As many of you are undoubtedly aware, the grand spectacle that will be the London Olympics is set to kick off next month, and the organizers of the massive event have tapped 28 Days Later and 127 Hours director Danny Boyle to act as the artistic director for the opening ceremony. The filmmaker has revealed his plans, which will see the Olympic Stadium transformed into an actual meadow, complete with recreations of famous landmarks and a bevy of farm animals just to top off the pastoral scene.
By the time the 2012 Olympic Games kick off on July 27, London's Olympic Stadium will have been reconfigured with the help of 10,000 volunteers – some of whom will be a part of the program depicting farmers tilling the soil, families having picnics, and people playing sports and games on a village green. The colossal event, which reportedly cost in the neighborhood of $42 million, has been entitled Green and Pleasant - and, according to Boyle, is intended to create "a picture of ourselves as a nation."
Inspired by Shakespeare's The Tempest, the entire ceremony is expected to run around 3 hours, beginning with what is called "an hour of culture" that will transition to the athletes parade – which, according to Boyle, will feature new recordings by electronic duo Underworld that will be used to "help dictate the pace" of the athletes. Following the parade will be the lighting of the cauldron, and finally a fireworks display to close out the show.
For the throngs of viewers not able to physically attend the opening ceremony, there will be two short films from the BBC drama department to help enhance the ceremony. The BBC's Director of London 2012, Roger Mosey, stated: "Danny Boyle will be using film and other media to supplement the action in the stadium and pretty much the first thing viewers globally will see is a piece of film made by BBC Drama."
Reportedly, there have already been a whopping 157 cast rehearsals, which, when it comes time for the actual event, will also include "70 sheep, 12 horses, three cows, two goats, 10 chickens, 10 ducks, nine geese and three sheepdogs." Beyond the veritable farm, however, Green and Pleasant will also feature a 23-tonne, harmonically tuned bell (the largest in the world), which is inscribed with a quote from The Tempest reading: "Be not afeard, the isle is full of noises."
According to Boyle, the bell is intended not only to signify the start of the games, but also as a symbol of peace. Boyle stated:
"That's how communities notified each other that something important was going to happen...after the war the bells were rung in London to announce the peace and we will begin our Games with a symbol of peace."
It sounds as though Boyle has been given the freedom to establish his own vision. Considering 1 billion people worldwide are expected to tune in to the opening ceremony, there will be plenty of people offering their opinion as to whether this vision was suitable for the Olympic Games.
The 2012 London Olympics begin Friday, July 27 and can be seen in the U.S. on NBC.
Source: BBC, Variety