Chris Ashford / Retna Digital 1 / 16
Chris Ashford / Retna Digital 1 / 16

In an era when Kim Kardashian gets divorced after just 72 days, Ashton Kutcher tweets himself silly, and Lindsay Lohan is back in court for something or other, it's hard to not think of Hollywood as one big joke.

And that, by the way, all happened this week.

Then there's Ewan McGregor, who is a real talent mixed among a world of laughable, gossip-friendly fame lovers. But he doesn't profess to know what, exactly, separates him from the pack.

"You dictate the way your life is," he told Wonderwall. "I don't have a trick to it. I just try to keep my family private and keep to myself and do my job. When I'm working, I'm working, and I suppose you can expect a certain amount of attention at work or at premieres or something like that. I don't take my kids to things like that. I just try to keep it separate."

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Family is important to McGregor, and it's a big theme in his film "Beginners," which is available on DVD and Blu-ray November 15. In the movie, his character falls in love and recalls his final days with his terminally ill father, who at age 75 comes out of the closet and lives an energetic, free-spirited gay life. It's a bright spot in what is a fantastically melancholy film.

"I just thought it was a beautiful script," McGregor said. "I was really taken by the story. I was told the story by someone who knows [writer-director] Mike [Mills], and I read the script and I liked Mike's film 'Thumbsucker' that he made five or six years ago. So, I was just excited to be telling that story with him."

As for his own life, McGregor considers himself fortunate to not have the same stresses as his character.

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"I'm lucky I haven't had any dramas come my way like my character has in the film," he said. "It's easy to say 'go with the flow' and accept life and life's tasks if everything is going nicely. When something like this happens and one of your loved ones gets ill, then it's a different story."

One of the highlights of the film is legendary actor Christopher Plummer, who plays the role of McGregor's father. The experience of working with Plummer was a highlight for McGregor as well.

"He's an absolute diamond," he said. "He's a lovely man to work with. I hadn't met him before we started rehearsing. I was soon to learn that he's a very sweet man, and a very modern actor, somehow. He tells stories about some of the actors he used to work with in the '60s and stuff, and then when you work with him you felt like you were working with someone brand new. He's a very contemporary actor."

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Up next for McGregor is "The Impossible" with Naomi Watts and Steven Soderbergh's "Haywire," which is set for a January release. Every film is a different experience for McGregor, who also mixes it up by hitting the stage from time to time.

"There's something very nice about making small films like 'Beginners,' where it's sort of an intimate affair," he said. "The smaller films tend to be more satisfying sometimes, but then you can have a great time on a big film, too. What I like is a variety. That's the most lucky thing about my career is that I've got variety in it."