Danny Boyle exorcises dark side in 'Trance'
FILE - In this April 2, 2013 file photo, Director Danny Boyle attends Fox Searchlight Pictures' premiere of "Trance," hosted by The Cinema Society with Montblanc, at the SVA Theater, in New York. "Trance" opened in the U.K. on March 27 and in the U.S. for a limited release from April 5. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP, File)
LONDON (AP) — British director Danny Boyle calls his new R-rated thriller "Trance" the "mad bad relative" of the crowd-pleasing opening ceremony he produced for the Olympics last summer. And he admits "Trance" served as sort of an exorcism that helped him get in touch with his dark side while working on the summer spectacular.
"It kept us sane," Boyle said of his work on "Trance." ''It was like the night version that you were able to escape to, because the other job is like a family-friendly, national celebration. But then there's the other side of every personality — and ("Trance") is it."
The widely acclaimed ceremony made Boyle something of a national hero in the U.K., but "Trance" co-star James McAvoy says the director had long ago achieved that status in the film world.
"He was kind of a national hero to us anyway, people in the industry and the artistic community," the Scottish actor said. "But after the Olympics, man, he gave such an amazing gift to everybody, a real celebration of what it is to be British."
Boyle's latest gift, the London-set "Trance," follows his Oscar-winning Indian romance "Slumdog Millionaire" (2008) and Academy Award-nominated survival drama "127 Hours" (2010). Boyle's first notable film, 1996's "Trainspotting," remains a cult favorite.
"Trance," which opened Friday in the U.S., starts out as an art heist gone wrong. McAvoy's art auctioneer character is the only one who knows the whereabouts of a prized stolen painting — that is, until an injury causes him to forget where it is. With a gaggle of gangsters on his back, led by French actor Vincent Cassel, the auctioneer resorts to hypnosis in the hope of unlocking his memory. Then things get a little strange.
Boyle says to him, the appeal of this project was to make his first film with a woman at the center, a role taken on by Rosario Dawson as the hypnotherapist, who also serves to pull the audience in deeper and deeper.
FILE - In this April 2, 2013 file photo, Director Danny Boyle attends Fox Searchlight Pictures' premiere of "Trance," hosted by The Cinema Society with Montblanc, at the SVA Theater, in New York. Boyle hopes the London-based thriller will also put audiences in a trance, he says: "Every film you make you want it to be hypnotic, to mesmerize." (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP, File)
"I believe in film as hypnotism anyway," Boyle explained. "Every film you make, you want it to be hypnotic, to mesmerize."
"To make a film like this — which is basically a series of trances really — that deepen and lure you into this illusion where you've no idea whether it's perception or reality or what it is — I love that kind of mystery," the director said. "It's a psychological thriller, it's a puzzle of their own making. Those are the kind of ingredients I've always loved in films."