Danny Boyle

Danny Boyle and Leonardo DiCaprio For The Beach

The last time we saw Leonardo DiCaprio in a Danny Boyle movie, he was in an internet cafe checking his email. That wouldn’t be such a striking image in most movies, but it is in The Beach, a feature released in 2000 in which the actor spends most of the running time in a secret, self-sustaining Southeast Asia island utopia. And now it’s an interesting place for the actor and director to have left off because, according to The Hollywood Reporter, their next collaboration is probably going to involve a lot computers, and there will likely also be a very significant piece of the movie set in 2000, which is when Apple began work on a little something called iTunes. Yeah, that’s right, this reunion will be for the Steve Jobs biopic written by Aaron Sorkin that David Fincher recently departed. Cue the photoshops of Leo in a black turtleneck. Wait, never mind, there’s the one taken by Terry Richardson for GQ right over here.

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trance

Over the course of his career we’ve seen director Danny Boyle make a drug drama, a don’t-call-it-a-zombie-movie, a high-minded sci-fi adventure, a real-life survival tale, and even the opening ceremonies of an Olympic Games. The point is that he’s a versatile artist who never seems to do the same sort of thing twice, so it’s surprising to hear that he’s following up his mind-bending art heist movie, Trance, with another project that’s going to be heavily steeped in the heist genre. The news of Boyle’s new job comes from Variety, who report that, after seeing a documentary about jewel thieves called Smash & Grab: The Story of the Pink Panthers earlier this year, the director decided that the material presented in the doc was ripe to be turned into a dramatic feature. So ripe, in fact, that he set out to make this hypothetical adaptation his next film, and it wasn’t long after he made these intentions clear that his regular distributor, Fox Searchlight, came on board and helped make the dream a reality. By all accounts, a Boyle-directed dramatic version of Smash & Grab is now go.

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trance 1

In less qualified hands, Trance wouldn’t be this entertaining. The script for Danny Boyle‘s newest quasi-thriller asks a lot from its audience. Suspending disbelief is one thing, but demolishing logic is another matter. In the end, the illogical dramatic ambitions hold back Boyle’s film from becoming another major addition to his body of work. Before logic is diminished, however,  Trance is a gorgeous dream of a film that has the Slumdog Millionaire filmmaker unleashing every visual magic trick he has. This nonlinear story calls for that bombastic Boyle approach. The central idea, which is a unique one for the genre, poses the question: what if you forgot what you stole? For the first two acts we see Simon (James McAvoy) dealing with that dilemma. Simon, a charming dweeb who has himself a wee bit of a gambling problem, went to both the right and wrong guy to help him out, Franck (Vince Cassel). After Franck pays off his debt, Simon must use his position at an auction house to assist him in stealing a painting. The robbery goes smoothly until Franck discovers he didn’t actually grab the painting and, due to memory loss, Simon doesn’t know why that is. This where they enlist the help from Elizabeth (Rosario Dawson), a hypnotherapist. Elizabeth wants to give Franck and Simon what they both want…or at least that’s how her relationship with the two men starts. Elizabeth is the femme fatale of this mystery, pulling some strings the audience doesn’t see.

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Trainspotting

Seeing as Irvine Welsh, the author of the “Trainspotting” novel, wrote a sequel to his well-regarded story about Scottish heroin addicts called “Porno” back in 2002, it’s always seemed like something of a possibility that Danny Boyle, the guy who directed the Trainspotting film, could get his crew of actors back together and shoot it as a sequel. There have always been concerns that have kept that from happening though; namely the fact that Boyle had a pretty public falling out with his Trainspotting star, Ewan McGregor, and the worry that “Porno” the novel isn’t really as good as “Trainspotting,” (so it might not be worth making into a movie). While talking to The Playlist, Boyle has revealed that he’s always wanted to make a Trainspotting sequel anyway, so he’s going to try to shoot for getting one into theaters in 2016, which would make it in time to celebrate the 20 year anniversary of the first film’s 1996 release. But what about all of those pesky concerns about “Porno” not really having what it takes to make for a good movie, and McGregor not really being so fond of Boyle anymore? Don’t worry, the director has them addressed.

