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Interview: Danny Boyle • Director

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"Changing genres means trying to make my first film every time"


- Four Golden Globes for Slumdog Millionaire

Interview: Danny Boyle • Director

Both fairy tale and melodrama, Slumdog Millionaire [+see also:
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was shot mixing Bollywood style with the biting signature style of the director of Trainspotting. Cineuropa met up with Danny Boyle in Rome for the press screening of the film, which is being released today in Italy.

Cineuropa: How did you come across the book on which the film is based?
Danny Boyle: I read the screenplay before I read the book. I knew the show Who Wants to be a Millionaire? – who doesn’t? I thought to myself: what do I care about making a movie about a game show? But the script was by Simon Beaufoy, who wrote The Full Monty, a film I really loved, and it grabbed me immediately.

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You went from science fiction, in Sunshine [+see also:
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, to an urban fairy tale in Millionaire.

I think a director’s first film is always his best. Blood Simple is the Coen brothers’ best film, just like Sex, Lies and Videotape is Soderbergh’s best. When you make your first film you give the best of yourself. Many directors become stuck on a genre and end up always making similar movies. For me, changing genres means trying to make my first film every time.

What was it like to work in India?
In the collective imagination, only hippies go to India. I think of myself as a punk director. When we called Warner and Pathé to tell them that the first part of the film would be acted in Hindi by the young stars, they thought: here’s another guy who went to India and became a guru. He’ll bring us a film full of mysticism. Actually, India is a place that surprises and changes you, it’s a country of opposites. And if one embraces its contradictions one can truly appreciate it. I think I’ve become a better person for this experience.

In America, your film has won critical and public acclaim.
The film is having a lot of success in the US. Perhaps because it’s not just a story about money, but about love and redemption. A bit like Rocky. Hollywood is looking more and more to Bollywood, such as Spielberg. When we were shooting even Will Smith came to the country twice to sign film agreements.

The soundtrack is particularly strong, as in all of your films.
The music is by Allah Rakkhha Rahman, a very well known Indian composer, someone who has sold as much in his lifetime as the Beatles and the Rolling Stones. Walking around Mumbai with him is impossible, he stops traffic. Rahman changed how film music is made in India.

There is talk of numerous Oscar nominations.
That’s true. I don’t really know if the film will pick up any nominations, but I think it would be great just to be there. If we get only one nomination I’ll definitely be at the ceremony, sitting in the back row, enjoying the evening.


international title: Slumdog Millionaire
original title: Slumdog Millionaire
country: United Kingdom
sales agent: Pathé Pictures International
year: 2008
directed by: Danny Boyle
screenplay: Simon Beaufoy
cast: Dev Patel, Freida Pinto, Madhur Mittal, Anil Kapoor, Irrfan Khan

main awards/selection

Oscars 2009 Best Motion Picture
Best Achievements in Directing
Best Music Written for Motion Pictures
Best Score and Original Song
Best Film Editing
Best Sound Mixing
Best Cinematography
Best Writing and Adapted Screenplay
European Film Awards 2009 Carlo Di Palma European Cinematographer Award:
Anthony Dod
People's Choise - Best European Film
Golden Globes 2009 Best Motion Picture
Best Director
Best Screenplay
Best Original Score
BAFTAs 2009 Best Film
Best Director
Best Adapted Screenplay
Best Music
Best Cinematography
Best Editing
Best Sound
Toronto International Film Festival 2008 People's Choice Award

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