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Danny Boyle

Danny Boyle: Interviews

Edited by Brent Dunham
Copyright Date: 2011
Pages: 176
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  • Book Info
    Danny Boyle
    Book Description:

    A humble man from humble beginnings, Danny Boyle (b. 1956) became a popular cinema darling when Slumdog Millionaire won big at the 2009 Academy Awards. Prior to this achievement, this former theater and television director helped the British film industry pull itself out of a decades-long slump. With Trainspotting, he proved British films could be more than stuffy, period dramas; they could be vivacious and thrilling with dynamic characters and an infectious soundtrack. This collection of interviews traces Boyle's relatively short fifteen-year film career, from his outstanding low-budget debut Shallow Grave, to his Hollywood studio films, his brief return to television, and his decade-in-the-making renaissance.Taken from a variety of sources including academic journals, mainstream newspapers, and independent bloggers, Danny Boyle: Interviews is one of the first books available on this emerging director. As an interviewee, Boyle displays an engaging honesty and openness. He talks about his films 28 Days Later, Millions, and others. His success proves that classical storytelling artists still resonate with audiences.

    eISBN: 978-1-60473-835-3
    Subjects: Film Studies

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-viii)
  3. Introduction
    (pp. ix-xxvi)

    “Everyone was saying my dad will be able to graze sheep on his lawn now!”¹ After winning an Oscar for Best Director, most people would imagine this success to provide a little more benefit than giving your father unprecedented grazing rights but, then again, not everyone is Danny Boyle. Perhaps as philosophically and creatively far away from Hollywood as a mainstream filmmaker can be, Danny Boyle has made a cinematic career out of bending the rules, ignoring expectations, and, frankly, going unnoticed for the past decade. That is, until now.Slumdog Millionaire, released in 2008, became Danny Boyle’s crowning achievement....

  4. Chronology
    (pp. xxvii-xxviii)
  5. Filmography
    (pp. xxix-2)
  6. Lean, Mean, and Cruel
    (pp. 3-13)
    Ronan Bennett

    Danny Boyle doesn’t like talking about “ideas” in his new film,Shallow Grave. He doesn’t like talking about ideas in film in general because, he says, it’s pompous, self-conscious, and patronizing to the audience. It’s an interesting position, coming from a man whose early career as a director was in theatre, first with the radical Joint Stock Company, then with the Royal Court—the playwrights he has worked with include Edward Bond and Howard Barker. Most recently, Boyle has been working in television, in shows as various asInspector Morseand the serialMr. Wroe’s Virgins.

    As a writer, I’m...

  7. The Boys Are Back in Town
    (pp. 14-22)
    Geoffrey Macnab

    Few British movies begin quite as arrestingly asTrainspotting. Iggy Pop’s “Lust for Life” is pounding away on the soundtrack. With store detectives in hot pursuit, Renton is running down Edinburgh’s Princes Street, that cynosure for shoppers, tourists, and tartan-and-shortbread connoisseurs. His face, seen in big close-up, is sporting a wry smile. He’s enjoying himself. As he sprints, there’s a voice-over, extracted directly from the novel. It’s the sheer, untrammeled energy of the scene that impresses. “From the team that brought youShallow Grave,” trumpets the publicity. Given the success of that movie (it made over £5 million at the...

  8. Trainspotters
    (pp. 23-25)
    Monika Maurer

    Andrew Macdonald is in the Groucho Club, introducing his team to me. “I lie on the phone,” he says with a chuckle, then points at Danny Boyle. “He shouts at actors, and [indicating John Hodge] he writes scripts in his bedroom.” The three of them—producer, director, writer—dissolve into giggles at a flippant remark which belies their position as the potential saviors of British Cult Film, the U.K.’s answer to A Band Apart, makers ofPulp Fiction.

    Last year, they producedShallow Grave, a black comedy which came from nowhere and left its audience looking at their flatmates in...

