Sandra Bullock on Tap if Natalie Portman Passes on Alfonso Cuarón’s GRAVITY

     September 12, 2010

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I’m excited for the day when Warner Bros. and Alfonso Cuarón finally settle on a lead for Gravity.  The film was initially an Angelina Jolie vehicle.  But she passed.  Twice.  Scarlett Johanssen “verbally agreed” to star at one point.  Until she faced competition from Blake Lively.  Cuarón’s first choice is now Natalie Portman, whose acclaimed performance in Black Swan reportedly earned her an offer sans screen test.  But Portman doesn’t guarantee immediate box office: her highest grosser outside the Star Wars franchise was V for Vendetta at $71 million domestic.  The studio has some concern about this, with a project as risky as Gravity.

But who do you turn to, when shopping for a bankable female lead, and Angelina Jolie has passed?  Easy: Sandra Bullock.  Details after the jump.

natalie_portman_image__1_Portman has not yet accepted the offer, and Cinema Blend indicates that Bullock is “waiting in the wings” if she passes.  It sounds like the most stable route forward begins with Portman signing on.  If she decides Gravity is not for her, Cuarón and the studio may again butt heads over casting; apparently, the director prefers budget cuts to megastars.  If the studio doesn’t secure an actress soon, they may lose their second lead, Robert Downey Jr., a vital commercial asset.

Downey has a small window in his schedule before Sherlock Holmes 2 starts shooting.  After Sherlock, Downey is locked in for an intensive Avengers shoot.  The need to re-cast Downey’s role could send the project back into turnaround.  From all indications, we’d be missing out.

The plot centers on “a female astronaut stranded on a space station after satellite debris slams into it and wipes out the rest of the crew,” drawing comparisons to Cast Away.  The eventual lead will spend most of the runtime on screen by herself, with minimal dialogue.  Technically, the film will be heavy on the CGI and 3D.  As in Children of Men, Cuarón is expected to rely on long, single takes.  One script review even suggested that the entire film could be shot in real time, in one take.

I’m not particular about who gets the part.  Just want to see it on the screen.  Make it happen, Warner Bros.

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