Danny Boyle Teases Olympic Opening Ceremony: Is Peter Pan Coming?

By Uptin Saiidi (@uptin)

More than an estimated one billion people will be watching tomorrow’s Summer Olympic opening ceremony. While the planning has been over two years in the making, director Danny Boyle has been careful not to give away too much of what we can expect. This morning on “Today ,” though, he sat down with an inquisitive Meredith Vieira and teased some of what we’ll see.

Setting The Bar

Meeting the expectations set by the opening ceremony at the 2008 Bejing Olympics was a difficult feat for the “Slumdog Millionaire” director, but he’s not letting the pressure get to him. “Beijing was beyond compare,” he said. “It was on a scale that it’s unimaginable, almost anywhere else in the world at the moment, so you go, ‘Fine, all hail Beijing, that’s the peak.’ We’re very grateful to Beijing that it brought to an absolute climax the scale of these opening ceremonies.”

When asked how he’d know if his ceremony was a success, it didn’t seem to be an issue on his mind. “I believe it’s a success already because I believe the way it’s mobilized people together in a tough time in Brittan and Europe and the world.”


The show will open with a 27-ton bell being rung (and most likely used at the closing ceremony as well). There are also over 10,000 volunteers participating tomorrow night, whom Danny calls the “real stars of the show.”


The inspiration behind the show is from a line in Shakespeare’s “The Tempest,” which goes, “Be not afraid, the isle is full of noises.” And the film director isn’t approaching this production as anything other than that. “We’re trying to do a live film. It’s tough. The way you’ll experience it on television will feel a whole lot more immediate and visceral.”

He also said that the setting will be based on a model of a meadow, which plays a key role in the overall setting and experience.


We know Paul McCartney is confirmed to be perform, but details beyond that are minimal, aside from the fact that music is a highly important part of Boyle’s vision. “Something that’s very important in our culture is music,” he said. “Our history of music for such a small place, really pop music is extraordinary, one of the examples is the Beatles.”

Influence of Literature

Boyle recognizes there’s a “very close connection between some of the great writers of children’s literature who have been immortalized by Disney (Cruella de Vil, Captain Hook, Alice In Wonderland, Queen of Hearts), but actually, they originate in British literature, and the most famous of that is Peter Pan.”

Vieira asked, “Am I going to see Peter Pan?”

“Yes,” he laughed. “I mean, if they work.

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Your daily dose
of the latest news

Get the MTV News app today.