Danny Boyle Commissions Gigantic Bell for 2012 Olympics

Now six months away, artistic director Danny Boyle reveals some of his plans for the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London. They include the ringing of the largest bell in Europe.

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With London's 2012 Summer Olympic Games just six months away, opening ceremonies artistic director Danny Boyle  — the cinematic auteur behind Trainspotting and Slumdog Millionaire  — has peeled back the curtain. In a videotaped interview posted to the official London Olympics website, Boyle and co-producer Stephen Daldry have revealed that their epic spectacular is called "The Isles of Wonder." It's a name inspired by Caliban's line from Shakespeare's The Tempest  ("Be not afeared. The isle is full of noises."), chosen because Boyle saw parallels between "the wondrous beauty of Caliban's island" and his own devotion to Great Britain. To summon those noises, Boyle has commissioned the largest bell ever cast in Europe. Installed at one end of the stadium, the giant bell will strike at precisely 9 p.m. on July 27, signaling the Games' commencement to the world (and giving Big Ben a serious case of gong envy in the process). Afterwards, it will be moved to Olympic Park, where Boyle said he hoped it would continue to ring "for hundreds of years," The Guardian reports.

Some other 2012 Olympics facts:

  • Sirs Paul McCartney and Elton John will participated in the lighting of the Olympic flame, as will Take That, otherwise known as Her Majesty's Answer to *NSYNC.
  • The opening ceremonies will be watched by a crowd of 80,000 and an estimated global television audience of 1 billion. (But no pressure, guys.)
  • One part of the show will involve "lots of nurses," in a tribute to England's National Health Service, according to Deadline.com.
  • The ceremonies will exceed $40 million, last approximately four hours (but need to end in time for visitors to catch the last tube at 12:30 am), and feature a cast and crew of 12,000.
  • It will feature live music by Underworld, the electronic group who broke huge worldwide thanks to their work on the Trainspotting soundtrack.
  • The Games have admirably stuck to their widely reviled logo, though have pulled back on the seizure-inducing promotional videos that initially accompanied it.
  • Might a 30-foot replica of the statue of Jesus Christ atop Rio de Janeiro's Corcovado, a gift from Brazil to preview their own Games, be erected at the top of Primrose Hill? The Camden New Journal reports that the plan is currently under review by the city.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.