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Premieres & Events

Boyle-ing it Down For You

By Christopher Campbell

Danny Boyle is not a credited screenwriter on any of his films, but one would assume that he has some part in the development of their stories. Obviously, he recognizes the fact that his work contains certain repeated motifs, such the bag of money, which shows up in Shallow Grave, Trainspotting, Millions and his next project, Slum Dog Millionaire, but otherwise he seems ignorant of and even disinterested in some of his film’s underlying themes.

Shine on: (L-R) Sunshine director Danny Boyle chats with MTV's Kurt Loder following Wednesday's special screening (Photo: S.T. VanAirsdale)

During a Q&A Wednesday night, following a special screening of his latest film, Sunshine, Boyle even admitted a preference for straightforwardness while discussing his uncredited work on the second unit of 28 Weeks Later. “It is wonderful to do something really trashy,” he told the crowd of journalists and students at Tribeca Cinemas, “where it’s just about telling people to come in the door and kill someone. There’s no subtext. There’s no symbolism. It’s just killing someone. Get on with it.”

Yet, unsatisfied with this declaration, The Reeler asked Boyle to discuss the religious elements in Millions and Sunshine, with specific regard to the films’ contrasting attitudes toward religion. “Because there was religious iconography in Millions, everybody thought that was a religious film,” he responded. “But I don’t think it’s a particularly religious film. If you look at it really closely, it’s not a sect film, it’s not about Catholicism or Christianity even.”

Boyle explained that Millions, a film with a clearly innocent approach toward religion, has more to do with just warm-hearted humanitarianism. As for the sci-fi thrillerSunshine, which on the surface seems to represent religion more negatively by featuring a villain deluded by faith, Boyle could only agree that the film has a spiritual element. “It’s not a film about the search for God or anything,” he said.

So, he isn’t into deep reading, but Boyle can’t deny there’s something uniting all of his films, even if he doesn’t know what that something is. “I’m a very optimistic person, personally,” he said. “I’m a bit worried by the fact that I seem to make quite frightening films. I don’t really feel comfortable with that, but that’s just the way it seems. I’m also a bit of a sucker for a Hollywood ending. I’m not a cynic, even though the work itself can be quite cynical sometimes. There’s a cynical edge to it, a cynical humor to it. But I find that humor quite optimistic.”

So what kinds of straightforward films will Boyle bring his cynical optimism to next? After Slum Dog Millionaire, for which he’d like to have a Jack White-composed score, Boyle acknowledged he would be into doing a musical. He also might be interested in making a movie out of Steve Tesich’s film industry-set novel Karoo. And then there’s always the chance he’ll actually make Porno, the sequel to Trainspotting, for which there’s already a rough script adapted loosely from Irvine Welsh’s book. “It’s based on the actors and their characters being 20-25 years older than in the first film,” he said. “They are deliberately middle-aged -- these hedonists who have abused and taken their bodies to the absolute limit of tolerance are at an age where you can no longer do that.”

Meanwhile, Sunshine opens July 20 in New York; check back with The Reeler that week for more with Danny Boyle.

Posted at June 28, 2007 6:29 AM

Comments (1)

Film intern already viewed Sunshine

Sunshine is an emotional whirlpool, as the crewmembers of Icarus II succumb to their brilliant deaths one-by-one, viewers are sucked into the horrific expanses of space where aid is impossible and destruction is unavoidable. Director Danny Boyle has constructed one fantastic death after another for the eight crew members of Icarus II. As the film unfolds, viewers cease to be concerned with the characters’ survival, and become engrossed in the elaborate manners in which he or she will perish.

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