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May 2013

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director's chair Danny Boyle — Trance H By IAIN BLAIR This Alexashot film is a thriller/dark comedy. OLLYWOOD — Visionary director Danny Boyle, who won the 2009 Oscar for Best Director for Slumdog Millionaire, has always been attracted to controversial stories and to pushing the cinematic envelope as far as he could, as evidenced by a body of work that includes such films as Trainspotting, Shallow Grave, The Beach, A Life Less Ordinary, 28 Days Later, Sunshine and 127 Hours. His new film, Trance, continues in that tradition with its twisty tale of an art thief (James McAvoy) and his partner-in-crime (Vincent Cassel), who become part of a love triangle with a beautiful hypno-therapist (Rosario Dawson) hired to help the thief recover from amnesia. Part psychological thriller, part black comedy, Trance dives head-first into the murky and Rosario's character does appear to behave like a femme fatale, except you find out that it's not really like that at all, and that she has more damage and emotion than you might expect. So it uses all these different genres and then defines them a little bit. "It's basically about this art auctioneer who is involved in the robbery of a Goya from his own auction house, with a criminal gang, who he then double-crosses, who then punish him. He then claims amnesia as the reason no one can find the painting, they torture him, and realize he really doesn't remember where he hid it. So they turn to the mind, and hire this hypno-therapist to see if they can discover where he put it. She takes him into a series of trances, but nothing's quite what it seems, as he begins as an apparently reliable narrator — he looks straight into the camera and using time in a different way, and the use of the trances and the whole idea of perception versus reality all made it quite challenging to shoot and edit. There's no difference between perception and reality at different times, because of the trances, and that was part of the appeal for me in making it." POST: How long was the shoot and how tough was it? BOYLE: "About two months. We shot it all in East London, and at Three Mills Studios in the East End, and the biggest issue was that we were doing the Olympics at the same time. So we would do two days a week on that and then shoot four days on this. To be honest, surprisingly, doing this movie about insanity kept us all sane. It cheered us up, even though it's this dark, devious tale." POST: You've worked with DP Anthony Dod Mantle six times now. What does he bring to the mix? BOYLE: "We know each other so well that we can cut so many corners. We can guess what the other's thinking, and he's always prepared to try something completely new in the filmmaking process. This was slightly more classical than Slumdog or 127 Hours, where Danny Boyle on set: "I love post, and I actually love the transition from the shoot to post the most." depths of the human subconscious, and, here, in an exclusive interview, Boyle talks about making it, his love of post and sound, and how he juggled the film with also directing his ambitious and acclaimed Opening ceremonies for the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. POST: How would you describe Trance, and what sort of film did you set out to make? DANNY BOYLE: "I set out to make a thriller, but it uses a lot of different genres to tell the story. It starts off as an art heist, like The Thomas Crown Affair, but it's not really a heist movie or about a stolen painting at all. It's actually about stolen memories, which you find out by the end of the film. It's also an amnesia genre, except a character says, 'Amnesia's bollocks — everyone knows that.' "It's also a femme fatale noir kind of movie, 12 Post • May 2013 Post0513_010,12-directors chairRAV3FINALREAD.indd 12 appears to be your trusted guide — and then turns into something very different." POST: What were the biggest technical challenges making this? BOYLE: "The story's nonlinear, so you're we used very small, fluid cameras. This was more set-based. But we used a lot of reflective surfaces to reflect these characters who are not quite what they seem. So we used a lot of double and triple images organically, as 5/2/13 4:32 PM

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