Alfonso Cuaron Talks Alternate Ending to GRAVITY, Scientific Criticisms, CHILDREN OF MEN, Long Takes, Comparing HER to ANNIE HALL, and More

     February 14, 2014


With Gravity set to hit 3D Blu-ray, Blu-ray, and DVD on February 25th, and the film standing as the slight frontrunner to win Best Picture, director Alfonso Cuaron took to Reddit to do an AMA.  He answered plenty of questions, but my favorite one was when he was asked if there was an ending to Gravity where Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock) dies.  Cuaron responded, “We had an alternative ending in which after landing on Earth, Ryan will get back on her feet and as she’s walking away Matt Kovalski falls from the sky and crashes her to death. And then cut to black. Create scroll in silence.” That would be the funniest ending in cinema history. If I had seen that, I would have been struggling to breathe from laughing so hard. I’m now a little disappointed that’s not the actual ending.

Hit the jump for what Cuaron had to say about scientific criticisms directed toward Gravity, long takes, his comparison of Her to Annie Hall, long takes, Children of Men, and much more.

alfonso-cuaron-reddit-amaAs you can probably tell from his “alternate” ending to Gravity, Cuaron has a wry sense of humor. When asked during the Reddit AMA, “if you could meet any person (living or alive), who would it be?” he responded, “Buster Keaton.” When someone asked him if he could ever see himself directing a superhero movie, Cuaron replied, “Speedy Gonzales starring Jackie Chan as the mouse and the pussy cat would be Arnold Schwarzenegger.” It’s a joke, but we would all pay every nickel we had to see that movie.

As for more serious responses, Cuaron addressed those who criticized Gravity for its bad science:

I’m very happy that scientists have taken time to attack or defend GRAVITY. We tried to be as plausible as we could in the frame of our fiction and we worked very hard in honoring the behavior of bodies in micro-gravity and no resistance. But, it’s a movie and that Sandra Bullock is not really an Astronaut in real life.


Cuaron also talked about his acclaimed sci-fi film, Children of Men.  When asked how he got to make it, the director explained:

Universal trusted me with the material and I’m very grateful to them because of that. The fact that I was coming out of Harry Potter didn’t hurt though. We were consciously avoiding the future and every single reference that is portrayed in the film was based upon photo journalism and news reports of the last 10 years. So, we were trying to portray the themes that are shaping our immediate future.

alfonso-cuaron-gravityHe then talked about his favorite scenes to shoot from the film:

My favorite scene to shoot the ambush in the car and the final battle scene. But the biggest challenge of doing that film was to convey to the world the thematics that are shaping the first part of the 21st century. We never intended for it to be a science fiction film, but a look into those themes.

Moving on to praise other filmmakers, he talked about some of his favorite long takes:

I like Jankso‘s [sic] films and I also like the long takes in the Dardenne Brother‘s films. This year i think that Before Midnight offered the most beautiful one shot deals.

He then went on to praise Her:

I absolutely love HER. I think it’s the best film about love that speaks directly to an age since ANNIE HALL. It’s a beautiful film that also explores questions about the nature of love and consciousness. But, as I told Spike [Jonze], I’m torn between HER and BAD GRANDPA.

Cuaron also pointed out Mexican directors that could use some more attention:

I am in constant communication with Alejandro [González Iñárritu] and Guillermo [Del Toro], they are great friends. But its important not to forget the two other Mexican directors Amat Escalante y Carlos Reygadas who have won the award for best director at the Cannes Film Festival in the past two years.

gravity - alfonso cuaronAnd said the last movie he saw at the theater was:

THE GREAT BEAUTY. I’m a huge fan of Paolo Sorrentino. I think he’s one of the most interesting filmmakers today.

As for his larger thoughts about cinema, he said that when it comes to studying film:

I think some of the important things when you’re studying film is study film history and understand the evolution of the cinematic language. To have a frame of reference on how to develop you’re own language. But as in everything, the most important thing about studying film is being aware of the world around you and human experience.

Comparing filmmaking in Hollywood to Mexico:

It’s an absolute different. In the US there’s a huge global industry called Hollywood while Mexico, as most of the countries of the world, they have smaller industries that they feed mostly the mexican market. That’s from the standpoint of industry. From the standpoint of cinema, Mexican filmmakers generally owe more to European cinema than to Hollywood filmmakers. I would love to eventually do another film in Spanish and in Mexico. I will definitely do so when the project calls me.

And his thoughts on the future of cinema:

There used to be only one paradigm: the experience of going to the theaters. Later on, that paradigm was dual: people would watch movies in the cinema and also on TV. Later on came home video and now we have all these different formats. There used to be only be visuals, then there came sound, and then color. Now we’re making the transition into the digital formats where everybody can have affordable systems in their homes. What I believe is that, because of the new ways of production and distribution, multiple paradigms are going to be created. They are going to co-exist. Each one of these paradigms is going to constantly evolve and go in many different directions. I think all of this is very exciting because it’s going to challenge our current conceptions of cinema in which the format of experience of film and/or the length are going to very diverse.


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