Danny Boyle’s Trainspotting is viewed as one of the most important British independent films of the 1990s, even if it managed to make a splash on both sides of the Atlantic. The no-holds-barred look at a disparate band of petty criminals and junkies ended up seizing the zeitgeist and becoming a critical and commercial smash hit, launching many careers in the process.
Director Boyle and stars Ewan McGregor, Robert Carlyle, Ewen Bremner, Jonny Lee Miller, Kevin McKidd and Kelly Macdonald have all done pretty well for themselves in the 25 years since, and they even reunited for a sequel in 2017. That looked like the end of the line, but Carlyle is now teasing a spinoff series for his madman Begbie.
Author Irvine Welsh penned sequel novel The Blade Artist in 2016, placing Begbie front and center in his own wild story, with Carlyle revealing in an interview with NME that he’s hoping to have the adaptation in front of cameras within the next couple of years.
“Irvine and myself have been chatting quite a lot recently with a couple of excellent producers in London… As you know there was another book called The Blade Artist which is just entirely about Begbie and his mad story. It’s still in its early moments but it’s looking pretty good that this will happen eventually. I think we’re thinking about doing it as six one-hour ‘television event piece’, as they say nowadays. Whatever that means.
But it seemed to me to be right to look at it like that, and Irvine loved that idea. It’s such a massive story; it’s all Los Angeles back and forth to Edinburgh, and it’s difficult to do all that in an hour and a half! Especially if you want to keep the basis of that book pure. I think nowadays people like the event thing too, they like ‘six hours of this… bang.’ They can boxset it. They can binge it. So after a few chats we thought that’s the way forward.”
A jet-black comedic drama about the misadventures of heroin addicts hardly sounds like the stuff of which franchises are made, but if Carlyle’s The Blade Artist comes together, it’ll mark the third installment overall and first episodic entry in what’s become one of the most unlikely long-running sagas in the business.