Cinema has long had a fascination with outer space, and 2013 has proven that in spades, with a large selection of space-related films getting due releases - from the lackluster budget busters Oblivion and After Earth to more subdued affairs like Europa Report. And despite what may seem like genre frontloading, the rest of 2013 has its own share of arguably more anticipated space stories, with Neil Blomkamp’s Elysium and David Twohy’s Riddick both coming out in the next two months.
But what may be the most exciting upcoming sci-fi project of the year is Alfonso Cuarón’s Gravity, both because of its intriguing subject matter and the fact that Cuarón hasn’t made a feature since 2007’s masterpiece Children of Men. Since the breathtaking teaser trailer was released in May we’ve been waiting for another look at this flick, and now USA Today has given us the first Gravity still, seen above, which features a headset-wearing Sandra Bullock just floating about...since gravity is for Earth squares.
Cuarón and producer David Heyman shared some insight on what went into making a film where the actors are rarely standing on solid ground. “We wanted to shoot the whole film showing zero gravity with the actors moving in a choreographic way," Cuarón said to the newspaper. “This has never been done before. It was a journey of learning. But it looks pretty darn good.” Indeed, though there’s something very depressing about it all as well."
The film centers on Bullock’s medical engineer character Dr. Ryan Stone, whose first space mission - which happens to be with George Clooney’s veteran astronaut Matt Kowalsky – goes downhill when their shuttle is destroyed by a cluster of debris. The two float in space for a while, though it looks like Stone is the one who actually makes it through most of the film.
“Sandra had to be in tremendous shape for this kind of filming,” Heyman said. The scope-filled floating space scenes were shot at England’s Shepperton Studios and included elaborate wire work and a 9-foot cube specially constructed for the production - plus a ton of CGI of course (perhaps this was some of the technology that James Cameron helped out with, as the duo recently revealed). But at least Bullock was able to keep it comfy in a skintight undershirt and shorts.
“She’s confronted with the idea that Earth is so far away. She can see the whole Earth and she doesn’t belong to it,” Cuarón said. “What is really scary for people is being lost or alone in the immensity of the void." This whole concept is the main reason I’m so intrigued with this film. While many movies can tweak my emotions, it’s rare to have my entire state of mind get shifted, and I hope that happens here.
Gravity will premiere at the Venice Film Festival on August 28 and will get a full theatrical release on October 4th. Plan on hearing about some of the film’s footage when Comic-Con hits San Diego later this month. Catch the teaser below and remember to keep yourself tethered to whatever is nailed down.