London Olympics to kick off with Danny Boyle’s “Isles of Wonder” ceremony

Welcoming the Olympics back to England with a nod to one of the most famous Brits in history — William Shakespeare — opening ceremony director Danny Boyle will be crafting an introduction called “Isles of Wonder,” inspired by a speech from The Bard’s famous play The Tempest.

Boyle, the Oscar-winning filmmaker behind Slumdog Millionaire, as well as Trainspotting, 28 Days Later and others, revealed that the opening sequence will feature an idyllic British countryside setting complete with live farm animals, including 70 sheep, 12 horses, 10 chickens and nine geese. Legendary British musical artist Paul McCartney has said that he will perform the closing act of the opening ceremony, which will boast a cast and crew of 10,000.

However, the Associated Press reports that Boyle has been forced to trim parts of the ceremony, including removal of a stunt-bike sequence, to make sure that the show finishes on time and live spectators can get home before public transportation shuts down — not to mention athletes can get to bed at a reasonable hour. The director is “tightening” the ceremony, according to organizers, by up to 30 minutes to ensure that the show, scheduled for three hours, concludes between midnight and 12:30am local time.

British newspapers reported that Boyle was angry about having to make the cuts, but spokeswoman Jackie Brock-Doyle says the director was used to making films or shows fit a time schdule.

“He’s an award-winning filmmaker,” she says. “Things end up on the cutting-room floor. I think he understands that.”

One also has to hope that the notoriously unpredictable English weather doesn’t decide to provide a “tempest” of its own during the festivities.

The London Olympics Parade of Nations and Opening Ceremony can be seen on television in the United States July 27 at 7:30pm ET on NBC.


Credit: NBC