Aron Ralston’s 127 Hours premieres in Australia
THE U.S. HIKER WHO famously severed his own arm to escape after being pinned to a canyon by a fallen boulder says Aussie adventurers will understand the spirit that led to his near-death experience.
“You guys go surfing with great white sharks and stuff,” laughs Aron Ralston. “I think Australians have a connection. There’s that sensibility of that rugged individualism. In the US we’re a little out of touch with the natural world as opposed to people here.”
Ralston’s story is told in the new Danny Boyle film 127 Hours, starring James Franco, which has its Australian premiere in Sydney on Monday.
Ralston had been on a solo hike of a narrow Utah canyon with only the remnants of a day’s supply of food and water when he became trapped by a dislodged boulder.
After more than five days battling exposure, hunger, a dying thirst and with no hope of rescue (no one knew where he was) he broke both of the bones in his right forearm and then hacked it off using a small penknife.
But despite everything that has happened to him, Ralston says he wouldn’t change one iota of his experience. “Today, I look at it as a miracle. I wouldn’t tinker with a bit of it, if I could go back,” he says.
“It’s a choice … it’s what we make of it that makes it a tragedy or a blessing – whether we embrace it or we’re bitter about it.”
Ralston wrote a book about his ordeal, titled Between A Rock And A Hard Place. And now, seven years after he was first approached about a film project while still in hospital, his story is on the big screen.
Among other accolades, 127 Hours has received six Oscar nominations, including for Franco’s breakthrough and all-but-solo performance. But for all the credits, surely the only film criticism that counts about a story as personal as this one is Ralston’s own?
“A lot of the attention has gone to the nominations for the various awards that have come about and I certainly think that they’re well deserved,” Ralston says.
“But even (director Danny Boyle), and Christian Colson, the producer, said they share that sentiment that the only award that really mattered to them was the Aron Ralston stamp of approval.
“I was very quick to give that to them as soon as I saw it. It’s brilliant. After I saw it, I couldn’t stop saying thank you to them. It’s taken me deeper into my own experience. And being able to share it with my family – my wife, my mum, my sister, my best friends – is a gift.”
Aron Ralston describes the process of severing his arm
The 127 Hours trailer