While 2011 has been marked by the number of high profile projects that have been iced ("The Dark Tower" and "At the Mountains of Madness" among the biggest), Alfonso Cuarón miraculously avoided the same fate when last year, his ambitious sci-fi tale "Gravity" looked like it was about to crash against the rocks.
Angelina Jolie was first attached, initially kicking the project to life. She then bailed and a broad array of talent including Marion Cotillard, Scarlett Johansson, Blake Lively and Natalie Portman were loosely associated and/or rumored for the role before “The Blind Side” star Sandra Bullock stepped in. Things again stalled out when co-star Robert Downey Jr. had to bail to make the "The Avengers," once more leaving the project in doubt until George Clooney stepped in to save the day. But perhaps he didn't know what he was in for. The 3D film was long rumored to be a project that would be 60% CG with a 20-minute opening shot, with Guillermo del Toro recently marveling that the production was five years ahead of its time. But it seems all this technical wizardry didn't exactly endear Clooney, who is no hurry to go back to being filmed in three dimensions.
"It is the first time I've been in 3-D and, hopefully, the last time," he told USA Today. And though he hasn't actually seen it, he updates that, "It's not near ready yet. They just showed the first cut to the studio."
So don't bother calling Clooney for anything, James Cameron. And while the movie has a primo fall release date pegged for next year, we always thought it was a weird fit considering at least in the draft we read, the film is a straightforward action-sci-fi picture, albeit utilizing long stretches of silence. However, Clooney intones one of the greatest sci-fi movies of all time as a comparison point. "It's a two-hander with only two actors in the whole film," he says. "It is a very odd film, really. Two people in space. No monsters. It's more like '2001' than an action film."
But take that suggestion with a grain salt. It's an accessible genre piece and the film is more in feel to something like a space-bound "127 Hours." Set on a remote space station, the story begins as a team of astronauts are on an expedition outside the station, but only the team leader (Clooney) and his female colleague (Bullock) are left alive after an exploding satellite kills the other members of the crew, setting off a desperate race home for the latter to get to her child. So yeah, not exactly a mind-bending narrative, but a propulsive yet quasi-experimental piece. It will certainly be one of the brainier blockbusters you are likely to see.
Still a long wait for this one. It will hit theaters on November 21, 2012.