Danny Boyle’s track record with Texas film festivals runs deep, having screened Slumdog Millionaire at the Austin Film Festival on its way to an Academy Award win for Best Picture and Director back in 2008. As much as he wanted to screen his latest film, Trance, at this year's South By Southwest fest, an agreement with Pathe guaranteed that the James McAvoy and Rosario Dawson vehicle would hold its official premiere in Europe this week.
That didn’t stop Boyle from attending SXSW with a chunk of scenes from Trance under his arm, which were shown during a rollicking and informative panel at the Vimeo Theatre on Saturday afternoon. Hosted by NY Times columnist David Carr, the gathering felt like a cinematic celebration of Boyle’s stunning career achievements, running through clips on commentary from films like Shallow Grave, Trainspotting and a montage of snapshots from hits like 127 Hours, Millions, Sunshine and 28 Days Later.
Boyle didn’t spend all of his time in Austin looking back, though. The Playlist quotes the director as saying that he’s working on adapting Irvine Welsh’s sequel to Trainspotting, called Porno, and he believes he can get the original cast to commit to doing it by 2016.
Meanwhile, in the Vimeo, Boyle and his musical collaborator Rick Smith of the band Underworld prepared the audience for Trance with a red-band trailer for the new movie and a lengthy clip involving McAvoy’s character trapping Vincent Cassel in a car that’s eventually set on fire. Out of context, it was a thrilling scene that gave away little about the supposedly twisty plot. But Carr, who had seen the finished film prior to the SXSW panel, seemed shocked Boyle chose to show that particular scene, saying, “You kind of opened up your kimono there, buddy,” the journalist joked, though Boyle ensured the crowd that Trance is a movie “entirely about secrets” and the fun of the movie is trying to figure out which of the three main characters we’re supposed to root for.
Outside of film discussion, the Boyle panel proved most interesting when the director elaborated on colorful asides in his decorated past. He spoke of the fun – and the frustrations – that came with serving as the artistic director of the London Olympics. (When I spoke with Boyle in person after the panel, I asked him about possibly directing a James Bond film, which he politely declined.) He said that he turned down knighthood, which was offered, because “that kind of world isn’t my cup of tea. And he admitted that his musical inspirations likely come from his daughters at this stage of his life. So if you like the music he and Smith put together for Trance, be sure to thank them.
As for Trance, Boyle elaborated where he could, though his suggestions that the movie could be Memento mixed with Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind tells you all you need to know about the story’s intricacies. “Everything in Trance is ethically dubious, but scientifically possible,” Boyle hinted with a wink. In conclusion, he said that he hopes Trance, like the rest of his films, “mesmerize” the audience. He hopes to keep making films that pin the audience to the backs of their chairs, to suck the oxygen out of the theater and “assault” his audience with the story. Those are the kinds of moviegoing experiences Boyle says that he seeks. We’ll see if Trance delivers on that promise when it opens on April 5.
For more of our SXSW 2013 coverage, click HERE.
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