While Alfonso Cuarón puts the finishing touches on his new space epic Gravity, the Mexican director enjoyed the spoils of being featured in the Warner Bros. panel during San Diego Comic-Con this past weekend. While the panel showcased what Alfonso Cuarón can do with a 3D camera and new cinematic technology, the center of any good movie has always been the human element — the actors, the narrative, and the emotional highs and lows. Gravity stars Sandra Bullock as Dr. Ryan Stone, a medical engineer on her first Space Shuttle mission, and George Clooney as Matt Kowalsky, a veteran astronaut who is in command of the mission. However, Gravity almost had another major box office draw in the cast: Iron Man himself, Robert Downey Jr.
In an interview with the Huffington Post’s Mike Ryan, Cuarón opened up about the final decision not to go with Robert Downey Jr. While it’s unclear which role he’d play in the film, Cuarón explains that Downey Jr.’s approach to acting — namely his penchant for improv and ad-libbing — would have have slowed down the film’s production. Cuarón says:
…it was very clear that the technology we were going to use — it was not the most compatible thing for what Robert is the best at. That is, he takes one scene and he just starts riffing. And because of the technology that we use, it’s pretty much limited. We have to preprogram the film before shooting.
Alfonso Cuarón was rigorous in his direction of Gravity, and spent months planning everything that ended up in the final version of the film. The 51-year-old director continues:
…both George and Sandra, we had endless conversations before. We animated the whole film before. We could have released an animated version with the voices of Sandra Bullock and George Clooney. We watched it and we gave suggestions and if they had notes or ideas, then it was just about programming the whole thing. It was amazing because, yes, they changed quite a lot, relatively speaking. But it was always in the context of what was there already.
Alfonso Cuarón was actually aided by director James Cameron, who helped figure out how to best utilize the 3D camera rig for Gravity. Cameron worked with cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki on the film technology to recreate the weightlessness of space on a movie set. Hopefully all the precision planning that went into Gravity’s production will be well worth it. We will certainly find out when the space epic is released this October.
After a seven-year period between movies, Gravity will be Alfonso Cuarón’s first film since his modern science fiction classic Children of Men, which released in 2006. (Check out Cuarón’s recent revelations about how one of that movie’s iconic moments was born of a happy accident.) With everything we’ve seen so far, it looks like Gravity will (hopefully) be one of the best films of the year.
Gravity will land in theaters on October 4, in 3D and IMAX.