The Glasgow-born actor, who shot to widespread fame in 1996 as Begbie in Danny Boyle's Trainspotting, says he initially didn't enjoy being associated with the violent character and feared being typecast.
Speaking to the Daily Record, he commented: “I maybe struggled against it a wee bit, kicked against it a wee bit at first because you’re like, ‘Ah, that’s not all I am'".
But, despite still being most readily linked with the fictional Edinburgh thug, the 58-year-old recognises the positive impact the role has had on his career.
Now living in Canada due to his television commitments that include Stargate Universe and Once Upon a Time, Carlyle added: “But thank God for it - it’s led to so many different things for me and people love it. It’s like, you’re in people’s psyche.
“I’m blessed to have been part of it. It seems like there’s not a week goes by that somebody doesn’t go, ‘Hey, Begbie’.”
As he prepares to play Tory prime minister Robert Sutherland in Sky One's new action-packed political drama Cobra, Carlyle also hinted that a fresh Trainspotting sequel could soon become a reality.
It comes just weeks after author Irvine Welsh revealed he would be "massively interested" in adding not just one, but two further films to the Trainspotting franchise.
Referencing the fact it took more than two decades to release the first sequel, Carlyle joked: “It’d have to be set in a rest home, probably. Skagboys Rest Home. It might take that long but Danny might do it.”
As a lifelong supporter of the Labour party with a heavy leaning towards socialism, Carlyle also admitted that taking on the role of a Conservative prime minister was a great departure for him.
He added: “I had to really think about playing a Conservative prime minister.
“I’ve never really been in that world before as an actor.”
In addition to Cobra, Carlyle returns to UK television screens this Sunday, playing Ogilvy in a new BBC adaptation of The War of the Worlds, which also stars Eleanor Tomlinson.
Cobra will air on Sky One and will be available for streaming on Now TV.