Saturday, November 01, 2008

Danny Boyle on Pulp Filmmaking...

From Anne Thompson's interview in Variety:

"The more money I take that is not restricted, which technically gives you freedom, equipment and more days, the more the spirit of the film dies, falls flat," he says.

After "The Beach," Boyle says he decided "not to do huge-budget films anymore." He returned to making tiny British TV movies and felt the excitement again: "This is what I should do."

It's not that the Brit helmer hates Hollywood studios. They've been very good to him, he says, especially 20th Century Fox and its specialty division Searchlight, which backed the low-budget pics "Sunshine," "Millions" and "28 Days Later," and is releasing "Slumdog" in partnership with Warner Bros.

And Boyle wishes he could make films like "The Dark Knight," he says, "but I realize I am not very good at it."

Boyle was tempted by, but turned down, an f/x-crammed David Benioff script. "James Cameron, David Fincher and Ridley Scott do battles with the studios," Boyle says. "You have to be difficult to do that. On those huge movies it's like Aztec sacrifices, where the cameraman gets sacked by the third leading actor."

But restrict and limit Boyle's options, and his spirit flies.

"That's where I come from," he says. "Where you make the best with what you've got. That's what I am. I've never done commercials or big videos where they throw money at you. I am a bit difficult, but I like harmony. I like a smaller group of people all pulling in the same direction toward the same thing. I get rid of them if they're not."


Boyle's challenge -- one happily embraced -- was to make $15 million look like a whole lot more.

"I like that tension," he says. "I don't want to make a dirty indie film struggling with paltry resources. I want to make a film that looks like it cost $50 million or $60 million."

To do that, Boyle jumped into a 12-week shoot on crazy Mumbai locations that changed overnight, deploying a nimble cameraman with a hard drive in a backpack and a gyro with an attached camera lens in his hand.

"It's a different way of grabbing reality and it has an intensity to it," he says. "It lets the mind float off places."

Boyle, who had earlier used mini-DV on "28 Days Later," says the technique allowed his crew and second unit on "Slumdog" to act instinctively and grab shots wherever they could.

But amid all the roaming, Boyle followed a strict rule: Cover the script.

"These instincts you have when filming sometimes are often indulgent bullshit. You feel like a spoiled prince with a hundred people asking you what you want."

Boyle's touchstone: "A heightened realism," he says. "If it doesn't feel real to me, then I don't do it."


Go see Boyle's latest pulp movie, SLUMDOG MILIONAIRE ( an English-Hindi hybrid shot mostly with handheld digital cameras on location in Mumbai for $15 million) at theaters near you.

1 comment:

Earl Newton said...

This has been my slogan since I started Stranger Things.