He has recently said that he thinks James Bond is a boring character. And he's also admitted that he has never read a John Le Carre thriller. Until now, that is. Because he's starring in the adaptation of le Carre's Our Kind of Traitor.

Ewan McGregor plays a lecturer in Our Kind Of Traitor

He was drawn to the project because it's far more interesting than most scripts he reads. "These are real characters, really human characters," he says. "I was attracted to playing this relationship with Naomie Harris because it's not very often that the romantic couple at the centre of the story has  this sort of broken dynamic. The relationship between our characters is interesting, layered and detailed. It's a very modern marriage."

McGregor's character Perry is also an unusually down-to-earth action hero. "Something's chipped away at his masculinity, and he's trying to repair the damage he's done." he explains. "He's just an ordinary guy who finds himself involved in this dangerous world. And that is quite interesting to play."

This allowed McGregor to identify with the character in a strong way, right down to the central dilemma that drives the plot, when Perry meets gregarious Russian mafia accountant Dima, played by Stellan Skarsgard. "My only real-life experience of meeting a character like Dima is a mafia guy I met in Ukraine, when Charley Boorman and I did our round the world motorbike trip in 2004," McGregor says. "We ended up in his house, and this guy's friends arrived. They were all taking off their weapons as they came in the door. It was terrifying, but there was something very attractive about this man. He was charismatic, interesting, the same way Dima is in this movie. And I can absolutely imagine that if that man had said to me, 'I'm in trouble, my family are in danger, could you give this to someone back in your country?', I would've said yes."

McGregor is getting ready to reteam with Danny Boyle this summer for the 20-years-later sequel to Trainspotting. And he says he'll continue to choose offbeat roles. "It hasn't been very important in my work - the steely, Hollywood leading man," he says. "People who don't react, who are cool and have women falling all around them. I've never met anybody like that. So to try and portray that is not very important to me."