Danny Boyle has credited David Bowie with helping to be able to use various hit songs in the original movie inexpensively because he had ties with Lou Reed and Iggy Pop, and helped Boyle out because he was a fan of Shallow Grave (1994). For his own little personal tribute to him following his death, Boyle decided to shoot a moment where Renton goes through his record collection and finds a couple of Bowie's albums. (In the novels, Renton is a fan of Bowie).
While announcing the sequel in an interview, director Danny Boyle joked that he wanted to call it "T2", if James Cameron would allow it (whose film Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991) is commonly abbreviated as T2). The cast later explained that the title was the one they thought the characters in the movie would have chosen, just so they could annoy Cameron. Since Terminator 2 isn't legally known as T2, Boyle could use the title without permission; however, he settled for T2: Trainspotting, because the internet search term "T2" still lead mostly to sites affiliated with Terminator 2.
In Trainspotting (1996), Jonny Lee Miller's Scottish accent was his own. He tested his accuracy in a Glasgow bar stating something along the lines of 'if I could wing it there I was ok'. For this film, however he had a dialect coach, something that Ewan McGregor jokingly put down to Miller not being drunk this time round.
Although this sequel had a substantially bigger budget than its low-budget predecessor, the director and cast all took an equal but lower salary than they were offered, to keep things in perspective. They were offered a share in prospective profits, though.
Although Irvine Welsh wrote a follow-up to his novel Trainspotting in 2002 called 'Porno', this movie follow-up is actually only very loosely based on 'Porno.' It is mostly an original story which includes some unused parts of the Trainspotting novel, and some elements from Porno. That being said, during pre-production, this film was titled 'Porno.'
The four main actors were not all available at the same time at the very beginning of principal photography, due to scheduling conflicts with other projects. Danny Boyle stated in interviews that the American TV careers of Jonny Lee Miller and Robert Carlyle in particular made it a necessity to have a reduced filming schedule that could accommodate all four of the male leads.
When Simon and Begbie first meet in the pub, Simon makes up a story about a mutual friend of theirs traveling to Amsterdam and recognizing Renton. While the character name and situation are slightly different, this is how Simon/Sick Boy discovers Renton's whereabouts in the novel "Porno".
Although a sequel novel to Trainspotting (1996) had already come out in 2002, director Danny Boyle purposely wanted to wait until his cast of actors had aged visibly enough to play 19-year older versions of their original characters. He joked that with actors naturally being quite vain, that could take a while.
This is the first sequel that Danny Boyle has directed and the second sequel overall that he has produced (Boyle produced 28 Weeks Later (2007), the sequel to 28 Days Later... (2002)). He was considered as director for the fourth movie in the Alien franchise (which ultimately became Alien: Resurrection (1997), but passed on the opportunity over creative differences with the studio, and went on to do A Life Less Ordinary (1997) instead.
When Renton returns to Scotland and walks through the airport a father picks his daughter up is holding a head bag. The same head bag which Renton filled with all the cash at the end of the first film before walking away.
First time Danny Boyle and Ewen Bremner have worked together since the first film, whilst Boyle has worked with the rest of the group. Boyle worked with Carlyle in The Beach (2000), McGregor in A Life Less Ordinary (1997), and Miller in his Frankenstein stage play in 2011. Funnily enough on the bonus features on the first films DVD, Bremner notes "(Boyle) hasn't hired me since, the cunt".
There's a very dreamy song that plays at least twice during the film. Most notably, when Renton is lying on the pool table after meeting Sick Boy in the bar. This song is called 'Deep Blue Day' by Brian Eno, off of his 1983 ambient album "Apollo: Atmospheres and Soundtracks" and was also featured in Trainspotting (1996) when Renton is swimming. Danny Boyle used Brian Eno's 'An Ending (Ascent)' from the same album in 28 Days Later... (2002).
Many 'flashback' scenes were cut from the final cut of the movie. These included more scenes of young Sick Boy and Renton as seen in the movie. They also included 'John Bell' as a young Spud, with actors Conor Mullen and John Gray as a young Begbie.
