Danny Boyle’s 127 Hours is going to Telluride, Toronto and London, where the media will check out what is a daring subject for a movie. Hiker Aron Ralston survived being trapped on a Utah canyoneering trip for five days in 2003 by a boulder on a solo hike miles from any possible rescue by doing what he had to do: sawing off his arm with a dull knife. He had not told anyone where he was going.
Heroic survivor tales are not new. But this one–much like the Tom Hanks vehicle Castaway–requires an actor to hold the screen alone for much of his screen time. In this case, Danny Boyle told me, only a few actors could pull this off. James Franco beat out Cillian Murphy and Ryan Gosling. Boyle wrote the initial treatment; he and screenwriter Simon Beaufoy (Slumdog Millionaire) came up with some ingenious ways to keep the movie moving–much of it shot with no dialogue–in more ways than one. The peripatetic Franco was also able to look genuinely exhausted by jetting back and forth from his east coast studies every week during the shoot.
The trailer is below. The film’s score is by Slumdog‘s Oscar-winning A.R. Rahman; the song on the trailer is not-yet-released; “Never Hear Surf Music Again,” by Free Blood. Fox Searchlight opens the movie November 5.