From left to right: author and adventurer Aron Ralston, actor Clemence Poesy, Actor Kate Mara, Actor James Franco, Actor Amber Tamblyn, Screenwriter Simon Beaufoy, Director Danny Boyle
Yesterday, hundreds of press and industry folks waited hours to see a guy cut off his own arm. Sure, the real life story of Aron Ralston — a young man whose gets stranded in a Utah canyon for 5 days when his hand gets stuck underneath a boulder — is certainly compelling. But I think it is safe to say that the reason people waited was because 127 Hours is the work of director Danny Boyle, a Toronto favorite who showed Oscar winner Slumdog Millionaire here two years ago. Also at the screening — perhaps the busiest man in film or anywhere — actor/director/writer/artist James Franco (I mean, the guy is about to start two graduate programs after just finishing two. Come on now.) Thankfully for those of us who waited, Boyle and Franco didn’t disappoint.
It’s not suprising that Boyle managed to not turn this into a TV movie, although this tale could certainly be TV movie fodder. Both Boyle and Franco used the actual tapes that Ralston made during those 5 days to prepare for the film. And their attention to little details (the way Rolston placed the few items of his backpack neatly out onto the boulder, portioned out the little water he had in his Nalgene, and carefully contemplated his attempts at escape…) created a sort of authenticity that the film needed in order to be successful. Franco’s great one-man performance, along with the use of flashbacks that get dreamier as the hours pass on, give a lot of movement to a story that is essentially about a guy standing still, talking to himself, trying to keep himself alive.
The real life Aron Ralston is here in support of the film, and is just as compelling in real life as his fictitious counterpart. 127 Hours is scheduled to hit theaters later this year — and James Franco will be on Fresh Air later this month to discuss his role in the film.