Danny Boyle talks about new film Trance and ‘that’ Olympic royal stunt
7:26am Friday 22nd March 2013 in News
MAN of the moment Danny Boyle is on a mission — to hypnotise cinema-goers.
The 56-year-old knows only too well the power of cinema, having been mesmerised by films as a youngster when growing up in Radcliffe.
The Oscar-winning filmmaker, who went to Thornleigh Salesian College in Astley Bridge, said: “Cinema is hypnotic, it’s illusion.
“You forget reality, you believe these ridiculous ideas that are being acted out in front of you. You laugh, you cry.”
Speaking to The Bolton News about his latest film Trance at a hotel in London’s Soho, just hours after its world premiere, the director’s enthusiasm was clear to see.
Danny said: “Every decision you make in preparing the film, including the casting of the actors, what they wear, where they live, what their home looks like — everything you do is about seducing the audience, that’s the style of the film.
“It’s about seduction, down to, eventually, the music, to try to seduce you, as though you are being hypnotised.”
Trance, which hits cinemas on Wednesday, stars Atonement’s James McAvoy as Simon, who teams up with a criminal to steal a painting, but suffers a blow to the head leaving him with no memory of where he hid it.
A hypnotherapist, played by Seven Pounds and Sin City’s Rosario Dawson, is brought in to help, but as Simon’s subconscious mind is probed more deeply, the more the lines are blurred between truth, lies and suggestion.
Speaking of hypnosis, Danny said: “I’ve never gone under because I don’t know whether I could relax enough and, when you’re preparing a film, you don’t feel you’ve got the time. I’ll maybe try it some day.
“The actors tried it. It was interesting watching this guy hypnotise them, or try to, the techniques they use.
“It’s all about relaxation really, and it takes time. So Rosario went off and did the whole business. She got quite into it, which was really helpful because she knew how to do it, effectively.”
At one point, Danny turns to me and clicks his fingers in front of my face, demonstrating Derren Brown-style hypnosis techniques, and adds: “It was wonderful finding out about hypnosis, doing the research on it.”
Danny had initially planned on shooting the film in New York before he was asked to be the artistic director for the opening ceremony of the 2012 London Olympics.
He managed to successfully juggle both projects, creating an opening ceremony that was hailed a triumph by both fans and sceptics.
Perhaps one of the most memorable moments was the Queen’s involvement in a sketch with James Bond actor Daniel Craig which culminated in Her Majesty appearing to parachute into the Olympic Stadium.
Danny, looking relaxed, said: “We were delighted that she agreed to do it.
We were applying for their permission to cast a double, so we were astonished when they came back and said not only do we approve of the idea, but she wants to be in it.
“The only criteria was that we would, as we wanted as well, keep it a secret. She did not tell any of her immediate family, she wanted it to be a surprise for them.
“I think she knows, through experience, that if you really want to keep a secret, you tell virtually no one.
“Originally, we were applying for permission that we would recreate Buckingham Palace somewhere else. We were looking for the locations because we weren’t imagining we would ever get permission to film there.
“But they let us film in that greeting room where she meets the PM each week, or however often the meetings are.
“She has another room which is much more lived-in, all full of newspapers, tea trays — what you’d expect really, a really lived-in room.
“But this is a presentational room so we went in there. She said, ‘I’ve been at the dentist all morning, I’m not in a very good mood, tell me what you want’. So I did.
“She didn’t need telling twice. She was as sharp as anything.
“And I think she had a great day. I think also she did it because she has a team who have looked after her for a long time.
And they had a lovely day out with Daniel Craig.
“They’re just like us, it’s a movie star, it’s James Bond in the room, get your picture taken.
Everybody hangs out and realises they’re all human beings anyway.
“I think that’s the reason she did it because she made sure all her staff had their photo with Daniel.”
So what can we expect next from Danny, champion of the film world?
He said: “Well I’d like to do a Shakespeare, I’ve never done a Shakespeare. I’ve got one in mind, but I’m not going to tell.
“And we’d like make a sequel to Trainspotting, which is a long-held ambition to bring those actors back as the same characters, but with a generation clearly having passed.”
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