While Warner Bros. does indeed deserve credit for bravely sticking with “Gravity” over a complicated four year development/production process, particularly for a film in a genre that isn’t known for being the most consistent performer at the box office, that’s not to say they didn’t initially have concerns. One can only imagine that the concept of a thriller set entirely space, largely around a single character, wasn’t initially an easy sell, and director Alfonso Cuarón has revealed some of the feedback he initially received from executives about “Gravity.” And warning, spoilers below.
Of the many elements of the film that add to sheer and palpable panic facing astronaut Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock) as she floats in space is a stretch of time when she’s utterly alone, unable to make contact with Mission Control (voiced by Ed Harris). But at first, the studio suggested that team in Houston should get more face time. “…there are a lot of ideas. People start suggesting other stuff. ‘You need to cut to Houston, and see how the rescue mission goes,’ ” Cuaron told io9.
And that’s not all. Part of the emotional journey of “Gravity” rests on Stone’s backstory, which includes a daughter she lost, but this is all effectively communicated without breaking the single location concept. However, Cuarón was advised to perhaps include some flashbacks in the film and even more. “A whole thing with…a romantic relationship with the Mission Control Commander, who is in love with her. All of that kind of stuff. What else? To finish with a whole rescue helicopter, that would come and rescue her. Stuff like that,” he explained of the some of the ideas that were floated his way.
And while he ultimately stuck to his vision, Cuarón understands why Warner Bros. may have been concerned and praises them for taking a leap of faith. “…I have to say, with all the people—and we’re talking about the studio—in the end, they were all very respectful because they had a clear view of what we were doing. And I understand all this,” he said. “You have to understand that in this is the process…in many ways I don’t know how they did it.”
“Gravity” is now playing. See it on the biggest screen possible.