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Posted at 4:15 PM ET, 11/ 5/2010

'127 Hours' director Danny Boyle on James Franco and his favorite intense films

By Jen Chaney

Danny Boyle, arriving at the recent London premiere of "127 Hours." (AP)

Update: Read the full story about how Danny Boyle and James Franco staged the amputation scene in "127 Hours," as well as what hiker Aron Ralston had to say about it.

This post was originally published Nov. 4 at 2:20 p.m. EST.

"127 Hours" is the film that could earn another Academy Award nomination for director Danny Boyle, and a first for its arm-amputating star James Franco.

It's also the fall release most likely to require the use of smelling salts.

Yes, the movie has a reputation for its ability to make grown men and women feel faint. But beyond its two minutes of forearm hacking, "127 Hours" is also an uplifting adaptation of real-life hiker Aron Ralston's decision to do something horrifying in order to liberate himself from the boulder that trapped him for five, dehydrating days in Utah's Blue John Canyon.

I recently chatted extensively with Boyle for a piece that will be published in print and on this Web site shortly. But not everything Boyle told me managed to make it into the story, particularly his complimentary and occasionally hilarious characterizations of James Franco.

Those characterizations -- plus video and a poll -- after the jump.

"He’s a funny guy because you don’t think he’s paying much attention to anything," the "Slumdog Millionaire" director said of his leading man. "He looks stoned half the time. He’s not, it’s just that manner, that heavy-eyed look he has. He’s actually sharp as anything and he mapped his performance through [each of] these days, which obviously doing it in sequence helped him do."

On Franco's reading habit, something he displayed between takes during production of the film: "He reads all the time. He does these courses -- he just reads all the time. His problem, if he’s got a problem, is hyperactivity, I think. And he keeps a grip on it by submerging himself in work."

And on Franco's ability to absorb information: "I would give him notes about takes, you know, about what we were going to do. And I’d look at him and I’d think, is he listening? This was early on. Then he’d do the take and everything I’d said would be there. So he’s a very bright guy. He masquerades, I think, behind this slightly stoner persona."

Boyle also spoke about three intense films that he particularly admires. Watch the video below to see which ones he chose (and which one almost made him pass out):

And feel free to vote in our poll:

By Jen Chaney  | November 5, 2010; 4:15 PM ET
Categories:  Movies, Pop Culture, Pop Culture, Pop Culture, Pop Culture  
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