Trainspotting was a commercial and critical success and one of the defining British films of the 1990s. But Ecstasy, billed as a sequel of sorts to Irvine Welsh’s original tale of the Edinburgh drug scene, is set to go straight to DVD.
Ecstasy was screened at a handful of cinemas earlier this year but grossed less than £30,000, and now a national release has been cancelled and the film will be made available on DVD later this month.
On its release in 1996, Danny Boyle’s Trainspotting, which helped launch the careers of Ewan McGregor, Kevin McKidd and Kelly MacDonald, earned more than £166,000 in its opening weekend.
Based on The Undefeated from Welsh’s Ecstasy, a collection of three short novellas, the film also charts the Scottish capital’s substance-fuelled subculture, hinging on a social worker’s romantic involvement with a drug addict.
But Ecstasy the film has endured a long and difficult production process. Director Rob Heydon initially bought the rights in 2000, but it took several years for Welsh to approve the script.
The Scottish Government’s former funding agency Scottish Screen were reluctant to back the £5million project, forcing Heydon to take the production to his native Canada.
Only a small portion of the film is shot in Scotland, and most of Welsh’s original dialogue was rewritten for a wider audience.
There was a further setback when leading lady Lisa Ray had to pull out for cancer treatment, and her role was taken by Smallville actress Kristen Kreuk.
Ecstasy does not feature the same characters as Trainspotting, but the marketing material is strikingly similar to the iconic poster for its cult predecessor.
The film, which also stars Lord of the Rings actor Billy Boyd, has had mixed reviews. While foreign publications like Austalia’s Buzz Magazine call it “an absolute ripper of a film”, critics closer to home, such as The Telegraph have been less enthusiastic: “There’s referencing and then there’s photocopying, and Ecstasy screams ‘toner low’.”
Last month Welsh revealed that he is in discussions to turn Trainspotting - along with sequel Porno and prequel Skagboys - into a television series.
Scots actor James McAvoy will star in another new film adaption of a Welsh book, Filth, which was filmed in Edinburgh earlier this year.