Alfonso Cuaron’s GRAVITY Moving Forward; 60% CGI with a 20-Minute Opening Shot

     June 16, 2010

In the world of Hollywood, no news is often bad news, and in the case of director Alfonso Cuaron (Children of Men), many were beginning to wonder if his 3D space-based film Gravity had fallen out of orbit. The film lost Angelina Jolie in the lead role, switched from Universal to Warner Bros., and then Robert Downey Jr. came aboard to give Cuaron some proper talent to work with. All seemed fine, but then the silence came. Today, the calm was broken with a flurry of news on the project, and it seems that everything is moving full-steam ahead.

To start, Robert Downey Jr. is definitely still on board, and will actually break up his shoots on the film into two parts. A report from Deadline states that RDJ will begin shooting the film this year, take a break to begin Sherlock Holmes 2, and then return to Gravity. The two films will be shot in London, so this certainly must feel like a great opportunity for RDJ and he is not going to pass on it.  However, the second bit of news is even more intriguing. As I stated earlier, this film will be mainly CGI, and to find out just how much and who is set to handle the effects, hit the jump. Oh, and we also have a tidbit on Cuaron’s affinity for long shots.

alfonso_cuaronFramestore, who won an Academy Award for visual effects on The Golden Compass (and say what you will about the film, but the effects were great), will be handling the CG for Cuaron’s latest film. The effects company is based in London, and previously worked on Children of Men as well as Avatar, Clash of the Titans, and Sherlock Holmes. Additionally, they have a listing on their website (via The Playlist) that mentions the film will be “60% CG feature animation.”

That is a lot of CGI, and when you add the 3D aspect as well, the natural comparison to Avatar starts to form, but there is a difference that The Playlist helpfully points out: the film is based in the near future, not the distant future world of Pandora in Avatar. What does that mean? Simply put, Framestore’s task is even more ambitious because they will be dealing (presumably) with elements that are around today, so they will have to strive for ultra-photo-realism.

The news doesn’t stop there though, as the description of Gravity mentions that the opening for the film will be a single, 20-minute shot, which calls back the amazing cinematography in Children of Men. The other bit of news is that RDJ is not the lead in the film, as it will still focus on “a woman as she attempts to make her way back to Earth after a satellite crash sets off a chain reaction of further crashes.”

That bit of news certainly opens up a can of worms as far as who could be cast in the role to star opposite RDJ. However, Cuaron will be pulling in a ton of interest now that they seem to be moving forward with the project. I certainly expect an announcement for the female lead to be made within the next month, as I am sure they have been searching behind the scenes, but have kept it quiet. Either way, keep it tuned to Collider for more on the exciting and ambitious Gravity, which is slated to hit theaters sometime in 2012.

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