It's a few months since any concrete news was heard on Alfonso Cuaron's mooted next film, "Gravity," and we were beginning to be concerned. We loved the script, but with Angelina Jolie seemingly passing on the project, the film was left without a lead, although Robert Downey Jr. confirmed a little while ago that he would be appearing in the project. Earlier today, we were concerned that the appointment of Sam Raimi to the director's chair of "Oz The Great and Powerful" might have scuppered the project.
But not to worry, it seems that the film is definitely moving forward. Deadline reported earlier today that Downey Jr. will "start production on the Alfonso Cuaron-directed 3D space film 'Gravity,' leave to shoot 'Sherlock Holmes 2,' and then return to finish with Cuaron." Furthermore, we've had a tip-off from a helpful reader (you know who you are, thank you!) that seems to back this up.
The website of Framestore, arguably the U.K's biggest special effects company (with an Oscar for "The Golden Compass," among a huge list of credits including, most recently, "Avatar," "Clash of the Titans" and "Prince of Persia," as well as Cuaron's "Children of Men") is advertising for people to join their crew on "Gravity." In fact, there's a whole section on their website revealing new details on the film. You can read the full excerpt below, but, in short, the film will be hugely-CGI heavy, with the company drawing comparisons to "Avatar" in terms of the workload, calling it "60% CG feature animation." What would seem to make this a real challenge is that the film is set in the present day, or at least the very near future, so this is presumably intending to really push photo-realistic CGI to new levels.
Furthermore, the film will be shot in Cuaron's trademark fluid style, with an opening shot intended to last at least 20 minutes. The same piece confirms that Downey Jr. is in the cast, but also that he's not playing the lead; that the plot still follows "a woman as she attempts to make her way back to Earth after a satellite crash sets off a chain reaction of further crashes." We'd speculated privately that we weren't sure if the film would get made without Jolie — there are few female stars of her stature, particularly capable of carrying a sci-fi action movie. But, unless she's reattached herself to the project, it would seem that Warners have decided that having Downey Jr. (who is really among the top two or three movie stars in the world right now) alone will be enough, and that they're free to go with a smaller name.
Even before this, it sounded like a hugely ambitious, expensive movie, but even we hadn't guessed the scope of Cuaron's plans for the film. But we're extremely happy it is moving towards production; it's got the potential to be something above and beyond your average blockbuster, landing somewhere between Danny Boyle's "Sunshine," "The Hurt Locker" and "Touching the Void." Hopefully a female lead will be announced in the coming weeks, and we should see the finished film some time in 2012. In the meantime, the full text from Framestore's site after the jump.
Framestore is about to embark on one of its greatest challenges yet, Gravity is the next Avatar in terms of ambition. There are many innovative and visually stunning aims for this project.
The entire film will be made here at Framestore. In effect the film, as Avatar was, is 60% CG feature animation with the balance being hybrid CG and live action elements.
Starring Robert Downey Junior, the film is a contemporary survival thriller that follows a woman as she attempts to make her way back to earth after a satellite crash sets off a chain reaction of further crashes. Because it's set in space, most shots require every element to float in zero-gravity.
But then factor in that this is a stylish Cuarón flick, directed with his trademark languid feel, and you begin to realise the full scale of our challenge. Cuarón's long and fluid style (the opening shot alone is slated to last at least 20 minutes) leaves no cut points to hide behind. In short, this is a hybrid of a fully animated, photo-real feature film with a blockbusting visual effects movie.
Fortunately, having worked with Alfonso before on Harry Potter and Children of Men, we know one another extremely well. Now we are looking for the best talent in the world to help us realise this massive and beautiful film. Over the next few weeks we are interviewing and looking at reels of those in-house who want to join in as well as making trips to the US, Canada and Australia.
This is CG feature animation meets real world on a large and beautiful scale.