Trainspotting at 25: Where are they now? What the stars unearthed in Danny Boyle’s cult 1996 film went on to do

Based on Irvine Welsh’s scabrous novel, the Danny Boyle-directed Trainspotting gave British cinema a much-needed shot in the arm on its release in 1996.

Now regarded as a stone-cold classic, the darkly-comic tale of a group of heroin addicts in Eighties Edinburgh was seminal, infinitely quotable, and made household names of its young stars.

To coincide with the 25th anniversary of Trainspotting’s release on February 23, we look at what the cult film’s cast – and director – have been up to in the years since.

Ewan McGregor – Renton

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Of all the Trainspotting cast members, McGregor has enjoyed the most success – with one role in particular shooting his career into a whole new galaxy (far, far away).

The Perth-born star won Best Actor in Film for Trainspotting at the BAFTA Awards and a Golden Globe for his performance in the Fargo series.

Other notable roles include playing young poet Christian in Australian auteur Baz Luhrmann’s Moulin Rouge!, an Iggy Pop-channeling rock star in Velvet Goldmine, and Nick Leeson in Rogue Trader.

McGregor also starred in A Life Less Ordinary, Black Hawk Down, Young Adam, Big Fish and Cassandra’s Dream.

Danny Boyle's Trainspotting made household names of its young cast.Danny Boyle's Trainspotting made household names of its young cast.
Danny Boyle's Trainspotting made household names of its young cast.

His biggest role to date saw him cast as the young Obi-Wan Kenobi in Star Wars: The Phantom Menace. He also made voice appearances in Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.

A few weeks back, McGregor, now 49, said he can’t wait to don his Jedi robes once again, as he revealed a new spin-off series based on Obi-Wan Kenobi is set to begin filming soon.

Ewen Bremmer – Spud

Bremner famously played Spud in the big-screen version of Trainspotting, but did you know the Edinburgh-born actor played Mark Renton in the original stage production of Irvine Welsh's novel?

Since his breakthrough role, the former Portobello High School pupil has gone on to work with a host of big-name directors – including Mike Leigh (Naked), Harmony Karine (Julien-Donkey Boy), Michael Winterbottom (Forget About Me), Ridley Scott (Black Hawk Down), Woody Allen (Match Point), Michael Bay (Pearl Harbor), Guy Ritchie (Snatch) and Bong Joon Ho, (Snowpiercer).

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In 2017, Bremner reprised his role as Spud in T2 Trainspotting, the sequel to Trainspotting, for which he was awarded the BAFTA Scotland Award for Best Actor.

Now 50, his next role sees him cast as Creation Records founder Alan McGee in the up-coming feature film, Creation Stories.

Jonny Lee Miller – Sick Boy

Since his role as loveable rogue Sick Boy, London-born actor Miller, 48, has been a regular on both the small and silver screens.

In 1996, shortly after the release of Trainspotting, he married Hollywood superstar Angelina Jolie, though the couple divorced 18 months later.

Among his most notable credits are Tim Burton’s Dark Shadows, and a role in National Theatre's 2011 production of Frankenstein, which earned him an Olivier award for Best Actor.

Miller reprised the role of Sick Boy in the 2017 sequel T2 Trainspotting.

Robert Carlyle – Begbie

Carlyle, who became involved in drama at the Glasgow Arts Centre at the age of 21, has made a career playing brutally violent characters – and none more memorable than moustachioed psychopath Francis Begbie in Trainspotting.

After the film, he had roles in The Full Monty, The World Is Not Enough, Angela's Ashes and The Beach – to name but a few.

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He has also starred on TV in Hamish Macbeth and Stargate Universe.

More recently, the 59-year-old actor played Rumplestiltskin in American fantasy drama Once Upon a Time.

Kelly Macdonald – Diane

Just 19-years-old at the time, Kelly Macdonald had no acting experience when she auditioned for Trainspoitting. But since shooting to fame as schoolgirl seductress Diane, the Glasgow-born actress has gone on to enjoy a fabulous career.

She starred alongside Emma Thompson in Nanny McPhee, and had roles in Gosford Park, Intermission, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, and Brave.

For her role in the Cohen brothers’ American neo-Western thriller No Country for Old Men, she was nominated for the BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role.

Macdonald went on to star for five seasons in the HBO series Boardwalk Empire as Margaret Thompson, for which she received a 2011 Emmy Award nomination.

Later this year, the 44-year-old will return to TV screens playing the supporting lead in the sixth series of the BBC's hugely-popular police drama, Line of Duty.

Kevin McKidd – Tommy

Since his turn as tragic Tommy in Trainspotting, Elgin-born Kevin McKidd, now 47, has enjoyed a varied career with roles on both the big and small screens.

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He played Count Vronsky in the BBC miniseries Anna Karenina, Lucius Vorenus in the historical drama series Rome and Dan Vasser in the NBC series Journeyman.

McKidd provided the voice of John “Soap” MacTavish in the video games Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3.

He also played Poseidon in the film Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief, and Father Deegan in the Father Ted Christmas special.

Most notably, McKidd has starred as Dr Owen Hunt in ABC’s multi-award-winning Grey’s Anatomy since 2008.

Danny Boyle

Boyle’s debut directorial feature, Shallow Grave, marked him out as a major new British talent, and Trainspotting did nothing to harm his growing reputation.

He went on to win an Oscar for Slumdog Millionaire, and was widely praised for his role as artistic director of the London 2012 Olympic Games opening ceremony.

Boyle’s other film credits include The Beach, 28 Days Later, and Sunshine. He also helmed Trainspotting sequel T2.

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