“T2 Trainspotting” Only Possible After Danny Boyle Apologised To Ewan McGregor Over “The Beach” Fall-Out

The stars of Danny Boyle’s much anticipated sequel to 1996’s cult hit Trainspotting have been talking to Empire magazine about the film ahead of its release in UK cinemas January 27. The film reunites the director with star Ewan McGregor who famously fell out over the casting of The Beach. Boyle discusses the fall-out for the first time…

Trainspotting 2

The cast and director of T2 Trainspotting talking to Empire magazine

Perhaps the biggest obstacle dictating whether or not Trainspotting got a sequel wasn’t a lack of creative ambition or ideas to take the story forward but settling the rift that had formed between director Danny Boyle and star Ewan McGregor.

Bridges were burnt over the casting of Boyle’s The Beach which saw Leonardo DiCaprio end up with the role originally promised to McGregor. I was “Danny Boyle’s actor” said McGregor to The Times earlier this year, having turned in some of his best early-career performances in Boyle’s Shallow Grave, A Life Less Ordinary and, of course, Trainspotting.

But Boyle’s own stardom as a filmmaker allowed him increased creative freedom and the potential to cast a bonafide Hollywood star in his 2000 film The Beach. The director also says DiCaprio helped the film capture much-needed investment. So he chucked McGregor for DiCaprio (whose fame, and box office appeal, had grown significantly courtesy of Titanic released a couple of years earlier). This was despite McGregor landing the plump role of Obi-Wan Kenobi in George Lucas’ prequel to Star Wars which came out a year before The Beach.

“[It was] my understanding that I was playing the [lead] role. To discover that I wasn’t, came as a bit of a shock”, McGregor said in an interview with The Times. “It wasn’t just not getting that role. It was [the way] it was handled that wasn’t very clever. It did knock me a little bit.”

In his interview with Empire magazine, Danny Boyle has talked about the breakdown of their relationship for the first time. He accepts that he wasn’t very “respectful” towards McGregor. “We met and talked and I said how sorry I was, the way we had treated him. And it rebuilt from there.”

Of course, the chance to return to not only a film that transformed his career but the place he called home throughout his childhood (he was born in Perth, Scotland) had its own appeal. There was also something alluring about playing his Trainspottintg character Renton again, partly because of parallels between his own life and Renton’s fictional one.

“I hadn’t seen Danny for all those years. He f*cked off, and I f*cked off. I haven’t lived in Scotland since I was 17. He’s coming back, I was coming back. There were an awful lot of parallels you might say,” he told Empire.

About the Author
Rory Fish has loved movies since he can remember. If he was to put together an "all time" top 10 of absolute favourites it would have to include North By Northwest, 12 Angry Men and Sunset Boulevard.
  1. Callum Reply

    I wondered why they hadn’t made a film together all this time. Great to see they are friends again. Not sure about the sequel to Trainspotting though.

    • Rory Reply

      It was quite a well-documented fall-out when it happened. The tricky thing with mention of a Trainspotting sequel is that their difference hadn’t been settled prior to the film getting underway. Had they not been able to settle their difference, maybe we wouldn’t have got this sequel at all.

  2. Callum Reply

    I’m personally not expecting much from the sequel. Trainspotting isn’t the sort of film which shouts “sequel potential”.

    • Rory Reply

      Lots of talent involved and Danny Boyle has shown he’s a consistent director/storyteller. I wouldn’t call myself a massive Trainspotting fan but I’m interested to see what they do here.

  3. Dan Reply

    I’m quietly optimistic.

  4. Mark Fraser Reply

    I’m with Callum on this, the reason being the first time I saw Trainspotting (in July 1996, on the screen) IT BLEW MY MIND. I’d seen Shallow Grave, but I wasn’t expecting something like this … plus I’d never heard of Robert Carlye up until that point.

    So at this stage it begs the questions: Will a sequel sully the memory of the original? Or worse, will it look like a tired get-together akin to a 20 year high school reunion?

    One can only hope not, but unlike Dan I’m not particularly optimistic. Hopefully I’ll again be proven wrong.

  5. Dan Reply

    It’s the talent involved that I think makes me somewhat optimistic. They’ve managed to get the whole “band back together” so to speak so that’s a plus. But I’d agree that Trainspotting was like catching lighting in a bottle. That said, of Boyle’s early work, Shallow Grave is my favourite.

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