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SXSW Danny Boyle

So far one of the highlights of SXSW was the panel featuring director Danny Boyle. The enthusiasm he shared with us about the event was evident during his Q&A. Even when the nifty “Danny Boyle’s Filmography” montage Fox Searchlight cut together was playing we saw Boyle dancing to it. He was happy to be there, and so were we. While the Slumdog Millionaire director was there to promote Trance, Boyle discussed many of his films, and the lessons he learned from them. Unfortunately he didn’t have time to reminisce about all his movies, but what the director of Trance did talk about was noteworthy. That’s why we took notes:

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Danny Boyle

One event that was a must-attend at this year’s SXSW was Danny Boyle‘s panel, which happened this morning. Besides the fact Boyle is behind some of the most acclaimed films of the past 20 years – Slumdog Millionare, Millions, 28 Days Later, Sunshine – his personality is as invigorating as his movies. Boyle, as one can hopefully tell from our conversation with him, is drenched in enthusiasm when it comes to film. He’s one of the few filmmakers out there who mainly discusses the joys of filmmaking, not the pitfalls. Whether he is talking about his own movies or someone else’s, he usually has a big smile on his face. If you missed his panel at the Vimeo theater or are unfortunately not in Austin right now, make sure to catch it when it inevitably appears on youtube. When it comes to Boyle’s latest film, Trance, he’s made what has been described as “a trippy, noirish thriller.” Boyle is back to full-on genre, where he can twist expectations, give us a monstrous James McAvoy, and, as he tells us, the power of a good Scottish accent.

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Trance Red Band Trailer

Holy brain-splattering hell. Danny Boyle. Yes. The director is back with Trance, a film that looked interesting and now — because of this red band trailer — looks un-missable. The movie stars James McAvoy as an art auctioneer who loses his memory after hiding a painting that a bunch of thieves are willing to kill for, so they force him to undergo hypnosis to find what they want. Featuring a percussive punch that gives immediacy to the idea of time running out as McAvoy’s character hovers in a mental limbo, this new trailer is aggressive and, no matter how much this phrase has become overused, jaw-dropping. Just watch it. Just watch:

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Trance Movie

Danny Boyle is back in March with Trance, a movie that sees James McAvoy forgetting where he put a stolen painting, the Vincent Cassel- led gangsters that want it and Rosario Dawson attempting to use hypnotherapy to bring that memory back. The first trailer is the best kind of bait and switch. It opens like an airy, empty art house attempt before bashing McAvoy’s head in and revealing the twisty, violent Boyle goodness buried within. Check it out for yourself:

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Trance

With the release of his Best Picture winner, Slumdog Millionaire, in 2008 and his critically acclaimed follow-up to that film, 127 Hours, in 2010, Danny Boyle appeared to be a director whose career had finally broken through to the next level. He had always made cult films that were popular among certain niche segments of the filmgoing audience, but now he was a mainstream brand, the sort of director whose name and credits could sell future products. The only problem is, we’re creeping up on 2013 and we still haven’t seen any new projects from him. That isn’t for lack of effort on Boyle’s part, though. He’s actually had another movie filmed since back in 2011. And not just any other film, a really cool-sounding throwback to his gritty crime origins called Trance that features work from actors as talented as James McAvoy, Vincent Cassell, and Rosario Dawson. The reason we’ve yet to see this film is because Boyle spent so much time directing that big, dumb Olympics opening ceremony, then did some work on the stage, that it’s only been recently that he’s been able to go back and cut together all of the footage he shot for Trance.

