Trainspotting, Danny Boyle’s classic 1996 film about the exploits of heroin addicts in Edinburgh, based on the novel by the provocative writer Irvine Welsh, is getting the sequel treatment in the form of T2 Trainspotting. Welsh published his own sequel, Porno, in 2002, which saw some returning characters move into the adult film business, and now Boyle’s getting in on the act (as in, he’s making a sequel, not mucky movies, as far as we know). Here’s everything we know so far.
There’s a release date.
And that release date is January 27. Choose the comfiest seat in your local cinema.
The film will trade on sly references to the original
Lookie here at this trailer, which was released in early November 2016. A bloke being chased down the street, a surreal shot of someone falling (presumably a fantastical representation of the effects of heroin), Kelly Macdonald shagging, Renton telling us to “choose life”. It’s both nostalgic and new, and we need a lie down.
Browse Trainspotting merch in the NME Merch Store.
It’s only “loosely” based on Porno
The project was first announced in 2013, when Boyle explained at SXSW Film Festival in Austin, Texas that it wouldn’t be an overly faithful adaptation of Irvine Welsh’s follow-up novel. The author has also said: “We’ve had to evolve past that, because the actors would have been ten years older when Porno came out, and now they’re 20 years older. It has to take into account that reality.”
Spud’s dress sense hasn’t improved
Lookit this clip, taken during the film’s shooting in May last year, of Spud (played by Ewen Bremner) trotting through the streets of Edinburgh is an orange shirt he presumably borrowed from Ace Ventura.
And Begbie’s missing a tooth
Appearing on Lorraine – the edgiest of daytime TV shows – Robert Carlysle told host Lorraine Kelly that he removed the tooth to give the character some “colour”. He added: “You can imagine he’s probably lost that in the prison somewhere.” Talk about suffering for your art!
Ewan McGregor has changed his mind
Early reports of the project noted that the actor, who played the loveable anti-hero Renton in Trainspotting, had previously said it would be “a terrible shame” to make a sequel. Actually, that’s not quite accurate – in 2003, at the Cannes Film Festival, he said, “It would be a terrible shame to make a sequel if it wasn’t as good,” which isn’t quite the same thing, is it? (Although he also went on to say he didn’t enjoy Porno as much as its predecessor, which is a bit awks).
Some ‘featurettes’ have been released
As in, illuminating clips that combine short interviews, film footage and behind-the-scene images.
Here’s one about Sick Boy, played by Jonny Lee Miller, who reveals that his character has become even more of a wrong un since the first movie.
And here’s one about main character Renton, played by Ewen McGregor, who explains that the former ne’er-do-well chose life since we last saw him.
The budget is bigger
Trainspotting was made for around £1.5m but this one could be closer to around £13m, though Boyle wants to keep it below that to minimise studio interference.
The original scriptwriter returned
John Hodges, who penned the BAFTA-winning Trainspotting script, wrote the screenplay. Robert Carlyle, who played degenerate bad bugger Begbie, told us way back in 2014: “Honestly, it’s one of the best scripts I’ve fucking read. I mean, ever. What John Hodge has done is just so clever.” Speaking to NME in November, author Irvine Welsh said, “We were all nervous before we decided to do it… [but] once we saw the script, everybody was confident that we were certainly not going to trash the legacy of the first film and that we were going to build on it.”
Some of it is set in the Scottish Parliament
If this snap from the shoot is anything to go by.
Trainspotting 2 filming at the Scottish Parliament. Ewan McGregor and Jonny Lee Miller on set. pic.twitter.com/YlYKz5ydIt
— ARROWSMITH??????? (@KtLeeArrowsmith) June 4, 2016
The iconic “Choose life’ monologue has had an update
This time around, it references social media, “revenge porn”, “zero-hour contracts”, crushing commutes and the many other miseries of modern life. You can read the updated “Choose life” monologue in full, if you like.
The film is going to make us all get a bit introspective
“I tell you, this film is going to be quite emotional for people. Because the film sort of tells you to think about yourself. You are going to be thinking: ‘Fuck. What have I done with my life?'” Robert Carlyle told us.
