Boyle in November 2008
20 October 1956
Radcliffe, Lancashire, England
|Alma mater||Bangor University|
|Occupation||Director, producer, screenwriter|
Danny Boyle (born 20 October 1956) is an English film director, producer, screenwriter and theatre director, known for his work on films such as Slumdog Millionaire, Shallow Grave, 28 Days Later, 127 Hours and Trainspotting. Boyle won numerous awards for his 2008 film Slumdog Millionaire, including the Academy Award for Best Director. Boyle was presented with the Extraordinary Contribution to Filmmaking Award at the 2008 Austin Film Festival, where he also introduced that year's AFF Audience Award Winner Slumdog Millionaire. In 2012, Boyle was the Artistic Director for Isles of Wonder, the opening ceremony of the 2012 London Summer Olympic Games. He was subsequently offered a knighthood as part of the New Year Honours List, but declined. In 2014, it was announced that Boyle would become a patron of HOME in Manchester.
Early life and background
Daniel Boyle was born on 20 October 1956 in Radcliffe, Lancashire, to Irish parents from County Galway. Although he now describes himself as a "spiritual atheist", he was raised in a working-class Irish Catholic environment. Boyle was an altar boy for eight years and his mother had the priesthood in mind for him, but aged 14 he was persuaded by a priest not to transfer from school to a seminary.
Whether he was saving me from the priesthood or the priesthood from me, I don’t know. But quite soon after, I started doing drama. And there’s a real connection, I think. All these directors — Martin Scorsese, John Woo, M. Night Shyamalan — they were all meant to be priests. There’s something very theatrical about it. It’s basically the same job — poncing around, telling people what to think.
Upon leaving school he began his career at the Joint Stock Theatre Company, before moving onto the Royal Court Theatre in 1982 where he directed The Genius by Howard Brenton and Saved by Edward Bond. He also directed five productions for the Royal Shakespeare Company. On 14 November 2010, he directed a one night play at the Old Vic Theatre titled The Children's Monologues with Sir Ben Kingsley, Benedict Cumberbatch, Tom Hiddleston, Gemma Arterton and Eddie Redmayne as the cast. In 2011 he directed Frankenstein for the National Theatre. This production was broadcast to cinemas as a part of National Theatre Live on 17 March 2011.
Boyle was Artistic Director for the 2012 Summer Olympics Opening Ceremony in London. Over the years, Olympic Opening Ceremonies have become multi-million pound theatrical shows, which have become known for their extravagance and pageantry to celebrate the start of the largest multi-sport event in the world. The ceremony, entitled Isles of Wonder, charted aspects of British culture, including the Industrial Revolution and British contributions to literature, music, film and technology. Reception to the ceremony was generally positive, both nationally in the United Kingdom and internationally. In December 2012 it was widely reported that Boyle turned down a knighthood in the New Year Honours list. He told BBC Radio 4 “I’m very proud to be an equal citizen and I think that’s what the Opening Ceremony was actually about.” In 2014, it was announced that Boyle would become a patron of HOME in Manchester.
In 1987 Boyle started working in television as a producer for BBC Northern Ireland where he produced, amongst other TV films, Alan Clarke's controversial Elephant before becoming a director on shows such as Arise And Go Now, Not Even God Is Wise Enough, For The Greater Good, Scout and two episodes of Inspector Morse. These were Masonic Mysteries, and Cherubim and Seraphim. He was also responsible for the BBC2 series Mr. Wroe's Virgins. Danny Boyle is not to be confused with a different Daniel Boyle, who is not related, who scripted five original teleplays for Inspector Morse at about this time, and who has continued to write and adapt crime stories for television including much of the popular series Hamish Macbeth.
In between the films The Beach and 28 Days Later Boyle directed two TV movies for the BBC in 2001 – Vacuuming Completely Nude In Paradise and Strumpet. He has also appeared on Top Gear and drove the fastest wet lap at that time.
Boyle's love for film began with his first viewing of Apocalypse Now:
It had eviscerated my brain, completely. I was an impressionable twenty-one-year-old guy from the sticks. My brain had not been fed and watered with great culture, you know, as art is meant to do. It had been sandblasted by the power of cinema. And that’s why cinema, despite everything we try to do, it remains a young man’s medium, really, in terms of audience.
The first movie Boyle directed was Shallow Grave. The film was the most commercially successful British film of 1995 and led to the production of Trainspotting, based on the novel by Irvine Welsh. Working with writer John Hodge and producer Andrew Macdonald, Shallow Grave earned Boyle the Best Newcomer Award from the 1996 London Film Critics Circle. Shallow Grave and Trainspotting caused critics to claim that Boyle had revitalised British cinema in the early 90s.
