Trainspotting star Robert Carlyle has confirmed that a spin-off series centered on his character, Begbie, is now in the works. The series will be based on the follow-up novel “The Blade Artist”, with Carlyle confirming that, while things are in the very early stages, development on the project is looking promising.
“Irvine [Welsh, author of Trainspotting] and myself have been chatting quite a lot recently with a couple of excellent producers in London about [continuing the Trainspotting story]. 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.”
Carlyle first portrayed the terrifyingly aggressive psychopath Francis “Franco” Begbie in director Danny Boyle’s critically acclaimed adaptation of Trainspotting way, way back in 1996. Starring alongside the likes of Ewan McGregor, Ewen Bremner, Jonny Lee Miller, Kevin McKidd, and Kelly Macdonald, Trainspotting tells the story of Mark Renton, a drug addict who stumbles his way through bad ideas and sobriety attempts with his group of enabling friends. After cleaning up and moving from Edinburgh to London, Mark finds he can’t escape the life he left behind when Begbie shows up at his front door.
Trainspotting is a brutal, filthy often horrifying portrayal of addiction, with the movie now considered to be a cinematic classic. It was followed up with a somewhat lesser sequel in the form of 2017’s T2 Trainspotting, which once again brings together the talents of director Danny Boyle and stars Ewan McGregor, Ewen Bremner, Jonny Lee Miller, and Robert Carlyle as a still rather terrifying Begbie, who is now on a quest for revenge.
There are several novels in Irvine Welsh’s Trainspotting series, which began with the 1993 original, and was followed up with the 2002 sequel Porno, 2012 prequel Skagboys, and then a sequel in 2018, Dead Man’s Trousers. The Blade Artist follows on from these, unveiling details from Begbie’s chequered past while continuing to explore his surprisingly un-chequered present. The Blade Artist picks up with Begbie, who is now going by the name of Jim Francis, and who has become a Scottish expatriate artist now living in California with his wife and two daughters. Of course, you cannot escape your demons forever, and tragic events force him back to Scotland and to confront his past.
The serial adaptation is likely to follow the novel’s storyline closely, and this is something which, according to Robert Carlyle, can only be adapted into a series, rather than another movie. While The Blade Artist series is in the early stages, the actor did state that it is likely to consist of six hour-long episodes.
“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.”
So, are you excited to return to the grim world of Trainspotting in The Blade Artist, and see Carlyle once again unleashed as the frightening Begbie? This comes to us courtesy of NME.