Oscar-Nominated Director Danny Boyle Does the Right Thing by ‘Slum’ Kids

Not only is Danny Boyle a fabulous filmmaker, he’s a humanitarian to boot!

In an interview today on SAJA, the Slumdog Millionaire director – who got an Oscar nod for Best Director – tells host Sree Sreenivasan that he has taken measures to ensure the film’s impoverished child actors don’t return to the abject existence depicted in the film.

“We wanted to give them something that, after the film is long gone, will still benefit them.” Danny tells us about the young impoverished actors in “Slumdog.”

“We wanted to give them something that, after the film is long gone, will still benefit them,” Danny says of helping educate the impoverished child stars.

“A long time ago – over a year ago – we put the kids into an extra- ordinary school. Two of the kids are from very poor backgrounds. And we’ve agreed with their parents that they would stay in that school ‘til they’re 18,” says Danny.

“We paid for that, right through ‘til they’re 18 – any transportation costs, any medical costs, any emergencies that arrive in that time. And when they reach 18, a substantial sum of money – additional to what they were paid for making the film, like any regular actor – will be released to them. We talked long and hard about how the film could benefit them because they benefited the film.”

Danny also recounts how he almost dismissed the feel-good movie of the year – which won four Golden Globe Awards and garnered 10 Oscar nominations – as piffle.

Azharuddin Mohammed Ismail, as the hit flick’s young hero, Salim.

Ayush Mahesh Khedekar, as the hit flick’s young hero, Salim.

“The [producers] sent the script and they said, rather lazily, ‘It’s a film about Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?’ And I thought, Oh, I really don’t want to make a film about that game show. And they didn’t even men- tion it was set in India,” he says.

“The only reason I started reading it was because Simon Beaufoy’s name was on it. He’s the guy who wrote The Full Monty.  Now, I’ve never met Simon, but I knew the The Fully Monty – a very big film from a small origin. So I started reading it.  And after 10, 15 pages, I knew I was going to make the film.”

To hear Danny’s interview, click here.

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