January 29 2011: The actor talks about finding success in the US and being reunited with Danny Boyle for the role of a lifetime
January 21 2011: A topless turn in HBO’s Boardwalk Empire has fuelled her fame. But is there more to the eccentric actress?
12 Jan 2011: Sam Riley talks about his teenage breakdown, failed rock career and finding happiness in Germany
January 8 2011: The visionary film director tells how he got the performance of a lifetime from Natalie Portman in his Oscar-tipped thriller, Black Swan
After debuting with the stylishly nerve-jangling Shallow Grave, Danny Boyle reshaped our cultural landscape with Trainspotting, right from the moment Ewan McGregor hared down an Edinburgh street proclaiming ‘choose life’. In this book’s extensive film-by-film interviews, we discover how true the incendiary energy of that iconic scene is to the director.
The joy – and danger – of these extended conversations with film-makers is that they will skew your critical faculties. So it is with Amy Raphael’s book Danny Boyle (Faber, £14.99). Until sifting through its pages, my opinion of the director’s work was, like many film fans, given to snobbishness: that he squandered the ferocious promise of Shallow Grave (1994) and Trainspotting (1996), sinking to such insipid depths as A Life Less Ordinary (1997) and The Beach (2000), before — even worse — winning Oscars galore for the mawkish Slumdog Millionaire (2008). Now I take a kinder view.
For a genuine insight into a screen talent, turn to Amy Raphael's Danny Boyle: In His Own Words (Faber, £14.99). As with her previous, similar collaboration with Mike Leigh, Raphael proves a shrewd interrogator who writes intelligently but accessibly about the art, craft and commerce of film. Boyle, the director of Trainspotting and Slumdog Millionaire, opens up about his Catholic upbringing and influences. He is infectiously enthusiastic, frank about his failures, and very good on the grind and compromise involved in making a movie.
It's a safe bet that any new Quentin Tarantino film will involve a measure of creative swearing and grievous bodily harm; equally, that a Mike Leigh title is going to concern ordinary English folk having whiny squabbles over cups of tea. A new Danny Boyle film is a less predictable entity.
1 Jan 2011: Danny Boyle's true tale of Aron Ralston, the trapped hiker who cut off his own arm with a penknife, is a world away from Slumdog Millionaire