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Richard Curtis: Danny Boyle is a much better director than me

Danny Boyle and Richard Curtis at the UK premiere of Yesterday (Ian West/PA)
Danny Boyle and Richard Curtis at the UK premiere of Yesterday (Ian West/PA)

Richard Curtis has said that Danny Boyle, who helmed his latest film Yesterday, is twice the director he is.

The screenwriter, who has directed a clutch of romantic comedies, said Oscar-winner Boyle was “much better” at the job.

Curtis wrote the scripts for hits such as Four Weddings And A Funeral but has only directed three full-length films, including Love Actually.

The 62-year-old said he and Boyle, also 62, were more alike than the public assumed.

He said: “If you saw us together you would think ‘Oh yeah, actually they’re both quite perky’.

Danny Boyle with Yesterday stars Himesh Patel and Lily James
Danny Boyle with Yesterday stars Himesh Patel and Lily James (Ian West/PA)

“We were born within a week of each other and he’s a huge music fan, and actually a softy like me, really.

“He loves people and life, and so it worked out really well. It’s just that he’s a much better director than me. I’m afraid it’s true.”

Yesterday follows a young man, played by former EastEnders star Himesh Patel, who wakes up from an accident to discover he is the only person who remembers The Beatles.

The film features a cameo from Ed Sheeran, and also stars Lily James and Kate McKinnon.

Curtis said he had decided not to direct Yesterday, because it required a certain “virtuosity” only Boyle could provide.

Richard Curtis and his wife Emma Freud
Richard Curtis and his wife Emma Freud (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

He said: “Not this one. I decided not to (direct) again, but this one required a particular kind of virtuosity.

“There are 15 songs in it. He had to find a slightly different way of doing all of them. I only had one way of doing a song.”

Boyle, known for helming gritty features such as Trainspotting and Slumdog Millionaire, said he had surprised himself by taking on a romantic comedy.

He said he appreciated Curtis’ devotion to the genre, even if it had made his career a “slightly narrower corridor”.

He said: “It’s true that you wouldn’t expect a romantic comedy really but I’ve always loved Richard’s work.

“You’ve also got to remember that Richard produced and wrote Blackadder, which is one of the pinnacles of British comedy, I think, and subversive comedy as well.

“So to be able to collaborate with him was a real joy.

“He’s remained in a slightly narrower corridor than I, and he’s dedicated his life to romance and comedy, and I really admire that.

“And to work they have to look effortless, but they’re not effortless, and he’s spent a career trying to perfect it. So you can’t help but learn by working with him.”

Yesterday is released in UK cinemas on June 28.

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