Journalist Fiona Russell-Powell has posted a collection of old interviews to her website, including one she conducted more than 15 years ago, with Trainspotting director Danny Boyle. The interview originally ran in the March 1996 edition of Dazed and Confused, just a few months before Trainspotting's release in the US, and about two years after Boyle made his feature film debut, with Shallow Grave. By the time he sat down with Russell-Powell, Trainspotting was already sending shockwaves across the UK, and would soon begin burrowing its way even deeper into our social consciousness.
Boyle spent much of the piece discussing the challenges he faced in adapting a book to film, and in rendering his characters' Scottish vernacular more palatable. "The biggest problem was language because the vernacular acrobatics in the book can't be done on film, it would have to be dubbed," he said. "We tried to compensate visually 'cos we knew we'd never be able to get that breathtaking sense of language from reading the book, so we tried to make the film as visually exciting as possible."
Most of the interview, however, centers around Boyle's depiction of drug use, and how audiences may receive it. When asked about accusations that his film may encourage younger viewers to try drugs, he responded: "Of course that's ridiculous, because people take drugs not because of movies that they see, but because of how they're getting on with their girlfriend or with their peer group. It's like a Chinese box. All you can ever do is tell the truth and you should say the reason why people do heroin is because, actually, it makes you feel fucking wonderful."
This forthright, if somewhat painful honesty seems to have been at the core of Boyle's philosophy:
The problem is that people who make drug films make them so fucking depressing. We wanted to make a film that actually gives you the rush of drug culture, you go out there and have a fantastic time and we wanted to reflect that. That's what was so shocking about the book because it dares to say that it's fucking wonderful. 'They' expect you to swallow the idea that only complete morons touch this drug, who haven't heeded the warnings. That's absolute nonsense! There's a side of drugs which is absolutely fantastic, which is why we all do them at certain times and people will always do them.
You can read the full interview here.
//via Dangerous Minds