With its US release date fast approaching, the promotional tour for Gravity – arguably the movie event of year – kicked into high gear this week; with Academy Award winner Sandra Bullock unveiling new clips for the critically-adorned drama on the American talk show circuit.
Appearing on The Tonight Show With Jay Leno, Bullock discussed her new movie. Gravity sees her play one of two astronauts stranded in space after debris destroys their shuttle during a routine space walk. Co-starring fellow Oscar winner George Clooney, the nail-biting tension unfolds into a desperate struggle to survive in the harshest environment imaginable.
The film, written by Alfonso Cuarón and his son Jonas, languished in development hell for a number of years while they waited for technology to catch up with their ambition for this space-set drama. Pre-production finally began in 2009, although it was not until 2011 that cameras finally began to roll on principal photography, with Bullock and Clooney in the hot-seats and the elder Cuarón directing. Since then, audiences around the world have been waiting to see how this award-winning team would bring this concept to the screen.
Realising that the traditional methods of lighting and filming actors would not work for this project, the filmmakers created a nine-foot light-box that was walled with an LED screen. This enabled them to meticulously plan and time the movements of their astronauts, while managing their spectacular backdrop. The finished result – as seen in the trailer and clips – is the closest any film has come to shooting a space-set film on location, in terms of aesthetics. The incredible views of the Earth below, juxtaposed with the black void of space, and soundtracked by gasps for air, create the perfect atmosphere of panic and dread.
But, it’s not all about the special effects. The momentum that this film is gaining ahead of its release is as much about the script as it is about visual impact. Advance screenings have apparently revealed Gravity to be a film that keeps the plot and action tight, and the characters well written. Early word suggests that Bullock may well have delivered the performance of her career, so far.
As the first 3D feature ever to open the world famous Venice Film Festival, this movie has already made cinematic history. However, it also looks set to drift its way to box office glory and, as the film industry’s awards season heats up, Gravity may soon be weighing heavily on many nominations lists.
Gravity is released in the US on October 4th, 2013, and in the UK on November 8th, 2013.