Meeting Danny Boyle At The T2: Press Conference

On a sunny frosty Moscow morning I rush through the metal detectors of a posh hotel, am greeted by the polite stuff, and shown to the coat check and the press pass table. This was my third ever press-conference, so I felt okay with my surroundings.

Danny Boyle appeared ten minutes later, all on schedule, to the standing applause from the press and photographers, and then the awesome thing happened. I got to learn about his great personality. Danny Boyle was making jokes, replying with equal energetic love to all the questions, weird, quirky and wonderful. Here’s a few things he said.

First, the audience wanted to know about his falling out with Ewan McGregor, which is old news already. Skip! I think I started actually listening to what the English director was saying, was when he compared Ewan with Mozart’s clarinet concerto. That’s when I heard the real music in his not-such-a-big-deal-to-him words.

“Ewan is like this clarinet concerto”. I thought that sounded beautiful but still didn’t understand until the press-conference was over and I could type into my phone the name of the musical piece and go “ahhh”, as I started to understand the connection between McGregor, Trainspotting and Boyle, or at least I thought I did. Try listening to the first movement whilst watching Renton experience fireworks/utter nirvana whilst high on heroin. Whilst he’s high on heroin. It’s mind-bendingly confusing. But I’ll take it. The comparison, that is.

– F***, I’ll be 46, – Boyle exclaims quoting McGregor, and the whole room bursts into laugh. Some at the same time as the T2 director, some with delay, because of the translators in their ears. – This is a personal film about personal relationships, it’s about masculinity, about aging. If time is a line, it is terrifying, – Danny says. – It’s like you look at that line and you think that all the good things happened there. However, this returning to the original, a connection between the beginning and the end [the original movie and the sequel], it is a loop in time. And to be able to create a loop was amazing.

The real drug addicts, Danny remembers, were not all ready to watch the film, because they found many scenes incredibly realistic and extremely disturbing. “It is the beautiful and the profane that gives it this quality”, – the director says.

I look around the lush room of the hotel the journalists are in. Fair play, I think. Will we encounter the profane and the beautiful in T2? – I think to myself, and remember T-1000 (Terminator 2, anyone?) We didn’t see the characters for twenty years. We all want to know what happens to them later in life, in the big and better present. The age of social media. Imagine Rent’s Twitter feed:

“#7300dayssober #16kisbetterthanahit #finallyboughthatwashingmachine #40isthenew20”, rather than the glorious days of nothingness in Edinburgh.

Two more questions arise from the press.

– Why didn’t you want to cast Benedict Cumberbatch in the new film?

A woman apparently keen on Sherlock asks, and I roll my eyes. As much as I love BBC’s Sherlock (I have even written a whole article on that, remember ?), I think it’s the cheesiest question ever. Danny Boyle chuckles and fights back, saying he directed a play with him and Jonny Lee Miller about Frankenstein in London back in 2011.

– Why not Leo?

Another question comes on and everyone is laughing, including me, because I honestly didn’t think Russians would be in such good mood today. Maybe it was the morning sunshine that perked them up quite so much.

Benedict and Leo are both brilliant actors, with whom Mr Boyle worked, but alas, they’re not brilliant for this film, he admits. Someone next to me gasps. I roll my eyes again, although I do love a DiCaprio movie.

What about changing something or keeping something as it was? Danny Boyle has a good answer to that too. With the help of focus groups, they tried to understand what everyone wanted from the new film, and so they agreed on three things:

  • For all the actors to be the same and not replaced;
  • For Kelly Macdonald to return (I personally love her in The Decoy Bride, don’t judge me);
  • And for the soundtrack to be as good as the original one.

“No one mentioned they wanted the same director” Danny coughs theatrically, looking intentionally sad. I hear giggles and can’t help but smile too. Ah, the self-deprecating humour of the English. I practice it too.

Will we see some actual trainspotting in the film this time? I think we will, because Danny promised. He also said that he doesn’t mind his films being shown in the Kremlin (a rare treat for select Russian directors), also that Anjela Nedyalkova, the Bulgarian addition to the mostly Scottish cast, is a great slackliner, whatever that means. He also said that Glasgow isn’t better or worse than Edinburgh, because no way will he choose one of the two rivals, and that he wouldn’t mind helping Moscow organise the FIFA World Cup of 2018 with Lake Baikal being used as an inspiration, because for him, Trans-Siberian Railway journey was a total blast.

There was so much information that I had to cram into this small article. Danny said: “Choose something already.” So I did.


Thank you for reading. /February 8, 2017/




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