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Ecstatic Welsh has a deep feeling of deja vu
“IT feels like 1997 again,”
laughs Irvine Welsh, who is set to experience another surge of interest in his work as he did in the wake of Danny Boyle’s hugely successful film Trainspotting.
While Skagboys, the prequel to Trainspotting is published on April 19 by Jonathan Cape, the following day Rob Heydon’s film of Welsh’s 1996 book Ecstasy is released in cinemas across the UK.
He visited Southampton in the run-up to the launch in local cinemas, catching up on the news in the Daily Echo and musing: “I’ve mainly been here before when West Ham are playing at St Mary’s Stadium. We had a good drink-up and a really good time.”
Your Entertainment found out how the author is feeling ahead of the release and why he thinks the adaptation of his next novel will be the film event of next year… Ecstasy was originally adapted by Keith Wyatt into a play, right?
Yeah, I thought that was fantastic. It was a great stage adaptation. In a way, it was what I wanted to do with the book. I’d envisioned it to be a big interactive thing. I think Ecstasy probably…I like that story, the third one [The Undefeated] that they use for the film…I’m pleased it has that resonance.
Is it really a love story between Lloyd and Heather, primarily?
That’s all it is. It’s a love story, set in a clubbing environment, with drugs.
There’s an added darkness, with Woodsy. It’s a bit of a cautionary tale, you could say, for the chemical generation?
Yeah, it shows both sides of it. Loads of people had great fun and came out of it the other side, practically unscathed. Nobody comes out unscathed. But if they’d been sitting in the pub for these ten years that they’d been out clubbing and raving, they’d have probably done much more damage. But a lot of people didn’t come out. They were destroyed by it.
What do you think of Adam Sinclair’s turn as Lloyd?
I like him. I think he’s done a really good job. He has that porn star quality about him; a bit George Clooney, a bit Antonio Banderas. I think he does well to hold the film together. He has to be a very sympathetic character, and I think that the romance between him and Kristin really works. You can see that potential in Lloyd and Heather’s characters – that they are coming through something and they’re going to get together and grow up and grow into a mature relationship.
Your novel Filth is also in production.
Are you pleased with what you’ve seen so far?
It’s going to be the film event of next year! I think it’s going to be as big as Trainspotting. James McAvoy is absolutely incendiary in it. It’s one of the best solo performances I’ve ever seen. I think he’s better than De Niro in Taxi Driver.
It seems like a great time for you now… Yeah, it’s kind of weird. It feels like 1997 all over again. It’s weird, it’s just the way that these things happen. It’s like buses. You wait for one to come along and they all come at once. It’s just the nature of filmmaking.
We’ve got another film – The Magnificent Eleven – which I have to mention, which will be in the market in Cannes in May. That could be one of those surprise hit films, because it’s a really clever script – a really nice gentle comedy, but a really very human story.
Do you think Trainspotting still stands up as a film?
Yeah, it’s a brilliant film. With the doll across the ceiling… with the special effects we have now, it should make something like that look ridiculous. But it doesn’t. It manages to be somehow of its time but still have a contemporary feel to it. I think it’s just because of the performances and the characters.
All its references become irrelevant.
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