We caught up with actor James Franco and Academy Award-winning director Danny Boyle today at a roundtable interview to talk about their new film, 127 Hours, about the true life story of mountain climber Aron Ralston who becomes trapped under a boulder while canyoneering alone near Moab, Utah and resorts to desperate measures in order to survive. While we were at it, we asked them about their upcoming projects. James told us why he decided to do Rise of the Apes and what it was like to have an opportunity to work opposite Andy Serkis. Boyle also described how honored he felt to be asked to direct the opening ceremony for the 2012 Olympics. Hit the jump for their comments and look for the full interview soon:
James Franco on Rise of the Apes
Question: James, now you’re working on Rise of the Apes?
JF: I’m done with that.
You just finished it after this movie?
Is that just a full on action hero role?
JF: No. Actually, I play a nerdy scientist in that so I’m not an action hero at all. I saw 127 Hours as an opportunity to have an unusual acting experience and I honestly felt the same way about Planet of the Apes. When I first heard about it, I thought “Well, I don’t know, those masks have cult value but…” (laughs) And then I found out that that’s not how they’re doing it. It’s actually all of Peter Jackson’s Weta people doing CG, that I’ll be working with Andy Serkis who played Gollum, and it was the DP from The Lord of the Rings, Andrew Lesnie. I was such a big fan of those movies and I am interested in new ways of performing and new ways of filmmaking so I thought “Why not? I will have this opportunity. Try it out.” And when I got to do the scenes with Andy Serkis, it was actually really interesting because — and Danny (Boyle) and I have talked about this too — he plays a chimpanzee, a real chimpanzee. There’s no way we would ever get scenes that we did with a real chimpanzee. And Andy is so good at that behavior. So it’s like acting opposite a real chimpanzee with great acting instincts. It was cool. It was new, new for me.
Are you in a “why not” phase? You’ve done things like General Hospital. Is it just to test different kinds of roles?
JF: It’s not a “why not.” It’s more like “Oh that’s new. Yeah, I’m interested.” But it’s not “Hey James, why don’t you shoot yourself in the foot or something?”
So, it’s not Jackass?
JF: (Laughs) Not quite Jackass yet.
Danny Boyle on the Olympics
Question: Can you give us any idea what we can look forward to in the 2012 Olympics?
DB: (laughs) A seat, first of all. Get a seat. No, we’ve just started working on it really. It won’t be like Beijing because what could be like Beijing? Nothing could anymore. It will be very different and a bit more intimate hopefully.
Are you excited about being asked to direct the Opening Ceremony?
DB: Oh yeah. I was very proud to be asked. I live very close to the stadium and there have been a lot of developments. It’s in a very run down area of London. I’m a sports fanatic as well so it’s great.