Tag Archives: Danny Boyle

Entranced

Question.. what do you do when you are an Oscar winning director and you have a part-time job as the Artistic Director of the London Olympics Opening Ceremony, a position that only occupies you on a Thursday and Friday?

Answer:  You shoot a mind-bending, time-shifting heist film set in London, on the Saturday to Wednesday.

Could that level of multi-tasking be successful on such an epic scale?  How could you devote your time and inspiration to two such mammoth tasks?  How could anyone showcase the very best of British to a watching world and then nine months later release a film that thrills and delights as the plot confounds and hoodwinks.  Only a man of Danny Boyle’s energy, passion, creativity and imagination could pull it off.

And put it off he does.  And how.  And then some.

Trance is a difficult film to describe without giving away any spoilers.  So I will be sparing with the details. It starts with trademark Boyle visual flair.  It’s London, it’s the art world and a painting has been stolen, by a gang possibly with inside help.  So far so entertaining. If you want to find out any more you need to go and watch the film for yourself. #Keepthesurprise just like for the Opening Ceremony.  But I will say I found it entertaining, suspenseful and surprising.  There are three protagonists and they all give very strong performances.  Rosario Dawson was captivating.  James McAvoy and Vincent Cassel as always were a pleasure to watch.

Trance has been compared to films directed Christopher Nolan, namely Memento and Inception.  I would agree but add the caveat that Trance is a film made by a man who is warm and engaging, who understands human nature and likes people.  I am not the biggest Christopher Nolan fan, indeed I found Inception to be cold, with less developement of the characters than a video game.

This is, as with all Danny Boyle films, an exhilarating, adrenaline rush of a film.  As he said in interview rounds a film can put you in a trance, when you are in the cinema, in the dark watching a story enfold on the 20 foot screen in front of you, you can be hypnotised,  the rest of the world can melt away whilst you are immersed.  It certainly worked for me.

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Go Team GB….Olympics has stopped play!

I have managed to tear myself away from the excellent Olympic Coverage for just long enough to say I AM LOVING EVERY MINUTE OF IT.

From Danny Boyle’s wonderful, witty, quirky but hugely ambitious opening night to the Boxing I was watching late last night, it has all been fantastic, heart-stopping, dramatic, soul lifting, exhilarating, exciting, emotional and utterly addictive.

I have run, jumped, cycled, rowed, shouted and wept along side everyone.  I have never been more proud to be British.  And not just because we are third in the medal table.  The way the Olympics has been run seems to have been a triumph too.

Danny Boyle’s Opening Ceremony seemed to represent my Britain.  The place of innovation and wit, the home of the best music and a leader in youth culture.  But for me the cornerstone was the celebration of the digital revolution and the appearance of Sir Tim Berners Lee.  His altruistic gift to the world has changed all our lives and in this age of greed and avarice in many of our institutions it was good to be reminded that Britain is full of decent, wonderful, funny, generous people.

The same with the volunteers and the people watching the rehearsals.   Danny Boyle told them to take as many pictures as they wanted but just to save the surprise.  And everyone did.  Not one piece of the opening ceremony was leaked.   We are a nation chock-a-block with good, honest people but it’s not often we get to see it.  I love my country right now.  Everyone has that feel-good factor, I like it and I don’t want it go away when the Olympics ends.  Maybe that needs to be the legacy of the Games, that it’s great to feel good about ourselves and our country, that not only it is ok, it’s essential.  That is this a wonderful, fair, inclusive, funny, tolerant nation, and it’s good to celebrate it.  It makes me want to be a better person, to try harder, to be the best I can be too.

And the games, where do I start?  It has just been amazing.  The whole family is loving it. My daughter wants to be Jessica Ennis when she grows up, we have re-bunted the house. We have flags on the car.  I don’t want it to ever end.  We are even going down to stand on the streets of London to cheer on the Men’s Marathon runners on Sunday.

Right if you will excuse me I need to get back to seeing how those Yorkshire brothers are getting on in the triathlon.  Did you know if Yorkshire was independent we would be 7th in the Medals table!  Makes you proud by gum!

Jess Ennis making me clean the bathroom that little bit better

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Nat’s Treasures No #17 Danny Boyle

An occasional series looking at people I admire

Tuesday 22 February 2011.  Already it’s a whole year since I attended the World Premiere of Frankenstein at the National Theatre.