  9. Trainspotting: The Choice of a New Generation
    (pp. 26-34)
    Keith Hopper

    Perhaps it’s a terminal dose of Omniplex Jaded Despair Syndrome which draws me to certain types of film. Last year it wasBefore Sunrise, Once Were Warriors, andClerks; this year it’sLa HaineandTrainspotting. Wildly diffuse, what these films have in common are the simple qualities of a tight cast, a vibrant narrative line, and an integrity of style and subject-matter. Most of all they’re all low-budget independents, and the nascent Irish film industry would do well to take note.

    Ironically, it’s because of their low-budget design that these films make their impact. They’re not in thrall to...

  10. Train Conductor: The Director Who Dared to Violate the Just Say No Code
    (pp. 35-38)
    Anne Burns

    TheTrainspottingmachine, which started rolling as a cult novel in Scotland’s slums (passed hand-to-hand at outlawed raves) and gathered steam as a controversial West End play, is now in full locomotion, a wildly successful movie in Europe with raging fires of hype being stoked for its arrival on our shores. But will a movie about a bunch of toilet-diving Scottish heroin addicts play in Peoria?

    A few months ago, director Danny Boyle didn’t think so. “I doubt it’ll do any business in America,” he said. Was he prepared to alter that prediction now, after a staggering pre-release campaign and...

  11. Fame? They Can Keep It
    (pp. 39-45)
    Tom Charity

    “Fame? They can keep it!” … or so Cameron Diaz thought, on location for a quirky kidnap caper in Utah. Except this little indie movie just happened to be the eagerly awaited follow-up toTrainspotting, her costar just happened to be the next Obi-Wan Kenobi, and director Danny Boyle just happened to be the sort of nutter who’d do karaoke Sid Vicious in a redneck bar … Somehow we think the film’s title will prove more prophetic:A Life Less Ordinary.

    It can’t get any worse than this: In the last twenty-four hours, Robert has lost his job, his girlfriend, and...

  12. A Team Less Ordinary
    (pp. 46-49)
    Ben Thompson

    A Life Less Ordinaryis a strange film. Even its screenwriter thinks so. But then, as Ben Thompson discovers, that’s just the kind of creative dissent you’d expect from the trio that madeTrainspotting.

    The photographer waggles a finger and Danny Boyle, John Hodge, and Andrew Macdonald—the trio behindTrainspotting, Shallow Grave, and now the heroically amorphous American adventure that isA Life Less Ordinary—shuffle into position by a first-floor Soho window. According to the natural order of things in the puffed-up world of filmmaking, each of the three men should be fighting for a prime spot in...

  13. Sink or Swim
    (pp. 50-55)
    Simon Hattenstone

    A young, slightly giddy man introduces Danny Boyle, John Hodge, and Andrew Macdonald—the hottest movie team in Britain, the sizzlers who brought youShallow GraveandTrainspotting. There is polite applause. We’re in Dublin for the Republic’s premiere of their biggest film,The Beach. “And as an extra special surprise, welcome to Mr. Leonardo Di…” The audience shares a collective palpitation.“… Actually, he couldn’t make it tonight.” The giggly anticlimactic groan is deafening.

    The Beachcost §50m to make. Close on half the budget was spent on its star—gorgeous, pouting Leo. Actually, DiCaprio is not simply the movie’s...

  14. The Leo Factor
    (pp. 56-59)
    Stephen Short

    TIMEreporter Stephen Short caught up with director Danny Boyle via phone from London, February 1, just as his latest feature,The Beach, opened across Asia.

    TIME: It’s hard to ask you anything aboutThe Beachwithout immediately asking the environmental question. Did you wreck the place?

    Boyle: No. In fact, we were there last week briefly and were welcomed by all the people. You know, I think environmental problems in places like Thailand are worse than the government will sometimes admit to. In that way, they try to protect the people from bad news, it’s like a more polite...

