Danny Boyle mum on Asia for next film

'Slumdog' director keeps quiet on first of three-pic deal

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SHANGHAI -- Danny Boyle won't say whether his next film will be in Asia or take on an Asian angle, but the "Slumdog Millionaire" director seems to be whooping it up on his first visit to China as much as he did in India.

Boyle, who has not previously seen festival jury duty, said he accepted Shanghai's invitation to be president of its competition jury because "Slumdog Millionaire" was allowed to be widely released in China.

"I feel it as a courtesy and a responsibility," he said. "Also, the world is obsessed with this city and on a personal level I wanted to come and see."

During the festival he has been energetic, accessible and, despite seeing three films per day, has often been spotted hanging out in the lobby of the adjacent hotel.

Boyle describes the jury process as "valuable, because we are helping to build profile and careers," but he admits to being "concerned about not being too bossy. All directors have a tendency to be bossy."

So far, he has also managed to kept quiet about his next project which will come under a recent three-picture deal with Fox Searchlight and Pathe. While they have optioned rights to Suketu Mehta's "Maximum City: Bombay Lost and Found," a book that also served as a reference while shooting "Slumdog," Boyle said that will not be first up.

"I'm looking forward to going back to Bombay, what a great place for a thriller, it has so many elements," he said.

Nor is Boyle put off by the tumultuous reactions within India to his picture or the media circus that has surrounded the film's treatment of the child actors. "We'll use some of it in the next pictures," he said. We've made a lot of decisions (about trusts and 10-year education plans for the kids) which we'll stick to."

En route to China's business capital he stopped off in Beijing and Hong Kong, where he met up with an old pal from school. "I've just seen three amazing Asian cities," he said. "There's an appetite for cinema in Asia that Hollywood doesn't recognize yet," he said while discussing the region's onscreen talent.

On Tuesday, Boyle and fellow jurors took time out from the screening rooms to visit the filming of period actioner "Bodyguards and Assassins," shooting an hour outside the city on a backlot where Hong Kong's Central district, circa 1905, has been rebuilt on a full scale. "The scale and ambition on display were amazing. This (set) could be the difference between getting a film made or not," he said.

Boyle said he has been little changed by "Slumdog" bandwagon. "It seems to have changed everyone else, I continue in the same vein," he said. "I was lucky to have a success. And I continue to aim to be ambitious, to promise myself 'don't be careful,' and to enjoy a spirit of recklessness."

As to the films seen he and the jury have seen at the halfway mark: "Quality simply surges out."
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