All Aboard

It was a book and a play before it was a film, but, as ever, folks will still want Trainspotting, the play, to mirror the movie. It doesn't. Here's how.

Character: Spud, the beloved spaz
Fate in book and movie: Goofy speed fanatic who hates working.
Fate in play: Nonexistence. Poor Spud gets morphed into Mark, who gets his monologues, and Tommy, who gets aspects of his personality.

Character: Mark Renton, our hero
Fate in book and movie: Disses his druggie past and finds wildly happy ending.
Fate in play: Without giving away the wind-up, a not-so-happy ending.

Character: Begbie, drunken psychopath
In the movie: A walking, talking commercial for testosterone and two-dimensional violence who loves to make people bleed.
In the play: A still-violent and misogynistic asshole, but with a soft spot.

Character: Diane, the underage club kid
In the movie: Dishonest. Tells Mark she's underage after he has sex with her.
In the play: Obsolete. Replaced by two other girls, neither of whom tricks anyone into a horizontal bop.

Drugs of Choice
In the movie: Heroin, period.
In the book and the play: Ecstasy. Heroin. Everything in between.

The Final Word
The movie: "Being a junkie is fun!"
The book: Nails the misery of the druggie scene.
The play: Somewhere in between.

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Robrt L. Pela has been a weekly contributor to Phoenix New Times since 1991, primarily as a cultural critic. His radio essays air on National Public Radio affiliate KJZZ's Morning Edition.
Contact: Robrt L. Pela