In the film, the Spider-Man star plays real-life adventurer Aron Ralston, who had to amputate his arm with a blunt penknife to free himself from a boulder after falling down a crevice during a hiking trip in Utah.
And the bloody scenes in the film of Franco, as Ralston, hacking away at his own flesh have led to guests at screenings of the film, which is released in America on Friday (05Nov10), passing out.
But Boyle takes issue with claims the amputation in the movie is too gruesome, insisting it's Franco's acting that is having the profound effect on film fans.
He tells TheWrap.com, "We've definitely had screenings where some people had seen too much, and we think it's an empathy thing, not a gross-out thing. You'll see far worse in Jackass 3D or other movies. But James pulls you in so much with the performance, and you feel so vulnerable."
Boyle admits he thought about dropping the amputation scenes from the movie completely - but he was determined to stay faithful to Ralston's tale.
He adds, "I thought quite deeply about whether we should cut the movie when this first started happening. And God bless the studio, they left the decision to me. I thought, 'No, it would be wrong to change it now'.
"We deliberately followed the book (which Ralston wrote about his five-day ordeal) in this case, probably more carefully than in any other part of the movie, and to change it would be to trivialise what he went through in some way.
"I think the measure of it is just about right. It's not sensationalised, and it's not trivialised to make it look too easy or too quick."
The Holiday Movie Season officially starts as Paramount Exerts “mind” control over family audiences while Downey, Jr. gets his due and Tyler Perry releases his tenth film in five years.
Paramount’s release of 'Megamind,' Dreamworks’ animated 3D film featuring the voices of Will Ferrell and Brad Pitt is set to kick off one of the most important movie-going seasons with an other-worldly bang. Opening in a whopping 3,944 theatres and 195 IMAX screens, the R-rated domination of the top five box office is about to come to an end as the PG-Rated film is set for a debut in the high-$40 million range. Earlier this year Dreamworks’ 3D/IMAX release of 'How to Train Your Dragon' performed well in its non-Summer time-frame with an opening weekend gross of $43.7 million. 'Megamind' with its good vs. evil premise, sci-fi feel and considerable star power should be able to exceed 'Dragon’s' performance.
Warner Bros.’ 'Due Date' creates the unlikely comedic pairing of Zach Galifianakis and Robert Downey, Jr. and thus a match made in box office heaven. In this buddy road trip movie, 'The Hangover' director Todd Phillips combines his twisted sense of humor with actual character development to great effect. 'The Hangover’s' $45 million opening weekend surprised analysts and the film went on to become the highest grossing R-rated comedy of all-time. However, Phillips' average opening weekend is around $20 million, yet a much better than average debut in the mid-$30 million range is likely for his latest comedy, which also stars Jamie Foxx and Michelle Monaghan and opens in 3,355 theatres.
The third newcomer to the weekend's festivities is Tyler Perry's 'For Colored Girls' from Lionsgate. Perry is a true movie mogul, having created an incredibly lucrative film-making empire in just five years. The stats tell the tale: Nine movies totaling nearly $500 million in domestic box office, an average opening weekend gross of $24 million and an average total domestic gross per film of $53.5 million make Perry one of the most consistently successful filmmakers of all-time. With 'For Colored Girls,' his 10th film, Perry makes his way into dramatic territory and with Lionsgate making this an event movie for African-American women, a gross in the mid-$20 millions or even higher is in the cards for the film which opens in 2,127 locations.
Fourth and fifth place will see a battle between three veterans of the marketplace with Halloween weekend’s number one film, Lionsgate’s 'Saw 3D,' the consistently performing word-of-mouth action movie 'RED' from Summit and Paramount’s horror juggernaut 'Paranormal Activity 2' all vying for grosses in the $6 to $8 million range.
Also opening in just four theatres is Fox Searchlight’s hotly anticipated critic’s favorite '127 Hours' starring James Franco as real life mountain climber Aron Ralston and directed by 'Slumdog Millionaire’s' Danny Boyle.
"The producers of SAW approached Aron Ralston about doing this movie so it could have been a very different movie." JAMES FRANCO insists his arm amputation scene in new movie 127 HOURS could have been much more gruesome. The actor plays real-life adventurer Ralston, who had to cut off his arm with a penknife to free himself from a boulder after falling down a crevice on a hiking trip in Utah.
