James McAvoy and Rosario Dawson star as hypnotized and hypnotist in Danny Boyle’s mind-bending new film, Trance, due out in April. McAvoy plays an art auctioneer embroiled in an intense art theft scandal and is forced to dig deep into his memories to find the missing masterpiece.
The Oscar-winning director (Slumdog Millionaire) famously cast Ewan McGregor in several of his films, including discovering him for Shallow Grave and continuing to work with him in Trainspotting. So is the Scottish McAvoy the new McGregor? Boyle stressed to EW when we caught up with him at the SXSW Film Festival in Austin, Texas, that he didn’t think of McAvoy as “another Scottish actor” until others pointed it out to him.
The film shot in Britain while Boyle was working on the London Olympics opening ceremony, and he cast Dawson in the female lead role. Boyle stressed that Trance is one of the first films where he’s created a female lead with as important a role as the men in the film.
In the clip below, Dawson is in a session with McAvoy while Vincent Cassell and his band of assailants listen in. It may seem that this clip gives away quite a bit, but Boyle isn’t worried about audiences learning too much about his film before entering the theater — speaking for himself, at least, he says he gets “movie amnesia” — forgetting major plot points once the movie begins, spoilers be damned.
Trance grew from a story that crossed Boyle’s path just after Shallow Grave came out in 1994, and Boyle said the new film has commonalities with his first movie. At a Q&A at SXSW, Boyle discussed making Shallow Grave ahead of showing new footage from Trance. “You try to make a different film every time, and often you end up making the same film again and again,” Boyle said. The through line, he said, is that all of his characters have huge odds to overcome.