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Posts Tagged ‘slumdog millionaire’

Danny Boyle Q&A

Thursday, January 8th, 2009

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Danny Boyle sits down with Chris Tilly of IGN UK, to discuss directing Slumdog Millionaire.

Danny Boyle discusses directing his critically acclaimed new film Slumdog Millionaire, the rags-to-riches tale of an orphan’s efforts to win back his lost love by appearing on the Indian Who Wants to be a Millionaire?.

IGN: When you initially heard about the project, were you put off by the Who Wants to be a Millionaire hook?

Danny Boyle: They didn’t really pitch it. I don’t think the agent was very interested, he said “It’s a film about Who Wants to be a Millionaire?.” But it was written by Simon Beaufoy, who had written The Full Monty, so you have to read a bit of that, at least, but I didn’t want to make a film about a gameshow. But they didn’t mention it was set in India, and they certainly didn’t mention the way the gameshow was used in the story, so I was in after about 10 or 15 pages of it. I remember thinking, this is it!

And it’s weird, it only happens occasionally that you get kidnapped by a script. You don’t wait till you get to the end or anything, you can feel it happening to you. And when I look back at my decision, it’s not based on the full story – the unravelling of why he’s on the show – so I think it’s based on the city. It’s the set-up – meeting the kid, seeing him on the show, seeing him in the slum, and the city – those ingredients made me do it.

IGN: What was it like shooting in the city – did you feel out of your comfort zone?

Boyle: Yes, absolutely. But you do it for that reason, because your comfort zone is not a good place to make a film in, in my opinion. You should get out of your comfort zone as much as possible, you shouldn’t have a clue what you’re doing, ideally, and yet be able to make sense of it somehow. That’s the kind of equation you want.

With a film in India, you have to hire people. I made a mistake on The Beach. I took hundreds of people from here who knew how to do it theoretically, and it’s not the right way to do those films, especially nowadays. You have to try and build a film from the inside. So we took virtually no one, and got a Bollywood crew. They are the people to deal with, and they are the people that make the film feel like it starts to belong. Now it doesn’t quite belong there, because the culture is different, and there is a Britishness about the film – I think its realism – that gives it its British flavour.

Because our bedrock, mine and Simon’s, is always realism. That’s what we start with. That’s how we judge everthing – do you believe that person would be doing that job at that moment? You judge everything like that as a British director – that’s the culture we come out of. But then it kind of moves on and picks up more of the culture of Bombay, which is coincidence; which is melodrama; which is this extraordinary passion for life; which is violence and beauty at one and the same time.

IGN: Did you have to be careful of striking a balance between plundering the culture, and yet remaining respectful towards it?

Boyle: Yes, and you have to work your way through that, it’s a really good way of putting it. Because you are an outsider, and you’ve really got to get people to trust you, and you have to build that trust over a long period of time as you prepare. There are certain key people that you make that relationship with and they basically become your co-directors.

And I can only credit one as co-director, which is the casting director Loveleen Tanden, because the first assistant director, for Guild reasons, you can’t credit him as the co-director, nor the sound guy, but those three people made the biggest difference for the film. Normally, it’s your cinematographer, or your designer, or your lead actor, or your writer – that key relationship. But for me on this one it was those three people, local people on the crew from Bombay.

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Movie Review: Slumdog Millionaire

Friday, November 14th, 2008

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Slumdog Millionaire may be one of the best film’s of the year.

MINOR SPOILERS FOLLOW. Slumdog Millionaire follows Jamal Malik, a teenage orphan from the ghettos of Mumbai who is one question away from winning 20 million rupees on the Indian version of the trivia game show Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?. As a “slumdog,” though, there are those who believe that Jamal must have cheated to have come so far on the show, namely the police.

As Jamal is relentlessly grilled by a no-nonsense police inspector and his brutal, porcine subordinate, the young man relates how he knew the answer to each question. Proving that life experiences count for as much if not more than learned knowledge, Jamal recounts how he and his older brother lost their mother when they were children to an anti-Muslim mob. Left to fend for themselves on the streets of Mumbai, Jamal and Salim turn to hustling and petty crimes to survive. Along the way they meet another young orphan, the fetching Latika, whom Jamal falls in love with and will spend the next several years chasing.

Jamal and Salim encounter a benefactor who turns out to be a ruthless criminal and they soon make a desperate escape from his clutches. Latika, however, is not as lucky and, as he matures, Jamal makes it his mission in life to locate and save her. His brother Salim, meanwhile, grows more brutal with age, eventually becoming an outright gangster while Jamal gets a legitimate job as a tea boy at a call center. It is while working there that Jamal lands a spot on Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?

It becomes clear As Jamal relates his story to the inspector that the youth has no real interest in the fortune that he stands to win. So what’s driving him? As Jamal gets closer and closer to the jackpot, he becomes an overnight celebrity and a beacon of hope for the millions of viewers who live the same hardscrabble life he has thus far led.

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Wednesday, November 12th, 2008

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Release date: Wednesday November 12, 2008
Genre: Drama
Running time: 120 min.
Director: Danny Boyle
Studio: Fox Searchlight/Warner Independent Pictures
Screenplay: Simon Beaufoy
Producer(s): Christian Colson
Cast: Dev Patel, Freida Pinto, Madhur Mittal, Anil Kapoor, Irrfan Khan
Official Site:
Rating: R for some violence, disturbing images and language
Available film art: Slumdog Millionaire movie posters

“Slumdog Millionaire” is the story of Jamal Malik, an 18 year-old orphan from the slums of Mumbai, who is about to experience the biggest day of his life. With the whole nation watching, he is just one question away from winning a staggering 20 million rupees on India’s “Who Wants to be a Millionaire?”

But when the show breaks for the night, police arrest him on suspicion of cheating; how could a street kid know so much? Desperate to prove his innocence, Jamal tells the story of his life in the slum where he and his brother grew up, of their adventures together on the road, of vicious encounters with local gangs, and of Latika, the girl he loved and lost. Each chapter of his story reveals the key to the answer to one of the game show’s questions.

Intrigued by Jamal’s story, the jaded Police Inspector begins to wonder what a young man with no apparent desire for riches is really doing on this game show?

When the new day dawns and Jamal returns to answer the final question, the Inspector and sixty million viewers are about to find out…

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