Surely you’ve heard the story of Aron Ralson, the mountain climber whose arm got trapped under a boulder and in order to survive, he had to amputate it himself. I’m also sure you’ve considered if you would be able to do that – if you would be able to realize you needed to cut your own arm off, and actually follow through with it. Before James Franco agreed to take the part in 127 Hours, he probably wondered if he would be able to adequately play a man who would surely die if he did not cut off his own arm. Franco stopped by Jay Leno to try and articulate the force of Aron’s willpower and describe how much of a transformation it was on him, but all Leno wanted to know is how many arms Danny Boyle went through to get the shot.
And after learning Bristol Palin did not vote in the midterm elections, Meghan McCain told Leno how she must only care about votes for Dancing with the Stars.
Zach Galifianakis told Jimmy Fallon about his life in L.A., and what it was like to smoke weed on Bill Maher’s show.
They also played that game, “Real People, Fake Arms” after Galifianakis shaved his head?
Tina Fey did another Sarah Palin imitation for David Letterman. She should start commanding a mall Santa Claus at Christmas-sized salary for each impression.
Jon Stewart reiterated how the Republicans took control of the House of Representatives, while the Democrats remained control of the Senate. He also talked about how nicely women handled themselves very nicely, considered one of them spent more money than anyone in history and she lost. He also played a clip of John Boehner crying BECAUSE HE WON, which means since Jon Hamm’s sobs were autotuned, his should be too.
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And Stephen Colbert parted ways with a bunch of congressmen and women he did not care for.
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The Spider-Man star plays real-life adventurer Aron Ralston, who had to cut off his arm with a penknife to free himself from a boulder after falling down a crevice on a hiking trip in Utah.
And he admits the pivotal scene in the new film could have been a bloodbath that led to theatres full of fainting fans had director Danny Boyle not been careful about what he shot and how much gore he showed.
Franco says, "Danny really had to balance that scene. You can go too far and just have it be gratuitous gore, and it's almost like a horror movie.
"Or you can cut away and make it maybe a little more watchable, but then that takes away from what Aron went through."
Ralston himself is thrilled with the scene and the film on the whole, revealing, "Out of the six screenings I've personally been at, I think there's been a total of, like, seven faintings."
In the new thriller, Franco plays real-life survival hero Aron Ralston, who was forced to amputate his own arm after he became trapped under a boulder during a hike in Utah in 2003.
But Boyle insists the Milk star didn't make the best first impression - he was convinced the actor was high on drugs when they met.
He tells EOnline.com, "We saw a number of guys and he wasn't the obvious choice because he's not a look-a-like and he's an urbanite really. He's a city guy like me. He's not a wilderness guy. I wasn't sure at first. We met him and he was so relaxed - he looked stoned to me."
And Franco is convinced he only won the role because of the memorisation skills he picked up during his stint on American soap opera General Hospital.
He recalls, "I did have to read for it. (Boyle) had me fly out to L.A. He didn't give me any material to prepare and when I got there he gave me a page-long speech. He asked if I could memorise and do it right away, which normally would have been difficult but I had just been working on a soap opera, General Hospital. I had to memorise like literally 70 pages a day so that little speech was no problem. I don't think he knew at the time that General Hospital helped me get the role."
Franco plays Ralston in the film, 127 Hours, and the real adventurer, who was forced to amputate his own arm to escape his crevice hell in 2003, insists no other actor could have given the film such honest intensity.
He tells WENN, "I was crying within moments from when the boulder falls on him and from that point all the way through. At the moment of liberation, where he cuts off his arm, I was sitting there snacking on my popcorn and everyone else was gripped in their seats.
"I was watching it and thinking, 'Wow, that's really well done.' It's very authentic to what I went through.
"You go through the entrapment and you want him to cut his arm off. This is a euphoric experience, as maniacal as it kind of was; I was smiling as I cut my arm off and I really lobbied for that smile, even just for a glimpse - that this is a happy thing. It's an experience that the audience is grateful for and that I was grateful for to get out of there."
