Trainspotting is a cult-favorite film from 1996 made for nearly nothing and grossed an astronomical amount of money while also launching the careers of its future Oscar-winning director, Danny Boyle, and Obi-Wan Kenobi himself, Ewan McGregor. Now, as it’s 21st anniversary release date is upon us, the folks behind Trainspotting have felt it’s time to make a sequel.
To give you some more insight on Trainspotting, if you are unfamiliar, it’s a comedic film with a dark and gritty tale revolving around McGregor as a heroin addict named Mark Renton. The film doesn’t really have a plot in that they’re all working towards a goal; its more just about the lives of Renton and his fellow heroin addict buddies as they struggle in this time of entering adulthood while being hooked on heroin. It may not sound funny, but trust me, there are a lot funny scenes and some great visuals in-between, like Renton diving head first into a disgusting toilet and swimming in it like it’s a pool to retrieve heroin he accidentally dropped in there. If you’re still with it now, take a look at the trailer:
You may recognize that voice-over, as it is very famous and referenced quite often in works around the world. It’s a good flick and you may never guess that it’s actually based on a book of the same name by author Irvine Welsh, who has since written a prequel and a sequel. The upcoming Trainspotting film sequel will be called Trainspotting 2, but that’s only because Welsh’s novel has a pretty unsavory title of Porno.
(Spoilers from Trainspotting and Porno ahead!)
Porno features Renton once again, but this time not as the main character. In the first novel, each character has his or her own POV chapter, but in the sequel, it focuses more so on Renton’s friend Simon “Sick Boy” Williamson, played by Jonny Lee Miller. Since the events of Trainspotting and being able to kick heroin, Renton has a successful nightclub in Amsterdam. He has money and is looking to invest it into something. This is where the "porno" from the title comes in. Sick Boy, now an apparent crack addict who later levels up to cocaine, has had a string of failed business ventures but thinks he has something with an idea to make a porno film. He gets his old Trainspotting buddies together to team up to make this movie (no, they don’t shoot it with them as the stars and boink each other… I should make that clear, but that would be some interesting male bonding) in the hopes of making more money.
Porno was published in 2002 and Boyle has been talking about filming it since it came out -- the only problem was his then-strained relationship with star McGregor. The feud started in the late-'90s when Boyle was setting out to make his 2000 film The Beach. Word from McGregor was that Boyle had originally given him the lead role in the film.
At this point in time, the pair -- who even went as far as calling each other friends and not co-workers -- had worked on three films together (Trainspotting actually being their second work, as McGregor was featured in Boyle’s first film Shallow Grave), but then Boyle pulled the rug out from under McGregor. He said he was going with the young and red-hot-off-of-the-TitanicLeonardo DiCaprio instead. This angered McGregor, as one might imagine.
Seems like it’s all water under the bridge now, though, as Trainspotting 2 began filming last week. Since this film based on Porno, it still isn’t a safe bet to say that Sick Boy will be the main character of the film. Actor Jonny Lee Miller isn’t nearly as big of a star as Ewan McGregor is, especially with his rumored return as Obi-Wan in Star Wars: Episode VIII, and with the novel having POV chapters about Renton, one could assume this film will still follow him more closely. What we do know is that this film will be out in America in February of next year and January in Europe. Don’t believe us? Check out this official trailer as proof (which is actually pretty similar to the first trailer):
If you’ve never seen Trainspotting and are interested in checking it out, you can find it streaming on Netflix.
In the meantime, check out Mr. (or should I say Dr.?) McGregor's visit to the YH Studio below!