10 things that you didn't know about Trainspotting

  • Trainspotting poster

It's been 23 years since Trainspotting was released, which means it's been over two decades since the heroin-fuelled misadventures of Renton, Sick Boy, Begbie and the rest of the gang hit out cinemas.

But how much do you know about Danny Boyle's marvellous adaption of Scottish author Irving Welsh's story about drug addicts in Edinburgh?

Here are 10 interesting behind-the-scenes facts that you probably didn't know.

1. The title comes from heroin addiction being compared to the hobby of trainspotting


The book's author Irvine Welsh has gone on record to explain the title, comparing the unusual hobby of trainspotting to heroin addiction.

"Something that only the people who indulge in that pastime truly understand, to them, it makes perfect sense."

2. The Beastie Boys' Sabotage music video was a major influence on the famous "choose life" opening sequence

3. To lose weight Ewan McGregor was banned from consuming alcohol or dairy products

McGregor has to lose two stone to play the skinny, heroin-addicted Renton, It only took him two months to reach Renton's desired size.

4. The 'Worst Toilet in Scotland' scene was actually covered in chocolate


While it looked incredibly foul, it actually smelled delicious.

5. Robert Carlyle played Begbie as a closeted gay man

Carlyle told a BAFTA interviewer that Begbie's outbursts of violence were due to his "fear of being outed". 

The book's author Irvine Welsh confirmed that he wrote the Begbie of the book to have an ambiguous sexuality, and agreed with Carlyle's interpretation of the film's version of the character.

6. Ewan McGregor was open to injecting himself with heroin

To better understand Renton's character he was up for giving it a go, although he later decided against it.

7. The cast played with baby Dawn in between takes so they could break the tension of the often difficult scenes 

Danny Boyle actually used twins to play the part of baby Dawn, which meant neither of the babies were forced to be in front of the camera for too long. 

8. A prosthetic arm was constructed for the close-up shots of Ewan McGregor injecting heroin

The make-up department built the arm, complete with pulsing veins, smack tracks and small pockets of blood that would appear when the skin was punctured by a hypodermic needle.

9. The scene with Sick-Boy and Renton lying in the park with their air-rifle was originally going to be set to the theme from Mission: Impossible

Unfortunately Brian De Palma was setting up the film version of the TV show at the time so getting to the rights to the music simply proved to be too expensive - approximately three times the film's budget.

Also, both actors were very hungover for the scene.

10. The actors re-recorded the first 20 minutes of dialogue for American audiences

Various options were considered to make the film more intelligible for American audiences.

Subtitles were ruled out as they would spoil the effect of using them in the disco scene.

Instead, they re-recorded and softened their accents for Americans to adjust to the Scottish dialect.

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