‘It will happen’ confirmed Danny Boyle last week. Speculation has been circulating for some time upon the director’s plans for a Trainspotting 2. Of course, this sequel already exists, in the form of Irvine Welsh’s follow up novel Porno. Apparently it is begging to be made into a screenplay. Porno follows the characters of Trainspotting a decade on, and just over ten years from the original release date of Trainspotting now might seem as good a time as any to start work on the project.
Upon hearing this news, I’ll admit it, my heart sunk. Whilst a huge number of faithful Trainspotting fans are no doubt restlessly tapping their feet in anticipation of more news on the subject, I can’t help feeling empty, and as if this is just, flat out, a bad idea. Images of cinema’s vault of butchered sequels are conjured up before me, the travesties that were The Matrix Reloaded and Oceans Twelve, and don’t even get me started on Donnie Darko 2. Experience has surely taught me that this just shouldn’t happen.
Boyle’s intention is to re-unite the entire cast, an objective which seems, more ridiculous than optimistic. After his heated fall out with Ewan McGregor on the set of The Beach, McGregor stated that he could never see himself working with the director ever again, and who can imagine a Trainspotting sequel without Ewan McGregor!? Let alone without Bremmer, Miller, McKidd, and Carlyle playing Spud, Sick Boy, Tommy, and Begbie.
Trainspotting is a veritable landmark in British cinema history. It is arguably one of the greatest movies of the 90’s. I can’t help feeling that a sequel would taint the reputation of such a great movie. McGregor told The Independent in 2003 that “It would be a terrible shame to make a sequel to Trainspotting if it wasn’t as good.” In addition he stated: “I’m very proud of that film [Trainspotting] and I wouldn’t do anything to damage it. I read the book [Porno] and I didn’t think it was as good as Trainspotting. I liked it because I liked to find out what the characters were up to, but it didn’t move me like Trainspotting moved me – […] ultimately there was nothing new in it.”
I don’t want Trainspotting to become the movie (like so many others) that everyone remembers expressly because of its awful sequel. If there is truly nothing new in it, as McGregor says, I don’t want it to be an easy money-making rehashing of its original. If it is going to be made, it should be a great movie in its own rite, not off the back of its already successful predecessor. I don’t want Trainspotting’s reputation to be tarnished, and I don’t want to see a sequel without McGregor, or indeed any of those familiar faces who made such charismatic and vibrant characters really come to life.
Maybe I just don’t have enough faith in Danny Boyle, but to me, his aim to re-unite a whole cast seems unrealistic. It is fourteen years since Trainspotting and I don’t honestly believe that Boyle could do the film justice now, his style has progressed in these years. Our situation has changed, and so has Boyle’s. Similarly I don’t believe that the vibe of Trainspotting could be created in the twenty-first century to the same effect. Making a sequel to Trainspotting is just too risky. It is so much a film of its time, that any sequel risks seeming anachronistic, and looking out of place, even if it will be set ten years on. All I can say is that I hope Trainspotting is left alone. The question ultimately boils down to whether we have faith in Danny Boyle and his artistic vision and judgement, but for me, the answer is no, I don’t.