The box office smash Trainpotting celebrates its twenty fifth birthday today and we’ve managed to uncover some little known facts about the grimy movie that went global after portraying a group of heroin addicts in Edinburgh.
1. Angeline Jolie hung out during filming with her then boyfriend Jonny Lee Miller. In fact the two were told to stop rollerblading on the set by Danny Boyle when they filmed in an old cigarette factory which is now luxury flats.
2. Homework for the movie was given out to the cast by Danny Boyle. He told then all to watch films including The Hustler, A Clockwork Orange and The Exorcist to get a taste of rebellious youth so they’d be well prepared for their characters.
3. Ewan Bremner was originally chosen to play Renton and not Spud. He played Renton on stage in Scotland then London’s Bush Theatre but was talked into playing Spud by director Danny Boyle.
4. Three days before finishing, Ewan MacGregor and Johnny Lee Miller went on a bender and turned up drunk on set. They filmed the scene in the park where Renton and Sick Boy shoot an English bull terrier with an air rifle,and couldn’t really stand so were lying down looking hungover.
5. The American market didn’t fully understand the accents when Trainspotting came out. The first 20 minutes of the film had to be re-dubbed so that the thick Scottish accents didn’t confuse people.
6. The Cannes Film Festival party for Trainspotting in 1996 entertained guests including Leonardo DiCaprio, Mick Jagger and Damon Albarn. Leftfield played and there were football chants and footage of Sean Connery as James Bond. Irvine Welsh and Noel Gallagher were still in loungers by the pool at 7am.
7. Thug Francis Begbie is in the closet as a gay man. Robert Carlyle put his rage down to his his fear of being outed. Author Irvine Welsh agreed but said that Begbie’s sexuality is ambiguous in the book.
8. Ewan McGregor has always taken his roles seriously and actually learned how to cook up heroin, using glucose. At one point he thought about trying heroin for true method acting, but decided it wasn’t a great idea.
9. David Bowie helped to secure the music for the soundtrack . The low-budget film made by a ‘nobody director’ – Boyle’s words – stood little chance of securing the rights to Lust for Life and Perfect Day, but Bowie spoke to his pals Iggy Pop and Lou Reed.
10. That disgusting toilet actually turned out to be quite pleasant for actor Ewan McGregor. The poo was made of chocolate mousse so when Renton dived head first into it to fish out his opium suppositories he got a tasty surprise.
11. In the opening scenes of the movie the football team is Calton Athletic, which is a team made up of recovering addicts. Calton Athletic were also important advisors for the drug scenes in the movie.
12. Kevin McKidd who played Tommy Mackenzie in the film missed out on his big orange poster shoot because he was on holiday at the time the photographer was booked.
13. The title of Trainspotting is meant to be considered as something pointless, that others don’t always understand. Author Irvine Welsh said thats how non-addicts look at heroin use.
14. The film cost under £2 million to make but ended up as the biggest British movie of 1996 and the legacy of Trainspotting is still huge today.
15. One band who didn’t appear on the soundtrack was Oasis who apparently thought the film was about Trainspotting. They were invited to the premier, though, and now Liam rates it as one of his favourite movies.