Tue, 22 Oct 2013 13:15:00 GMT

The making of 'Gravity'

The cast and crew talk about the making of super-hit outer space thriller 'Gravity'.


The film opens in the silent abyss above the Earth’s atmosphere, where the Shuttle Explorer is in orbit. Mission Specialist Ryan Stone, attached to a robotic arm, is installing a new scanning system on the Hubble Telescope.  Dr. Stone’s obvious discomfort in zero gravity is in stark contrast to Mission Commander Matt Kowalski’s apparent ease. On his final voyage into space, Kowalski, played by Clooney, is having a fine time testing the mettle of a new jet pack that lets him fly unrestrained by the usual tethers.

On the other side of the planet, the intentional demolition of an obsolete satellite has sent sharp fragments hurtling into space, setting off a chain reaction that puts the fast-growing debris field on a collision course with Explorer. The inescapable impact is catastrophic, destroying the shuttle and leaving Stone and Kowalski as the lone survivors. All communication with Mission Control has been lost…and, with it, any chance of rescue. Adrift in the void, the two must find a way to see past their own limitations and escape their inertia if they are ever going to get back to Earth.

'Gravity' was co-written by Alfonso Cuarón and his son, Jonás, marking their first official collaboration. “I was inspired by Jonás’s ideas for the movie,” Alfonso says.

“I was very intrigued by his sense of pace in a life-or-death situation that dealt primarily with a single character’s point of view. But, at the same time, placing the story in space immediately made it more expansive and offered immense metaphorical possibilities.”

Jonás Cuarón adds, “The concept of space was interesting to us both; it is a setting where there is no easy way to survive, thousands of miles from what we call home, so it was perfect for a movie about surmounting adversities and having to find your way back. We also wanted it to be a realistic story, which required us to do extensive research to become familiar with space exploration in order to depict a plausible scenario.”


Early on, Alfonso Cuarón reached out to producer David Heyman, with whom he had collaborated on 'Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban'. Heyman says he relished the opportunity to work with the director again.

“I was so honored when he asked me to get involved. Alfonso is one of the great filmmakers, a man of endless creativity and imagination. He is so inspiring and just makes everybody around him better at what they do.

What I loved about the script was that it was in certain ways a genre film, and yet it was so much more,” Heyman continues.  “How could I not leap at it? Then the practical reality of what making the film would entail began to set in.”

The filmmakers soon discovered that they would need to push the boundaries of moviemaking to tell a story that transpires wholly in zero gravity. “I have to say that I was a bit naïve; I thought making the film would be a lot simpler,” Cuarón admits.

“Yes, I knew it would require a certain amount of tricks, but it was not until we started trying conventional techniques that I realized in order to do the film the way I wanted to do it, we were going to have to create something entirely new.”

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