Danny Boyle lined up to direct 2012 Olympics opening ceremony

When the Chinese film director Zhang Yimou was enlisted to orchestrate the inaugural ceremony of the Beijing Olympics, the world waited with excitement and later praised the breathtaking results.

Now, Britain appears to have adopted China's tried and tested method, as speculation mounted yesterday over the claim that the Oscar-winning British film director Danny Boyle would be overseeing the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games.

Organisers are believed to have approached Boyle, who directed the international box-office hit Slumdog Millionaire, to direct the opening ceremony, which will take place at the newly constructed Olympic stadium in Stratford.

Ever since the spectacular opening of the Beijing Olympics in 2008, directed by Yimou, British organisers have hoped to emulate it with their own production in two years' time.

A spokeswoman from the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (Locog) said she could not confirm Boyle's involvement, or the rumour that organisers were in logistical talks with him.

She added that no contracts had yet been signed and that they were in talks with a number of people about availability. "A lot of talented people would like to be involved that may have other commitments," she said.

However, there is a mounting belief that Boyle is seen as the answer to organisers' dreams. An unnamed senior source was quoted as saying: "We want the most imaginative ceremony the world has ever seen".

Another insider added: "Nothing has been signed yet, but we do fully expect him [Boyle] to do it."

Boyle, 53, has spoken of his admiration for the Games in the past and issued no denial over this latest claim. The director, who lives near the site of the Games in east London, praised the competition. "It feels like it's a project that will bed itself in the East End and do a lot of good," he said.

When asked if he had been approached by Locog, he reportedly answered: "I can't say any more. It would be lovely, wouldn't it?"

Many see Slumdog Millionaire, which was set in Mumbai, as proof of his ability to bridge cultures, which would help to portray Britain as an open, diverse society in 2012.

The film dramatised the transformation of a poverty-stricken Mumbai boy by the Indian adaptation of the television quiz show Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? and was described by critics as "visually astonishing".

However, it is a moot point whether London can match the immense scale of the inaugural ceremony in Beijing. London's ceremony is expected to attract a live audience of about 80,000 and be seen around the world on television.

Meanwhile, further speculation is growing over whether the 13-strong acrobatics group Spellbound – who won the reality television competition Britain's Got Talent on Saturday night – will also be involved in the opening ceremony of the Games.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
The male menopause and intimations of mortality

Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

Bettany Hughes interview

The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

Art of the state

Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

Vegetarian food gets a makeover

Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks
The haunting of Shirley Jackson: Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?

The haunting of Shirley Jackson

Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?
Bill Granger recipes: Heading off on holiday? Try out our chef's seaside-inspired dishes...

Bill Granger's seaside-inspired recipes

These dishes are so easy to make, our chef is almost embarrassed to call them recipes
Ashes 2015: Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

A woefully out-of-form Michael Clarke embodies his team's fragile Ashes campaign, says Michael Calvin
Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

Andrew Grice: Inside Westminster

Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza
HMS Victory: The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

Exclusive: David Keys reveals the research that finally explains why HMS Victory went down with the loss of 1,100 lives
Survivors of the Nagasaki atomic bomb attack: Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism

'I saw people so injured you couldn't tell if they were dead or alive'

Nagasaki survivors on why Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism
Jon Stewart: The voice of Democrats who felt Obama had failed to deliver on his 'Yes We Can' slogan, and the voter he tried hardest to keep onside

The voter Obama tried hardest to keep onside

Outgoing The Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, became the voice of Democrats who felt the President had failed to deliver on his ‘Yes We Can’ slogan. Tim Walker charts the ups and downs of their 10-year relationship on screen