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According to various reports milling around the internet, the original cast have all expressed interest in reprising their roles, with Robert Carlyle claiming he would “do it tomorrow for nothing”.This will mean that Ewan Macgregor will return as Mark Renton, a reformed heroin addict who now runs a successful nightclub in Amsterdam, although relations between Boyle and Macgregor have been strained since the late 90s when Macgregor was passed over for Leonardo Di Caprio for the lead role in Boyle’s adaptation of The Beach.
Robert Carlyle (who has had a much greater presence on American television in recent years) will reappear as the violent sociopath Francis Begbie, and Johnny Lee Miller, now primarily a stage actor, is rumoured to be reprising his role as Simon (Sick Boy) Williams.It’s been eleven years since Irvine’s Welsh’s Porno was published, and in the years since then, Danny Boyle, the film director who adapted the novel’s predecessor Trainspotting in 1996, has been rather coy about his intentions to bring Porno to the big screen.Perhaps all the Oscar wins and critical acclaim he has received in the interim has made him reluctant to make a sequel to his earlier work, but every so often Boyle casually remarks on the prospect of such an undertaking, and now Trainspotting actor Robert Carlyle has confirmed that a production of Porno will take place when quizzed about it at an American comic-con this past July.Boyle once claimed that he is waiting for the original Trainspotting cast to age enough so that they will match Welsh’s physical descriptions of their characters when Porno catches up with them a decade later.Well, it’s been seventeen years since Trainspotting, so perhaps now is the perfect time to begin that overdue adaptation.Whether Kelly Macdonald will return in her role of Diane (a secondary character in Porno) remains to be seen; her award-winning turn as Margaret Schroder in the HBO series Boardwalk empire might prevent this from occurring, and likewise Ewan Bremmer who memorably brought the character ‘Spud’ to life has also established a successful career on US Television which may present a problem for his return.
If Boyle is loyal to Welsh’s novel, it’s Johnny Lee Miller who will gain the greatest amount of screen time, as Porno is, for the most part, the story of Simon Williams, a character whose devious personality is explored in much greater detail in Porno than in Transporting.
However, it seems unlikely that the star appeal of Ewan Macgregor will be diminished by any screenplay, despite Mark Renton having a far less prolific role in Porno compared to his central character status in Trainspotting.
One thing that should be noted about Porno is how much lighter and generally funnier the novel is in comparison to Trainspotting.
The grim reflections about life in the Scottish town of Leith are still present, but there is definitely a lot more to be said about the tone, which is far more upbeat and generally features less social observation.
Boyle has proven in the past that he can do comedy just as well as drama, most famously seen in the ‘comedic’ aspect of Slumdog Millionaire (although this film was set against a very different scenario to that of Porno), but comedy did not work in Boyle’s favour when making the 1997 black comedy A Life Less Ordinary, a film widely regarded as his weakest.
If Boyle does choose to make Porno with a more serious angle to emphasize the more ruthless aspects of the story, because despite its tone there are several brutal scenarios in the novel, then the drug to place under the social microscope is not the heroin of Trainspotting, but instead cocaine, which plays a definitive role in the character of Simon Williams and the culture of the pornographic industry the novel is largely based around.