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Danny Boyle

According to an interview with We Got This Covered, Quentin Tarantino is expressing the unlikelihood that he’ll ever direct Kill Bill Vol. 3 and the certainty that he’ll never dive into the world of James Bond. Meanwhile, Danny Boyle is also politely passing on Bond speculation, claiming that he’s “not very good with huge amounts of money.” Frankly, not getting a third Kill Bill is an excellent situation because it leaves Tarantino free to work on other fresh projects that don’t already exist as a complete story. Surely there’s another historical wrong that he can correct through film besides the Holocaust and American slavery. Still, if Casino Royale was the only chance we had to see Tarantino join MI6, it would be nice to visit an alternate universe where he launched Daniel Craig into a tuxedo. And wouldn’t it be awesome to see Boyle take on Bond? Give it some energy? Skyfall was a fantastic slow burn, but it’s time Bond kicked it back into high gear. His forthcoming film Trance – starring James McAvoy and Rosario Dawson — sees theaters in March 2013, but he hasn’t publicly committed to a follow-up. The same goes for Tarantino, who has a lot of projects to choose from (just counting from the ones he’s mentioned over the years that haven’t yet come to fruition). Other than these denials, there’s no word yet on what they’ll be focused on in the coming year. Hopefully we’ll find out soon.

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Culture Warrior

For filmgoers frustrated with a visionary filmmaker whose films’ quality provided diminishing returns as he became ever more prolific, Prometheus was anticipated as a welcome return to form. For those hungry for R-rated, thinking person’s science fiction, Prometheus provided a welcome respite from a summer promising mostly routine franchise continuations. For those who see the 1970s and 1980s as the height of modern Hollywood filmmaking, Prometheus promised a homecoming for a type of blockbuster that was long thought to be dead. Prometheus even beat out The Dark Knight Rises as the most anticipated summer film of 2012 on this very site. But then the reviews came in. And thus began the qualifying, criticizing, parsing out, hyperbolizing, dissecting, backlashing, and disappointed exhaling. There were many responses to Prometheus, but very few of them were the songs of praise that a film this hotly anticipated – and highly desired – by all means should have satisfyingly warranted.

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What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a delightful little sampler of all that is right in the world of movie blogging. Even on a rather slow news day, typical for the day after April Fool’s as sites try to weed out the weekend’s news that wasn’t fake, we can still find plenty of things worth your reading eyes. We begin this evening with a look at Christoph Waltz on the set of Django Unchained, looking quite dapper and if I might say, rocking some wicked facial hair. There’s no way that this goes poorly, of that we can be assured.

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Anyone who follows the Criterion Collection will note that just about every month of releases is exciting for collectors of classic and important cinema. But some months are just a little bit more special than others. This coming June is going to be even more special. With titles from Alfred Hitchcock, Toshiro Mifune, Charlie Chaplin, Steven Soderbergh (on Spalding Gray) and Danny Boyle, Criterion may have on their hands one of the most exciting months of releases in years. You might as well start saving now. Seriously, just check out the line-up after the jump.

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Retreat is a film that lives or dies by its actors. Mainly set in one location and focusing primarily on three characters constantly interacting, that’s an exceptionally tough film to make. That seems like a common thing for actor Cillian Murphy, though. No one can look at Peacock and Breakfast on Pluto and say, “What safe, easy roles.” The actor takes chances, and it all comes down to the directors he’s going to put his trust in. When one works with the likes of Danny Boyle, Christopher Nolan, Ken Loach, and Andrew Niccol, that must not be too difficult. The actor usually manages to work with the best nowadays, but even so, as Murphy says, you’re never going to quite know what to expect from a film. And, at the end of a film, that doesn’t matter much. Murphy’s advice: never be nostalgic and always move forward. Immediately before talking to Murphy, I had just gotten out of In Time. In that film, Murphy spends a lot of time getting his ass kicked, being disrespected, and everything else that would make one of us feel unmanly, similarly to his character in Retreat. A lot of Murphy’s characters seem that way, but to him it’s less about emasculation, more about how everyone’s a contradiction.

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Danny Boyle’s upcoming art heist movie Trance has had a bit of a problem casting its leads. Every time they seem to go after an actor, he gets too busy to commit to the film. I guess that’s the breaks when you’re going after the best people in the business. Things seem to be a go for James McAvoy to play the lead role of Simon, however; so there is some traction for the film’s development. And if this next casting rumor ends up coming to fruition, suddenly Trance will go from being a project I am vaguely following, to a movie I’m dying to see.