  15. Smack My Beach Up
    (pp. 60-65)
    Tom Charity

    Trainspottingdirector Danny Boyle and his team seemed the obvious choice to turn Alex Garland’s much-loved backpacker novelThe Beachinto Leonardo DiCaprio’s first major post-Titanicfilm. Then news of tweaked scripts and despoiled beaches filtered back from the set in Thailand … Is the finished product paradise or purgatory?

    I suppose there are rugged individualists out there who somehow missedTrainspottingand never got around to readingThe Beach. In which case, perhaps they never sussed that the nineties were all about the ruthless pursuit of self-gratification, and repentance in leisure-time.Trainspottingthe novel came out of revulsion at...

  16. Back from the Beach
    (pp. 66-69)
    Rupert Smith

    His return to the BBC, where he cut his teeth on eight single films and the seriesMr. Wroe’s Virgins, is being presented as a blueprint for the future of TV drama. It’s also the first time in more than seven years that Boyle has worked without writer John Hodge and producer Andrew Macdonald, the team behind all his films fromShallow Grave(1994) onwards. In order to add to the sense of occasion, both the new films will be premiered at the Edinburgh International Film Festival later this month.

    Boyle-watchers need hardly be told that this marks the start...

  17. All the Rage
    (pp. 70-73)
    Tom Charity

    We all know where we were and what we were doing on September 11 last year.Trainspottingdirector Danny Boyle, actor Cillian Murphy, and producer Andrew Macdonald were up an east London tower block, making a film about the end of the world. Popular movie-makers always hope to be ahead of the curve—Trainspottingis a classic example— but this instance was maybe too close for comfort.

    “It was scary, as it was for everyone,” Macdonald recalls. “[The writer] Alex Garland rang me—we had this garbled conversation—and we had a TV set on. It was confusing. Everyone felt...

  18. Danny Boyle: A Death Less Ordinary
    (pp. 74-77)
    Genevieve Harrison

    Q: What’s the story of28 Days Laterall about?

    A: I guess, very simply, it’s a story of a group of survivors trying to make their way to safety after the outbreak of a terrible viral infection in Britain. This virus is so virulent, it sweeps through the whole population and leads to a kind of apocalyptic landscape, where no one appears to be left apart from this tiny group of survivors who make their way north, hopefully to safety.

    Now, a viral apocalyptic movie isn’t particularly original, but what’s interesting about [28 Days Later] is that although the...

  19. 28 Days Later: An Interview with Danny Boyle
    (pp. 78-82)
    Sandy Hunter

    Director Danny Boyle’s latest feature,28 Days Later, spins contemporary paranoia regarding disease and viral infection into a frightening tale of post-apocalyptic horror, survival, and rampaging zombies. We caught up with Boyle, whose past work includesShallow Grave, Trainspotting, and two digital shorts shot with DP Anthony Dod Mantle, for a chat during the 2003 Sundance Film Festival.

    RES: Your new film,28 Days Later, seems to mix a lot of genres, from zombie and horror flicks to post-apocalyptic and science fiction themes. What references did you draw on?

    Boyle: With all of the films that we’ve done, we try...

  20. Danny Boyle: The Looking Closer Interview
    (pp. 83-89)
    Jeffrey Overstreet

    Overstreet: In spite of Damian, who’s a God-fearing boy, a friend of the saints, and a help to the poor,Millionsnever becomes “preachy.” Was that difficult to do?

    Boyle: You can go through the whole filmmaking experience being careful, saying, “I’ve got to make sure this isn’t preachy.” But you can’t make a film like that. What you do instead is concentrate on the essentials, the positives: the character and the kid playing the character. You’re saying that this is the way he sees the world.

    If the movie works, it’s because you realize that life absolutely is that...

  21. Q&A with Danny Boyle, Director of Millions
    (pp. 90-93)
    John Suozzo

    This Q&A took place at Landmark’s E Street Cinema on March 7. DCFS Director Michael Kyrioglou moderated the discussion.

