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Entertainment Irvine Welsh on almost acting, wild parties, travel and 25 years of smash-hit film

11:55  17 january  2021
11:55  17 january  2021 Source:   msn.com

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The 1996 film took Irvine Welsh 's notorious 1993 novel to a new audience and ensured its longevity in the Trainspotting at 25 : Irvine Welsh brought drug culture to vivid life. But did the most startling new voice of the Nineties Do not impersonate other users or reveal private information about third parties .

Irvine Welsh photographed in The Wellington Cafe, Edinburgh. I think it's very tough for young writers because even if a publisher takes them on, they've basically got two books to hit the big time before they're forgotten about. Some of your novels have been adapted very successfully into films .

Almost 25 years after its cinema release, the film of Irvine Welsh’s novel Trainspotting remains a landmark in British filmmaking.

I caught up with Irvine for a socially distanced chat to reflect on that time back in 1996, as well as getting his thoughts on its sequel, other adaptations of his work and, umm, yacht parties in Cannes.

JN: The book is so uncompromising. Did you ever think when you were writing it, ‘Yeah, this could be a film’?

IW: I didn’t really think of those possibilities for a while but, when it became a successful stage play and started to be translated and sell abroad, I thought the characters might just have the juice to capture the imagination on screen.

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But the actor seemingly found a perk of traveling to Grand Cayman to see his children, aged six and three, posting a video of a woman dressed in strappy black lingerie waiting patiently on his bed on all fours, her rear end appearing to be bright pink as she looked straight ahead.

Irvine Welsh . Mike Sweeney. Mike is joined by Trainspotting author, Irvine Welsh , to talk about his latest book. 3 hours. Smash Hits . TELSTAR.

Producer Andrew Macdonald read the book when it came and recommended Danny Boyle, after they’d worked on Shallow Grave together. Do you remember when you first met Boyle and MacDonald… what your initial impressions were?

No! I was living in Amsterdam at the time – raving and writing and taking tons of drugs. I was in correspondence with them for so long before we physically met that I’d already formed impressions of them by then. I was incredibly sloppy about the business side of things back then…

I really did just want to write books and regarded everything else as an intrusion.

I was like, “Yeah yeah yeah…Shallow Grave. Great. You guys get on with it and make the movie and I’ll see you at the premiere.”

Did you have any casting ideas in your head for who would play who? What was your reaction to casting?

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I put Ewen Bremner and Susan Vidler forward, as I had done for the stage play, after seeing them in Mike Leigh’s film Naked, where they stole a scene as a destitute pair of young Scots in London. Other than that, I didn’t really think much about it.

It was just under two years between the book coming out and the movie shooting. Very fast in my experience. Even so, given the content, was there any point you thought it might not happen?

It was very quick. Filth and Ecstasy both took more than a decade each. I didn’t realise it was fast at the time, though. Like I said, I was divorced from the process until we actually started shooting, then, of course, I suddenly had a view on everything. Right from the music and clothes on down to how many sugars everyone should have in their tea…

How did you feel the first time you walked onto that set in Glasgow and saw it all happening?

I knew nothing about film production at the time, so I rocked up to play Mikey Forrester thinking it would just be actors poncing about. But I was surprised what a sweaty, industrial environment it was and also how difficult acting is when you have zero training.

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Were you always down to play Forrester? How nervous were you? You told me once you reckon you burned up more film than the rest of the cast put together.

Danny Boyle is no mug. He cast me as Forrester so that I’d be part of the process. If the film was rubbish, it would have been much harder for me to go around saying, ‘They screwed up my book,’ when I was actually in the movie.

Never been tempted to write a novel solely based around the adventures of Mikey Forrester? Just for the part…

For certain. I’d have Forrester as a stud with loads of beautiful women. I cast them regularly. In my mind.

Many writers have horror stories about their work being made into films. You had the rare case where the film matched the book. Do you remember your reaction the first time you saw it?

