Ewan McGregor Says He Almost Tried Heroin for 'Trainspotting'

Ewan McGregor in ‘Trainspotting’
Ewan McGregor in ‘Trainspotting’

Though they’ve already stormed U.K. theaters, the Trainspotting gang will finally return to the other side of the Atlantic next month, when T2: Trainspotting arrives in U.S. theaters. Twenty-one years after their initial drug-fueled outing, the boys promise to be in fine, rambunctious form. To help stir up enthusiasm for their sequel, the cast and crew sat down with The Hollywood Reporter for an oral history on their 1996 original — during which star Ewan McGregor reveals that, to prepare for his part, he seriously considered doing heroin.

Related: ‘Trainspotting’ Cast Re-Creates Original Poster

During the chat, which included the actor, director Danny Boyle, author Irvine Welsh, and producer Andrew Macdonald, McGregor confesses that he was open to dabbling in the same addictive drugs that his character, Rentboy, so famously used:

“I did actually think about trying heroin. At first, early on, I thought: how can you play a heroin addict without having taken it? I was young and I thought, fuck it, just do it. And also John Hodge, our writer, was a doctor, so I thought he could probably get us some and administer it so we don’t die. I thought I’d do it with Danny. I just wanted to get f—ed up with Danny! But we didn’t. Because of course as soon as we started the first thing I remember doing was meeting heroin addicts in Glasgow.”

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Director Boyle also thought it was a good idea…at least initially. But once they began meeting with addicts, that opinion changed quickly.

BOYLE: It seemed like a natural thing when you’re researching a film. But then we met Calton Athletic, this great drug recovery group, and they filled us in with more detail than you could ever discover by doing it yourself. They’d been to hell and back many many times and they were a huge help to us. I remember taking Ewan to one of their meetings. They also gave practical advice on set — we brought them with us. They were brilliant. [Members of Calton Athletic actually appear in T2 dancing with their shirts off in the Loyalist pub.]

MCGREGOR: As soon as I met the real deal, I thought it would be hugely disrespectful to them to be taking heroin.

Related: Watch the ‘Trainspotting’ Cast Talk About Reuniting at ‘Secret Meeting’ to Plot Sequel ‘T2’

Suffice it to say, McGregor’s decision to skip injecting himself — even if only for research purposes — was undoubtedly a wise one. To read more about his brief dalliance with potential drug use, and also about his and his mates’ experience making the movie (and dealing with its immense popularity) head over to The Hollywood Reporter.

And, of course, check out T2: Trainspotting when it barrels into theaters on March 3.

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