Last we checked, Scarlett Johansson had “verbally agreed” to star opposite Robert Downey Jr in Alfonso Cuarón’s Gravity, though now it appears the deal has not yet advanced beyond such a stage. You may have noticed a gossip report last week that Green Lantern starlet Blake Lively was “scheming to steal” the plum role out from under Johansson’s nose. It looks like there may be some truth to the rumor, as a follow-up from Heat Vision indicates that Lively and Johansson are currently neck and neck to play the “female astronaut lost in space” at the core of the film.
After Angelina Jolie dropped out of the project, Warner Bros. tested a few of Hollywood’s loveliest actresses, including Inception star Marion Cotillard. Over the past two weeks, Lively and Johannson emerged as the “likeliest candidates,” with the final decision expected before the end of the month. Hit the jump for more details on the film.
Gravity is Cuarón’s first film since 2006’s Children of Men, which in and of itself is enough to get us excited for the film even before Downey signed on. But the role that these blonde twentysomethings are vying for is more central to the film’s narrative. Here’s a brief outline courtesy of Heat Vision:
The movie’s plot revolves around astronauts repairing the Hubble telescope who are hit with an avalanche of satellite junk. In a plot akin to “Cast Away,” the surviving astronaut must fight her way back to Earth, where she hopes to reunite with her daughter.
The visual effects company Framestore is working on the film, and at one point posted a wealth of information on their website. It has been taken down, but here’s an excerpt from The Playlist that addresses the technical aspects of Gravity:
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.