Danny Boyle’s classic horror film 28 Days Later may be rising from the crypt. The industry is abuzz with speculation that Boyle is now planning another sequel, 20 years later (the original film debuted in 2002).
In a recent interview with NME, Boyle joined with actor Cillian Murphy to reminisce about making the film two decades ago. (A sequel, 28 Weeks Later, directed by Juan Carlos Fresnadillo, appeared in 2007 but was not considered as significant as the original.) In the interview, Boyle hinted at the possibility that the film’s followers might have something to look forward to.
28 Days Later was one of those apocalyptic thrillers beloved of cult audiences: it narrated the tale of a young man who emerges from a coma to see that people have turned into zombies as the result of a Rage Virus pandemic (all pre-COVID, of course).
In the interview, Murphy acknowledged that he is, after all, 20 years older, but nonetheless still harbors a fondness for the original production. “Every time I do bump into Danny or Alex [Garland] I always mention it,” he told reporters. “Because I showed it to my kids recently, some Halloween about four or five years ago, and they loved it. It really stands up, which is amazing for a film that’s 20 years old. So yeah, I love the idea and it’s very appealing to me.”
Plus, Boyle mentioned teasingly that Alex Garland had written a script that seemed a “lovely idea,” indicating that he may be seriously considering a sequel at this point.
“I’d be very tempted [to direct a new film], he said. “It feels like a very good time actually. It’s funny, I hadn’t thought about it until you just said it, and I remembered ‘Bang, this script!’ which is again set in England, very much about England. Anyway, we’ll see… who knows?”
Boyle believes that today’s film-industry realities would impact any future plans he might have, however. He continued: “ It might come back into focus because one of the things that’s happening in the business at the moment is it has to be a big reason for you to go to the cinema, because there are less and less reasons. It’s hard for companies distributing films and for cinema chains to show films, they’re struggling to get people into the cinema unless it’s something like Top Gun: Maverick or a Marvel. But a third part would get people in, if it was half-decent.”