    Michael Kyrioglou: Tell us a little bit about the film’s development.

    Danny Boyle: This script was written by Frank Cottrell Boyce who also wrote24 Hour Party PeopleandHilary and Jackie. He wrote this around four years ago and they took it round to a lot of other directors before they turned to me. They came to me last because I think they genuinely thought I would turn it into a child molestation zombie movie.

    Kyrioglou: I understand that very...

  22. Danny Boyle
    (pp. 94-98)
    Brendan MacDevette

    IFQ:Millionsis quite a change for you, going fromTrainspottingand28 Days Laterto a story not only about children, but told with a great deal of innocence.

    Danny Boyle: I know it looks like it is a drastic change, but it doesn’t feel like it. When we were making it, it didn’t feel all that different. The worry I have is that I’ll make the same film again and again. And that fear becomes real from the inside of the process. From the outside, I can appreciate that it looks like a very different film compared to...

  23. Zombies, Smack Addicts, and Starbucks
    (pp. 99-104)
    Libby Brian

    British director Danny Boyle first burst onto the scene with the acclaimed Hitchcockian thrillerShallow Gravein 1994, and quickly followed it up with a bona fide pop culture phenomenon,Trainspotting. Then, Boyle promptly lost his way.

    His next two films,A Life Less OrdinaryandThe Beach, boasted bigger stars (Cameron Diaz, Leonardo DiCaprio) and fizzled with critics and ticket buyers alike. When he countered with the biggest hit of his career, the thrilling and intelligent zombie picture28 Days Later, he had returned to an earlier formula of a lean budget, a cast of largely unknowns and an...

  24. Sunshine Superman
    (pp. 105-108)
    Amber Wilkinson

    You would think that after two weeks of solidly promoting his latest filmSunshineat screenings in London, Manchester, and on TV, radio, and in print, Danny Boyle would be getting just a little bit tired of the whole proceedings, especially since I am his penultimate interviewer on a day which began with a delayed flight from London to Edinburgh. Fortunately, he is unfazed.

    “You can’t think like that,” he says, as he settles himself in the chair next to me in the bowels of Edinburgh’s Scotsman Hotel.

    In fact, the Manchester-born director—whose energy belies his fifty years—is...

  25. Danny Boyle Talks about Sunshine
    (pp. 109-115)
    Ambrose Heron

    FD: Danny Boyle joins us. His new film isSunshine, it’s out this week. Just for people who haven’t seen it yet, just give us the basic premise ofSunshine.

    DB: So, in fifty years time, the Sun is dying and Earth is kind of frozen in a solar winter and there’s this spaceship called Icarus II and it’s got eight astronauts strapped to the back on an enormous bomb, a bomb the size of Manhattan Island. And they’re attempting to pilot this bomb into the Sun and explode it there and, thereby, save our dying star. In order to...

  26. Interview: Danny Boyle
    (pp. 116-118)
    Faisal Latif

    Danny Boyle has nailed nearly every genre in cinema and now, after turning down the opportunity to direct the fourth installment ofAlien, he has opted to try his hand at science fiction. The cult director has already had an astonishing career, winning twenty-four awards along the way for films such asShallow Grave, Trainspotting, and28 Days Later.

    On a chilly Monday afternoon in London, Danny Boyle took time out of his busy schedule to talk to Pure Movies about sci-fi, romance, and his new film,Sunshine.

    Q: So, Danny, was it your idea to make a science fiction...

  27. Peter Hawley Interviews Danny Boyle
    (pp. 119-123)
    Peter Hawley

    PH: Hi, I’m Peter Hawley from Flashpoint Academy, from the Film Department there. We’re with Danny Boyle who is in town forSunshine. We saw it last night. We took some students and we loved the film. I think the whole audience loved the film and thank you for taking the time to talk to us.

    DB: It’s a pleasure. Thank you.

    PH: What do you think it is about science fiction, and space films in particular, that is attractive to directors? All the great ones, and you, too, have done it. What do you think is so attractive?


