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Danny Boyle Recreates Bucolic English Countryside for London's 2012 Olympic Games Opening Ceremony; Stephen Daldry Also On Deck

Thompson on Hollywood By Beth Hanna | Thompson on Hollywood June 13, 2012 at 2:36PM

Oscar-winning director Danny Boyle is facing a challenge that would make most directors shrink: Directing a cast of thousands, including a village cricket team and parade of nurses, plus 12 horses, 10 chickens, 9 geese and 70 (!) sheep. But this isn't a new film -- it's London's 2012 Olympic Games Opening Ceremony.
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Danny Boyle
Danny Boyle

Oscar-winning director Danny Boyle is facing a challenge that would make most directors shrink: Directing a cast of thousands, including a village cricket team and parade of nurses, plus 12 horses, 10 chickens, 9 geese and 70 (!) sheep. But this isn't a new film -- it's London's 2012 Olympic Games Opening Ceremony, for which Boyle is the artistic director.

Boyle's vision for the opening ceremony promises an authentically British expanse. Real grass, plows, soil and possibly artificial rain clouds (if actual English rain clouds don't make an appearance on July 27) are all part of the plan to create a bucolic UK vista. Boyle describes it as "an attempt to capture a picture of ourselves as a nation, where we come from and where we want to be."

The opening ceremony, titled "Isles of Wonder," is scheduled to run three hours, and has already required a whopping 157 rehearsals involving the odd 10,000 volunteer performers who have routinely given up their nights and weekends to be a part of the show. The ceremonies will cost a total of $126 million (81 million in British pounds).

But Boyle isn't the only film director with a major role in the London games. Stephen Daldry ("Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close") is the creative director for all four of the 2012 Olympic summer ceremonies. The "Billy Elliot" director made the point that the opening ceremony reflects Boyle's "singular vision," as opposed to a committee. That's one way to pass the buck. 

This article is related to: Danny Boyle, Stephen Daldry, London Olympics 2012


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