Danny Boyle finds his inner feminist with heist film ‘Trance’

April 02, 2013 | 4:30 p.m.

Director Danny Boyle has directed some strong women in a number of memorable roles: Think of Freida Pinto in “Slumdog Millionaire,” Naomie Harris in “28 Days Later,” Kerry Fox in “Shallow Grave” and Virginie Ledoyen in “The Beach.”

But the British filmmaker had never cast a woman as the dramatic axis of any of his productions until Friday’s “Trance,” which stars Rosario Dawson as a hypnotherapist trying to help an amnesiac art thief (James McAvoy) recall where he stashed a stolen  masterpiece.

Boyle first encountered the “Trance” screenplay nearly 20 years ago, when writer Joe Ahearne sent it to the filmmaker. Ahearne wanted to direct the movie himself, and eventually did as a television movie in 2001, but the script’s central premise — and the chance to have a female protagonist— stuck in Boyle’s mind.

Rosario Dawson in "Trance." (Susie Allnutt/Fox Searchlight)

Rosario Dawson in “Trance.” (Susie Allnutt/Fox Searchlight)

“The idea of a woman right at the center of the film is something that I was really attracted to and actually failed miserably to do in all the succeeding years,” Boyle said Saturday at an early screening of “Trance” hosted by Hero Complex at WonderCon in Anaheim.

Boyle filmed the movie in London while he was also preparing to stage the opening ceremonies of the city’s 2012 Summer Olympics. He found the R-rated “Trance” a welcome antidote to the squeaky clean Olympics.

“That’s such a kind of family-friendly, responsible job,” Boyle said of the summer games position, “that it’s nice to do a twisted, evil … kind of film — which you can’t do in the Olympics.”

To hear more of what Boyle had to say, watch the clip above.

– John Horn

Follow us on Twitter: @LATHeroComplex

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