Welsh drops hints as to what will be in sequel to 'Trainspotting'

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The low-life drug addicts of Irvine Welsh's bestselling novel Trainspotting are to be reunited in a sequel that brings us up-to-date with their lives 10 years on. Welsh has started on the book, provisionally called Porno, which he is likely to be published in 2003, 10 years after the original that became the cult movie starring Ewan McGregor.

At the Edinburgh Book Festival, Welsh said the sequel would probably be made into a film. In the first public reading of the story so far, Welsh gave a hint of what was to come with a storyline that sees Sick Boy Simon Williamson, who was played by Jonny Lee Miller in the film, returning to his native Edinburgh from London to embark on a pornographic movie-making career.

Spud, the character played by Ewen Bremner, has been struggling to overcome his drug addiction and has taken up writing as part of his therapy.

Begbie, played by Robert Carlyle, and Ewan McGregor's character, Mark "Rent-boy" Renton, will also reappear although Welsh refused to divulge what had become of them.

The original book was two and a half times longer than the published version, cut to make it manageable. But Welsh said he had always intended to come back to the story. "I just like the characters in Trainspotting and I felt there was a lot more mileage," he said. Some have already made cameo appearances in his last book, Glue, but the new novel will be a full-blown sequel.

Asked about the chances of a film, Welsh said he was not looking that far ahead for fear it would ruin the story. "It would probably be a crap book if I was thinking about that already.

"But it's a possibility because just about every book written now becomes a film because everybody wants to make films. The way to do that is to buy the rights to a successful book because you've already got an audience lined up."

But when asked whether McGregor and co would return to reprise their earlier success, he said he thought new actors playing the older characters would be interesting.

Welsh had hoped the book would be published next spring, but the pressure of other projects slowed his progress. He has been in southern Sudan writing a book to be published for the charity Unicef in the autumn. He is also writing a script for the BBC, a love story set in Yorkshire and Bangkok.

Welsh dismissed recent criticism from another Scottish writer, Ronald Frame, who accused his compatriots of too great a reliance on the low-life drug culture in their writing. "I don't think you can tell anybody what they should or shouldn't write," he said.

* The Hollywood star system, which cocoons actors from reality, stops them doing their best work, the actor and director Alan Cumming told the Edinburgh Film Festival.

Cumming, who has written and co-directed his first full-length film, The Anniversary Party, with Jennifer Jason Leigh, said he believed Gwyneth Paltrow had given her most accomplished performance for the film because she had not been treated like a star.