In Trainspotting the movie, the mother of the baby who dies is Allison, while in the book she is called Lesley.

There are a few instances of scenes from the book which are adapted for different characters in the movie, but his was always done to remove small characters and attribute those stories to the main guys.

But since this is the only scene of Allison in the movie anyway, this is not a plausible explanation for the name change.

  • 2
    It's not an uncommon thing to happen in a book adaptation.
    – Luciano
    Aug 19 '19 at 13:10
  • 2
    I know. But I still find it weird, since it is just not in line with the other character changes for the screenplay. That's why I was wondering if there is a reason behind it, like some deleted scenes which featured Allison (who is the more important character in the book)
    – mat
    Aug 19 '19 at 13:33
  • Why would anyone expect any of the makers to have ever spoken out on this trivial thing? This is by definition an unanswerable question, and quite frankly it should have been closed as "trivia". Who cares what her name is?
    – BCdotWEB
    Aug 21 '19 at 20:02

Alison appears in 2 of the films scenes, in the prologue (where, unlike the book, she only shares drugs with Sickboy as opposed to sleeping with him as well) and in the tragic scene involving Dawn (where she acts as a proxy for the character of Lesley).

It was and is simply a way of making the characters play a more economical role in the screen story as compared to what are often sprawling books with a multitude of overlapping characters. The film (and to be honest the book as well) seems a lot more interested in the guys than the ladies and as such the characters of Lesley and Allison were combined into one person.

This is done frequently throughout the film, such as the combination of Rab "Second Prize" McLaughlin and Danny 'Spud' Murphy (even the book refers to how similar they are and with both 'having never been seen in the same place' a joke is made regarding the possibility of them being the same person.) The most dramatic example may be the combination of Matty and Tommy, while as they both contract HIV in the novel it is Matty who dies of toxoplasmosis.

This is often done in screen adaptions of books that have a lot of characters - one of the more classic examples of this in the most contemporary of pieces can be seen in The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring where the character of Glorfindel was not included, with the film-makers choosing instead to expand Arwens role to cover events Glorfindel originally dealt with in the book.

  • I'm aware of that (as stated in my question), but that theory is not really applicable here, since Allison doesn't appear in the movie again either. There is no economical difference between having one scene with Allison or one scene with Lesley.
    – mat
    Aug 21 '19 at 14:37
  • Lesley does not appear in the movie at all and only 2 scenes in the film involve Alison as an interactive character, those being the prologue and the scene in which her baby (which in the book is Lesley's) is found dead. As this composite character performs the function of 'the female heroin user in the group' Aside from showing her sharing drugs with the guys, hanging around the flat and the subsequent tragedy involving Dawn, I do not see why you would expect her (or Lesley) to appear in any more scenes than this? I will edit my answer to reflect this more clearly. Aug 21 '19 at 15:04
  • @StephenFrancis From my understanding (based on the question, comments and your answer), the book has two characters, Alison (who doesn't have a baby who dies) and Lesley (who does). In the film, these two characters have been combined into a single character (who does have a baby who dies), yet they chose to use the name of the character who doesn't have a baby in the book. Why? Aug 21 '19 at 15:12
  • 1
    This would have to be a guess, but considering that they could have used either name, I am assuming that rather than tossing a coin it would make more sense to call her Allison as opposed to Lesley, in order to reduce any potential confusion with Tommy's girlfriend Elizabeth, 'Lizzie', which may have seen as being easier to confuse with 'Lesley' once those gorgeous Leith - lilted accents started flying around. Aug 21 '19 at 15:20

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .