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Ewan McGregor’s embarrassing dad moment helped inspire daughter Clara’s movie title

Ewan plays the dad of his real-life daughter in her new movie, "Bleeding Love."

Ewan McGregor has played a Jedi master in the "Star Wars" series, a fashion icon in "Halston" and a singing candlestick in "Beauty and the Beast." Now he's playing a familiar role: on-screen father to his real-life daughter, Clara McGregor, in their new film, "Bleeding Love."

Ewan and Clara visited TODAY to chat about making this movie a family affair.

Clara, a producer on "Bleeding Love," said that she had a seed of an idea for a "father-daughter road trip film" a few years ago. The idea was "inspired by some of the things that we went through in our relationship," she said, indicating her father.

After enlisting the help of a few people to hammer out the draft, Clara sent it to her father to see if he would be interested in signing on to the project.

Clara McGregor and Ewan McGregor
Clara and Ewan McGregor pose for a portrait at SxSW Film Festival in 2023. Robby Klein / Contour by Getty Images

"I didn't know what to expect, and I was absolutely blown away by the script's very beautiful story," Ewan said on TODAY Feb. 16.

Ewan said working with his daughter was "very, very seamless and easy and normal."

When her father arrived on set, Clara had already been in New Mexico, where the film was shooting. "The first morning we got to the makeup bus and Clara's in makeup and I'm in makeup and that was ... odd," Ewan said with a laugh. "And the second we started playing the scenes together, it was totally normal and lovely."

Pointing out all the "space between the lines," Ewan said, "We've got this life history together that's evident on the screen. You can't deny it."

As for the title of the movie, "It's a total core memory for me, that song," said Clara. "Bleeding Love" refers to the Leona Lewis 2007 pop hit of the same name. "We were, as a family, really into Leona Lewis and that album and that song. I will always remember my dad driving me to school, and right as we pulled up in front of school, just blasting that song so loud, and I would just duck and hide, and everything was embarrassing to me, I think, at that age."

Ewan laughed heartily, clearly reveling in the dad antics of the past.

TODAY's Sheinelle Jones told the pair that Leona Lewis herself "got word about this and sent you a message."

"No!" Ewan said.

As a video clip of Lewis played, Ewan and Clara looked alternately surprised and delighted.

"Hi Clara and Ewan, congratulations on a stunning movie," Lewis said. "I was so excited last year when I found out that the song was going to be in the film, and to just see and hear it come to life in this way and in such an important story has just been so beautiful. So congratulations again. Sending you so much love and blessings."

"If she only knew," Ewan said, "every school run for a good year or two was her music."

Of his four children, Clara is Ewan's oldest daughter from his 22-year marriage to Eve Mavarkis. The couple also share daughters Esther, Jamyan and Anouk.

Ewan met his current wife, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, on the set of "Fargo." They welcomed their first child, a son named Laurie, in 2021.

"I had no experience with little boys," Ewan said. "My youngest daughter, Anouk, is 13 now, and suddenly Laurie arrives, my son, and it's just a different ballgame altogether. But absolutely wonderful. He's a wonderful little man. The most beautiful thing is to see him with his sisters."

Because Clara lives in New York, she doesn't get to see Laurie quite as much, but Ewan noted, "Right from the word 'go,' he knows his sister. He's got a special bond with these girls."

"It's such a gift. It really is amazing," Clara added. "I grew up most of my life with only little sisters, so getting to see what a little boy is like has been so fun. He's just a bundle of joy."