If ROBERT CARLYLE got your pulse racing as Trainspotting’s psycho Begbie, he is likely to knock you out in the heroin-saturated drama Looking After Jo Jo. Spot that Pringle. Words: Ellie Carr
BLINK AND IT could be Begbie. It‘s an easy mistake to make with Robert Carlyle’s latest screen incarnation. Jo Jo Mc(‘ann. Dressed in Pringle and draped in gold chains with the words ‘come ahead' ever ready on his lips. the star of BBC Scotland‘s gritty new four-part
'The thing that made me laugh was they had this exclusive about Robert Carlyle's “secret wedding". If it's such a secret, what's it doing
in the fuckin' paper?’ Robert Carlyle
drama series Looking After Jo Jo. is a dead ringer for 'li‘atnspotting's liave-a-go anti-hero.
The similarities are more than just Pringle- deep. Looking After Jo Jo, written by Frank
2? THE UST 9—22 Jan 1998
Deasy and directed by John Mackenzie (The Long Good Friday. xl Sense Of Freer/(m1). is a gritty snapshot of life on Edinburgh's housing schemes in the early 80s when heroin arrived virtually overnight and the city acquired the tag AIDS capital of Europe.
Trainspotting mark two‘.’ Not according to Carlyle. ‘Wliat are the similarities'." says the Glaswegian actor whose star status has entered orbit since he bared all as a male stripper in mega-hit movie The Full Monty. 'lt‘s about drugs and it‘s set in Edinburgh. i’ull stop.
That's it really. There isn‘t really anything else
that‘s relevant to 'l'rainspotting about it.‘
("loser inspection of the series proves him right. Writer Frank Deasy. who incidentally conceived Looking After Jo Jo before Trainspotting the movie had injected itself into the world's consciousness. has chosen tough truths over stylistic tricks. He has created a hard-hitting. brutally honest drama that leaves no room for a spin-off soundtrack.
Jo Jo is the streetwise petty criminal. whose scams take on a darker edge when smack hits his community right in the veins. At first though. it‘s just another dodgy deal.
According to Carlyle: ‘What the characters in Trainspotting are saying is that this is an attractive lifestyle. “why shouldn‘t I live like this?" Whereas Jo Jo McCann. he's just out to make as much money out of it as he possibly can.‘
The scam is short-lived and before long junk is wrecking the lives of Jo Jo. his mother May (Ellie lladdington). his Marilyn Monroe lookalike girlfriend Lorraine (Jenny McCrindle). neighbours and partners in crime.
‘lt‘s a fantastic depiction of a society eradicated from within.‘ says Carlyle. explaining what attracted him to Jo Jo besides its brilliant team and Scottish cast. ‘Most of the stuff you do has the little people being attacked from outside. But here the community is attacked from within. That seemed to me to be exactly what was happening at that time -— people started to turn against each other. and round about the early 80s was the death of community.‘
Sitting pretty: Robert Carlyle refuses to rest on his new-found laurels of stardom