'Trainspotting"s Robert Carlyle on the 'disgusting' characters he plays

TORONTO -- Robert Carlyle admits he has a knack for despicable roles.

Which might explain why he was hounded for years to play his latest violent onscreen kook -- a Glaswegian barber-turned-serial killer.

See Full Article

The affable Scot notes the Canadian script for "The Legend of Barney Thomson" circled him several times before he accepted the challenge, which included directing the grisly black comedy.

The pitches came from "different people, coming from different parts of the world," all convinced Carlyle was the man to play the downtrodden Barney, an accidental killer.

The "Trainspotting" star admits he can't seem to shake the psycho characters, and he suspects it's partly because of the way he approaches them.

"Barney, on the page, isn't technically a likable character," Carlyle says in a recent phone interview from Vancouver, where he shoots the ABC/CTV series "Once Upon A Time."

"He's a pain in the ass. He's abusive, he's ... just an idiot. So you need someone who could actually try and turn this somewhat dislikable character into someone who you care about."

Not unlike his approach to playing the loathsome, ultra-violent Begbie in "Trainspotting," he allows.

"Begbie is a disgusting character. But again, when I was taking that part on I was also aware of the fact that I had to try and make this guy in some way likable. I tried to inject Begbie with a heavy, heavy dose of comedy," says Carlyle, also known as a desperately unemployed steelworker in "The Full Monty," an alcoholic deadbeat dad in "Angela's Ashes," and a Bond villain in "The World Is Not Enough."

"A lot of people can look at Begbie and think, 'Oh, he's just terrifying.' Well, I don't know if he is. I don't know if Begbie even actually exists like that. I think he's more of, almost, a cartoon-type figure."

He was convinced to tackle "The Legend of Barney Thomson" by a rewrite from Glaswegian scribe Colin McLaren, who injected the missing element he craved -- "as the Irish would say, the crack," says Carlyle.

When it came to directing, he worked on an "old-fashioned" plan for his first feature behind the camera.

"It would be no moving cameras, no dollies, nothing whirring around. It's quite flat and quite a straight-telling of the story."

He enlisted seasoned pals Ray Winstone to play a browbeaten police inspector and Tom Courtney as the chief superintendent. And he turned to Emma Thompson to don some serious prosthetics and makeup to play Barney's foul-mouthed, bingo-loving mother.

Twenty years later, Carlyle says he looks forward to revisiting his most famous deranged lout for a "Trainspotting" sequel that begins shooting May 15 in Glasgow.

"Same as we did before, same team, everyone's back," he says, being careful to keep plot points secret.

"They're older. Everything they do is older. And I'm very aware of that, getting to the (age) of 55 next month. You get slower and all these guys are slower.... It's got something about it that I think will resonate with people 20 years later."

"The Legend of Barney Thomson" opens in Toronto and Vancouver this weekend before hitting other cities.



Advertisements

Latest Entertainment News

  • Rapper from Little Rock club shooting held in separate case

    Entertainment CTV News
    LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- A federal magistrate declared Monday that the rapper who was performing at a Little Rock club during a mass shooting was too dangerous to cut loose pending a trial on a separate weapons charge, rejecting arguments that gunplay captured on video and a tough-guy persona were just part of an act. Source
  • The Who's Roger Daltrey visits teenage cancer patients

    Entertainment CTV News
    CLEVELAND -- Roger Daltrey's voice may not soar as it once did. But even after 50 years of touring he hasn't lost his teenage spirit. The Hall of Fame rocker, who has been an advocate for teen cancer patients for nearly three decades, visited with children, young adults and their families at Rainbow Babies Hospital on Monday. Source
  • Box Office Top 20: 'Dunkirk,' 'Girls Trip' score

    Entertainment CTV News
    LOS ANGELES -- The news was good for two of the three new openers this weekend. Christopher Nolan's World War II epic "Dunkirk" topped the charts with $50.5 million, while the buddy comedy "Girls Trip" earned $31.2 million to take second place. Source
  • 'Despacito' singers veto Venezuelan leader's campaign remix

    Entertainment CTV News
    CARACAS, Venezuela -- There's a new take on the hit Latin pop song "Despacito." And this one is not garnering accolades from its producers. Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro premiered a remix of the song by Puerto Rican duo Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee Sunday, transforming the record-setting single about a slow, romantic seduction into a campaign jingle for his contested constitution rewrite. Source
  • Charlize Theron lost out on 'Showgirls' role to Elizabeth Berkley

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    Charlize Theron is secretly glad she missed out on the lead role in Showgirls, because the movie was hammered by the critics. The role of Nomi Malone in the 1995 Paul Vorhoeven film went to Elizabeth Berkley after the Monster star fought hard for the part, convinced it would give her fledgling Hollywood career a huge boost. Source
  • 'The Defenders' review: This is the Marvel team-up you hoped for - Iron Fist and all

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    "The Defenders" is the type of superhero streaming that we've come to expect from Netflix's live-action Marvel productions. Well worth the wait, the new show is every bit the event that Marvel fans hoped it could be. Source
  • Justin Bieber on axed concerts: 'I’ve been on tour for two years!'

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    NEW YORK — Justin Bieber is cancelling the rest of his Purpose World Tour “due to unforeseen circumstances.” His representatives didn’t offer details about the cancellation in a statement released Monday but said the singer “loves his fans and hates to disappoint them. Source
  • Kristen Stewart crashes same-sex nuptials in Winnipeg

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    Hollywood starlet Kristen Stewart never starred in Wedding Crashers, but her antics over the weekend could land the 27-year-old in the sequel. Winnipeg newlyweds Kirsten and Kayleigh Jennings received quite the wedding gift – and surprise guests --after exchanging vows in their backyard and arriving at restaurant Pizzeria Gusto for their reception on Saturday night. Source
  • Hollywood star Kristen Stewart crashes Winnipeg wedding

    Entertainment CBC News
    Two Winnipeg brides got a bit of a surprise this weekend when Hollywood star Kristen Stewart crashed their wedding. Kirsten and Kayleigh Jennings tied the knot Saturday in a backyard in River Heights "It was kind of touch-and-go because on Saturday we had those torrential downpours. Source
  • THE ROCK: Forever a proud SUNshine Boy

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    Never forget your roots! That’s The Rock’s motto. In Johnson’s “The Rock x Siri Dominate The Day” Apple Commercial released recently, viewers may have noticed the former wrestler’s phone background in the commercial was a picture of a young Johnson donning a turtleneck and fanny pack in his 1997 Toronto Sun SUNshine Boy photo shoot. Source