“Gravity,” the new film from “Children of Men” auteur Alfonso Cuaron about a pair of astronauts (played by Sandra Bullock and George Clooney) adrift in outer space following a calamitous event, doesn’t seem like your typical Comic-Con movie (ie. not based on a comic or featuring dudes in spandex). But the film, which is set to open the Venice Film Festival in August with a domestic bow in October, needs all the hype it can get. It’s has been in active production since 2010 and has missed its release date at least once already. “It’s been an amazing miscalculation,” Cuaron told the Hall H crowd.
The original plan was to shoot “Gravity” quickly and be done with it a few months later. “We can shoot it in one year and we’re out,” Cuaron recalled telling Emmanuel Lubezki, his long-time collaborator and cinematographer, according to The Wrap. That exchange happened five years ago. “For next 4 ½ years [Lubezki] kept on reminding me of that,” Cuaron said.
Cuaron is infamous for pushing cutting-edge technology and his insistence on unbroken single takes (the script describes the opening shot of “Gravity” as going on for more than twenty minutes). This required a lot of trial and error, including several rides on the Vomit Comet, a large airplane that reaches stratospheric heights before dive-bombing down towards earth, which produces weightlessness, something Ron Howard utilized for “Apollo 13.” (Cuaron couldn’t use it because his movie is about falling, not floating, and you could only utilize the Vomit Comet’s powers for about “20 seconds.”)
Moreover, he animated the movie first to help work out how it would be shot live. “We animated the whole film before. We could have released an animated version with the voices of Sandra Bullock and George Clooney,” the director told Huffington Post. “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.”
From the reports it sounds like Cuaron has been somewhat worn down by the process, and is about ready for it to be over. ““It was supposed to be ready last November and was not ready. I haven’t finished it yet. One day I’ll finish it.” “One day” better be very soon— it is scheduled to open Venice on August 28th!
Once he’s finally done with “Gravity,” what next? Well, he told the crowd at Hall H that he wants to do a horror film. Yes please. Just don’t take five years, okay?
“Gravity” opens wide on October 4th. We hope.