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Film

Danny Boyle explains the ideas of his abandoned James Bond movie

Danny Boyle, the director arguably best known for Trainspotting, was briefly attached to direct the James Bond film that would become No Time To Die, but he bowed out in 2018. He was replaced by Cary Fukunaga, who worked on a script penned by Bond mainstays Neal Purvis and Robert Wade. With the rejig, Daniel Craig asked Fleabag writer Phoebe Waller-Bridge to work on the film, making her the first female credited on a Bond script since Irish writer Joanna Harwood worked on the first two Sean Connery films.

Boyle’s vision was different to Fukunaga’s, and he was adamant that Trainspotting writer John Hodge work on the script with him. Boyle claims that he likes working with his people, which doesn’t gel with the regulations of an action franchise. “I remember thinking, ‘Should I really get involved in franchises?’ Because they don’t really want something different,” Boyle said.

Detailing further, the director added: “They want you to freshen it up a bit, but not really challenge it, and we wanted to do something different with it. Weirdly — it would have been very topical now — it was all set in Russia, which is of course where Bond came from, out of the Cold War. It was set in present-day Russia and went back to his origins, and they just lost, what’s the word… they just lost confidence in it. It was a shame really.”

Boyle is currently working on Pistol, a series based on the rise of punk in 1970s England. Pistol is due to premiere on Hulu and Disney+ on May 31st, 2022, and is said to be based in part on guitarist Steve Jones’ autobiography, Lonely Boy: Tales from A Sex Pistol. Vocalist John Lydon says the show was pieced together without his consent or approval and has declared the project a “middle class fantasy” that holds little in common with the truth as it unfolded in the 1970s.

Boyle has form in the world of musical drama, having directed Yesterday, a film based on The Beatles expansive songbook. The film featured a scene featuring an elderly John Lennon, and writer Richard Curtis had a scene in mind featuring an older Paul McCartney, surrounded by a horde of dogs. It didn’t make the final cut.