Director: Danny Boyle
Stars: Cillian Murphy, Naomie Harris, Christopher Eccleston
Plot: Four weeks after a mysterious, incurable virus spreads throughout the UK, a handful of survivors try to find sanctuary.
For the London scenes, police would close the roads at 4am, and filming would begin immediately. After 1 hour, the police would reopen the roads. The producers correctly predicted that asking drivers (including clubbers headed home) to either wait for up to an hour or find another route might make some of them angry. They got several extremely attractive young women (including Danny Boyle's daughter) to make the necessary requests, and the drivers responded quite amicably to them.
Danny Boyle and Naomie Harris developed a back-story to explain Selena's hard-nosed, ruthlessly pragmatic outlook. Apparently, Selena was forced to kill her infected mother and father to save her baby brother, only to discover that her brother was also infected.
Garland and Boyle were specifically inspired by such incidents as anthrax and bio-terrorism scares in London and the spread of mad cow disease and foot-and-mouth disease in the UK.
Ewan McGregor was the original choice to play Jim. After that didn't work out, the role was offered to Ryan Gosling, who had a scheduling conflict.
The scene where Jim and Selena celebrate with Frank and Hannah was shot on September 11, 2001. Danny Boyle said it felt extremely strange to shoot a celebratory scene on that particular day.
The crew filed all of the necessary papers to destroy the Canary Wharf petrol station, but the police were (unintentionally) not notified. When the explosives were detonated, police sent fire brigades (although one was already present). Danny Boyle resolved the manner after several hours. The explosion cost £250,000 total.
The shot where Jim sees the dead mother holding onto her dead baby is based on a photograph Danny Boyle saw of a mass of Kurd bodies after they had been gassed.
The news footage which begins the film was based on footage shot by the journalist Sorious Samura in Sierra Leone.
The symbol used for this film is the international symbol for blood-borne biohazard.
Stephen King is a huge fan of the movie and paraphrases one of Selena's lines in his novel Doctor Sleep, "he needs us more than we need him".
Some argue that the story draws heavily from and even follows the basic storyline of The Day of the Triffids; for example the main protagonist escaping the disaster by being incapacitated in hospital, a deserted Britain, a group of people leaving London for a better place and even the 'escape from the soldiers gone bad' scenario towards the end.
In the end of the film, the pilot of the plane is speaking Finnish on the radio. The very last words he says are "Will you send a helicopter?" in Finnish
The film has engendered some confusion as to whether or not the virus is a worldwide phenomenon or whether it's confined to Britain. This is clarified on the DVD commentary, however. When shooting began, Danny Boyle and Alex Garland intended to reveal that the virus had spread worldwide, which is why Selena mentions outbreaks in Paris and New York early in the movie. However, as filming progressed, they changed their minds and decided to render the spread of the virus more ambiguous. As such, they wrote the dialogue spoken by Sergeant Farrell (Stuart McQuarrie) when he is tied to the radiator as a counter-theory to Selena's claims; he hypothesizes that Britain would have simply been quarantined at the first sign of trouble and that there was no way the virus could have reached America or mainland Europe. Obviously, the sequel 28 Weeks Later (2007) confirms that Farrell was entirely correct.
Prominently featured in the soldiers' mansion is a statue of Laocoon, the Trojan priest who attempted (in vain) to warn his countrymen that they had something to fear from the horse, just as Jim, Selena, and Hannah have something to fear from the soldiers.
The DVD extras include three alternative endings, all of which conclude with Jim dying. Two were filmed, while the third, a more radical departure, was presented only in storyboards. Boyle and Garland preferred the ending where Jim died because it brought Jim full circle, as he starts and finishes the story in bed in a deserted hospital. It was rejected for seeming too bleak