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Trivia / Trainspotting

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  • Ability over Appearance: Begbie of the book is a tall intimidating, bulky brute. Robert Carlyle is much more slender, but captures the Hair-Trigger Temper perfectly.
  • Acting for Two: Stuart McQuarrie plays two unrelated characters in the film: the US Tourist who is beaten up by Begbie in the pub toilet; and Gavin, a friend of the main characters who talks to Renton at Tommy's funeral.
  • BFI Top 100 British Films: #10.
  • Breakthrough Hit:
    • It got the ball rolling for Danny Boyle, but his follow-ups The Beach and A Life Less Ordinary were flops. It wasn't until 28 Days Later that his career was solidified.
    • The novel put Irvine Welsh on the map.
    • It was also this for the British film industry in general, which had been in a major Dork Age for the previous decade following the massive critical and commercial failure of Revolution (1985). It did the important job of winning back American audiences, with The Full Monty cementing the UK industry's comeback two years later.
  • California Doubling: Although set in Edinburgh, most interiors, and some of the exteriors, were shot in Glasgow. A notable exception is the chase down Princes Street.
  • Cast the Runner-Up: Ewen Bremner had previously played Renton in a stage adaptation of the novel.
  • Creator Backlash: Irvine Welsh is somewhat embarrassed by his first novel.
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  • Darkhorse Casting: For the role of Diane, Danny Boyle wanted an actress with no previous experience "so no-one would twig that a 19-year-old was playing the part" of a 14-year-old. The filmmakers sent flyers to nightclubs and boutiques and even approached people on the street, eventually hiring Kelly Macdonald.
  • Dawson Casting: Just about. Kelly Mac Donald was nineteen when she shot the film, playing a school girl. This one is justified, since Diane is meant to be able to pass for older.
  • Deleted Scene: The DVD contains several that can be spliced in to the film:
    • Renton and Sick Boy have an extended quiz about James Bond movies.
    • Renton's job interview, in which he explains his heroin addiction in order not to get the job.
    • A longer part of Spud's job interview.
    • Diane catching Renton, Spud, and Sick Boy while shoplifting.
    • Renton meeting Swanney in the hospital after he's lost his leg.
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    • Sick Boy and Renton sit in a park, discussing Tommy's sickness and Sick Boy has a monologue about his view of the world.
    • Spud and Tommy sit on a street and discuss their fantasy of going to Australia.
    • At a football game, Renton tells Diane about the trip to London and she reveals that she has a boyfriend.
    • Sick Boy, Begbie, Spud, and Renton at the bus station before leaving for London. Renton gives money to a one-legged Falklands War veteran who turns out to be Swanney and Begbie berates Sick Boy for carousing with two of his hookers.
  • Dyeing for Your Art:
    • Ewan McGregor shaved his head and lost two stone (28 lbs or 13 kg) to convincingly play a heroin addict. He even considered injecting himself with heroin to better understand it, but decided against it.
    • Jonny Lee Miller bleached his hair blond. This is particularly odd because Sick Boy is dark-haired in the book, as Miller is in real life.
  • Executive Meddling: The American release ordered the sex scene between Renton and Diane trimmed because Diane appeared to be "enjoying it too much", and she was a schoolgirl. Nearly all the releases from the mid 90s on have the sex scene intact.
  • Fake Scot: Jonny Lee Miller, who is English, is the only cast member not from Scotland.
  • Making Use of the Twin: Baby Dawn was played by a pair of identical twins.
  • Never Work with Children or Animals: Baby Dawn had to be re-cast as the original child cried too much when left on set.
  • No Budget: The film's budget was very low - £1.5 million - requiring many scenes to be shot with just one take.
  • Old Shame: Kelly Mac Donald is a little ashamed about having done nudity, as it was her first film and she was only nineteen.
    • It's really no wonder when you consider this cringe-worthy fact: Poor, naive Kelly invited her parents to visit her on set and watch some of the filming- on what turned out to be the day she and Ewan McGregor shot their steamy sex scene. Oops.
  • One-Take Wonder: Due to the skimpy budget, most scenes had to be shot in just one take.
  • Real-Life Relative: Keith and Kevin Allen play the London dealers.
  • Technology Marches On: The "Choose Life" speech mentions compact disc players and electrical tin openers.
  • Shrug of God: Robert Carlyle believes that Begbie is actually an Armored Closet Gay and his outbursts are due to his fear of being outed. Irvine Welsh later said he wrote Begbie to have an ambiguous sexuality.
  • Star-Making Role: Ewan McGregor's career really took off after appearing in this film. The other actors in the film did quite well out of it too, with the result that they were nicknamed the 'Jock Pack'note 
  • What Could Have Been:
    • Christopher Eccleston was the first choice for Begbie. He turned it down, thinking it was too cliche to cast a northener as the most violent role. He even wrote Danny Boyle to say that he should play Renton instead.
    • Oasis were asked to contribute to the soundtrack, but Noel Gallagher declined, because he thought the film was literally about trainspotters.
  • Word of Saint Paul: Robert Carlyle thinks Begbie is secretly gay and in love with Renton but admits he isn't sure if Welsh intended this.
  • Write What You Know: The film's screenwriter John Hodge was previously a doctor, and had to deal with recovering heroin addicts. Some of his experiences made it into the film - such as when the junkies steal a TV from a retirement home.


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