Those of us wondering why Lizzy Caplan had such a minor role in “127 Hours” now have an answer. She was to figure more into the third act of the film, which fortunately was cut. According to screenwriter Simon Beaufoy, via the Carpetbagger:
“We had a much more resolved ending,” Mr. Beaufoy said, “so they [the audience] had an emotional connection. There’s a long scene with his mother in the hospital, there’s a long scene with the ex-girlfriend where she told him a few hard truths, there was a scene at his sister’s wedding, which he referenced in the movie. So we had this very unusual movie, and we resolved it in this very Hollywood way.”
I like how Beaufoy goes on to say he and director Danny Boyle had to “punch out” when the film does, because that original ending sounds like a crash and burn. But it’s also great of them to have had the time, money and ability to shoot more than enough material and whittle the story down in editing. Not all filmmakers can afford to do so, but when someone can it always seems worthwhile. Better to have stuff left over (especially for DVD extras) than to not have adequate coverage.
It’s hard to imagine any of the few people who’ve seen the film (and not passed out before it ends) would prefer that original conclusion, but given that it’s admittedly described as being “very Hollywood,” perhaps it’s retention could have helped the movie gross more than a disappointing $11 million.
Other things that might have made it more appealing? An even happier ending in which Aron Ralston doesn’t actually have to lose his arm — the boulder just suddenly gives way, maybe thanks to a friendly ghost or God. Or, a sci-fi denouement in which he grows a new alien arm similar to the one seen in “District 9” and vengefully returns to the rock formations to blow them up with awesomely huge space weaponry.