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Trainspotting's return sparks nostalgia

Film & TV

“Nostalgia. It’s why you’re here. You’re a tourist in your own youth,” says Jonny Lee Miller’s Sick Boy midway through T2: Trainspotting, which hits Australian screens this month.

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It is a theme that runs deep in the sequel to Danny Boyle’s 1996 cult classic, which reunites Sick Boy, Renton (Ewan McGregor), Begbie (Robert Carlyle) and Spud (Ewen Bremner) two decades after the original.

Renton has spent the ensuing years in Amsterdam but returns to an Edinburgh he can barely recognise and a past he can’t escape.

“I think the idea of this new Edinburgh was useful in our story because it’s moved on, and maybe these characters haven’t maybe moved on with it,” McGregor says.

“I think that was Danny’s use of it – he wanted to show this new, shiny city.”

While T2: Trainspotting may not be as explicitly political as the original film, Boyle does admit to a nervous moment when the results of last June’s referendum filtered through to the set.

“It’s kind of teased at,” he says.

“The Brexit vote happened while we were shooting and we had this scene built in where they apply for a grant from the EU and then it was like ‘What are we going to do?’”

Also returning is an updated version of Renton’s famed monologue, which featured heavily in pre-release trailers.

“I think it’s a very personal speech for John (Hodge), the writer,” McGregor says.

“I think there’s a great deal of him and his life in that speech, not just the stuff about Twitter and Instagram which was what people’s ears seem to be grabbing hold of the most. It was great and important for the fans.”

Great for the fans but Carlyle, in talks to return to the role of Begbie in an adaptation of Welsh’s most recent novel The Blade Artist, admits to being a stickler for nostalgia himself.

“Dreadfully,” he says. “I watch old football matches and stuff like that. I kind of wallow in it, I love it.

“I don’t think nostalgia for Trainspotting is any bad thing because it was a great time.

“I think the audience hopefully will see this film and think about what they were doing back then and be nostalgic, and that’s good. That can be a nice thing.”


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