James McAvoy, Jamie Bell and Alan Cumming to Star in Adaptation of Irving Welsh’s FILTH

     August 4, 2011

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A feature film version of Scottish novelist Irvine Welsh’s book Filth is on its way, and it sports quite the cast. James McAvoy, Jamie Bell and Alan Cumming are set to star in the film which centers on an evil Edinburgh cop who has a knack for bigotry and coercing sex from teenage Ecstasy dealers. The Playlist recently spoke with Welsh who confirmed that a feature film version of his novel is on the way, with McAvoy taking on the lead role, Bell playing his sidekick Lennox, and Cumming set to play McAvoy’s boss, Toal.

Welsh is probably best known for his 1993 novel Trainspotting which was adapted for the screen by director Danny Boyle. While I haven’t read Filth, it definitely sounds like some slightly insane material. This sounds like a rather meaty role, and McAvoy should have plenty of opportunities to really show his chops. Bell and Cumming are no slouches either. The plot hinges on a murder mystery that McAvoy’s character must solve, but the guy’s got so many quirks that this will most definitely not be your typical paint-by-numbers thriller. Jon S. Baird (Cass) is directing, with production looking to start in January 2012. Hit the jump to read the synopsis of Welsh’s novel.

filth-book-coverHere’s the synopsis for Filth:

Talk about truth in advertising! Irvine Welsh’s novel about an evil Edinburgh cop is filthy enough to please the most crud-craving fans of his blockbuster debut, Trainspotting. Like Trainspotting, Filth matches its nastiness with a maniacal, deeply peeved sense of humor. Though one does feel the need to escape this train wreck of a narrative from time to time for a shower and some chamomile tea, just as often Welsh provokes a belly laugh with an extraordinarily perverse and cruelly funny set piece. Nicely violent turns of phrase litter the ghastly landscape of his tale.

Our hero, Detective Sergeant Bruce Robertson, is a cross between Harvey Keitel in Bad Lieutenant and John Belushi in Animal House. His task is to nab a killer who has brained the son of the Ghanaian ambassador, but bigoted Bruce is more urgently concerned with coercing sex from teenage Ecstasy dealers, planning vice tours of Amsterdam, and mulling over his lurid love life. He’s also got a tapeworm, whose monologue is printed right down the middle of many pages. Here’s one of this unusually articulate parasite’s realizations: “My problem is that I seem to have quite a simple biological structure with no mechanism for the transference of all my grand and noble thoughts into fine deeds.”

Welsh’s real strength is comic tough talk and inventive slang. The murder mystery helps organize his tendency to sprawl, but the engine of his art is wry, harsh dialogue. At one point, his books hogged the entire top half of Scotland’s Top Ten Bestsellers list–and half the buyers of Trainspotting had never bought a book before. The reason is not that Welsh is the best novelist who ever got short-listed for the Booker Prize. It is that he is that rarest of phenomena, an original voice. [Amazon]

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