Directorspotting: Meeting Danny Boyle

I am at the sadly underwhelming LA Film Fest.

Maybe I picked badly and there were definitely a few great things that I know I missed, but man I saw some crap. I did see MOLIERE, though, which was great, a French answer to Shakespeare in Love.

But one of the highlights was seeing Danny Boyle speak. He’s one of my favorite directors, he flips styles every movie he shoots to keep himself fresh. From TRAINSPOTTING to THE BEACH to A LIFE LESS ORDINARY to 28 DAYS LATER to his latest piece SUNSHINE which was debuting at the Fest, he jumps around like Frogger from log to genre log.

I saw him speak with maybe 60 other people in the Red Room and he was warm, engaging, funny, self-effacing and generous. He also discussed his new film with an all-Indian cast that’s set in the slums of Bombay. It’s funny, at the time you could hear the room silently go, “Really?” No one, not even himself, knowing that he was about to direct the film that would eat 2009 alive.

But after living in the States for 18 months, it was so refreshing to hear someone speak who didn’t sound like a glove puppet with the hand of a publicist shoved up their bum.

At the end, I really wanted to talk to him, but I had nothing to say and didn’t want to be a gusher, so I slinked away with that weird feeling that we were meant to have a chat that was thwarted. It was supposed to be Me and Danny and then all you other equally starstruck bastards got in the way!

I see SUNSHINE at the closing night of the fest and while it has its faults, it’s still a great film, maybe more for where you might have seen it go, instead of where it did. But it is a visual masterpiece and I’ll see anything that doesn’t have a cast of models as the leads.

At the after party, I’m on my way out when I suddenly find myself on a direct path into Mr Boyle and his G&T.

I introduce myself and to my surprise, we spark up a chat about his creative process where he says that he assembles thousands of images before he starts working on a film. I then go straight into a talk about Steve McCurry, one of my favorite photographers, who has shot the slums of India in his over 75 trips to the continent.

Mr Boyle had never heard of him, so he asks me to write down Steve McCurry’s webpage for him and he’s genuinely pleased, and I leave thinking that if I have contributed in any way to A Danny Boyle Film, I am a happy man.

And because I am a true Angelino and never miss an opportunity to self promote (tastefully mind you) I wrote the info down on the back of one of my business cards.

Call me Danny, I love you.

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