Danny Boyle has always played with visual tricks, from Trainspotting to 28 Days Later. Doing a sci-fi movie gave him opportunities to try new types of effects, but the onus was on him to make it work.
Danny Boyle on the Effects of Sunshine
"It’s so tough making these films, I can’t tell you what. The truth is, it’s so much agony making these films, you have no idea how difficult they are and the standard that you expect. And to be frank, there are certain films that have been made, sci-fi films, that don’t meet the standard. I think Sunshine meets the standard. But there are certain films that don’t meet the standard, and I’ve watched them and I think, ‘That’s not good enough. I don’t quite believe that.’"
That pressure was new for Boyle. "I’ve never done a genre where that critical line is so acute of ‘I don’t quite believe that.’ You have to be above that line for people to go ‘ok’ and then they judge the story. Then it’s different. Do you judge the story, do you like the story, do you like the characters? That’s different. But that technical level, to get to there is terrifyingly difficult, really."
To get Sunshine to that level, Boyle just had to be a hardass. "It’s absolutely dragging people by their teeth, grabbing them and forcing them to make it better every time you do it. It just desiccates inside of you if you get it wrong, even slightly wrong. There’s so much latitude for a film set on Earth. There are so many ways you can get around things. The spotlight’s really intense."
Now that Sunshine is finished, Boyle can enjoy the fruits of his labor. "I’m very proud of it. I wanted it to be truly exhilarating what you were experiencing, visually and viscerally like you’re being taken on a journey somewhere and I’m very proud of that. Brits tend to be a bit modest about things, but I am very proud of that, definitely."
Visuals were not the only battle on Sunshine. Sound effects are just as vital. "It’s interesting, those kind of films, that kind of work in the 70’s they do automatically now. These sound designers are constantly doing weird stuff they’re chucking in. The ground they brought, Gary Rydstrom, he’s a great sound designer. Now, these companies are doing that all the time and they give you a landscape of sounds, and they want you to indulge as much as possible in sound. I love that. It’s 70% of the movie, really ironically. Everybody thinks it’s the visuals, but you turn the sound off, and people will drift off after about 10 minutes of about an hour and a half. It’s amazing how much of this is the hidden language, it’s not visible."
Sunshine will open to theatres July 20th.
For the trailer, clips, posters and more movie info, go to the Sunshine Movie Page.
Stay tuned for updates.