If you don’t remember this, it was one of the biggest theatre events last year.  Benedict Cumberbatch (who had just shot to stardom in Sherlock, see previous blogs for my admiration of his talent!) was playing Victor Frankenstein and The Creature on alternate nights opposite an old Danny Boyle favourite Jonny Lee Millar.

Frankenstein was a new play by Nick Dear, who had previously worked with Jonny Lee Miller in the BBC TV series Bryon, who was famously with Mary Shelley and her husband in Switzerland when the idea of Frankenstein came to Mary in a dream, after a night telling ghost stories.

So tickets to the hottest show in town, time away from the kids, and a trip to the South Bank, somewhere I consider somewhat of a spiritual home, could the day get any better?  Well yes, this was a glittering star studded event, we lost count of famous people attending alongside us, in short it appeared to be the cream of British Acting talent there that night, oh and Paul and I.  We even ended up having drinks beside a noticeably nervous Danny Boyle (he is much taller in real life) and the extremely apprehensive  Nick Dear.  We even saw the long time Boyle musical collaborators  Underworld.  They seemed to taking their premiere much more in their stride.

I was quite dumbstruck to be standing next to Danny Boyle, director of so many of my favourite films.  Scenes from Trainspotting, (the only film I have seen at the cinema four times, to say I was obsessed is an understatement) Slumdog Millionaire, 28 Days Later, Shallow Grave and my personal favourite, Millions raced through my head.  I wanted to thank him right for every exhilarating adrenaline fueled visual moment.  To thank him for all those sublime film soundtracks, for all that music which has become so entwined in my own life.  For all those characters he has brought to the screen so clearly and so vividly, and for all that new British acting talent he has brought to us.

His incredible energy was on display, he was chewing gum at a ferocious rate.  I couldn’t say anything he was with his family, but it was amazing to overhear the conversations about the Oscars being held that Sunday.  They were up for best picture with 127 hours, another film that jumps out of the screen and holds you in a rock hard grip for 2 hours.  There was much talk of it being Colin’s year for Best Actor  as he was in contention with James Franco.  It made you realise just how arbitrary these awards are.  How can you really say which  performance is better?  A very surreal moment.

And wonderful to hear that voice, that Manchester accent that has been softened by years of international film-making but still so distinct.  I love that Danny Boyle promotes all his own films.  I can listen to his analysis, passion, enthusiasm, creativity and total artistic understanding of his films and their power all day.  He makes me feel that anything is possible.  That I can achieve anything I want. In short a very inspiring man.

Which makes me so delighted that he is in charge of the Olympics Opening Ceremony.  Who ever made that appointment should be given a Knighthood themselves.   Danny Boyle understands how to communicate to and also to entertain an audience.  He knows exactly what makes something so exciting to watch.  How to tell a story clearly but also with impact, imagination and humour.   I am sure he is having a few sleepless nights right now, but I know he is the right man for the job.  I can’t wait to see what he does, but I know it will be memorable, spectacular and at the heart of it the very essence of what it is to be British.  Something we will be proud to show the world.

And the play? well it had all of Danny Boyle’s trademark visual punch and flair (the lighting that stimulating the life-giving lightening seared your eyes it was so bright, it actually hurt).  There was a giant bell (cast when Shakespeare was alive), birthing,  snow, rain, sun rises, full-size trains, fire, a revolving stage and award-winning, can’t take your eyes of them, central performances.  The Creature is birthed at the beginning of the play and then is naked on the stage for 15 minutes as he learns how to move and walk.  The script was clunky in places but when you are dealing with all the big questions of life, love, death, parenting, rejection, nature versus nature and that fine line between science and advancement on one hand and morality and religion on the other, well I guess you probably do need a bit of shoe horn.

You did need to see both castings in both roles to get the full impact of the play as well.  Thank goodness for the wonderful NT live scheme, where you can see performances streamed direct into the cinemas around the world.

And this year? well it going to be a bit more low-key.  Going to work as a Lunchtime Behaviour Supervisor isn’t quite the showy affair last year was, but I shall be chuckling as I keep that pizza queue moving that last year I was stood next to an Oscar-winning director. I like the contrast in that, in fact it could almost be a scene out of a Danny Boyle film.

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