Edinburgh hosted the premiere of one of the most eagerly anticipated British films for decades, Trainspotting 2.
Sunday’s screening, at Cineworld in the city’s Fountain Park, attracted media from around the world with the actors and actresses gathering on the orange carpet — rather than red — in keeping with the film’s original colour style.
Based loosely on Trainspotting’s written sequel, Porno, the film brings the four main protagonists from the first film, Renton, Sick Boy, Spud, and Begbie, back to Edinburgh in predictably chaotic circumstances.
There has been much talk of whether producing a sequel could tarnish the legacy of such an iconic film, and director Danny Boyle admitted to being nervous about that possibility.
“We were worried, of course we were” he said. “But all the self-consciousness about whether we should do a sequel and whether people would be disappointed just dissipated when I read John Hodge’s script; it’s so well written.” he said.
“And then we got confidence knowing that we could get the four main actors back.
“The unity that these four have shown is just incredible. They’ve all done it for the same reasons and for the same amount of money too.
“We’ve made it now and it’s out there. We just have to wait and see what people think.”
The sequel took so long to happen because of various reported differences between McGregor and Boyle, with McGregor allegedly furious for years over losing out to Leonardo DiCaprio in the starring role of Boyle’s 2000 blockbuster The Beach.
With it having taken 21 years to happen, it could well be the longest ever period between an original and a sequel but that hasn’t diminished its quality according to many, not least the books’ author, Irvine Welsh.
The Leith native took the bold step of declaring the sequel to be “even better than the first” because it “leaves you with so many things rattling around your head on a deep level”.
The film will be released UK-wide on Friday, and internationally on February 10.
Risking a sequel was a tough choice — but it paid off
Being Edinburgh-born — but without ever having had a heroin habit — I have a tenuous connection with the Trainspotting books and films, writes Jake Keith.
Great though they are, they don’t exactly fill you with pride for the city — and that was one of the main criticisms directed at the makers when it was first released.
Although the original Trainspotting film was well received at the time by those with an open mind, time did what it does best and got to work on weeding out unfair assessments and it is now heralded as one of the greatest British films of all time.
“Choose your future. Choose life,” McGregor’s Mark Renton announced in the original, before swiftly deciding: “Why would I want to do a thing like that?”
It’s interesting though that, ultimately, his character was actually the only one who chose the ‘average’ life in the end of the first film.
The sequel sees Renton return to Edinburgh, where hurt, bitterness and envy await him, with the rage-filled on-the-run convict, Begbie lurking in the shadows.
While the actors themselves have aged, it actually works perfectly well with the storyline of the film.
It perhaps goes even deeper than the first film did in enticing the viewer into questioning themselves and the choices they have made.
It’s certainly not just an attempt to piggy-back on the success of the first film — and I think most people knew that wasn’t the intention anyway.
It stands on its own two feet as a whole new story which is good news for fans of the original, and for those involved in the making, who simply had little to gain, but everything to lose in attempting it.