'Mystery' of the dubbed US version of Trainspotting

Ben Arnold
Contributor
Come again?… Trainspotting stars had to re-dub original movie – Credit: Rex Features

The thick Edinburgh accents on display in ‘Trainspotting’ back in 1996 were a bit too challenging for the American audience.

And so, it was said, the stars of the movie were made to make a re-dubbed version that made the dialogue a bit more decipherable.

But the existence of this dubbed version remains something of mystery, even now, to the movie’s producer Andrew Macdonald, and for that matter, director Danny Boyle.

In an interview as part of an ‘oral history’ feature on the original movie for The Hollywood Reporter, Macdonald said: “There’s a lot of mystery about [the dubbed version].

“Danny and I don’t remember it happening. The actors when we made ‘T2’ were all telling us that they did it, but nobody seems to have heard it.”

Not nobody, it seems. Ewan McGregor seems to have a more lucid memory of it happening.

“I’ve heard it. We were forced to re-record the beginning, the first 15-20 minutes,” he said.

(Credit: Rex Features)

“So if you listen to the American version of Begbie’s story of when he throws his glass over his shoulder you can actually understand some of the words, which is not the case in the original.

“I was disappointed. I downloaded it to watch on my way to shoot the sequel and as soon as it started, I was like, “Oh f***, it’s the American one.”

Indeed it did happen. Back in 1996, US distributor Miramax, then owned by the Weinstein brothers, called the doctoring of the movie a simple ‘slowing down’ of the dialogue.

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