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Danny Boyle on "Trance" and keeping sane during London Olympics

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - After Danny Boyle's prominent role at last year's London Summer Olympics, the British filmmaker is back in the spotlight with his first film since 2010's "127 Hours."
/ Source: Reuters

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - After Danny Boyle's prominent role at last year's London Summer Olympics, the British filmmaker is back in the spotlight with his first film since 2010's "127 Hours."

"Trance," which had its world premiere in London on Tuesday, stars James McAvoy as Simon, a man who teams with a criminal (Vincent Cassel) to steal a painting. Simon suffers a blow to the head, which causes him to forget where he hid the painting.

Part caper, part psychological thriller, "Trance" is another radical departure from Boyle's previous work, which has ranged from the story of a Mumbai teen's rise from the slums in Oscar-winning "Slumdog Millionaire," to a man trapped under a boulder in "127 Hours," to the 1996 drug drama "Trainspotting."

On Tuesday, Boyle confirmed he was planning a sequel to "Trainspotting," which he hoped would see the original cast reunite for a 2016 release.

"We'd love to be able to produce something that used the idea of it, not just as a sequel, but something that spoke to people about time passing," the director told Reuters Television at the London premiere of "Trance."

Despite his range as a filmmaker, Boyle feels his films are not all that different from one another.

"The truth is, they're all the same," he told Reuters in Los Angeles over the weekend. "Basically it's always about a guy who faces insurmountable odds and overcomes them. And that's where you get a lift at the end of the movies."

"Trance" will be released in the United Kingdom on March 27, and in the United States on April 5.

Boyle, 56, planned to shoot the film in New York before he was asked to be the artistic director for the opening ceremony of the 2012 London Olympics.

Instead, he shot "Trance" in the British capital at night while working on the Olympics ceremony during the day.


Boyle said he had turned down the offer of a knighthood from Queen Elizabeth for his role in the Summer Games because the event was the work of thousands of people.

"I thought anything that picked me out like that wouldn't be appropriate to the spirit in which we'd gone into it. ... It felt like it wouldn't be appropriate compared to that kind of communal effort really," he told Reuters Television on Tuesday.

In an upcoming book about his Olympics experience, Boyle talks of chaos behind the scenes and arguments with organizers over penny-pinching on costumes and musical instruments, and a dispute over a sponsorship deal with Dow Chemical Co.

The memoir "Danny Boyle: Creating Wonder" will be published in April. According to excerpts that ran in Britain's Sunday Times newspaper last weekend, Boyle came close to walking away from the Olympics over a decision by Britain's Defense Ministry to deploy ground-to-air missiles on buildings close to the Olympic stadium in a crowded area of East London.

"There's so many people who are so paranoid and so corporate," Boyle told Reuters. "They want to head for safety first and you have to make sure they don't distort the show."

Boyle said he had to trot out his Oscar credentials in order to protect his vision.

"I did bash people over the head with the Academy Award (win for directing 'Slumdog')," he continued. "I was shameless. You wouldn't have recognized me in some of those meetings because I was not a very nice guy."

Ultimately, Boyle's vision - which included a much-talked about skit involving Queen Elizabeth and Daniel Craig as James Bond - prevailed and was the most-viewed Olympic opening ceremony in both the United States and Britain.

"'Trance' kept us sane," Boyle said of his schedule at that time. "It seems curious saying that about a film that's sort of about insanity in a way. But it was crucial to our sanity during the Olympics that we were able to do this film."

(Reporting by Zorianna Kit; editing by Jill Serjeant and Matthew Lewis)