Worldwide icon-chevron-right South Pacific icon-chevron-right Australia icon-chevron-right Melbourne icon-chevron-right Ewan McGregor talks Trainspotting and T2: "Renton was the role of a lifetime"
Portrait of Ewan McGregor
Photograph: Jaap Buitendijk

Ewan McGregor talks Trainspotting and T2: "Renton was the role of a lifetime"

As the new Trainspotting movie hits cinemas, the actor playing Renton remembers how the first film changed his life forever

By Dave Calhoun
Advertising

Ewan, did you ever think a Trainspotting sequel would happen?
Not until a script arrived about two years ago. A year or two before that I might have felt it could happen. The new one is such a brilliant piece of writing. It does something very special with our nostalgia for these characters and our nostalgia as an audience. There’s a nostalgia for the original movie too. It’s clever.

Can you compare becoming Renton again to any other job?
Well, I’ve done sequels, but never 20 years after the original. You wonder if you’ll be able to find him. You might not be able to get into his shoes again. But the second we got on set, with the guys, Jonny and Bobby and Ewen and Danny, it was all there. It was like meeting an old friend again.

Renton has been living away from Edinburgh, in Amsterdam. Is this his homecoming?
Yeah, he comes back to Scotland and hasn’t been back since he left. It’s been 20 years.

How did the first Trainspotting change your life?
It was the role of a lifetime. It was massively important to me. I just love it. It made a mark in British cinema in a way that I’ll always be very proud of. And it said something about the time.

Have you watched it recently?
I watched it days before starting rehearsals to remind myself of it all – the style, the feeling, the character. I hadn’t seen it for years. I was surprised how it held up. It hadn’t dated. It was nice to see it was as good as I remembered it.

Were you nervous about making the new film?
We just wanted to nail it. My nerves were about: can I find Renton again? Everybody knows him. People know who he is. I hadn’t tried to be Renton for 20 years. But in the end it was easy.

How was working with Danny Boyle again? You hadn’t made a film together since 1997’s A Life Less Ordinary.
Danny Boyle is Trainspotting. He’s the reason it was so successful. It’s all him. He always gives the sensation that he knows exactly what you’re doing, like he’s inside your head. I really missed him. I missed being on his sets. I was happy to be back.

Renton dived into that filthy toilet in the first film. Does it happen again?
There are some nods to the first film. But I’m not going to spoil them by telling you about them!

T2 Trainspotting opens on Thu Feb 23.

Films in cinemas in Melbourne now

Emily Mortimer in Australian horror film Relic
Photograph: Supplied

Relic

4 out of 5 stars
Film Thriller

Dementia is the monster in this Aussie horror movie

Queen & Slim
Photograph: Universal Pictures

Queen & Slim

3 out of 5 stars
Film Drama

A couple goes on the lam in this racially charged update of a familiar formula

Advertising
Photo: Mary Cybulski/Focus Features

Dark Waters

3 out of 5 stars
Film Drama

Given the talent involved, this drama about a quiet but deadly environmental disaster should have been more gripping

The Invisible Man
Photograph: Universal Pictures

The Invisible Man

4 out of 5 stars
Film Horror

HG Wells’ seminal sci-fi novel becomes a tart statement on toxic men and their gaslighting ways

Advertising
Photograph: Twentieth Century Fox

The Call of the Wild

3 out of 5 stars
Film Drama

Harrison Ford has plenty of experience working with big, furry co-stars, but in The Call of the Wild, his hairy companion is a little more down to earth than Chewbacca. A St Bernard-Scotch collie, Buck is the protagonist of this latest adaptation of Jack London’s 1903 novella. If you’re familiar with the story or you’ve seen any of the other umpteen adaptations, you’ll know the dognapped hero goes through a series of human-sidekicking adventures in the Yukon – pulling sleds, dodging avalanches and facing down grizzly bears, before tussling with his wolf ‘ancestor’ wild side. The curveball in this version is that it’s not entirely live action. Bar a couple of goats, all of the animal cast is rendered in CGI, while our pooch hero is performed by motion-capture expert Terry Notary (Rise of the Planet of the Apes). The results are, at best, mixed. While director Chris Sanders (How to Train Your Dragon) is able to pull off action set pieces and human-dog interactions that would be a big ask for even the most versatile canine performer, Buck has a slightly fake look and lacks the tangible reach-out-and-pat charm of an actual dog. It’s the uncanny (or uncanine-y?) valley writ large. Fortunately, Ford is his usual charismatic (and entirely non-CG) self as a kindly-grouchy frontiersman. Janusz Kaminski’s lush cinematography is a sizeable compensation too. Although it gets a bit mushy at times – with a vision of nature that is frankly fantastical (the animals don’t talk, but they cle

Photograph: Focus Features

Emma

3 out of 5 stars
Film Comedy

Jane Austen’s spry matchmaker gets a fizzy modernisation

Advertising
Photo: Claire Folger/Warner Bros.

Richard Jewell

3 out of 5 stars
Film Drama

A real-life wrong-man story makes a few accusations of its own

Photo: Courtesy of Neon

Parasite

5 out of 5 stars
Film Drama

Bong Joon-ho's triumphant satire has scooped four Oscars – here's why 

Advertising
The Lighthouse
Photograph: A24

The Lighthouse

5 out of 5 stars
Film Thriller

Robert Eggers (The Witch) directs a swirling descent into madness that takes your breath away

Show more
Recommended

    You may also like

      Advertising