A clean-shaven James Franco stopped by the interview room at today's Academy Awards Nominees Luncheon in LA. The 127 Hours star is not only nominated for best actor this year but will also be cohosting the Oscars alongside Anne Hathaway. James chatted about the sometimes excruciating job of playing hiker Aron Ralston on screen and about bringing a younger and fresher vibe to this year's big award show. He said:

  • On whether he got hurt on the 127 Hours set: "There was a lot of physical pain, and Danny [Boyle, the director] knew that it was going to cause a lot of pain. And I asked him after we did the movie, 'How did you know how far you could push it?' Because it’s a shame; I had bruises, scars . . . and there were some shots of my bare arm, and it looked like track marks, and that was the Trainspotting Boyle, got me hooked on heroin or something. So I had plenty of scars. And Danny said he looks at the actor, and that the actor will say when it’s too far."
  • On the first scenes they filmed: "We shot the movie pretty much in order. One of the first scenes is where the boulder has fallen on the character’s hand. And Danny said, 'Go at it and don’t stop till I say.' And I said, 'OK, I’m going to get bruised.' And the conversation was [that] I’m going to get beat up. I said, 'OK, I’m willing to do it, but let’s make sure we get it in one take.' . . . It was 22 minutes, all bashing into a rock . . . and that’s what we kind of figured out. Oh, that works. Those long takes work. That makes it real. Not only am I feeling physical pain, but I’m getting exhausted. It became less of a facade I put on and more of an experience that I went through."
  • On cohosting the Oscars with Anne: "[When the announcement was made] A lot of the reaction was, 'Oh, an obvious ploy by the Academy to bring in younger viewers.' And yeah. Duh! Is that a bad thing? . . . I think there's a little bit of the old, a little bit of the new. I think a lot of the show will definitely be about bringing in a fresh crop of movie viewers — but also one of the backbones, or arcs, of the show is to appreciate the history of film; bridge the gap between the older generation and younger generation."

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