  28. 2007’s Space Odyssey: Q&A with Sunshine Director Danny Boyle
    (pp. 124-129)
    Kevin Polowy

    Director Danny Boyle seems to live for dabbling in different genres—and bending them all—each new film markedly unlike his last. He’s moved from dark dramedy to romantic comedy to horror to family with stops everywhere in between. Now the much-admired filmmaker behindTrainspottingand28 Days Laterhas left Earth and all of its limitations behind for the far reaches of sci-fi withSunshine, a clever and creepy space thriller in which a team of scientists prove humanity’s last hope as they attempt to reignite a dying sun. The film reunites Boyle with his28 Days Laterscreenwriter Alex...

  29. Boyle’s Orders
    (pp. 130-137)
    Hank Sartin

    As part of the Chicago International Film Festival, director Danny Boyle—the man behindShallow Grave,Trainspotting,A Life Less Ordinary,The Beach,Millions,28 Days Later, andSunshine—brought his new film,Slumdog Millionaire, to town. It’s an almost epic tale of a boy who survives the slums of Mumbai and becomes a winner on the Indian edition ofWho Wants to Be a Millionairewhile tirelessly pursuing the one woman he loves. We spoke to Boyle, who is almost alarmingly enthusiastic and loquacious even at 8:30 a.m., in a hotel suite that made for an interesting contrast with...

  30. Slumdog Millionaire: Danny Boyle Interview
    (pp. 138-144)
    Catherine Bray

    Not that many interviews begin with a globally respected film director spontaneously reassuring their interviewer regarding the current state of the economy. And not too many interviews also incorporate a debate on how and where the women of Indian slums manage to dispose of their excrement in such total secrecy compared to their unabashed menfolk, who think nothing of shitting in the street. But then Danny Boyle, comfortably placed within Britain’s top five finest living directors for the best part of a decade, isn’t someone you would ever call a predictable interviewee.

    “You’ll be fine,” he assures me, having opened...

  31. Interview: Danny Boyle on Slumdog Millionaire
    (pp. 145-150)
    Ambrose Heron

    FD:Slumdog Millionaireis a new movie that’s out this week and we’re joined by the director, Danny Boyle. Danny, thanks for being here today.

    DB: Pleasure. Thanks for having us.

    FD: Okay, now, I last spoke to you whenSunshinecame out and you told me your next film was going to be about a kid on the Hindi version ofWho Wants to Be a Millionaireand it was only afterwards that I thought, “What’s that going to be? Is he doing a Bollywood movie? What’s going on?” And I saw the film at the London Film Festival...

  32. Danny Boyle
    (pp. 151-160)
    Tavis Smiley

    Tavis: Danny Boyle is a talented filmmaker whose resume includes acclaimed films likeTrainspottingand28 Days Later. His latest is easily the most talked-about film of the year,Slumdog Millionaire. The movie has already won a slew of awards and is up for ten—count them, ten—Oscars including Best Picture and Best Director. Here now a scene fromSlumdog Millionaire.

    [clip played]

    Tavis: So I’m sitting here watching this clip with Danny Boyle and there are two things that get my attention as we’re watching this clip together. In no particular order, number one, he whispers to me...

  33. Director Danny Returns Home to a Rip-Roaring Welcome
    (pp. 161-164)
    Bury Times

    It may have been a million miles away from the bright lights of Hollywood, but film director Danny Boyle was given a rip-roaring welcome when he returned to his home town of Radcliffe.

    The fifty-two-year-old, whose filmSlumdog Millionairewon eight Oscars, was besieged by fans and autograph collectors on Sunday when he honored his promise to pop back down to St. Mary’s Catholic Social Club in Pine Street.

    The cheering fans and a large gathering of journalists came as a surprise for Danny. “This is amazing. You expect it when you’re on the red carpet and in L.A., but...

  34. Index
    (pp. 165-170)