Scottish actress Kelly Macdonald was planning to go to drama school when director Danny Boyle cast her in Trainspotting (1996). A surprise international hit, it featured Macdonald, a native of Glasgow, as the acid-tongued schoolgirl who gives heroin junkie Ewan McGregor one of the more memorable nights -- and surprises -- of his young life.
Following the film's great success, Macdonald began finding steady work in a number of films as both a lead and supporting player. In the immediate wake of Trainspotting, she could be seen playing the title character, a teenage prostitute, in Stella Does Tricks. Subsequently, she nabbed a lead role in the period drama Cousin Bette (1997) and a small but memorable part in the lavish historical epic Elizabeth (1998). In 1999, Macdonald was featured in four very diverse films: the first, My Life So Far, cast her as a young girl growing up in 1920s Scotland, while Entropy featured the actress in the thoroughly modern milieu of the 20-something romantic angst drama. Later that year, Macdonald appeared in Mike Figgis' The Loss of Sexual Innocence, playing the young girlfriend of the film's protagonist; and in Gregg Araki's Splendor, a romantic comedy in which she played the blue-haired best friend of the film's heroine.