Danny Boyle’s ‘Trance’ Gets a UK Release Date

What’s so great about Danny Boyle is how vastly different all of his films are. Sure, there might be thematic or stylistic threads throughout, but if asked to compare Trainspotting to The Beach or 127 Hours to Slumdog Millionaire, one might come up short. Regardless, his films are always a narratively exciting ride and visually rich—thanks in large part to the brilliant Anthony Dod Mantle’s cinematography. And it seems his latest feature, Trance, is sure to be no exception. The film has been in production and post for quite some time, but now, according to Pathe, a UK release date has been set for March 27, 2013. Fox Searchlight will be taking the helm as the US distributors but as of now it’s still unclear exactly as to when the film will land stateside. 

The synopsis of the film goes as follows: 

TRANCE, directed by Oscar®-winning filmmaker Danny Boyle (Slumdog Millionaire, 127 Hours) and co-written by Oscar®-nominated long term collaborator John Hodge (Shallow Grave, Trainspotting) is a seductive and enigmatic thriller starring James McAvoy, Vincent Cassel and Rosario Dawson.

Fine art auctioneer Simon (McAvoy), in league with a gang led by underworld boss Franck (Cassel), plots the audacious theft of a masterpiece by Goya from a major public auction. When Simon double-crosses the gang during the robbery, Franck retaliates violently and knocks him unconscious.

In the aftermath of the heist, Simon sticks stubbornly – and perhaps shrewdly – to his claim that the violent trauma has left him with no memory of where he stashed the artwork.

Unable to coerce the painting’s location from Simon, Franck and his associates reluctantly join forces with a charismatic hypnotherapist (Dawson) in a bid to get him to talk. But as they journey deeper into Simon’s jumbled psyche the boundaries between reality and hypnotic suggestion begin to blur and the stakes rise faster and far more dangerously than any of the players could have anticipated.

Although it may be a while until we get a glimpse of the film for ourselves, you can enjoy some photos from on set.

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Man’s ‘127 Hours’-Inspired Vacation Ends with Him Stranded in the Desert

Movie lovers often retrace the steps of their favorite characters in order to have a shared experience away from the theater. The Philadelphia Art Museum’s steps are always clogged with Rocky buffs jogging to their way to the summit and some Star Wars fanatics even make their way to Tunisia to walk on the dunes that filled in for Luke’s home planet of Tatooine. Wayne Richards, however, chose to recreate the steps of Aron Ralston, the inspiration for the James Franco film 127 Hours. Not only did Richards recreate Ralson’s solo hike through Canyonlands National Park in Utah earlier this month, he also suffered a similar fall and became stranded for days.

Richards, a 64-year-old North Carolina man, was on his 127 Hours-inspired hike when he took a 10-foot plunge into Little Blue John Canyon. Aron Ralson fell into a canyon not far from Little Blue John and had to cut his arm off after being trapped for 127 hours in order to free it and escape. Luckily for Richards, his arm was merely dislocated. “It took me about 3 or 4 minutes to work my shoulder and get it back in place and once I got it back in place, I stood up and realized my ankle hurt a little bit,” Richards told a CBS affiliate in Charlotte.

His ankle hurt a bit because his leg was shattered. Richards crawled through the Utah desert for four days before rangers discovered him. According to the Charleston Daily Mail, “Chief Park Ranger Denny Ziemann says a search started Sept. 9 after Richards’ Canyonlands campsite was found unattended. His car was spotted near Little Blue John Canyon on Sept. 11. Rangers found Richards a few hours later.”

Richards received treatment for his shattered leg and dehydration. No news yet if filmmakers are interested in making an über meta sequel called 96 Hours based on Wayne Richards’ story.

