ROBERT Carlyle has vowed that Francis Begbie, the notorious thug he portrayed in Trainspotting, will be “scarier” than ever when he returns to the big screen in the eagerly-awaited follow-up.
Carlyle said the infamous thug will be even more chilling in the new film - as he pledged that it will not let any of the fans of the original down in its portrayal of the much-loved characters 20 years down the line.
Carlyle, who was appearing in Edinburgh’s Usher Hall with Trainspotting author Irvine Welsh, said the latter’s new book - which initially depicts Begbie as a seemingly-reformed artist, before lifting recalling his dark and violent past - had been a “curveball” for his preparations to return to the role.
The actor, who said he had been asked constantly about the character for the past 20 years, revealed he had almost turned down the role when he originally auditioned for the part as he thought the character was too “big and monstrous.”
Carlyle, who revealed he had drawn inspiration from Robert de Niro’s performance in Taxi Driver for his on-screen portrayal of Begbie, admitted it was “very weird” that the character had become so iconic, as he insisted there was nothing he hated about him.
Edinburgh author Welsh told the sell-out audience that the new book about Begbie - The Blade Artist - depicted the “genesis of his rage.”
He added: “He is still very much the person that he was. His preferred way of dealing with things is still to be very violent, but he keeps his powder dry, he is more judicious, he is more in control. In some ways, he is more dangerous as a result of that.”
Carlyle said: “I think he is actually scarier now. In Trainspotting, he was so extreme and so crazy that it had to be made slightly funny to make it work.
“But this guy...the humour is still there, but in a different kind of way. There is definitely something a bit scarier about him. You don’t want to meet this guy.
“To be honest, the book has a been a bit of a curveball. We’ve all been gearing up to do the sequel for quite a long time. We had a read-through of the script more than a year ago long before the book saw the light of day.
“Begbie is such a theatrical type of character, that’s what I still love about him to this day. There’s nothing I hate about him. He has become strangely kind of iconic, it is all very weird.”
It was confirmed last year that director Danny Boyle had managed to persuade Carlyle and the other key cast members - including Ewan McGregor, Jonny Lee Miller and Ewen Bremner - to return for a new film, which will be loosely based on Welsh’s novel Porno.
John Hodge, who penned the original screenplay, has written the new script, with the new film due to be shot on location in both Edinburgh and Glasgow, just like the original, when cameras start rolling next month.
Carlyle added: “All the characters are exactly as you would want them to be 20 years on. The strength of the new script is the fact that the narrative is a lot stronger than it was in the original.
“This going to have more to it in terms of what they’ve been up to through these years. You learn a lot about them. It’s an absolutely fantastic script. John Hodge has done a wonderful job, as he did with the original.
“I had no idea, obviously, that Trainspotting was going to take off. It was a small, low-budget independent film. It was also particularly Scottish. I had no idea it was going to have any kind of life outside this town, in fact.
“To come back to it now, 20 years later, is exceptional. I cannot recall anything that I have ever seen that’s done that.
“But it (the new film) cannot really be called a sequel because it is so, so far away from the first film. To revisit these characters 20 years down the line is pretty special.”