After 20 years of getting our hopes up with vague comments from the stars and director of Trainspotting that they were open to more, a sequel to the groundbreaking 1996 film is officially in the works. Danny Boyle is returning to direct, with stars Ewan McGregor, Ewen Bremner, Johnny Lee Miller, and Robert Carlyle all onboard.
Jarring, kinetic, and utterly transfixing — with a killer soundtrack — Trainspotting was as much of a force of nature as a movie. It blurred the lines between “high” and “low” culture, seamlessly mixing scenes of hedonism and violence with musings on post-colonialism, class gaps, and pop culture. It showed the world that British film was aiming to give Hollywood some serious competition and Scottish identity wasn’t just about an antisemitic Australian with blue face paint bellowing about freedom.
Ewan McGregor’s lack of Oscars also showed the world, once and for all, that the Oscars mean fuck-all, as Sick Boy says. It is widely considered the best British film of the last 25 years and in his original review Roger Ebert said, “The reason there is a fierce joy in Trainspotting, despite the appalling things that happen in it, is that it’s basically about friends in need.” Somehow, in between disturbing scenes of dead babies, overdoses, and putrified toilets, it managed to be profound and intimate, funny and sad. The movie ended with the gang disbanded — respectively dead, imprisoned, or royally screwed — and Ewan McGregor’s Renton betraying his friends, acknowledging that he’s a bad person but resolving to live a normal life as a better man.
So, what might Trainspotting 2 look like?
According to Irvine Welsh’s follow-up novel, Porno, set 10 years after the events of Trainspotting, life for Renton involves the nightclub scene in Amsterdam. Johnny Lee Miller’s character, Sick Boy, takes center stage as he tries his hand in the porn industry. Things become complicated when Robert Carlyle’s violently unpredictable Begbie gets out of jail.
Like Trainspotting, the novel does not shy away from provocative political musings that you can just hear Ewan McGregor delivering an impassioned monologue:
“I’m more of a warrior than you’ll ever be. I believe in the class war. I believe in the battle of the sexes. I believe in my tribe. I believe in the righteous, intelligent clued-up section of the working classes against the brain-dead moronic masses as well as the mediocre, soulless bourgeoisie.”
It also contains Welsh’s trademark penchant for peeling away layers of seedier subcultures to show what — if anything— lies beneath; what happens in the minds of those the rest of society don’t deign to notice.
Even as I’m shoveling up my hooter, I realize the sad truth. Coke bores me, it bores us all. We’re jaded cunts, in a scene we hate, a city we hate, pretending that we’re at the center of the universe, trashing ourselves with crap drugs to stave off the feeling that real life is happening somewhere else, aware that all we’re doing is feeding that paranoia and disenchantment, yet somehow we’re too apathetic to stop. Cause, sadly, there’s nothing else of interest to stop for.
Director Danny Boyle told Vulture “strictly speaking, it’s not an adaptation of the book. You shouldn’t think of it as an adaptation of Porno. It’s more like a Trainspotting 2.”
No release date has been announced yet, but with the original cast, director, and screenwriter onboard, this is one sequel that has absolutely no chance of being shite.
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