Actor to star in Boyle's mountain-climber movie

James Franco will scale a mountain for Danny Boyle and Fox Searchlight.

The thesp will star as mountaineer Aron Ralston in man-vs.-nature tale “127 Hours,” Boyle’s follow-up to “Slumdog Millionaire.”

True-life story centers on Ralston, who spent five days with his right forearm pinned under a boulder during a climb in May 2003. He used a dull knife to amputate the limb, then scaled a 65-foot sheer wall and hiked out before flagging a family that gave him water and food. He was finally rescued by helicopter.

Boyle will helm “127 Hours,” with lensing to begin in March in Utah for a late 2010 release. Boyle reunites the “Slumdog” team of Simon Beaufoy, who is penning the script, and producer Christian Colson.

Pic is financed and distributed by Searchlight in partnership with Pathe.

Franco, who recently made an unlikely turn in sudser “General Hospital,” has a number of movies in the can including the U comedy “Your Highness” and the Julia Roberts starrer “Eat, Pray, Love.”

He is repped by WME and James/Levy Management.

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