LONDON — Danny Boyle willdirect “28 Days Later,” a $15 million sci-fi pic to be financed by U.K. lotto franchise DNA Films.
Pic’s scripted by author Alex Garland, who wrote the novel on which Boyle based “The Beach.”
Project will be produced by the helmer’s regular partner, Andrew Macdonald, through his Figment Films shingle. Macdonald also co-heads DNA with Duncan Kenworthy.
Pic, about a group of Londoners who survive a virus that wipes out the rest of the population, is expected to shoot in August, regardless of U.S. industry strikes.
“It’s a story which can be told without stars,” said Macdonald.
DNA plans to draw $4.5 million in lottery coin to invest in the project, with the remainder coming from its worldwide distrib deal with Universal Pictures. Macdonald has not submitted the script either to U or to the Film Council, which hands out the lottery funds.
The project marks a deliberate attempt by DNA to move up the budget scale toward a more commercial style of filmmaking. Company originally intended to make writer-driven pics costing no more than $6 million but has adjusted its strategy after struggling with its first slate of films.
Macdonald and Kenworthy are also determined to take a more hands-on role as producers, rather than just exec producers, of DNA’s slate.
“We made three movies with outside producers and first-time directors, and they were not as successful as we would have hoped,” said Macdonald. “We’ve realized we have to produce these films ourselves.”
“Beautiful Creatures” was a box office and critical flop in the U.K., while DNA regards “Strictly Sinatra” and “The Final Curtain,” which have yet to be released, as arthouse rather than multiplex movies. The latter two will be released in the U.S. later this year by Universal Focus before they open in Britain, as DNA believes that America is a more supportive market for arthouse pics. “Strictly Sinatra” will premiere at the Seattle Intl. Film Festival.
DNA’s commercial hopes are riding on $10 million pic “The Parole Officer,” starring Brit comedian Steve Coogan. Now in post-production, it will see a wide release in the U.K. later this year.