By Devan Coggan
October 19, 2016 at 05:14 PM EDT
  • Movie

In his directorial debut American Pastoral, Ewan McGregor pulls double duty, directing and starring in the adaptation of Phillip Roth’s 1997 novel. And although this is his first time behind the camera, he tells EW that the years he’s spent on movie sets have given him a pretty good sense of the kind of director he wants to be.

“My favorite experiences on set are with directors who let everybody do their best work and sort of stand in the middle of it all and allow everybody to excel,” McGregor says in the above clip. “I tried to do that.”

McGregor stars in American Pastoral as Seymour “Swede” Levov, a former basketball star who lives with his family in Newark, New Jersey. Jennifer Connelly and Uzo Aduba costar, with Dakota Fanning playing Levov’s radically political teenage daughter.

“My belief in it being a creative collaboration with everybody was right,” McGregor adds. “I found that the way I’d hoped it’d feel to collaborate with the actors and with the director of photography and the designer and the costume designer and the makeup designer was as brilliant as I’d hoped it would be.”

American Pastoral opens Friday. Watch McGregor’s interview with EW above.

  • Movie
  • R
release date
  • 10/21/16
  • 108 minutes
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