Danny Boyle is about to embark on the filming of 127 Hours, the story of mountain climber Aron Ralston, who was forced to amputate his own arm with a penknife after being pinned under a boulder. There have been a lot of questions about how the film would play, as most of the story involves Ralston (played by James Franco) trapped and alone. There’s no chance for Franco to interact with other characters, or even to move, during much of the story. How does this become a movie that can hold the interest of an audience?
One idea Boyle has is to use two cinematographers. And they’re both from a film series that Boyle started.
Empire talked to Danny Boyle, who said:
We’ve got this idea that because there are so few characters in it, we’ll use two cinematographers: Anthony Dod Mantle, who did 28 Days Later, and Enrique Chediak, who did 28 Weeks Later. One is from Northern Europe and the other is South American. They’ll bring different things to it. Like in a conventional film you’d have a comic character and a villain.
OK, that’s fairly interesting. So they won’t try to mesh into one style, and will present different aspects of the story? A lot of questions come up — will they shoot at the same time, or on different days? So much of the art of cinematography is lighting, and if one of the two has already lit a scene for his style, the other would have to stick with it. I want to know more about this approach.
The Empire interview also addresses some of the questions about dialogue in the film. While Amber Tamblyn and Kate Mara are cast and will likely appear primarily at the beginning and end of the film (or in visions and memories during Ralston’s ordeal) Boyle has stated that much of the film may not have any dialogue.
But it could have a monologue.
“What came to light,” Boyle says, “is that he had a video camera with him, and he recorded six or seven messages, for those he thinks are going to grieve for him, basically saying goodbye. We’ve seen the messages, he doesn’t tend to show them… So if you like, that is the dialogue, with a future he thinks he is not going to have.”
This all comes via The Playlist, who transcribed quotes from Empire’s print edition. As thanks for doing so I’ll send you to their article for comments about why the amputation scene might not be as bloody as some would expect.