Robert Carlyle: ‘My Trainspotting character was gay’

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Trainspotting star Robert Carlyle has announced in a Bafta website interview that he thinks the character he played in the film was gay despite Francis Begbie being considered one of fiction’s most stereotypical alpha-males.

Carlyle says that he became convinced that Begbie was in the closet after he read a scene in which he has a run-in with a trans woman.

He said: “He picks up the transsexual in the nightclub and there’s the scene in the car where he puts his hands between the trousers and finds out it’s the real deal.

“Now why doesn’t he just kill this person? He kills everybody else, why doesn’t he do that? He gets frightened of it and backs away.

“Back at the flat, Begbie reacts to Renton winding him up about it and says, ‘Don’t you ever mention that again or you’re dead.’ I thought, ‘That’s interesting, that’s really too strong.’”

The author of the novel, Irvine Welsh has also agreed with Carlyle’s interpretation and suggests that though he intended for Begbie’s sexuality to be ambiguous in the book, he was most probably played as gay on screen.

“I think the Begbie of the film is more potentially gay than the Begbie of the book,” said Mr Welsh.

“In the book, Renton and Sick Boy hint that he’s a repressed homosexual as a means of making him into a less frightening figure and thus empowering themselves against his violence.

“John Hodge latched onto this side of things and amplified it subtly in the screenplay. It’s a standard middle-class view; the working-class hardman is subconsciously gay.”

Francis Begbie is the film’s most terrifying character with his arbitrary acts of sickening violence and Carlyle believes that this is down to his “fear of being outed”.

Carlyle also claims that the film’s director, Danny Boyle wanted him to portray a “homosexual Ian Rush look” so he grew a moustache similar to that of the Liverpool striker and dressed in brightly coloured Pringle jerseys and stay-pressed trousers.

Mr Carlyle admits: “On the first day of filming I had pink Pringles and red stay- pressed trousers on and I can remember Danny Boyle looking at me and thinking,’What have you done?’

“But he stuck with it, thank God.”

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