Childhood & Early Life
Danny Boyle was born on 20 October 1956 into a working class family in Radcliffe, Greater Manchester. He was raised a Catholic by his parents of Irish descent. He was an altar boy for eight years and had even considered priesthood as a vocation, before being dissuaded by a priest.
He studied at Thornleigh Salesian College in Bolton and later pursued English and Drama at Bangor University. He dropped out of the University and joined the Join Stock Theatre Company as he was intrigued by theatre. He oversaw various productions and soon started directing. He was also a part of the Royal Court Theatre.
He directed ‘The Pretenders’ and ‘The Last Days of Don Juan’ for the Royal Shakespeare Company. He later decided to enter television and applied for the position of a drama producer in the BBC in Ireland. He ended up directing the popular series, ‘Inspector Morse’ and ‘Mr. Wroe’s Virgins’, among others.
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Danny Boyle made his film debut with ‘Shallow Grave’ in 1994 along with screenwriter Emeric Pressburger, producer Andrew Macdonald, and writer John Hodge. The budget film was a hit internationally and won the BAFTA Award for Best British Film. He also received the Best Newcomer Award by the London Film Critics Circle.
His next film was ‘Trainspotting’, an adaption of Irvine Welsh’s novel of the same name. He worked with Hodge and Macdonald again and the film was released in 1996. It was a dark comedy, focusing on heroin addicts and starred Ewan MacGregor. It became an international hit and one of the UK’s highest-grossing films.
His next movie, ‘A Life Less Ordinary’ (1997), wasn’t as successful as ‘Trainspotting’. He had declined the offer to direct the fourth film in the ‘Alien’ series to make this movie.
Boyle next worked on the adaption of Alex Garland’s novel, ‘The Beach’, featuring Leonardo DiCaprio and Tilda Swinton, shot in remote Thailand. The film released in 2000 and failed to perform at the box office, and its critical reception was also lukewarm.
In 2002, he continued his collaboration with Garland for the zombie movie, ‘28 Days Later’, which was a sleeper hit. He next directed the family drama, ‘Millions’ in 2004, and the movie received a positive response.
In 2007, he released the science fiction thriller, ‘Sunshine’. This movie starred Cillian Murphy and was moderately received at the box office.
His most celebrated moment came with the release of ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ in 2008. The movie was unconventional, set in India, and included extensive dialogues in Hindi. It was a massive commercial and critical success, earning him several awards and nominations.
Boyle received the Oscar for Best Director for ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ and the movie won seven other Oscars, including one for ‘Best Picture’. This movie ensured that he was recognized internationally. He also received a British Film Institute Fellowship after this film.
His next directorial venture, ‘127 hours’, released in 2010, earning him worldwide acclaim and eventual success. The movie starred James Franco and was based on Aron Ralston’s autobiography that depicted his struggled of being trapped under a boulder. ‘127 hours’ received six Academy Award nominations.
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Later in 2010, he returned to his first passion, theatre, by directing a one-night play ‘The Children’s Monologues’ which starred Sir Ben Kingsley, Tom Hiddleston, Eddie Redmayne, Gemma Arterton and Benedict Cumberbatch.
In 2011, he directed the popular play, ‘Frankenstein’, for the National Theatre. Subsequently, it was broadcasted to cinemas as a part of National Theatre Live.
Boyle was named the artistic director for the opening ceremony of the 2012 Olympics in London. The ceremony was called, ‘Isles of Wonder’, and highlighted British contributions to culture, technology and art. It received an overwhelmingly positive response from all over the world and was described as an extravagant spectacle.
In 2013, he was offered a knighthood for his services in the 2012 Olympic games, but he declined the title stating that he would like to remain on equal footing with other people. His other honor for the Olympic opening ceremony included a Primetime Emmy Award.
His 2013 movie ‘Trance’ was a psychological thriller that starred James McAvoy and Rosario Dawson. It received generally favorable reviews, and a critic remarked that Boyle’s mastery of complex storytelling only increased with every movie.
Boyle next directed the biopic of Steve Jobs, the founder of Apple Inc., in 2015. The movie starred Michael Fassbender and Kate Winslet, and the screenplay was written by Aaron Sorkin. It was praised for its narrative technique by critics.
In 2017, a sequel of ‘Trainspotting’ was released and it was titled, ‘T2 Trainspotting’. The film was an adaption of Irvine Welsh’s ‘Porno’. Though the movie fared well commercially, many critics pointed towards the lack of potency that was abundant in the first movie.
He is currently directing the latest James Bond movie that is scheduled to be released in 2019. The movie is titled, ‘Bond 25’, and marks the final appearance of Daniel Craig as James Bond.