Dave Franco on Watching His Brother Cut His Arm Off

You may have heard that in 127 Hours, opening today, James Franco performs an act of self-mutilation so grisly and intense that people have been passing out, vomiting, and having seizures in theaters. We saw the scene (behind partially covered eyes) in which Franco, as real-life outdoorsman Aron Ralston, breaks and then cuts his own arm off with a dull blade–and it’s the most graphic thing you’re likely to see in a non-horror movie. But what’s it like when it’s your older brother up on that screen, pretending to sever his limb? We spoke to James’ younger brother Dave to find out.

The younger Franco, who you may recall from these Funny or Die videos or the last season of Scrubs, knows a thing or two about gore: He’s got a role in next year’s remake of Fright Night, which he told us is a hard R. “I’m not trying to be a badass, but in general I can take lot of gore and I can watch pretty gruesome things without being affected too much,” he said.

But 127 Hours is not gratuitous blood and guts. By the time Franco’s character commits the act, the audience is heavily invested in his fate, even though they already know it. Dave Franco, for one, was affected. “For some reason in this movie, you go through this whole journey with this one guy stuck in this hole, and by the time he’s cutting his arm off, you feel like you’re cutting your own damn arm off. My whole body started to get hot, and you start losing your breath a little.” Even if the guy on the screen is the same guy who used to give you wedgies? “I think at this point, for the most part I can remove myself from it and watch it from an objective point of view. But there are times in every movie of his where I see a little bit of his true self come through, and I can just have a chuckle to myself.”

Links: Nick Lachey Getting Married Again, Sarah Palin’s Favorite ‘Taliban Muslim’ Tweet

● Nick Lachey and Vanessa Minnillo are engaged to be married after four years of dating. And Jessica Simpson weeps. [People] ● Audience members are throwing up and fainting at showings of James Franco’s new film, 127 Hours, in which he chops off his own arm. It’s art. [Movieline] ● Courtney Love on her reading Wikipedia page: “I just want what awards I got . . . who I [bleeped] — on the record — or who said nice things about [bleep-ing] me. And how many hits I’ve had. And that’s it.” [Page Six]

● Sarah Palin bookmarked a tweet by Ann Coulter, which included a photo of a church called “The Blood of Jesus ATLAH World Missionary Church” with a sign that said, “The blood of Jesus against Obama history made 4 Nov 2008 a Taliban Muslim illegally elected president USA: Hussein.” She speaks nonsense. [ABC] ● Blake Lively and Leonardo DiCaprio had dinner to discuss Lively’s potential role as Daisy Buchanan in the upcoming The Great Gatsby adaptation. They’re both white and pretty. [Us Weekly] ● Pauly D, of Jersey Shore, tweeted “life is complete” after meeting Britney Spears. She burped. [Page Six]

Danny Boyle on ‘127 Hours’ & What Drew Him to James Franco

After Slumdog Millionaire nearly swept the 2009 Oscars with eight wins, its director, Danny Boyle, became an event filmmaker. Some of his previous films, most notably Trainspotting and 28 Days Later, were cult classics, but Slumdog introduced the 54-year-old Scot to a worldwide audience. Suddenly, he was a marquee name in Hollywood. Now, Boyle has used that caché to bring to life one of the most harrowing tales of survival ever told. 127 Hours, starring James Franco, is the true story of Aron Ralston, a mountain climber who in 2003 (spoiler alert!) was forced to amputate his arm after being trapped under a boulder in Utah. And while Franco gives an unforgettable performance as Ralston, Boyle’s unmissable stamp is all over the movie, bringing electric momentum to a story about a guy trapped under a rock. We recently spoke to Boyle at the Crosby hotel in Soho about his new movie, his post-Oscar career, and that time James Franco cut his own arm off.

Naturally, the expectations for your next film after Slumdog were huge. Why was 127 Hours the right movie to follow it up with? It was a couple of things, really. I’ve been talking about the story since 2003, and I tried to make it in 2006. But it would be foolish to chase that kind of success, but it allowed us to exploit the Slumdog success, but in a good way rather than a cheap way, by trying to cash in. The film is not financeable without the sense of something in the bank that you can use, so that’s what we did, basically. That makes you feel good about yourself, because you’re like, Yeah, that’s the way to use that kind of success. It’s only temporary—you’ll only get one chance to use that kind of success. People will talk about it but it’s only meaningful once, so use it for a really good reason, and this story was it for us really. I’ve always thought it was a really important story to tell, so that’s what we tried to do.

