'Trainspotting 2' World Premiere: Original Team Reunites in Edinburgh

Credit: Anthony Harvey / Getty
Ewen Bremner, Ewan McGregor, Jonny Lee Miller and Robert Carlisle.

Danny Boyle, Ewan McGregor, Jonny Lee Miller, Robert Carlyle, Ewen Bremner, Kelly Macdonald and Irvine Welsh hit the soggy orange carpet for the sequel, landing 21 years after the groundbreaking original.

For director Danny Boyle, there was only one city where he could hold the world premiere for the long-awaited Trainspotting sequel, T2 Trainspotting

However, in choosing Edinburgh — where the film is set and (this time) mostly shot — for the Sunday night event, he did have to apologize to the waiting crowds for the rain and somewhat wintry conditions. “It’s brilliant to be back in Edinburgh,” he said. “But you’re all freezing, and I’m sorry.”

Thankfully, the cold didn’t dampen the mood, with the returning castmembers jubilant that the sequel to the film that had launched their careers — after years of discussions and false starts — had finally arrived.

"It’s a giant privilege," said Ewen Bremner, whose character Spud has one of the biggest story arcs in T2. "I cannot ever top this."

Added Jonny Lee Miller, returning as Sick Boy: "You just don’t get to revisit a group of people you have such fond memories of, it doesn’t happen."

Robert Carlisle, whose violently volatile character Begbie was one of the original’s most iconic, had to deal with an unusual request from one women in the crowd — signing her chest. "The film's been a long time coming, and it’s such a unique experience," he said. "I don’t think there’s been anything like that before, where there’s a 20 year wait for a sequel."

Returning as Diane, Kelly Macdonald pointed out that the first Trainspotting had been her acting debut, and the first time she had ever read a script. 

"It changed my life. Danny did. He changed everything for me," she said, adding that she was "delighted" to have been asked to reprise her role in T2.

Arguably the biggest cheers on the night were reserved for Ewan McGregor, whose turn as Renton in the original set him on a course toward the Hollywood A-list. Wearing a hat to hide the bald head required for his two roles in the next season of Fargo, the actor said that Boyle, with whom he made his first three films, was like his first wife. "Because I always loved Danny and I’ve always felt like he got the best work out of me," he explained.

In introducing the film, Boyle took time to praise the local National Health Service, which he said had saved the life of one of the film’s key workers after he had become seriously ill. "He’s now working on the next Paul Thomas Anderson film with Daniel Day-Lewis," he said.

Boyle also pointed out the great pressure on his shoulders in directing a film that didn’t tarnish the legacy of the first. "Throughout the filming, the guys had this look on their faces, which was actually shouted at me by a man working on a tower block: 'This better not be shite, Danny.'"

But Boyle already got one major fan of the sequel in the author of the original and the book Porno, on which much of T2 is based: Irvine Welsh.

"I actually like it better than the first. It's much more layered, and much more personal," Welsh said.

T2 Trainspotting opens in the U.K. on Friday and in the U.S. on March 17. It's also screening out of competition at the Berlinale in February.