Pictures from the movie have been released
And here they be:
Tommy will be in it (sort of)
SPOILER ALERT! Look away now if you haven’t seen the first Trainspotting (also: what is wrong with you?). Anyway, as you’ll know if you’ve seen the original film, Tommy (played by Kev McKid) died after getting hooked on delicious smack. His character won’t come back from the dead, but in September last year McKidd told Digital Spy: “The character’s dead so nothing I can do about it. I did speak to Danny Boyle the other day, and he was asking if he could use some of the footage. Because I think they’re gonna lament Tommy in the new film. So there’s gonna be some footage of him in the new film from the original. So [Tommy] will be in it!”
This ain’t your average sequel
Ewan McGregor appeared This Morning, the most rock’n’roll of the daytime TV shows, and promised that the 20-year gap between the movies means T2 will be “a new animal”. He said: “Sequels don’t often work if they’re brought out straight away, [but] we’ve smartened up and we won’t accept it. This is different because it’s 20 years on – it’s really different because we didn’t try to remake the film.” Watch his sales pitch here:
Ewan McGregor cried when he saw it
He told Radio X: “I was so impressed with what Danny Boyle’s done. I mean he’s really amazing isn’t he, he’s just the best. The way he takes all the elements of film making – the acting, the script, the design, the cinematography and the music. His real mastery of music. He’s really got his finger on the pulse; he knows about music; he knows what people are listening to. When he puts them altogether it’s in such a magnificent way. I was totally moved by it. And because it’s us, because it’s our youth and it was that time in the 90s, he reminds us of it as the characters are remembering their youth by showing us little bits here and there of the original film. And when you see the juxtaposition of that it was like looking back at my life in a way. It was very moving – I was in absolute floods of tears at the end of it.”
The soundtrack already bangs
The first band to be revealed, back in November 2016, was the mighty Wolf Alice. Their song ‘Silk’, from the album ‘My Love Is Cool’, was used in the first trailer – which it fit perfectly, summing up the numb and elegantly wasted outlook of the characters in the film. The band was well chuffed, with bassist Theo Ellis tweeting the following:
Being in the new transporting trailer really means a lot, just had a "moment" in my ma's living room.
— Theo Ellis (@SteadyTheo) November 3, 2016
Fuck sake, "Trainspotting", grammar hindering all emotional events since 1992.
— Theo Ellis (@SteadyTheo) November 3, 2016
And now the whole soundtrack has been unveiled, featuring the likes of Young Fathers (who contributed a new track, among others) and Fat White Family. Here’s that soundtrack in full:
2. High Contrast – ‘Shotgun Mouthwash’
3. Wolf Alice – ‘Silk’
4. Young Fathers – ‘Get Up’
5. Frankie Goes to Hollywood – ‘Relax’
6. Underworld /Ewen Bremner – ‘Eventually But (Spud’s Letter to Gail)’
7. Young Fathers – ‘Only God Knows’
8. The Rubberbandits – ‘Dad’s Best Friend’
9. Blondie – ‘Dreaming’
10. Queen – ‘Radio Ga Ga’
11. Run D.M.C. vs. Jason Nevis – ‘It’s Like That’
12. The Clash – ‘(White Man) In Hammersmith Palais’
13. Young Fathers – ‘Rain or Shine’
14. Fat White Family – ‘Whitest Boy on the Beach’
15. Underworld – ‘Slow Slippy’
Novelist Irvine Welsh reckons it’ll be a better movie than the original
Well, of course he does. But it’s a pretty bold claim to make, and it seems unlikely he’d say such a thing without good reason. He told us: “In some ways, I think it’s a better movie … They have become such iconic characters and this is going to cement that status even more… It feels like a big epic movie. I’m very, very excited about it and I think people are going to be excited [too]. You’ll always get the critics who moan about it not being the original Trainspotting movie or being too much like it… [but] it’s going to be a great film, a great standalone film but also work with the first film as well to bring that whole world together… Everybody is older and so much more skilled. Everybody is really hungry again and vibing being back together. [It’s like] when you watch a band get back together and a lot of bands you see, their kids have grown up, they’ve got divorced or they need money, that kind of thing, but they aren’t really producing good stuff. That was one of the most important things, to see if we were still creating that buzz working together.”
Literally everyone is super excited about it
We’re so excited we made this lil video of geeky facts about the first movie. Enjoy!
There could be a Trainspotting 3 (!!)
Screenwriter John Hodge told The Independent that he “wouldn’t rule out” a third film. Similarly, novelist Irvine Welsh told Time Out: “I think there’s probably room for one more kind of Trainspotting-themed film. You never know what’s going to happen with these things.” Choose becoming a bestselling novelist, choose endless instalments of your beloved franchise.