Many qualities bind the eclectic films of Danny Boyle: highly stylized aesthetics, great soundtracks, the introduction of future stars (Ewan McGregor, Cillian Murphy, Naomie Harris, Dev Patel), and, perhaps above all, constant pulses of energy. It shouldn’t be surprising, then, that the 60-year-old Englishman is unabashedly exuberant when discussing his career highlights, as on display in our new Director’s Reel interview (watch above).
Boyle had a heap of U.K. theater productions and TV movies to his credit when he attained international acclaim with the 1994 black comedy-thriller Shallow Grave. While the Hitchcockian murder tale (which Boyle admitted was “stolen from the Coen brothers'” breakout Blood Simple) put him on the map, it was the 1996 adaptation of Irvine Welsh’s novel Trainspotting — about a group of heroin addicts living the high life in Edinburgh — that truly established the director’s style. “Most people thought we were insane to do it,” he said. “Because it was a drug movie, or it appeared to be. … But we had a very different vision. … The film had an exuberance that surprised people.”
After 20 years of speculation, Boyle and the boys are back with T2: Trainspotting. The sequel finds a recovered Mark Renton (McGregor), who took off with most of the crew’s robbery loot at the end of the first film, returning to Scotland to make amends with Spud (Ewen Bremner) and Sick Boy (Johnny Lee Miller), while recent prison breakout Begbie (Robert Carlyle) seeks vengeance. “It’s not a reflective experience — it’s a compulsive, immersive experience like the first film,” Boyle said.
In between Trainspotting rides, Boyle took Leonardo DiCaprio to Thailand (The Beach, which the director harbors regrets for “invading” the country to film), reinvented how zombie movies were filmed (28 Days Later, the first widely released film shot digitally), watched the “seriously underrated” James Franco saw off his arm (127 Hours), and won a directing Oscar for a film that was also named Best Picture (Slumdog Millionaire). “They had to drag me away at the end, I was addicted to it,” Boyle said of shooting in India.
Watch Boyle talk about the making of all these films in our Director’s Reel interview above.
T2: Trainspotting opens Friday. Watch the trailer:
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