If you’re not already excited for Danny Boyle’s Trance, you should be. As we said earlier in the week, this might be his most visceral film yet, a wonderful collaborator of sight and sound that works you into a dizzyingly hypnotic state of your own. And after last weekend’s SXSW conference and this week’s talk at 92YTribeca, Boyle took to Reddit this afternoon for an AMA—ask me anything—on his work as an iconic filmmaker and speaking to Trance specifically.
Eager fanboys rushed to get their questions in as Boyle scrambled to answer diligently. As to be expected, the queries were a mixed bag—such as one person asking, "Would you rather fight 100 Duck sized Ewan McGregor’s or one Ewan McGregor sized Duck?" To which Boyle responded appropriately (and accurately), "It’s a pleasure working with any Ewan McGregor manifestation." However, others were thoughtful and generally people were just grateful to be able to ask someone so fanatically beloved an inquery of their own. And no, this time there wasn’t a "email@example.com" answer a la Trent Reznor. Here are some of the highlights and best Boyle answers.
When asked about the music he was listening to whilst developing Trance:
Bowie, the Low album. Unkle. And Underworld. Fortunately, Rick Smith from Underworld did the whole score for Trance and managed to incorporate these influences and more.
How the commercial/critical success of Slumdog Millionare and 127 Hours has affected his ability to make future films:
They’ve given freedom to pursue the stories I really want to tell. I try and keep the budgets low as well, which helps. There’s no way any studio would make a film about a guy who’s alone for 6 days and then cuts his arm off without the critical financial success of something like Slumdog behind it. So you have to take advantage of your success where you can.
On who/what has cinematically influenced him the most:
1. Apocalypse Now.
2. Nicholas Roeg movies from Performance to Eureka. The Roeg films are a big influence on Trance. None of these films are perfect but they’re interested in something much more interesting than perfection, the mystery of film…
(^^^I agree, Danny!)
When asked about his affinity for genres and where he’s going next:
I’m open to most genres. I like to play around with genre though…28 Days later was a Zombie Movie with no Zombies in it in my opinion; Slumdog was a Fairy Tale in genre terms but there are moments of real darkness in it; 127 Hours was an Action Movie about a guy who couldn’t move… Trance is supposed to be a heist movie or an amnesia movie, or a femme fatale movie. but it’s all of those things and none of those things really. the genre hooks are macguffins that give us a route into exploring ideas about perception, reality and madness.
On what it takes to be a successful filmmaker:
I think passion is as important as intelligence. you need to convince so many people to join you in the making of the film, and you need to use the power they give you to connect with your audience emotionally. Obviously you don’t want to do stupid things, but whatever you do, you should believe passionately, and your audience will experience that as well.
And for those of you that loved The Beach, sorry but if Boyle could go back in time and direct any movie it would be:
The Beach. I would do it much better than the original guy.
Speaking to the dramamtic environments his films tend to be set in—slums, desolate urban spaces, Jams Franco stuck in a rock, etc.:
Yes, I’ve always been interested in the extremes of human experience. In the new film Trance, it’s not a physical landscape, it’s the interior of the mind, thought it’s manifested as a beautiful idyllic French landscape at one point, as a secret church where all the world’s stolen paintings are collected, and as a space where the character wreaks revenge on those he fears. It’s in extremis where you can reveal our true natures.
And, of course, where he keeps his Academy Award:
In a shoebox, under the bed. It’s very comfortable and best out of sight.
Trance opens in the UK on March 27th and has its limited release April 5th in the US.