Danny Boyle has had a varied career (Shallow Grave, Trainspotting, The Beach, Millions) but is arguably best known for reviving the zombie genre with 2003’s 28 Days Later. With a rumored second sequel on the horizon, how does the Sunshine director really feel about revisiting the “trashy” world of zombie horror?
On his press tour for Sunshine, Boyle reported that he’s got some hopes to work on another sequel: 28 Months Later. “I did have this other idea,” Boyle said. “I don’t know whether it’ll happen or not…the third idea has more to do with Russia but that’s all I can say.”
Boyle also noted, “I didn’t want to do the second one,” referring to the recently released 28 Weeks Later, which also stars Sunshine actress Rose Byrne. Due to schedule conflicts and production on Sunshine, out in limited US theatres this Friday, Boyle couldn’t have helmed the sequel anyway. Spanish helmer Juan Carlos Fresnadillo took over the reins (with Boyle onboard as exec producer) resulting in a decent critical and commercial response.
Boyle affectionately describes zombie films, a genre he famously revamped for the first of the 28 series, as “trashy.” He loved the weekend he spent directing second unit footage for 28 Weeks Later. “I wanted to get out of the cutting room because I’d been in so long doing this film (Sunshine) and I really enjoyed it — you know — doing something trashy like zombies killing people. Especially since it was all I shot one weekend and I was like ‘Wow, this is really great! You just come in and kill him and that’s what we’ll shoot today.’ It’s fantastic release.”
It seems Boyle’s sweet description of the zombie genre is one he shared with his actors Cillian Murphy and Naomie Harris, when they first teamed for the production nearly six years ago. Boyle says of the pair, “They liked the idea of me directing because of my reputation but they thought ‘wasn’t it a bit [trashy]’ with lots of violence and trash and even though they did exactly what I asked, I could feel them being a bit reluctant.”
Though Boyle has been impressed with the development of these actors and their careers in the years since they first teamed together, he also realizes, as he says each director must, “95 percent or more of the audience is only interested in who’s acting in it and if it’s any good. They don’t give a hoot about what your theories are or anything like that. And you have to learn that, even though you’re in charge of the film and actors only appear for a few weeks — whereas you’re on it for years — basically the film’s for them and it has to be for them. Basically that’s all we go to the movies for.”
On the subject of trash in more literal sense, Boyle commented very gracefully to an interviewer’s question on recent comments he made about Hostel 2 director, Eli Roth. “Did I?” Boyle flirted. “What did I say?”
Of this inter-collegial comment, Boyle explained, “I shouldn’t have, for professional reasons,” and laughed at himself. He also said he has “spoken about Michael Bay. I was lured into talking about him once. I don’t think I have an opinion about Eli Roth, or if I do I haven’t expressed it. That’s as far as I think I’m going to go right now!” With a hearty laugh, he concluded, “You didn’t lure me in successfully enough there.”
Stay tuned this week for more from our Q&A with Danny Boyle. Sunshine opens in limited release this Friday and nationwide July 27.