Boyle, Franco challenged in survival film "127 Hours"

Sun Sep 12, 2010 6:37pm EDT
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By Solarina Ho

TORONTO (Reuters) - How do you make a compelling film when your lead character is trapped by a boulder and unable to move for most of the story?

Director Danny Boyle, coming off the success of the Oscar-winning film "Slumdog Millionaire", rose to the challenge with his fact-based feature, "127 Hours", which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival this week.

"There's something I love about that idea, of that inability (to move) at the center of a film," he told Reuters in an interview.

"It's an extraordinary challenge to a filmmaker and an actor. There's an inertness, which completely contradicts what film is ... it's movement through the camera, everything is moving all the time," Boyle said.

"127 Hours," which opens across North America on November 5, is a harrowing yet uplifting film about the survival of mountaineer Aron Ralston, 34, whose right arm became pinned during a 2003 hiking trip in an isolated Utah canyon.

After days of trying to dislodge himself, Ralston cut off the lower portion of his arm using a dull blade and then hiked until he found help.

The audience spends a good portion of the 94-minute film trapped alongside Ralston, played by James Franco, in a single spot within a narrow crack inside Blue John Canyon.

When Franco first read the script, it was roughly 80 pages of mostly description. He wondered, "How am I going to use that kind of material and make it dramatic, make it tell a story?"   Continued...

<p>Director Danny Boyle attends a news conference to promote the film "127 Hours" during the 35th Toronto International Film Festival September 12, 2010. REUTERS/Fred Thornhill</p>