Now Long Way Up finds the pair navigating from the southern tip of Argentina in South America all the way up to Los Angeles. The 11-episode series marks the duo’s first trip entirely in the New World, their first venture on a streaming platform, and their first journey together in quite a long time to boot. The documentary serves as a vehicle for two gearhead friends to reconnect following Boorman’s devastating motorcycle accident in 2016.
“When Charley had his accident and I found out that he’d been very badly hurt, it was like a jolt to put effort into this friendship, to not to let it drift like this,” McGregor says. “Because there’s something very special that Charley and I share. We’re best friends but we’ve also been through these really extraordinary experiences together. Since then, it’s just been like nothing changed. It’s like being back to where we started off from.”
“We were sort of starting to get itchy feet to do another trip,” Boorman adds. I think once you’ve done a couple, it’s kind of in your blood.”
Another significant area in which Long Way Up differs from its two predecessors is that McGregor and Boorman have attempted to make the trip and production as environmentally-friendly as possible. The pair enlisted Harley Davidson to create prototypes of two electric bikes (since dubbed LiveWires) that would have a better chance of surviving the harsh South American climates and mileage-intensive demands of the journey.
“The idea came when we were in my garden,” Boormany says. “We were having a barbecue and Ewan was staying with me at the time. Russ (Malkin) and Dave (Alexanian), who are our business partners and the two producers, came along. We were talking about (the project) and then Russ floated the idea of, ‘What about maybe doing it electric?’ Ewan and I looked at each other. Ewan has a big thing for that. And it kind of went from there.”