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At '127 Hours' premiere, another call for paramedics

November 3, 2010 | 11:17 pm

The "127 Hours" curse has struck again.

The movie that has seen filmgoers faint with amazing consistency at various screenings claimed another casualty Wednesday evening -- at the film's Beverly Hills premiere, no less. A young woman suffered a seizure about 45 minutes in, and paramedics were called to help her out of the theater at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

The incident began with the woman first slumping in her seat and people next to her murmuring that someone should call 911. A man then stood up and called for a doctor as a crowd gathered in the aisle next to her, with some passing water to the victim. The movie continued to play even as a commotion developed in the darkened theater. Most filmgoers, however, stayed in their seats, and when the paramedics arrived, the woman walked out, wobbly but under her own power.

At the screening's conclusion, director Danny Boyle rose and said the incident was the result of a diabetic condition, and that it was the first time the woman, who appeared to be in her 20s, had had such an episode since she was 5 years old. Boyle assured the audience that she had been taken to Cedars-Sinai medical center and was doing well, adding, to laughter from the audience, that "she said it had nothing to do with the movie." A Fox Searchlight executive later echoed that account.

The episode marked the latest in an oddly frequent chain of medical incidents at screenings of the film, which depicts the real-life ordeal of a hiker trapped for nearly a week in a remote crevasse in Utah after his arm becomes pinned by a falling boulder. Wednesday's incident was unusual, however, in that it happened early in the film, well before the hiker, played by James Franco, amputates his own arm below the elbow -- the scene during which most faintings seem to take place.

The film's ability to unsettle the squeamish is by now taking on a kind of mythic power: When the graphic scene did approach, dozens of people covered or averted their eyes before the amputation even occurred.

-- Steven Zeitchik

Photo: Aron Ralston (James Franco) has to sever his arm to survive in "127 Hours." Credit: Chuck Zlotnick / Fox Searchlight/MCT


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