Ewan McGregor probably never would have thought over 20 years ago, that someday he’d be cast in huge Hollywood blockbusters like Star Wars, playing Obi-Wan Kenobi, or singing in a larger than life musical film like Moulin Rouge or cast in the latest CGI-laden Jack and the Giant Slayer. Between blockbusters and his earliest roles in Emma, Velvet Goldmine and Little Voice, McGregor was just having fun before starring in the film that would catapult him to fame.
At a young age, Scotsman, McGregor made a shift from London theatre to a BBC mini-series to low budget British films before exploding with the international cult classic, Trainspotting. After landing the role of drug addict Renton, McGregor told Clash Music he didn’t think the film would take off as fast as it did.
At twenty-four, I was in a brilliant youthful, ruling-the-world kind of mood, I thought everything I was involved in was going to be some huge hit back then, but truthfully, I don’t think that anyone could have predicted just how successful Trainspotting would be today.
There was a lot of controversy around the film and its critics argued that it glamorized drug use and the lifestyle. McGregor wholeheartedly disagrees.
The story is right there in front of your eyes to see and there’s a great deal of grief and terrible shit going on in it. I mean, yes, the film had a flavour about it, but that’s because it’s very engaging.
There’s something very vibrant about it and something charming about these characters. Yeah, there’s moments in the early scenes when they’re taking drugs and they look like they’re having the time of their lives, but that’s because it is the time of their lives. In a way it’s because they haven’t really got anything else, that’s why people take drugs and why people become addicted to them. It’s an escape, and it’s an escape in their case because of poverty and hopelessness. So to not show that side of it, that moment of high they we’re trying to reach, that wouldn’t be the whole story. Maybe people just don’t like the mix of that stylised look and the subject matter, but I think ultimately it doesn’t matter. The film’s not saying ‘taking heroin is great’, and there’s just no question really; we’re not showing a happy way of life.
Many critics applauded McGregor for his charismatic performance and to this day, he said it’s the role most of his fans talk to him about.
It’s still the main thing people ask me about when they come up to me in the street. I really get a sense that it’s possibly the biggest film I’ve done, or definitely the most successful in terms of being in the human consciousness.
There is a book sequel to Trainspotting called Porno and for many years there’s been chatter of making this into a film. Director Danny Boyle confirmed just last year that there’s a possibility of it being made.
There’s a script, well, an early draft. I’m working with Jonny Lee Miller [who played Sick Boy], and when we get the script ready, I’ll approach the rest of the original cast and see how much it appeals.