By Barry Lord @bazneto
Fans of Trainspotting were no doubt ecstatic when news broke that a trailer for the long-awaited follow-up to the 1996 cult smash was currently available online.
Sony Pictures, the film’s distributor, released what they called an “announcement” teaser for Trainspotting 2 – otherwise known as T2
In the footage available, we see a montage of interwoven clips from the original film, with a new voiceover from Ewan McGregor’s anti-hero Mark Renton and most intriguingly, a UK and Ireland theatrical release date.
The new movie – based on Porno, author Irvine Welsh’s loose follow-up to his ground-breaking, drug fuelled debut novel – will feature McGregor reprising his role from the first Trainspotting alongside Johnny Lee Miller as Sick Boy, Robert Carlyle as the psychotic Begbie, Ewan Bremner’s Spud, and possibly also Kelly Macdonald reprising her role as Diane, the young girl too wise beyond her years.
Those expecting to see new footage of the upcoming film in the teaser will have been left disappointed, as director Danny Boyle and his cast are still shooting the hotly anticipated film in Edinburgh as we speak.
However, the fact that there is now an official release date will put an end to speculation about the project’s long and sometimes troubled development and send its loyal fan base into ecstasy (no pun intended).
Since news broke, many of us have been recalling our favourite memories of the Trainspotting phenomenon and the indelible impression it left on movie-goers in the UK and Ireland.
This reporter remembers being 17 and studying in Scotland when the film gate-crashed multiplexes in February 1996.
Director Boyle – who would go onto Oscar winning acclaim with Slumdog Millionaire – grabbed audiences by the throat and dragged them through a milieu of grotty Edinburgh flats, filled with heroin needles, seedy bars and nightclubs; a side of the city the tourist board never told you about.
As well as being terrifyingly realistic, it was also extremely funny, perhaps more than the source material.
It made household names of its leads. McGregor was firmly established as a leading man, Carlyle could not have been further from his role as TV’s Hamish Macbeth and Kelly McDonald would later add working with the Coen Brothers in No Country for Old Men to her CV.
It also spawned a multi-million selling soundtrack album, with contributions from the likes of Pulp, Lou Reed, Iggy Pop and New Order. Britpop was huge and Trainspotting provided the soundtrack to summer ’96.
Not everyone believed the movie’s motives were sincere. Daily Mail film critic Christopher Tookey called it ‘a disgusting little film…more disgusting than it knows.” In fact there were many critics who condemned its “glorification” of drug abuse.
But can you seriously draw such conclusions from a film which shows its desperate protagonist trying to rescue a suppository from a filthy toilet bowl? For all its style, dark humour and “trendy for mid-90s’ soundtrack, it still remains one of the most anti-drugs film in living memory.
“Choose life” as Renton famously says.
After more than twenty years, many are sure to choose Trainspotting again.