Danny Boyle always tries something different. He's done an experiential drug movie, a romantic caper, two zombie movies and even a kids movie. Sunshine is his space movie, set entirely on a spaceship. Though a visionary, he still gives props to his predecessors.
Danny Boyle on Sunshine
"Despite all the research and that, you’re more indebted to the movies, like 2001 and Alien and Solaris," said Boyle. "It’s that kind of imaginative world, narrative imaginative world that you’re more indebted to than the science. You check the science because it’s inspiring and you have to get it right sometimes with certain decisions, but it’s really through the movies that is truly inspiring rather than absolute factual material."
With a NASA-based mission to reignite the sun, Boyle's spaceship is still grounded in reality. There is a garden on board to provide new oxygen for the long trip. "We had this idea that it would be a chamber, a big chamber. Again, it’s based on realism. When they do long-term space travel, they will generate oxygen. They won’t take a display of plants like we had, but we had grass inside the circular chambers with the propeller going around. That’s nonsense, that’s just visuals, it’s just lovely. They will take ferns, a lot of ferns, because ferns supposedly create an excellent oxygen, and they’ll take a garden of ferns to generate the oxygen they’ll need for the journey. So it was realistically based and we thought it could be quite a big area because of that."
All of the ship's rooms were built on soundstages. "It’s a very small studio in London. It’s used mostly for pop videos. It’s not that kind of serious studio, it’s not sound proof or anything like that. But it allowed us to work long term like that. It’s going to be the press center for the Olympics in 2012 in London, so there you go."
Based on a script by frequent collaborator Alex Garland, Sunshine had the visuals that Boyle was looking for. But his favorite vision came from Boyle's own imagination.
"I had this image straight away, I don’t know why. I had this image at the beginning of the film that you see a half-bright spot of light, which you assume to be the sun, and you appear to be going towards it. And it becomes the shield, and then the shield disappears into the sun. I always had that idea. And it’s the longest CG that this house has ever done, the number of frames it is. But I always had that, I remember imagining that the first time reading the script, even before it got deep into the script, I remember imagining that."
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.