Was it much easier to finance with those Oscars in your pocket? Yeah, but it was still tough because there is such a nervousness about a story like this. Even though it’s going quite well at the moment, reaction-wise, I still think people are quite nervous about it. I still wonder if Joe Public will see it. You can read about this stuff and go, Oh wow, but will you turn up to it on a Friday night, rather than a nice comedy?

Do you feel your films are being reevaluated now that you’re an Oscar winner? I don’t know.

127 Hours is very much a Danny Boyle film. Even though it’s about a man stuck under a rock, it pulsates with energy. Can you talk about your approach? We really wanted it to be pulsating because one of the ironies of the whole film is that you expect it to be absolutely static, but we all thought of it as an action movie even though it can’t move. So that’s doubly emphasized. Also, I thought there was a life spirit that’s built into the story that makes the pulsating approach more organic. There are two organic ways you can go about it: One is intolerable and slow, like watching paint dry. But there’s another way to go which is this life force that pulses through it and helps him get through it. And it’s not just his; it belongs to a lot of people and they communally help him through it in a direct way, because it’s the memory of friends and family, but also an indirect way, because it’s people who are featured in the film that he doesn’t know and will never meet.

What can you tell me about the amputation scene that people don’t know? Obviously there was a danger it would be controversial, which in this kind of film is not a good thing. It’s not a horror movie, where a bit of controversy is good for it. But we wanted to make it very accurate to his experience, so we followed the book very carefully. The other danger with it is that I refused studio pressure. Because when you read the book, it’s not easy to get through. In movies, you risk trivializing it as a cheap thrill, but it’s a very profound euphoria you feel when he’s released, because it’s a passage that takes him over 40 minutes. For a man, it’s a pain that most of us will never get near, and these are extraordinary machines we live in. They are amazing things and you can’t treat them like they’re a bit of trivia you can get rid of. They’re meant to be there and to lose part of it is a massive, massive stab. And the euphoria comes in by showing it is a stepping stone to something else greater. It’s the gift of life again.

What was Aron’s reaction like when he watched that scene? Well, we’ve had him in tears a few times. I don’t know what it’s like to watch that scene for him. He’s the only guy who’s been there so what it’s like to see it recreated as faithfully as we could, I don’t know.

What parts of the film did you try and remain as faithful to reality as possible? Yeah, we had some freedom and we compressed things, as you do in movies. We accentuated true images. Like for instance, he does meet the two girls at the beginning and he did go climbing with them, but we put water in it because we wanted to water everywhere before he loses all his water. We wanted to make it sensual and erotic, something he can watch on a screen later, his final contact with those girls, and what he would give for a woman’s voice and comfort.

Does the pool they swam in actually exist? It does, in a separate place. They’re in two separate places. If somebody drops in the pool like that, they’d be killed doing it because it’s really reckless. That is his reckless personality, but in the book you can see he’s been in scrapes before, where he’s been very close to—

Hurting himself? And killing friends. So, there’s that side of his personality as well, but in a delicious way, because you want to seduce people with the film. It’s not a moralistic film. You want it to be a journey for him as he discovers all these things in himself.

What makes James Franco different from any other actor you’ve worked with? I was delighted about discovering Pineapple Express. I mean, we weren’t making the film then so it was a delayed significance, but I knew when I saw it that he was the guy who I liked as an actor a lot. When you see him do broad comedy, you think, that’s a proper actor who can do anything. I remember thinking, and this is a long time ago and I’m not comparing, but I remember seeing De Niro do the early, intense Scorsese stuff, and then you see him do King of Comedy, and it’s just like, Wow, that is a major actor. There’s a goofball element to him that you want to capture. And it’s true that the human spirit faced with the greatest adversity will respond with wit.

