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Danny Boyle Talks His Long Developing David Bowie Musical Project

Danny Boyle Talks His Long Developing David Bowie Musical Project

David Bowie has been a curious and quiet part of Danny Boyle‘s career. The filmmaker tried and failed to get the mercurial music legend to appear in the 2012 Olympic Ceremony in London, while Bowie’s seminal album Low served as inspiration for Boyle’s 2013 thriller, “Trance.” 

“It’s funny, but for some reason you can’t always rationalize, certain songs or albums just trick you into focus,” the director told The Toronto Star. “We initially started the ‘Trance’ soundtrack with that very much in mind, and there’s an element of Low that remains in the film … Low is an extraordinary landmark in electronic music, the beginning of it, really.”

However, what you might not know is that for years, Boyle has shepherded a project featuring The Thin White Duke front and center, at least musically. And chatting with Happy Sad Confused, the director reveals it’s still one he wants to make, though at the moment, it faces a major hurdle.

“It’s a wonderful script, by Frank Cottrell Boyce. It’s a sort of musical, but we couldn’t get the music rights,” Boyle said. “I didn’t want it to go down the route of ‘Velvet Goldmine,’ which couldn’t use the music, and used different music, and fictionalized it and stuff like that. So, we had to put it away for the moment.”

“It’s a beautiful piece, and I hope we’ll be able to return to it,” he added. “I’d love to do this film. It’s not really a musical, but it is [laughs], so we’ll see.”

Boyle seems to suggest the movie isn’t quite a traditional musical, but rather one that is simply music heavy, but at any rate, Bowie’s approval seems to be make or break for whether it happens or not. As for Boyce, he’s the scribe behind Michael Winterbottom‘s Factory Records pic “24 Hour Party People” and Boyle’s “Millions,” which the director has previously said he wished he had made into a musical.

” ‘Millions’ was the vehicle. And we didn’t have the confidence at that time to push it through. If we were approaching ‘Millions’ now I’d definitely do it as a musical. It’s the perfect vehicle for singing. There’d be no strangeness about it, you’d just accept it,” Boyle stated in 2013. “That’s what you’re looking for with a musical and it has — you can’t create it, it kinda has to arise naturally out of a story. It’s just poeticizing, isn’t it? It’s that beautiful moments — you do it with stories when you find an image that poeticizes a dilemma or a character and that’s what a musical does with a the souls of a character — it just poeticizes them and allows them to sing. I would love to still do that at one point.”

I’d love to see Boyle do a musical too one day. For now, “Steve Jobs,” featuring a terrific, throbbing electronic score by Daniel Pemberton, is in theaters everywhere. Listen to Boyle’s full Happy Sad Confused talk below.

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