Danny Boyle is a busy man but never too busy to be humble. He's currently in London rehearsing the stage production of "Frankenstein" at the National Theatre, where, on a lunch break Tuesday, he was told of his Golden Globe nomination, with Simon Beaufoy, for the "127 Hours" screenplay, as well as the nods the film received for best score, by A.R. Rahman, and lead actor, James Franco, who plays hiker Aron Ralston, who was pinned by a boulder in a canyon for days.
"Itís very, very cool. Iím very pleased. Especially for James," Boyle said. "I think itís an extraordinary performance. Without the right actor, youíre dead. It doesnít matter what else youíve got in the film; the cameraís on him the whole time. Heís insane like that. An actor always has that instinct to want to be looked at. God bless him for wanting to tackle a role like this, though."
The film, difficult to watch in parts, particularly as Ralston decides he must cut off his trapped arm to free himself before he dies of dehydration or exposure. Some audience members have been known to faint at the graphic scene. But apparently, it wasn't too tough on members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn.
"That has been the best thing. This is the best-reviewed film Iíve had in my career. I donít really measure it. But I was pretty astonished. Itís lovely. You hope more and more people will see it for Jamesí performance alone, that this additional publicity will get it over the hurdle of what people think itíll do to them. It rewards you in quite a deep way. Itís not a cheap thrill."
The film, adapted from Ralston's own book about his life and his ordeal in Utah, took some liberties with the tale. But the drama itself had played out on news pages across the country when Ralston was first rescued. How do you present a movie as something fresh when people already know the story?
Boyle said he didn't see it as a challenge. "I never saw it like that. I saw built-in momentum. Thereís a momentum that Aron has -- he never gives up. He had moments of terrible despondency. When he knows nothing good is going to happen, and he keeps trying. Itís an emotional journey. He changes as a guy, according to the people that he casually left behind.
"I never thought of it as a film about climbing and surviving. Itís something a lot of blokes would recognize. In adversity, you recognize whatís important. You want to rectify things, to get back to people. A lot of blokes are guilty of that. It was really personal to us in a strange way."
-- Chris Lee
Photo: Danny Boyle. Credit: Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times