‘Trance’ director Danny Boyle isn’t kidding about a sequel to ‘Trainspotting’

BEVERLY HILLS – Danny Boyle has spent the last few weeks on a transatlantic publicity tour for his new thriller “Trance.” The picture is a return to Boyle’s earlier darker works such as “Shallow Grave,” “Trainspotting” and, arguably, even “A Life Less Ordinary.”  Surprisingly, he’s taken the opportunity of this pr binge to discuss a planned “Trainspotting” sequel.

The 1996 Oscar-nominated drama found Ewan McGregor as a young Edinburgh man trying to escape the city’s drug scene. It also featured up and coming actors such as Robert Carlyle (pre-“Full Monty”), Kelly Macdonald, Kevin McKidd and Johnny Lee Miller. More importantly, it introduced a break-neck and unconventional shooting and editing style that have become instantly recognizable as trademarks of a Danny Boyle film.  During an interview for “Trance” Boyle opened up on his current plans for the much reported “Trainspotting” sequel planned for 2016.

“We have got an idea that we are working on. We will approach all the actors to play the same parts. Twenty years has past,” Boyle says. “What has happened to them? Are they in the same town? Have they gotten out of the town? Have they married? Have they lost? What has happened to them? Because it’s like [Michael Apted’s] “Seven Up!” and “21 Up!” [films].  We see ourselves in those stories. It’s a wonderful thing.”

Boyle adds, “We all answer to the call of time and it’s nice to see that played out for us in a very specific way. It gives a reason for a sequel, other than just cashing in on the appeal of the first, but it has a connection with people. Because, extraordinarily, of all the films I’ve done, that’s the one where everyone remembers all the characters. Even though it’s a small movie in a way.”

A second “Trainspotting” is still a good two years away from shooting and on this day the always busy Boyle has “Trance” on his agenda.  This new thriller follows Simon (James McAvoy), a thirty something high end auction employee who because of a traumatic brain injury has forgotten where he’s hidden a valuable stolen painting.  When his criminal partner Franck (Vincent Cassel) loses patience with him, a professional hypnotist (Rosario Dawson) is brought in to try and help him remember.  Of course, all is not what it seems and that’s just how Boyle likes it after having helmed “Slumdog Millionaire” and “127 Hours” which he refers to as “good, redemptive films.”

“I started out making films like ‘Shallow Grave’ which are delicious thrillers really,” Boyle says. “And it’s kind of the dark side of movies. It was wonderful to be able to return to that, the evil twin sister of those movies. It’s the dark side of filmmaking where you pit the characters against one another and you’re not sure who to root for. And if you do decide to root for one of them it will change as it twist and turns with the convolutions of the plot.”

In an incredibly gracious move, Fox Searchlight let Boyle film shoot “Trance” over a year and a half ago knowing he’d need to put the project aside for over six months to prepare for the opening ceremonies of the 2012 London Summer Games. When the Olympics were over, Boyle returned to the editing room with a fresh pair of eyes realizing he’d forgotten much of it while the weight of a nation was on his shoulders.

“What you learn is that we had not given enough clues,” Boyle says. “You had learned you hadn’t given enough clues at all. You’re so paranoid about giving it away. And you have to literally put the clues back in again.”

Boyle notes, “It’s got to feel like it’s come out of some cumulated trail of clues. And the trick is you must pick up these clues but not be fully able to assemble them till you’re fully there. And that’s the trick of it.”

For more on “Trance” and “Trainspotting” check out the complete video interview with Boyle embedded at the top of this post.

“Trance” opens in New York and Los Angeles on Friday.