Reel Talk: Gravity

    It makes sense that the director, screenwriter, producer and editor of “Gravity,” Alfonso Cuaron, was born to a nuclear physicist father who worked for the United Nations' International Atomic Energy Agency. Cuaron’s “Gravity,” the unique story of a scientist miserably lost in dark space after a satellite explosion, is a special effects technology leap. Made specifically for 3-D from day one of pre-production, this film will have anyone who watches it, literally feeling as if they are floating among the stars. Using advancements that have never been seen before in Hollywood, even “Avatar” creator James Cameron is impressed. “I think it’s the best space photography ever done. I think it’s the best space film ever done,” he told Variety. “It’s the movie I’ve been hungry to see for an awful long time.”

    Dedicated to birthing picture perfect weightless effects, the intricate and innovative undertaking of making “Gravity” turned director Cuaron’s hair grayer than Obama after his first presidential term. Except this movie took a little longer to finish, four and half years to be exact, because of the extensive research conducted with physicists and astronauts to understand the behavior of zero gravity. A box called “The Cage” was created consisting of 6 LED panels and millions of lights, surrounding the actors, hooked up to harnesses. Outside of this box was a robot, featuring a camera inside, which raced along a track around the cage, popping its arm in and out of openings to manifest the effect of floating in space.

    Still, for Cuaron, who was born in Mexico and wrote the film with his son, it wasn’t right. Originally scheduled to be released in November 2012, when the deadline came, things were still “up in the air.” In an interview with The Daily Beast, he admits telling Warner Brothers, “'I need a year!' They were very supportive, but weren’t too happy. And then you see reports that say the movie is in trouble, and you’re like, ‘We can’t even be in trouble yet. At least let us finish it and show you that it indeed sucks first.’ The amazing thing is that the more money it takes for a movie to get made, the more you feel like everybody wants you to fail."

    One $80 million dollar budget later, and a list of potential castings including everyone from Robert Downey Jr. to Angelina Jolie who dropped out the intense final cut features Sandra Bullock as medical engineer Dr. Ryan Stone, and George Clooney, who plays veteran astronaut Matt Kowalski. During its making, Bullock spent days on a soundstage in London, as the lone actor, hooked up to rigs in darkness. “You’re frustrated because you can’t accomplish something. There’s no control. I was always out of my element,” she said in an interview with the Associated Press. “I just went wow, isn’t that funny how being miserable every day physically and then emotionally because of work makes you open to whatever is coming your way.”

    Good things are coming to Bullock. "Gravity” is “Castaway” in outer space, minus the Wilson soccer ball. Tom Hanks was Oscar nominated for carrying his film. And Bullock, rightfully so, is buzzing as a front-runner for best actress. Undoubtedly, her performance will be a favorite among academy voters and SAG cardholders alike. While “Gravity” seems destined to be the visual, special effects favorite of sci-fi technology lovers and geeks for years to come.