I thought it was more than decent in the screening room but didn’t trust my own reactions as I was too close to it.

So we had another screening in Soho and I brought along some of the London music crowd who had championed the book – Johnny Brown, Jeff Barrett, Paolo Hewitt, Andrew Innes, Bobby Gillespie and Throb from Primal Scream – and some exiled Jocko mates.

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I wanted the hardest, most critical crowd I could possibly get. Poor Andrew (Macdonald) was terrified as they were all ready to bay for blood. When they saw Bobby Carlyle as Begbie, at first they all went ‘eh?’ I think they’d all envisaged somebody much bigger. But then he totally drew them in.

What was it like the first time you saw it with a real, paying audience?

Just...electric. It convinced me that it was going to create a real impact.

There were some wild stories from when you all took the film to the Cannes Film Festival. Any memories there?

Tons – walking into a glass door, having a fire hose fight with Noel Gallagher, laughing at Andrew Macdonald when he said, ‘If it does as good business as Shallow Grave, I’ll be satisfied,’ drinking champagne on the balcony of the hotel and going on to a private boat where they made, uh, ‘adult’ films and getting locked in the hold downstairs with the performers as Moroccan pirates chased the Swedish bouncers off the boat into a launch. There’s loads more but obviously I can’t recall them as it was the 90s…

The marketing campaign was spot on, wasn’t it? It was everywhere that year. Those posters…

It got to the point where even I got sick of it. I headed to Dunfermline for six months and hung out in the Kingsgate shopping centre, drinking cider with the young team while everyone thought I was in New York or LA.

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You didn’t publish a novel between Marabou Stork Nightmares in ’95 and Filth in ’98. Is it fair to say the film consumed your life for a bit?

Not really. I did a book of short stories or novellas with Ecstasy and a play called Headstate. But I was doing a lot of traveling; India, Australia, Brazil, South Africa…trying to enjoy myself and get a little space to write. In Hollywood all the studios wanted to sign me but I never had an agent and you can’t do anything there without representation.

When I said ‘me’ after they all asked, ‘Who looks after you?’, you could see them thinking, ‘There’s a village in Scotland missing an idiot.’ I think because I had worked in management and had an MBA, I was so delighted not to have to deal with that boring s**t again and just be creative. But I got proper management and representation next time round.

You not only had one great book-to-film experience, you had two with Filth, starring James McAvoy. How did that compare?

Filth was very different in that I was much more together, experienced and business focused. I was fortunate to have a great collaborator in Jon Baird, who wanted me involved from the start and had a terrific game plan.

It was a joy to watch him tear up those Hollywood execs. He’s like an Aberdonian Columbo – he just grinds them down relentlessly. ‘Jist win last thing that’s botherin ays mind…’ We had a lot of laughs in LA and Cannes and an absolutely biblical trip to Japan.

There were moments in Trainspotting 2 that were quite a poignant examination of the ageing process. Was there any of that feeling on set?

When I saw Johnny Lee Miller and Ewan McGregor rock up for the shoot, the b******s looked like they just stepped off the the set of the first film. Danny read my mind and said, ‘Don’t worry, the high-def cameras will sort the moisturisers out…’ We decided that we were going to deliberately play up to the sense of nostalgia and the passage of time after Danny, John, Andrew and I rented a Big Brother-type house to meet up and devise the film.

There are so few films like Trainspotting now. Why do you think that is? Has the TV box set taken the place of that kind of cinema?

I think there’s no underground culture because of the internet now, so it’s impossible for a film or book like Trainspotting to exist today. But yes, you can do more in TV so the edgier stuff goes there, whereas film now tends to be about spectacle and pure mass-market entertainment.

Trainspotting was 1996, T2 was 2016, come 2036, will your books Skagboys or The Blade Artist eventually become Trainspotting 3? What shape will auld Mikey Forrester be in then?

I’m not sure about that. But, whatever happens, Mikey will still be a sex machine.

I wouldn’t bet against it…

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