It was never made explicit in the first film that it was indeed set in the late 80s like the novel (only hinted upon by the music used). In this sequel, Renton and Sick Boy/Simon use apps that have only really existed as of 2016. Since the events of the first film are said to have happened 20 years ago, it means that both movies take place in the year they were made.
In the original US theatrical run, the first scenes with Begbie and Spud had to be subtitled because their accents were so thick. On home versions, these have been removed. Interestingly enough, distributors wanted to subtitle the entirety of the first movie for this very reason.
Immediately before Renton is woken up in the hotel by Simon/Sick Boy's phone call an automated vacuum cleaner in the hallway is shown performing its duties. In A Life Less Ordinary Ewan McGregor's character is made redundant by an automated vacuum cleaner.
While using an ATM with stolen cards, one of the characters says the PIN 1690 with a Sean Connery James Bond (Sean Connery) accent. The characters also used this accent in the first movie in the BB gun scene.
At the start of the film Begbie, whilst talking to his lawyer in prison, states that he's been in prison for 20 years. When he takes Veronica's phone, he seems to be reasonably tech-savvy in operating the phone, as he has been in prison since before smartphones were developed. However he may have had access to a contraband phone whilst he has been in prison.
Lewis Gribben, who plays one of Spud's dealers (specifically the one with the gear in his mouth), attended Queen Margaret University in Edinburgh. Kevin McKidd, who played Tommy, attended the same university.
Shirley Henderson actually had lost her voice for a few weeks prior to filming due to an ulcer. Gail was originally supposed to have more lines, but was unable to perform them. Her one line "I think I've thought of a title.", after reading Spud's stories was shot 2 weeks after the rest of it had been filmed.
In a 2009 interview, Robert Carlyle revealed that his character, Begbie, is gay. This is heavily hinted in Trainspotting 2 through the fact that he cannot get an erection while having sex with his wife.
Many of the stories that Spud has written appear in the book Trainspotting. Including the scene where the guys meet the drunk father of Frank Begbie at the disused train station in Leith. This chapter (Trainspotting at Leith Central Station) gives the book its name.
Sick Boy mentions to Renton that they visited Mother Superior "at the Banana Flats" to score their very first hit of heroin. The Banana Flats (so called because of the curved structure) are a notorious Leith housing estate (project) where drug abuse and violence were rife throughout the 1980s and 90s. In the books, Sick Boy's mum lives there.
In the opening sequence, the characters are shown as children, with their name appearing beside them, similar to the opening of the original film. One child looks like a young Tommy. His name doesn't appear because he died in the original film.
After the parking lot chase, there was a scene in which Renton goes to the hospital to have stitches on his arm wound and is then picked up by Diane. He sleeps on her couch but gets up during the night and almost enters her bedroom before changing his mind. They finally have a conversation the next day about their former relationship. This was deleted, making Diane's interview with Renton and Veronika her only scene in the final cut.
It's heavily implied that Spud is the author of the original book 'Trainspotting'. Many of his stories are word for word extracts from the book including the names of chapters. The movies final line also has Gail saying to Spud "I think I've thought of a title".
Although all the main characters are Hibs FC fans, with Hibs memorabilia adorning both this and the original film throughout, the scene with Mark and Simon in the football ground was actually shot at Tynecastle, home to Hearts FC - Hibs' city rivals.
T2 is only loosely based on "Porno" by Irvine Welsh. A few elements from the novel were adapted for the movie: -Simon owns a pub -Renton returns to Edinburgh -Spud has a child with his ex-girlfriend Allie and is suicidal and writes a history book about Leith and Edinburgh ; in the movie he writes about things he experienced with his friends -Renton and Begbie have a chance encounter in the club bathroom, but while they do see each other in the movie, in the novel Renton escapes as soon as he realizes it's Begbie's voice that's coming from the cubicle next to his. In the novel, Begbie and Renton run into each other at the very end; Begbie gets run over by a car running across the road to get to Renton and ends up badly injured in the hospital.
In both films, Renton got back in front of the cars that either clipped him or dropped him from the roof and gave the drivers a grin. Also the second time Robert Carlyle had a scene from atop of a divider wall: first in Boyle's The Beach (2000) where his character was talking to Leonardo DiCaprio's character, second is in T2 where he caught Renton in a pub toilet.