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Kees van Dijkhuizen’s work is kinda great. While most fan edited montages of films you see online feel stilted and blandly cut together, Dijkhuizen’s don’t. Just watch the “this year in film” tribute videos he cut together for 2008 and 2009. They’re excellent. And for the past few months he’s been releasing love letters to some of the most praised directors working today. Dijkhuizen has covered David Fincher, Sofia Coppola, Danny Boyle, Wes Anderson, Baz Luhrmann, and now with his best one yet, Michel Gondry. They’re all worth a watch, especially since they’re all directors known first and foremost for their style. Side note: This video is also a nice reminder that The Green Hornet is better than it’s given credit for. I’ll take Gondry’s anti-superhero pic any day over Green Lantern and — yes, I’m going to say it – Thor.

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In a move closely related to a similar one I made while trading X-Men cards with the kid down the street when I was twelve, Danny Boyle is trading a Magneto for a Professor Xavier. Variety is reporting that Boyle’s upcoming dark thriller Trance, which is an interesting sounding art heist movie, is close to signing a leading man. Originally it was thought that Michael Fassbender was the leading candidate to step into the starring role of Simon, but at some point he must have dropped out of the project. Not a lot is known about the plot of this film, but I think it’s safe to assume that Simon is probably the best in the world at stealing art, and most likely something goes wrong during the particular heist that this film details. Dang, that would have been a sweet role to see Fassbender play. But not all is lost, Boyle must be a fan of X-Men: First Class, because he seems to have had a pretty quick backup plan to losing Fassbender, and it’s going after Fassbender’s co-star from that Mathew Vaughn directed super hero joint, James McAvoy. I’ve got something of a Fassbender crush going on right now, so there aren’t that many actors who could have jumped into this role instead of him and kept my excitement level up, but McAvoy is one of them. Hopefully negotiations are swift and positive. If we get word soon that Boyle is looking at Kevin Bacon to play some […]

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Between Martin Scorsese with Boardwalk Empire, Michael Mann with his upcoming series Luck, Tony and Ridley Scott with The Good Wife, David Fincher with his upcoming House of Cards, Steven Spielberg with too many upcoming projects to name, and an ungodly amount of smaller names that have directed various pilots, many filmmakers have been trying their hand at a smaller screen. While that’s great, it isn’t enough. So it’s time to discuss what other filmmakers would be suited well for the idiot box. Here are seven filmmakers that should try their hand at television.

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What is Movie News After Dark? It’s waiting to watch the latest episode of Community because it promised its girlfriend it would. And that’s really hard to do, because that show’s really good. Also, Josh Holloway from Lost guest stars in the two-part season finale. How can that be resisted by the world’s most interesting nightly movie news linkdump? Must… hold… on… Must… do… the news… Quentin Tarantino went big when he cast Brad Pitt as his lead in Inglorious Basterds. So to see him considering Will Smith as the titular character, a freed slave trained by a German bounty hunter that sets out on a quest to save his wife from a head slave, is an act of pure bravado — he’ll just go get anyone he effing pleases to star in his movies, won’t he? And if that wasn’t enough to blow your mind, consider this: Christoph Waltz is said to be circling the role of the German trainer, with Samuel L. Jackson in consideration as the bad guy. That’s potentially a perfect storm of awesome, so we’ll see.

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At this point in his career, Danny Boyle has made a good handful of movies that people have really liked. But with his last two features, Slumdog Millionaire and 127 Hours, he has achieved a level of mainstream attention and critical acclaim that has kicked his profile up a few notches. So while Danny Boyle’s next film has always been a point of interest to me, now it’s kind of a big news story. How does one follow up a few years of unprecedented success making inspirational stories for the mainstream? For Boyle, it’s by going back to his roots and making a darkly toned thriller. Trance will be an art heist film shot in London, and it’s said to be more in line with the ick factor that Boyle’s first few works, Shallow Grave and Trainspotting, had than his recent stuff. This news is fine with me, as Shallow Grave is a film that I see as still working really well as a tension builder and Trainspotting was one of those formative, nuclear bombs of independent cinema that blew my mind and helped usher me into becoming a cinephile. I’ve liked Boyle’s slick take on the heart warmer, but I’m ready to see him use his newfound notoriety to take people someplace creepy.

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