UK film production triumvirate.
Danny Boyle (director)
John Hodge (writer)
Andrew MacDonald (producer)
Figment Films were set up by Andrew MacDonald in 1991 with a short film called Dr Reizer's Fragment, directed by Andrew and written by his brother, Kevin. The film only received one public showing and Andrew, having switched his interests from director to producer, began work as a location manager for STV's Taggart.
It was through this job that Andrew met Dr. John Hodge, a registrar in the renal unit of Edinburgh's Eastern General Hospital and was shown a script for a black comedy John had titled Shallow Grave. Immediately impressed, Andrew put the film straight into development, combining the use of STV telephones and NHS photocopiers to obtain a grant from the Scottish Film Production Fund. They also managed to get the script to the attention of the head of Channel 4 Films, David Aukin with the cunning use of his chauffer and a £5 bribe.
With the funding they needed, all that was left to find was a director. Unimpressed by the myriad of potential directors all wanting to make changes to the script itself, they finally came across Danny Boyle who had just completed filming Mr Wroe's Virgins for the BBC who saw the potential of the film without any changes necessary.
With a cast of relative newcomers consisting of Ewan McGregor, Kerry Fox and Christopher Eccleston along with Keith Allen and a cameo appearance from John Hodge as Detective-Constanble Mitchell, Shallow Grave made its debut at Cannes in 1995 and, although not being in the competition, managed to gather keen interest from distribution companies and, despite a low-key release, became a huge hit in the UK and France.
Their next project, Trainspotting, gave the trio an international audience and prompted a flood of offers from Hollywood, including Alien Resurection which, although tempting, was turned down in favour of their own scripts, namely A Life Less Ordinary.
"The script was great. But after a few meetings Danny and I realised that it wasn't the kind of film we wanted to do and luckily at that point John was just finishing A Life Less Ordinary, an original script set in America that he'd started way back in 1993. It seemed a lot more important to do that, and do it our way, rather than do someone else's project."
- Andrew Macdonald
Seemingly getting into a pattern of one original script and one novel adaption, Alex Garland's The Beach followed, notable for being their first film not to star Ewan McGregor, opting instead for Leonardo Di Caprio. Like A Life Less Ordinary, The Beach opened to a luke-warm reception but featured, perhaps emerging as a trademark of the company, an amazing soundtrack featuring new tracks from Underworld, All Saints and Leftfield - a band who are probably more associated with Figment Films as Ewan McGregor.
Danny Boyle and Andrew McDonald have also appeared as executive producers on Twin Town and The Parole Officer. The only copy of Dr Reizer's Fragment remains under lock and key in their offices in Soho, London.
2001: Alien Love Triangle
2000: The Beach
1997: A Life Less Ordinary
1994: Shallow Grave
triumvirate. homer told me to increase my wordiness.