Danny Boyle is as enthusiastic in person as his movies are onscreen. Many directors are already tired of talking about their movies by the time they make the rounds doing interviews. But Boyle seems as excited to talk about his high-spirited new family film Millions as most artists are when they begin a project.
When we sat down at the table in a lounge suite at Seattle's Fairmont Hotel, Boyle had a hot Starbucks beverage in his hand. "I can see you're already picking up Seattle habits," I laughed. "Seattle?" he said. "These things have taken over London!"
Boyle's a Brit, but he's no stranger to American moviegoers. The dark and disturbing Shallow Grave, the adrenalin-fueled drug-comedy Trainspotting, the high-spirited romance A Life Less Ordinary, the Leonardo DiCaprio thriller The Beach, the bone-chilling zombie thriller 28 Days Later—each launched by his explosive imagination. Boyle thrills his audiences with visual flourishes that make even his lesser films (that DiCaprio flick, for example) highly entertaining.
Millions is no exception. It has all of Boyle's trademark style and a bigger heart than any of his previous films. If it gets the proper push, it's likely to be his biggest U.S. hit yet. And in the wake of The Passion and its recent controversies, it's surprising to see another film in which the central character is so interested in the kingdom of heaven. So I began our conversation by thanking Boyle for introducing audiences to Damian (Alex Etel), the young dreamer who holds counsel with the saints.
In spite of Damian—a God-fearing boy and a friend of the saints—Millions never becomes "preachy." Was that difficult to do?
Danny Boyle: You can go through the whole filmmaking experience being careful, ...