.
“There is a preoccupation with celebrity and I think an awful lot of young people have become seduced by famous names and they will go to see someone who is famous rather than engaging in the (theatre experience)…”
McGregor tweeted: “Hardtalk moaning about celebs in theatre. Using James McAvoy as an (example).
“Ridiculous. Don’t they know he’s a brilliant actor. Come on BBC!”
On Twitter, McGregor fan, Kirsty Lennox agreed with the Trainspotting star.She wrote; “Just because an actor has been fortunate enough to be in films, does that mean they can’t do theatre? I’m with you on this.”
Annie Chambers agreed, writing: “I saw him last week and he was phenomenal, he also came to the rescue when a lady fainted and handled situation like a pro.
Another Twitter user added: “You’re all actors’ first, celebrities second. James is doing what he does best, acting. It should not matter on what platform.”
McAvoy, who trained at Glasgow’s Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, was a theatre actor before landing a career-boosting role in Channel 4’s Bafta-winning Shameless.
The Last King of Scotland and Atonement star also appeared onstage in 2009 at the highly acclaimed Apollo Theatre’s Three Days of Rain.
McGregor regularly treads the boards, playing Lago in Othello at the Donmar Warehouse in London in 2008.
He was nominated for a Laurence Olivier Award for his role in musical Guys and Dolls on Broadway in 2007.