But he's not sure Franco was 100 per cent perfect as his movie self: "I think James is much more charming in the film than maybe I personally am."
Ralston spent 127 hours with his arm trapped behind a boulder after falling down a canyon crevice in 2003 and had to amputate the limb to escape.
Franco recreates the brave outdoorsman's story of survival in harrowing new film 127 Hours, and he admits he's learned a few expert hiking tips in the process.
The actor tells WENN, "If I hike I'll be sure to tell people where I go. It's given me an appreciation for my life and people in my life, certainly.
"Aron asked me why I wanted to play this role. I love the way it strips down everything that is familiar in our day to day lives. That we can get food from a restaurant or a store, emotional independence and also the daily activities that keep us from looking at ourselves in a very intimate way; all of that is taken away and it's a man alone facing death.
"I imagined in a real way to study what it is to be human, what's important in our lives, and what really gives us strength. I also said to Aron, 'I liked that you had the will inside you to get out,' and he said one of the main things that gave him the strength to get out was his connection to the outside world and his friends and family.
"That gave him the strength to survive so it's given me an appreciation for people in my life."
127 Hours the new film from Slumdog Millionaire’s Academy Award-winning writer-director duo Simon Beaufoy and Danny Boyle feels like it was made in the titular time frame. The movie is choppy and fast-paced like the adventures of its daredevil protagonist Aron Ralston who amputated his own arm after an accident in the cavernous regions of Moab Utah in 2003. This kinetic style of filmmaking (similar to how Slumdog was produced) succeeds in artistically recreating the horrific events of those five painful days but prevents the audience from developing an essential emotional connection with the character and renders the movie limp with more style than substance.
The story begins with Mr. Ralston’s (played adequately by James Franco) ritualistic preparation for intense outdoors activities. He ignores his mother’s phone call (and it’s clearly not the first time he’s done this) so he can begin his extreme expedition that much faster. This selfish attribute is true to the character and foreshadows his eventual arc but Boyle stumbles around with irrelevant narrative detours involving a pair of female thrill-seekers and a barely-seen sister and ex-girlfriend. These subplots are ultimately counter-productive and feel out-of-place.
Instead of providing the character’s backstory through a traditional prologue we learn about Ralston’s past through his own sleep/food/water-deprived hallucinations while he’s stuck beneath a boulder at the bottom of a canyon. In this grim ill-fated state the audience is supposed to feel remorseful and on a basic level of human compassion we do. However it’s difficult to sympathize with a character as arrogant and narcissistic as Ralston who admits that he’s brought this situation on himself.
In terms of craft Boyle is at the top of his game. Aron’s spiritual breakthrough is dramatized by surreal visual sequences that deliver the most moving imagery in the entire film. His use of sound effects particularly enhanced the harrowing experience as do the realistic prosthetics used to depict his bloody sacrifice.
Though the film has the tension and suspense that made similarly-themed survival tales like Castaway and Rescue Dawn moving it lacks an introduction that builds a bond between audience and character debilitating the effect of Aron’s eventual triumph. Many will rejoice when they see Ralston emerge from his mountainous prison a wiser and more appreciative man but there’s never much reason to root for him throughout the picture unless you’re simply hoping for a happy ending.
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be hopeless trapped in a canyon without a soul to help you or hear your screams for miles? Probably not, but that was the bleak reality for real-life adventurer, Aron Ralston, who was forced to amputate his own arm in order to survive and escape. Danny Boyle’s (Slumdog Millionaire) latest film, 127 Hours, brings the mountain-climber’s harrowing tale to the screen with James Franco as the incredible lead (yes, he's been up to more than crossdressing on magazine covers and camping it up on a soap opera).
The film, which also stars Kate Mara, Lizzy Kaplan, and Amber Tamblyn, has already garnered hugely positive reviews after screenings at both the Telluride Film Festival and the Toronto International Film Festival. The first teaser trailer gave us only a taste of Ralston’s struggle, focusing on the action leading up the point when he first becomes trapped. With less than a month left before the film’s November 5 release, the studio has released a full length tear-jerker of a trailer, showing the film’s true colors and drawing us into the unimaginable struggle at its center.