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After screening his fantastic sci-fi adventure Sunshine to an eager crowd of critics and film students in New York City, Danny Boyle sat down for a Q&A with MTV’s Kurt Loder. Here’s what he had to say on his film career, what it means to be an optimist and what he’d rather be doing than making movies.
**These highlights contain spoilers about Sunshine**
ON THE MAKING OF SUNSHINE:
~It was made on a manageable $40 million budget. Similar to how he handled 28 Days Later, Boyle took control of the project and told the story he wanted to tell. Which explains why he made the ending a modest success, but at a cost. No crowds cheering in Times Square, or other such nonsense.
~The striking visuals of the sun were mainly based on photographs from the SOHO project.
~He was adamant about making it different from 2001 and Aliens. One way was by avoiding inaccurate, cliché-ridden starfields, vouching instead for a velvety black hue.
~ Storyboards are not his friend; he would come up with the layout on the day of shooting if he could. But due to tech requirements, Sunshine had a slew of them.
~Explaining why the film veers away from the supernatural, he says, “We wanted the film to be about science, how we’ve put all our eggs in this basket.”
~There won’t be a director’s cut of Sunshine--he’s happy with how it turned out. Yep, what you see is what you get.
ON THE ACTORS IN SUNSHINE:
~ They were all forced to live together in student digs to develop rapport. Apparently, it worked, and their real-life chemistry came through on screen.
~The actors were given things to look at which replicated scenes, rather than green screens, to avoid overly bored or overly excited looks springing on their faces, thus ruining pivotal moments.
~ He thinks Chris Evans, who plays Mace in the film, is an underrated, brilliant actor. “Ability-wise he’s like DiCaprio,” he says.
ON SEX (OR LACK THEREOF) IN SPACE:
~Notice how very few films have romance in space? There’s a reason for it--it just doesn’t work. Boyle says he tried it in Sunshine, but it was nothing short of embarrassing and he killed it. Probably for the best … gravity could yield quite a few hurdles in the bedroom. Think about it.
ON HIS PASSION FOR MUSIC:
~Boyle has always wanted to make a movie musical. Finds it a big challenge, and he’s up for it.
~In fact, he “loves music more than anything,” adding that if he had that type of talent, he’d do that over making films.
~He has a big soft spot for the White Stripes. He’d love for Jack White to score his next film [Slum Dog Millionaire], which is shooting in Mumbai. You listening, Jack?
ON REVISITING PAST PROJECTS:
~Loder inquired if there will be a third part to 28 Days Later, jokingly calling it 28 Years Later. Boyle says he doesn’t know. Which means it is a possibility.
~ The Trainspotting sequel is not just a rumor. There is a rough script, and Boyle says it’s “very good ... potentially.” It’s set 25 years later, revising the junkies as now middle-aged hedonists.
~Boyle may have made a romance film (which he admits was a bust) and a space-age film (which he seems more pleased with), but don’t look for him to repeat this magic. He claims he is done with both genres.
ON ANYTHING ELSE UNDER THE SUN:
~He hates having his projects pigeonholed, e.g., labeling 28 Days Later as a “zombie movie.”
~Executives were worried about the title of Sunshine, thinking it could be misconstrued as a prequel to Little Miss Sunshine.
~Boyle loves working with [writer] Alex Garland. They are different, they leave their egos behind and they’re honest with each other if something isn’t working. Which, on a film set, you can imagine is not too infrequent.
~Solaris is an amazing book, in his humble opinion. And he thinks you should read it.
~Despite the dark subject matter of his films, Boyle is an optimist. He doesn’t consider himself a cynic, and he cries a lot while watching movies. There is a theme of hope that sneaks into in his films, even amid impending destruction.
~Each of his pictures has a bag of money, except for Sunshine. For the sake of tradition, he’ll bring this visual staple back for Slum Dog Millionaire.
~His goal is to be honest with journalists, not to BS about what a film is to try and give it more mainstream appeal.
And we love him for that. Be sure to check out the eye candy buffet Sunshine when it hits U.S. theaters on July 20.