It’s apparently the season to announce long-rumoured projects, with updates regarding everything from Ridley Scott’s Gladiator sequel to a feature-length adaptation of the BBC’s Luther starring Idris Elba dominating headlines these past few weeks. Keeping on-trend, actor Robert Carlyle has revealed a Trainspotting TV series following his scene-stealing psychopath of a character, Francis “Franco” Begbie, is currently being discussed.
This news comes to light as Trainspotting author Irvine Welsh begins working on a follow-up novel The Blade Artist, which completes the main trilogy alongside the original and Porno (adapted for the big screens as T2: Trainspotting in 2017); additionally, it would join the 2012 prequel Skagboys, an instalment chronicling how Renton – portrayed by Ewan McGregor – and Sick Boy – portrayed by Johnny Lee Miller – first descended into their heroin addiction. Reports indicate readers are in for a reformed Begbie, rechristened as Jim Francis, living in California with his wife and two daughters.
“Irvine [Welsh] and myself have been chatting quite a lot recently with a couple of excellent producers in London about [continuing the Trainspotting story],” Robert Carlyle tells NME.
“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 a 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.”
Of course, this isn’t the only television project on the boilerplate with Irvine Welsh’s name attached. Around this time last year, it was announced he was collaborating with yet another modern literary icon of a similar ilk, American Psycho and Less Than Zero scribe Bret Easton Ellis. Titled American Tabloid, the central plot involves around a weekly publication where political correctness, morals, and ethics are “left firmly at the door” – e.g. Daily Mail. Spanning over decades, it’ll bring attention to the flaws and shady practices prevalent within the media landscape.
“To do this production justice, we always knew we would require writers who don’t hold back and go way further than most would dare,” says Shelley Hammond of Burning Wheels Productions, the company in negotiation with both Ellis and Welsh.
“We are beyond delighted that we are ready to agree on a deal to make this happen with the incredible talent of Bret Easton Ellis and Irvine Welsh. This would be the first time the two have collaborated professionally – and with the support to allow creative freedom, we are confident spectacular things will happen.”
We’ll update you on all things Trainspotting TV series and American Tabloid as fresh details surface.