He then moved to Hollywood and sought a production deal with a major US studio. He declined an offer to direct the fourth film of the Alien franchise, instead making A Life Less Ordinary using British finance.
Boyle's next project was an adaptation of the cult novel The Beach. Filmed in Thailand with Leonardo DiCaprio in a starring role, casting of the film led to a feud with Ewan McGregor, star of his first three films. He then collaborated with author Alex Garland on the post-apocalyptic horror film 28 Days Later.
He also directed a short film Alien Love Triangle (starring Kenneth Branagh), and was intended to be one of three shorts within a feature film. However the project was cancelled after the two other shorts were made into feature films: Mimic starring Mira Sorvino and Impostor starring Gary Sinise.
In 2004 Boyle directed Millions, scripted by Frank Cottrell Boyce. His next collaboration with Alex Garland was the science-fiction film Sunshine, featuring 28 Days Later star Cillian Murphy, and was released in 2007.
In 2008 he directed Slumdog Millionaire, the story of an impoverished child (Dev Patel) on the streets of Mumbai, India who competes on India's version of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?, for which Boyle won an Academy Award. The film won eight Academy Awards in total. "To be a film-maker...you have to lead. You have to be psychotic in your desire to do something. People always like the easy route. You have to push very hard to get something unusual, something different." Andrew Macdonald, producer of Trainspotting, said "Boyle takes a subject that you've often seen portrayed realistically, in a politically correct way, whether it's junkies or slum orphans, and he has managed to make it realistic but also incredibly uplifting and joyful."
In 2010, Boyle directed the film 127 Hours, starring James Franco and featuring Amber Tamblyn and Kate Mara. It was based on Aron Ralston's autobiography Between a Rock and a Hard Place, which detailed his struggle of being trapped under a boulder while canyoneering alone in Blue John Canyon, southeastern Utah, and resorting to desperate measures in order to survive. The film was released on 5 November 2010 to critical acclaim. The film got six nominations at the 83rd Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Adapted Screenplay for Boyle and Best Actor for Franco.
Boyle's next film was Trance, while another installment of the 28 Days Later franchise is in the development stages. Boyle has stated previously that in theory the third installment of the series would be titled 28 Months Later, but alluded to a film taking place somewhere else in the world he created in 28 Days Later and 28 Weeks Later. He is also stated to be producing the upcoming film Paani. He will also direct Ponte Tower. He will direct the upcoming sequel to Trainspotting titled Porno.
Boyle told an interviewer about the eclectic range of his films, "There's a theme running through all of them—and I just realized this. They're all about someone facing impossible odds and overcoming them."
Due to his interest in music, Boyle has mentioned in interviews that he has considered a musical film with original compositions. Boyle has also expressed interest in an animated movie, and, in 2013, a sequel to 28 Weeks Later.
|1987||The Rockingham Shoot||Yes||TV Movie|
|1987||The Venus de Milo Instead||Yes||TV Movie|
|1989||The Nightwatch||Yes||Yes||TV Movie|
|1990–1992||Inspector Morse||Yes||2 episodes|
|1991||For the Greater Good||Yes||TV Movie|
|1993||Mr. Wroe's Virgins||Yes|
|2001||Vacuuming Completely Nude in Paradise||Yes||TV movie|
|2012||Summer Olympics opening ceremony||Yes||Yes|
|2014||Babylon||Yes||Yes||Credited as executive producer|
|1997||Twin Town||Yes||Credited as executive producer|
|1997||A Life Less Ordinary||Yes|
|2002||28 Days Later||Yes|
|2007||28 Weeks Later||Yes||Credited as executive producer|
|2008||Alien Love Triangle||Yes||Short|
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- Mayer & McDonnell 2007, pp. 377–380.
- BFI Top 100 British films. BFI. 6 September 2006. Retrieved 23 February 2009.
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- Brooks, Xan (5 November 2009). "Danny Boyle climbs on mountaineer epic 127 Hours". The Guardian (Manchester, England: Guardian News and Media Limited). Retrieved 5 November 2009.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Danny Boyle.|
- Danny Boyle at the Internet Movie Database
- Danny Boyle biography and credits at the British Film Institute's Screenonline
- Interview about Slumdog Millionaire on MyNorthwest.com
- Podcast with Danny Boyle on Intent.com