LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - When Danny Boyle previewed his new film “127 Hours” at the Telluride Film Festival last week ahead of its big unveiling at Toronto, it was as a thank you to the organizers for the early support they gave “Slumdog Millionaire” two years before.
Audiences turned out to be just as grateful. The survival drama stars James Franco as mountaineer Aron Ralston, who managed to free himself after being trapped by a boulder in a Utah canyon for five days by severing his own arm.
The experience is not just another kinetic work from Boyle, it’s an especially intense one: a viewer in the very first screening required medical attention before the film was over.
RENDER THE AMPUTATION SCENE? DID YOU FEEL CONCERNS ABOUT IT
I do, yeah. It was a big issue for (producer) Christian (Colson) and I and the folks in the studio. Nobody’s going to give you any money with something like that happening in it that’s not in a horror context. Our argument was always that the whole point of the film is that you live through the experience like a first-person experience. Therefore, you both have to live through that, and you will live through it. By the time you get to it, your instincts will be partially revulsion, obviously, but it will also be the need to complete your move to freedom and to escape — to what Aron calls his ‘completion.’ So that was always our argument.
The other element was that it took him 44 minutes to cut it off, which I find extraordinary. And of course, we don’t realize these things we live in, these machines we live in (our bodies), are amazing things, and you can’t just go, chick (cut through it). I always felt that was something that was essential to the film.
It won’t be everybody’s favorite scene, but you would appreciate why it has to be there at the end of such a story. And what it takes to do it. And my own personal take on it is that we are all capable of it. It’s not some abstract thing that you watch, like a monster killing someone or something. This is something we are all capable of in the same circumstance.
TELL ME ABOUT THE SOUND DESIGN. THERE’S THE VISUAL AND
It’s described in the book, it’s very clear. The description in the book is phenomenal. I remember reading it. Between the two bones, the two bones protect this nerve. There are clearly lots of nerves in the arm, which a lot of them had decayed or he didn’t feel it or he was in such a state, but the main nerve was there. And he describes it as being that he couldn’t cut it, he couldn’t get through it, and he had to pull it like a guitar string. And I was like, ‘Oh my f—king God!’ And you think, Are people going to be able to take that? I don’t know. But it’s true. And if you ever get there, that’s what you’ll find.