RISING TO A BOYLE

Byline: James Fallon

LONDON--There's a strong buzz about film director Danny Boyle. The unexpected success of his low-budget mystery "Shallow Grave" made him a star in the U.K., and now there's even more talk about him, thanks to his latest film, "Trainspotting," which opens in the U.S. on July 19.
But all the praise hasn't spoiled him. When Boyle had to reschedule his interview because his son and daughter caught colds, the director was exceedingly apologetic. While many in-demand directors would just shrug off the change, the down-to-earth Boyle repeatedly expressed his regrets.
"My boy's still got a cold, but I told him that if he let me go out, he could watch 'Apollo 13' on video," Boyle says, on the rescheduled date. "Films always bribe him. I know I shouldn't do it, but it works."
Does his son know about his father's growing reputation?
"No, he doesn't care. The only film director he cares about is Steven Spielberg," Boyle says, laughing.
He's slightly manic at the moment, juggling the publicity for "Trainspotting" and preparing to shoot his third film early this fall. Boyle hopes that film will prove that he and his colleagues--producer Andrew MacDonald and writer John Hodge--can do mainstream as well as cutting-edge movies.
"Trainspotting" certainly is the latter. Based on the novel by Irvine Welsh, the film follows a group of Edinburgh friends who are addicted to heroin and stars Ewen MacGregor, who also starred in "Shallow Grave."
While the film was a box office hit in the U.K., critics blasted Boyle and his colleagues for failing to deliver a blatant message that drugs are dangerous. Even the organizers of the Cannes Film Festival felt the same and banished the movie from the official schedule.
"It isn't a realistic approach to moralize against drug-taking," insists Boyle, 39. "The film deals with drugs in an adult way. By the time the movie is over, the message is clear that if you mess with drugs you face Armageddon."
Boyle and his colleagues did the film because of Welsh's book.
"Reading it is like eating ice cream in February," Boyle says. "It's painful, but you want to do it more. It's really addictive, like drugs. It just hammers you and suddenly wakes you up to what that life is like.
"The studios thought we were a bit balmy, really, to make a movie out of the book and kept wanting us to do something more commercial. But because we kept the budget so low and because of 'Shallow Grave,' they said OK. And it just goes to show you--no one ever knows what will make a hit movie."
Boyle is proud of his independence from Hollywood, which he says enables him to make the kind of movies he wants. The question now is whether he can continue to progress and still maintain his independence. His next film, "A Life Less Ordinary," will be filmed this fall in Utah and is a romance based on an original script by Hodges.
Boyle, who was born and raised in Manchester, has never traveled extensively in America, so he's planning to drive cross-country before shooting begins.
"The next movie has a bigger budget and marks a change for us," Boyle says. "We're hoping Ewen MacGregor will star again and are aiming for an American actress like Uma Thurman, Winona Ryder or Gwyneth Paltrow. It's our attempt to do something a little more mainstream," he says, then smiles wickedly. "But not too mainstream. It's funny and romantic, but there's no way it's a romantic comedy. That's not our style."

To Read the Full Article
SUBSCRIBE NOW

Tap into our Global Network

Of Industry Leaders and Designers

load comments
blog comments powered by Disqus