20 years ago today, Trainspotting began winning over audiences on its way to becoming a breakout British hit. The film, about drug addiction in Edinburgh, was released in the U.K. and Ireland on this day in 1996, and a U.S. release followed that summer.
The film launched Ewan McGregor into international stardom – he was cast in the Star Wars prequels shortly afterward. Trainspotting was his second team-up with director Danny Boyle, following Boyle”s feature debut, Shallow Grave. Boyle went on to earn Oscar attention for Slumdog Millionaire and 127 Hours.
Diane, the teenager McGregor”s character becomes entangled with, was played by Kelly Macdonald, who turned 20 on the day of Trainspotting“s U.K./Ireland release.
Boyle is currently working on a Trainspotting sequel that he plans to shoot later this year.
Other notable February 23 happenings in pop culture history:
• 1939: At the 11th Academy Awards, Frank Capra film You Can”t Take It With You won Best Picture (then called Outstanding Production). Bette Davis earned the Best Actress statuette for Jezebel.
• 1964: The Beatles became the third-ever band to appear on The Ed Sullivan Show three times – on this date Sullivan broadcast a performance recorded for the February 9 show.
• 1978: The Deer Hunter opened in U.S. theaters. It was the first film to earn Meryl Streep one of her whooping 19 Oscar nominations.
• 1979: Dire Straits began their first North American tour in Boston.
• 1985: The sitcom Gimme a Break! was broadcast live before a studio audience.
• 1987: Los Angeles honored the “Walk Like an Egyptian” singers when Mayor Tom Bradley declared this day official Bangles Day.
• 1995: ER stars George Clooney and Noah Wyle star as doctors who go out with Monica and Rachel in the Friends episode “The One with Two Parts.”
• 1997: NBC aired the R-rated Schindler”s List uncut and uninterrupted by commercials.
• 1999: Eminem”s second studio album, The Slim Shady LP, was released.
• 2000: Carlos Santana tied Michael Jackson”s record for the most Grammys won by an individual in a single night. His eight Grammys for Supernatural tied Jackson”s record set in 1984 with Thriller.
• 2003: At the 45th Annual Grammy Awards, Norah Jones won five Grammys for her debut album Come Away With Me.
Birthdays: The Devil Wears Prada actress Emily Blunt (turns 33 today), Parks and Recreation actor Aziz Ansari (33), Sex and the City actress Kristin Davis (51), War of the Worlds actress Dakota Fanning (22), Easy Rider actor Peter Fonda (76), Frozen actor Josh Gad (35), Frozen songwriter Robert Lopez (41), Brave actress Kelly Macdonald (40), Home Improvement actress Patricia Richardson (65)