The year 2016 will mark the 20th anniversary of the release of Danny Boyle's Trainspotting, and it's slated to be the production start of it's long-awaited sequel. So says the star it launched, Ewan McGregor.
In an interview with Details, the Scottish star talked about the highs (his recent stint on Broadway in The Real Thing) and lows (Michael Bay's The Island) of his career, and in the midst of this, delivered an update on when we might expect a Trainspotting 2 to actually get made. He told the magazine:
"It looks like it might happen. The idea is that we shoot it in 2016, which would be 20 years after the original came out. And I'd be up for it. I wouldn't have been 10 years ago, but I am now."
Based on the Irvine Welsh novel, Trainspotting hit theaters in the summer of 1996, bringing with it fearless humor, an addictive soundtrack, heroin chic aplenty, and scads of bad behavior. Deeply embedded in the Edinburgh drug scene, the film starred Ewan McGregor as a junkie who's trying to get clean, but finds the path to sobriety littered with misadventures like bedding a minor, robbing a book shop, and suffering severely disturbing hallucinations. Ewen Bremner, Jonny Lee Miller, Kevin McKidd, Robert Carlyle and Kelly Macdonald co-starred.
It's a bit of a surprise to hear McGregor's ready to return, because as he hints above--that was completely off the table a decade ago when he was publicly furious with director Danny Boyle. To go back to the beginning, it's worth noting that, In some sense, McGregor owes his career to the filmmaker. The two worked together in 1994's Shallow Grave,1996's Trainspotting, and 1997's A Life Less Ordinary (an underrated romantic comedy). The two were poised to reteam in 2000 for The Beach, which had McGregor attached to star as its cocky and cavalier antihero. However, when production began McGregor was gone, replaced by a more bankable star, Leonardo DiCaprio. In the Details interview, McGregor admits of this time, "It was an unfortunate situation, and it wasn't handled well. I was very upset. But time has gone by, and we put to bed the bad feelings and all of that shit." (Perhaps it helped that The Beach was critically loathed, hurting both Boyle's reputation and DiCaprio's.)
Talk of a Trainspotting 2 started in earnest in 2010, when Danny Boyle teased the possibility of adapting Irvine Welsh's sequel novel Porno. Robert Carlyle was reportedly game to reprise the role of Begbie, but McGregor was telling fans, "I wouldn't hold your breath," explaining he'd only sign on to a sequel if he felt it wouldn't tarnish the reputation of the original.
Boyle concurred with this statement in 2013, when he appeared at SXSW in promotion of this crime thriller Trance. There, he revealed his regular contributor John Hodge (Shallow Grave, Trainspotting, A Life Less Ordinary, The Beach, Trance) was banging out the script. And when it was ready, Boyle was certain the ensemble would be eager to return, adding, "I think they'll wanna know that the parts are good so they don't feel like they are letting anyone down. … The reason for doing it again is that people cherish the original, people remember it or have caught up with it if they never saw because they were younger. So you want to make sure you don't disappoint people. That will be the only criteria I think."
Should it stay close to its book inspiration, Trainspotting's sequel Porno will pick up ten years after the end of the first film/novel. And should call for the return of McGregor, Bremner, Miller, and Carlyle. Here's hoping it actually comes together.