Wednesday 24 May 2017

Director Boyle says we would all 'chew an arm off' to survive

Climber Aron Ralston (left) and James Franco, who plays him in the film, arrive for '127 Hours' premiere
Climber Aron Ralston (left) and James Franco, who plays him in the film, arrive for '127 Hours' premiere
Actress Rosamund Pike arrives at the European premiere of Danny Boyle's film '127 Hours' at the London Film Festival

Albertina Lloyd in London

Oscar-winning director Danny Boyle yesterday said he would gnaw his own arm off if he had to, to save his life.

The 'Slumdog Millionaire' director's new film '127 Hours' is based on the true story of mountain climber Aron Ralston, who hacked off his own arm with a penknife after it became trapped under a rock, leaving him stranded in a Utah canyon for five days with little food and water.

Speaking ahead of the film's closing gala premiere at the BFI London Film Festival, Boyle insisted he would do the same thing in his situation.

The director said: "One of the extraordinary things about the story is when it's told in a superficial way people say 'Ooh, I could never do that'.

"We'd all do it and if you didn't have a knife you'd chew it off, which is an extraordinary thing to say but animals do it all the time.

"When everything is stripped away, yes you would, I think."

Boyle, who cowrote the script with Simon Beaufoy, based on Ralston's book 'Between a Rock and a Hard Place', worked with the climber while making the film.

Boyle went on: "What's incredible about his story is -- unlike when it's superficially told it appears to have occupied superhuman strength and courage to do this kind of thing -- it actually makes clear that when you strip things away it's very simple things that binds us all together and that will bring us all back together in some way.

"The individual will to survive is often seen as just that, as an individual thing, in fact it's sort of a gene we all carry."

James Franco who plays Ralston in the film revealed how when he first met the mountaineer he learnt it was his connection to his family that got him through his ordeal.

Franco explained when Ralston asked him why he wanted to play him: "I said 'I really admire the strength that you had to get through it on your own, I think it's an incredible example of human will'.

Struggling

"And he corrected me a little bit. He said 'Well, no actually it was my connection to my family, and that allowed me to get through those five days and get myself out of there."

The 'Spider-Man' star also told how Boyle had pushed him to the limits during filming, making him experience as close as possible the reality of what Ralston had endured.

Franco explained how he injured himself filming a scene struggling to pull his arm out from under a large boulder for more than 20 minutes as Boyle got the footage he needed.

He said: "Danny does like to push his actors. He said to me 'So try and pull your arm out. Do anything that you can. Bash yourself against the rock, knee it, kick it, yank, pull, anything you can, and don't stop 'till I say cut'.

"And I said, 'All right, I'm up for it but just make sure you get it on the first take'.

"So we did it and when he said 'cut' it had been 22 minutes and I was completely exhausted and the next day my arm was purple."

Irish Independent

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