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Danny Boyle Interview

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Danny Boyle is a busy man — and not just because he’s jetting to awards shows all over the world thanks to the success of 127 Hours. The 54-year-old is also directing a stage adaptation of Frankenstein, lending a hand with the London Olympics opening ceremony and is working on the script for Porno — also known as Trainspotting 2.

127 Hours largely takes place by the same rock for 90 minutes — how did you convince the studios it would work as a film?

This movie is like an urban thriller because once he gets trapped he can’t see the wilderness. It’s almost like a bank vault job — how’s he going to escape?

Ever had a near-death experience yourself?

Yeah, on The Beach we had a very big accident. It was a terrible shoot. No one was killed but it was very close. We were out in this boat and the tide changed on a reef which was very shallow underneath us, turning the water into a washing machine that tipped the boat upside down trapping 30 or 40 people. I thought we were going to die. I remember thinking very clearly about how unfair it was that I wasn’t going to see my kids again. That’s all I thought of.

Now your kids are a bit older, have you had any complaints about the ‘Tigger jump’ speech at the Oscars?

[Laughs] They’re so ashamed of me, it’s unbelievable. I’m not even allowed on Facebook.

Where do you keep your Oscar? Is it on display?

I used to have it up on a shelf in my bedroom but it doesn’t disappear into the background. Every day it goes [adopts high-pitch voice], “Yeep, yeep, yeep,” so I had to put it under my bed.

The day after the Oscars you granted a lovely girl from Granada television your first interview. Was it important to keep your feet on the ground?

That’s right. They were hanging around and the hotel wouldn’t let them in, but I said ‘That’s Granada and they must get in’.

With this love of Granada in mind, would you ever want to direct an episode of Coronation Street?

I’d be interested. I’m not very good at live television but I’d please a lot of folk up in Manchester if I did.

What’s the latest on Porno?

There’s a script, well, an early draft. I’m working with Jonny Lee Miller [who played Sick Boy] on Frankenstein, and when we get the script ready, I’ll approach the rest of the original cast and see how much it appeals. It’s not as reverential to the book as Trainspotting was — but that book was a masterpiece. I don’t think even Irvine Welsh would call Porno a masterpiece.

You famously fell out with Ewan McGregor over not casting him as the lead in The Beach. Have you reached out to him about Porno?

I’ve seen him a few times, so I hope we can keep that going and develop it. I’d love to do another movie with him.

You’re working on a Frankenstein theatre production. How’s that going?

I’ve been working mostly with the two actors, Johnny Lee Miller and Benedict Cumberbatch who are going to swap the part. And they’re good, very good. It’s very weird for me because as soon as they get really going all I want to do is go towards them which is what I’d do with a camera. I often see myself trying to work our camera moves to cover the emotion or tension in a scene, but you can’t do that. In a film the camera brings it to the audience. In this they have to bring the emotion to you because it’s direct.

You’re creative director of the 2012 Olympic ceremony. How can you top Beijing?

(laughs) It’s going to start again. Beijing was the zenith, the peak of that massive spectacle. No other economy in the world can afford to afford those sorts of games again, so instead of apologising for that we’re going to back to the beginning. We’re working on it in film studios in East London at the moment and all I can say is it’s exciting.

127 Hours is out on DVD on June 6th.

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