A look into the production design of Trainspotting

A look into the production design of Trainspotting

It's been 20 years since Trainspotting was released and became an icon of cinema. With the so long expected sequel starting production on May this year, let's recall the classic film with a closer look into the production design.

The film that got to be an inspiration for film-makers and meant so much for the young audience of the 90's, had a heavy work on production design to accomplish those surreal scenes and brutal imagery of reality. 

For seven weeks in 1995, the cast and crew teamed up in Glasgow in a disused cigarette factory, the production designer Kave Quinn was interviewed during this time. Quinn talked about what design is about in film making and the fantastic challenge it takes to shape the way the film its going to look like.

The video below shows the inspiration on color and feeling of the sets, friendship and team spirit, drug addicts, stages, specific topics like the Swanney's, Sick Boy and Renton's room isolation. It's all there in photographs, clippings and illustrations of junkies, homeless, pubs, apartments, football teams and hallucinatory artwork.

The film takes surreal twists transforming the world of real characters into an euphoric fantasy experience, like in the toilet scene. These visual aspects of the film are mentioned by Danny Boyle (director), John Hodge (screenwritter) and Andrew Macdonald (producer) in the following extracts of interviews filmed in 2003.

The music is crucial for the film to work. Danny Boyle's music choices get the energy of the scenes, leading to a codependence of music and imagery. We can listen Lou Reed and Iggy Pop along with Britpop and Underworld's upbeat on the soundtrack. A second soundtrack was released featuring songs that influenced the film-makers. Listen how Danny Boyle talks enthusiastic about the music in the film:

What can we expect for the 'Untitled Trainspotting Sequel' heading towards filming on May this year? Hopefully something great is coming, we shall trust in Ewan McGregor's words:

"The script only arrived very recently, which was really, really, really good. I think, if that had not happened, none of us would be into it. I think we’re all sort of somewhat protective of what Trainspotting means to people, and what it means to us. None of us want to make a poor sequel to it. So had we not been presented with the most extraordinary script, which we were, I think we wouldn’t be making the sequel. But because we were, we are." - Collider
Published on: April 2016
More about this Movie
Release date: February 23rd 1996

Directed by Danny Boyle

Produced by Andrew Macdonald

Screenplay by John Hodge

Based on Trainspotting by Irvine Welsh

Ewan McGregor as Mark "Rent Boy" Renton
Ewen Bremner as Daniel "Spud" Murphy
Jonny Lee Miller as Simon "Sick Boy" Williamson
Robert Carlyle as Francis "Franco" Begbie
Kevin McKidd as Thomas "Tommy" MacKenzie
Kelly Macdonald as Diane Coulston
Peter Mullan as Swanney "Mother Superior"

Mark Renton (Ewan McGregor), a young man with few prospects and fewer ambitions, lives in economically depressed Edinburgh. Like most of his friends, Renton is a heroin addict who loves the drug's...