“Choose life,” intones Ewan McGregor at the start of the first full-length trailer for “T2: Trainspotting,” echoing a line from the 1996 cult classic that made him and director Danny Boyle household names. “Choose Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and hope that someone cares.”
Despite a modest $1.5 million budget, "Trainspotting" had a huge cultural impact for its brutal portrayal of the squalor and heartbreak of drug abuse. A hallucinatory sequence in which McGregor crawled out of a filthy toilet has become one of the most iconic scenes in film history.
The long-awaited sequel is budgeted at $18 million and returns to that seedy Scottish underground, with McGregor reprising his role as one-time heroin addict Mark “Rent Boy” Renton. And although he may have reformed, he is facing a slew of 21st-century temptations: social media, designer drugs and pornography. Also back are Ewen Bremner (Daniel "Spud" Murphy), Jonny Lee Miller (Simon "Sick Boy" Williamson) and Robert Carlyle (Francis "Franco" Begbie).
As the trailer hints, “T2” is set 20 years after the original “Trainspotting, sort of, as the timeline of the first film is not explicit, and various cultural and musical references suggest it takes place at some point between 1989 and 1993.
The film is roughly based on Irvine Welsh’s 2002 novel “Porno,” which was a direct sequel to his “Trainspotting” novel. As the trailer suggests, it has been updated to incorporate the cultural and technological changes that have since occurred, rather than staying in the past.
As for the title, Boyle is fully aware that he may be messing with a big gun: “We’re going to try and call it 'T2,” he told ComingSoon last year, “but there might be some issues there with James Cameron. I’ll have to beg and we’ll have to go to James Cameron and say, ‘What do you think?’”
Although he'd hoped to have the film ready in time for this year's 20th anniversary of "Trainspotting," Boyle was busy with other projects, including the Aaron Sorkin-penned "Steve Jobs" biopic, but he missed by a few weeks.
"T2 Trainspotting" releases Jan. 27, 2017, in the United Kingdom and on Feb. 3 in the United States and Canada.