FW Exclusive: The One Movie That Still Scares Danny Boyle


DANNY BOYLE’s new movie SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE, which opens in select cities today, caused some controversy when it scored an R-rating, but it’s not the kind of film that will frighten audiences — unlike previous works like TRAINSPOTTING and 28 DAYS LATER.

Ok, so maybe we’re the only ones who were traumatized by Trainspotting, but when it came out in 1996 a movie about salty a group of heroin addicts and a dead baby was edgy stuff.

That’s what we told Boyle when we met him at the press junket for Slumdog Millionaire — he just laughed and told us about the one film that made him feel the same way.

“I grew up a quite strict Catholic and I had a very intense relationship with my Irish Catholic mother — very protective and very emotional. I miss her very deeply even now. I left home and I went to college and I think like two days before I left I watched THE EXORCIST in a cinema on my own. And boy I wish I hadn’t done that. Because I was in this lonely place at college, these digs. Terrible place it was. And all I could think about was The Exorcist! It was terrifying. It marked me.

“I watched it again a few years ago, and the feeling of dread in that movie is extraordinary. It’s not so much the horror moments of it but the sense of dread, something evil, something palpable, that’s not just about your imagination Something you can touch and feel. I was just very scared.”

So would he ever do a movie like that?

“There’s a film a saw a few months ago that was kind of like The Exorcist. A very good script about a guy who is a priest and goes to Rome and gets involved in an exorcism. And it was very good, but I wrote them back and said I just wouldn’t want to go there. I can appreciate how good it was, but I just wouldn’t want to go there really.”

For religious reasons?

“No, I’m not religious anymore. When you direct it becomes very intense. You want to make it a journey that’s intense, and you get involved with it to that degree of intensity. I got involved in India really intensely, and I got involved in Trainspotting really intensely. I wouldn’t want to do that on a script like that.”