Did Aron use the video camera in real life the way James uses it in the film? He didn’t do the talk show, but he did try to make jokes, he did try to cheer people up, tried to cheer himself up, so that is all based on that. Also, when you’ve been a couple of days without water you start to hallucinate quite quickly and you’re never quite sure of what’s going on at all. It’s very serious, water loss.

Was him doing a fake talk show with himself a technique used to get his thoughts out to the audience? Yeah, it’s also a way of trying to populate the canyon with little hidden messages. He’s trying different voices and literally manically populating the canyon because of course, the thing that matters to him the most is people he no longer has—people he hasn’t taken enough care with. It’s a wonderful way of changing the mood and surprising people, because the danger with a film like this is that you know what’s coming, so you want to keep it surprising.

Dispatch from The Toronto Film Festival: Danny Boyle Has Feelings

One must have a really good reason to miss New York City Fashion Week (including the debauchery of Fashion’s Night Out), and for me it was hopping on a short, hour-long flight to attend the 35th annual Toronto International Film Festival. TIFF, as locals call it, kicked off last Thursday, but it didn’t pick up heat til Friday. Thousands of industry folk and movie lovers flocked to the metropolitan city, known to be one of the top film production destinations in the world. It’s 11 days of exclusive events, 300 films and—naturally—a score of celebrity sightings. Truth be told, the last movie I saw was The Crazies, if that’s any indication of how frequently I make it to the movies. So I was glad this trip would primarily involve catching up with my old friend cinema and checking out the latest films, which may or may not get picked up by a distributor.

My first screening choice was rather ambitious. I went to check out 127 Hours, the new film by Academy Award-winner Danny Boyle, even though I knew the line-up would be a shitshow, considering the memorable films he’s delivered like Slumdog Millionaire, 28 Days Later, and Trainspotting. And—surprise!—it was a shitshow. Loyal fans in the industry started lining up early at Scotiabank Theater, and then there was a technical problem that delayed the screening. As friends and co-workers continued to cut in line before me, beefing it up substantially and adding to the chaos, others simply left, considering we had already been waiting an hour. At the two-hour mark, the line started to move. Even though the screening room held more than 500 seats, I was fortunate enough to be one of the last ten people to barely make the cut (I do genuinely feel bad for those behind me that waited hours for nothing).

Of course, being picked last, my only seat option was the very front row. I’m the type of guy who likes to sit in the last row, and before I began checking my Blackberry for alternative movie options in the same theater complex, I was thrown off by the sound of applause. I looked up to see Danny Boyle standing literally in front of me. He appeared with deep apologies for the technical difficulties. It was something about subtitles or opening another room or something else I can’t remember—I wasn’t really listening, a little dumbfound that one of my favorite directors was standing so close I could see his nose hairs.

In any case, the movie started, James Franco may get an Oscar nod, and I left the theater (not 127 hours later, thank goodness) feeling 100-percent confident that the screening was well worth the wait.

The ‘127 Hours’ Trailer: Danny Boyle, Superstar

Watching the new trailer for The James Franco Amputation Movie (or, as it’s known in some circles, 127 Hours), you’d think Danny Boyle was the most important director in Hollywood. It’s amazing what a Slumdog—and that little gold statue that came with it—can do for a career. It appears Boyle’s entire oeuvre has been suddenly, glowingly reevaluated, with the names of lukewarmly-received pictures like The Beach and Sunshine flashing across the screen as evidence for why you should see his latest. Even the promo skin on the site hosting the trailer has Boyle’s name in big block letters, right underneath the title, with James Franco’s nowhere to be found. We can’t wait for the trailer for Kathryn Bigelow’s next movie, when classics like K-19: The Widowmaker and Strange Days will finally get their due. Click through to see the trailer.