Born in Lancashire, England in 1956, Danny Boyle's résumé includes an eclectic mix of films, TV, theatre and other memorable projects, from the career-establishing cult hit Trainspotting to his National Theatre adaptation of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, from depicting Mumbai in lucid and sensorial fashion in Slumdog Millionaire (an eight-time Oscar winner) to masterminding the London 2012 opening ceremony. The discernible common thread, he says, is music: "If I'm being absolutely, bluntly honest about it, no matter what story – in the theatre, television or film – there's music everywhere in it."
It's this musicality that, alongside Boyle's restless enthusiasm and the unconventional visual approach he brings to each project, made him the perfect choice to direct Pistol, which stars Toby Wallace as Steve Jones, Anson Boon as John Lydon, Christian Lees as Glen Matlock, Louis Partridge as Sid Vicious, Jacob Slater as Paul Cook, Sydney Chandler as Chrissie Hynde, Talulah Riley as Vivienne Westwood, Maisie Williams as punk icon Jordan, Emma Appleton as Nancy Spungen and Thomas Brodie-Sangster as Malcolm McLaren.
Boyle has collaborated with BAFTA and Academy Award-winning cinematographer Anthony Dod Mantle on multiple films over two decades, including Slumdog Millionaire, Trance and 28 Days Later. The British-born, Copenhagen-based cinematographer began his career in stills photography before moving into movies. It's a foundation that's given him an original way of working: "You see outside the frame as a photographer, and I think it's very important. Most filmmakers have got their eye buried in the viewfinder, and their other eye is shut, or they're just staring at the monitor," says Dod Mantle. "I never do that. I operate while I'm looking with both eyes. I'm looking with one side of my brain and the other side is watching what's outside the frame, which is why I sometimes move very quickly to other things when I'm operating."
This style of working creates a fluidity of movement that is a visual trait across all of Dod Mantle's productions. It's also what brought him and Boyle together. "That's something Danny fell in love with very early. He was particularly interested in where I moved the camera, and why I moved it," says Dod Mantle. "Obviously, light is important, technicality is important, the tools you use are important – but one of the most important things is movement."