British director Danny Boyle is not the type of chap who likes to repeat himself. In the couple of decades that he’s been directing films, he’s done thriller (“Shallow Grave”), comedy (“Millions”) horror (“28 Days Later”), drama (“127 Hours”), science fiction (“Sunshine”) and more. His new film, “T2: Trainspotting,” is a first for him — a genre-defying sequel to his genre-defying 1996 film “Trainspotting,” a dramatic, disturbing, and darkly hilarious look at a group of 20-something pals in Scotland, who either shoot up heroin, commit crimes, have a good time or, in some instances, manage a combination of the three. It’s a wild, trippy film that piled up awards, earned a lot of money on a miniscule budget, kicked Ewan McGregor’s career into high gear and, made Boyle a director to watch. It was based on an offbeat novel by Irvine Welsh, who later wrote a sequel titled “Porno,” which revisited the protagonists 10 years later. Though Boyle had been dabbling with turning that book into another film, he and his “Trainspotting” screenwriter John Hodge ended up setting it 20 years after the original story, and waiting for the original cast members to age 20 years before bringing them and the story back together. Boyle spoke about the film by phone from Washington, D.C.

Q: What was your introduction to the Irvine Welsh book that became the original film?

A: Andrew Macdonald was the producer on my first film “Shallow Grave.” His friend Carol Anne Docherty gave the book to him. Andrew then gave copies to me and to John Hodge, who wrote the script for “Shallow Grave.” I read it, and though I’m prepared to criticize some of Irvine’s other books, with that one I discovered something that was not apparent before, which is a way of expression, a view of the world, a sense of humor, and a linguistic flourish. We just said we’re going to do it.

Q: It ended up being made independently and cost under $4 million. But was it still a difficult project to tackle?

A: Everybody expected it to be an embarrassment, unreleasable. But there’s always a way. You have to have a belief against the cynics, and you have to hold true to it. Sometimes you’ll come a cropper (British slang for fail) and they’ll prove to be right. But sometimes your belief will expand into something you never imagined, and the film played everywhere around the world. It was because of its impact and the value that we all knew it had, and what it did for us all, how it marked our lives, that was the reason we came back together again so easily to make a new one, once we had come up with a decent script.

Q: But that script originally took place 10 years after the first film, not 20, What happened?

A: John Hodge and I had started work on Irvine’s “Porno,” which is a 10-years-later sequel to “Trainspotting.” We had a go at it. But we just thought it wasn’t very good, and we abandoned it. That was expensive, and a waste of money, but we knew that if we put that one out, people rightly would have been more than disappointed, they would have been heartbroken that we’d gone back and all we’d done with it was just kind of repeat the formula, and not really had anything new to say. Also, 10 years in the life of actors is not incredibly significant. Twenty years is, and the time you’ve had to formulate your experiences into some kind of coherence is also significant. When John and I met again, a little over 2 years ago, we were prepared to be more honest about our own age in the way that we developed the script. We wanted to invest in it something that would bear fruit: Our own experiences. John has had terrible loss in his life, and I have made many, many mistakes, and all of that is there in the film. It felt like personal testimony. And I think when the actors read it, they recognized that the heart of the film was in the right place, and they began to put their hearts into it. So they were bringing 20 years of their experience to it, as well.

Q: So there was no need to convince your cast to come back?

A: When John delivered the almost-finished script to me, I immediately sent it to all four actors simultaneously. And in the same way that I knew they wouldn’t have done the “Porno” script if we’d sent it to them, I knew that with this one, even though it was incomplete, they would sign up and do it. And I was right; there was no hesitation from any of them.

Q: When we re-meet the characters in the film, they’re all initially unhappy and are thinking about missed opportunities and dreams not coming true. Have a lot of your dreams come true?

A: No, I’ve not scored a goal in a (soccer) cup final, and I’ve never driven a train, which I’ve always wanted to do. But one of my dreams has been to swim in Lake Baikal, in Siberia. Last year, for my 60th birthday, my daughters took me to Irkutsk, which was 4 days and 4 nights on the Trans-Siberian Express. Then we swam in Lake Baikal, which is freezing. But it was extraordinary. So, yeah, if I’d got run over by the train on the way back, I’d have died a happy man.

— Ed Symkus writes about movies for More Content Now.