By Oliver Lyttelton | www.oliverlyttelton.com October 20, 2010 at 1:02AM
In recent years, the winners of the Best Actress award at the Oscars have tended to celebrate their victories by taking rather ill-advised paycheck jobs which threatened to derail their careers for some time. Think Halle Berry and "Catwoman." Nicole Kidman and "The Stepford Wives." Charlize Theron and "Aeon Flux." (Not that the boys necessarily do any better with their post-Oscar picks: Adrien Brody, Forest Whitaker, Cuba Gooding Jr. we're looking at you...). But Sandra Bullock, coming off not only her first Oscar for "The Blind Side," but also becoming the first actress to have two $200 million smashes in the same year (her award-winning picture and rom-com "The Proposal") is a smarter cookie.
While she's been linked to various projects since the year began, including the Holocaust drama "Never Forget," Peter Hedges' "The Odd Life Of Timothy Green" and Walter Salles' "Our Wild Life," she has remained commitment-shy, with Jennifer Garner and Julia Roberts eventually taking on the roles in the latter two projects. Now, The Hollywood Reporter has news of another possible project on Bullocks' slate, as well as, elsewhere, some news of what might firmly be her next project.
The trade reports that Warner Bros have picked up a pitch from writers Pamela Falk and Michael Ellis ("The Wedding Planner"), that Bullock is attached to star in, and that "The Proposal" director Anne Fletcher will helm. The director/star pairing were already set to reunite with Ryan Reynolds on the action-comedy "Most Wanted," but with Reynolds booked solid through next year, we imagine we're a while away from seeing that. Instead, the new project is described as a blend of "Saturday Night Fever" and Paul Mazursky's "An Unmarried Woman," and so will presumably revolve around a woman who recovers from a bitter divorce by going to a Brooklyn nightclub. Or something.
The film won't be Bullock's next project, however. The trade says, as previously reported, that Bullock is mulling over offers for both Stephen Daldry's "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close," an adaptation of the Jonathan Safran Foer novel which may co-star Tom Hanks, and the hot potato lead role in Alfonso Cuaron's space drama "Gravity," opposite Robert Downey Jr.
However, Deadline says, in a story on the Fletcher project, that Warners "recently signed Bullock to team with Robert Downey Jr. in the Alfonso Cuaron-directed film "Gravity." Could it be true? Is the deal done? Mike Fleming's sources are normally rock solid, but it would seem odd for the news to break this way, with a throwaway sentence in a story on something else. If it is true, however, we're fairly pleased; Bullock was seen as more-or-less the last hope for a project that's struggled to find a lead ever since Angelina Jolie bailed, and if she'd turned it down (or does turn it down), it's unlikely the film would have gone before cameras. The interest in casting Bullock is a move not altogether surprising considering her Oscar win and $450 million box office intake last year. It's quite the compliment too with big names like Marion Cotillard, Carey Mulligan, Abbie Cornish, Rebecca Hall, Olivia Wilde and Blake Lively all reportedly in the mix during various stages of the casting process.
It'll be a major role even for Bullock, who would feature on-screen for the majority of the time. Early reports revealed the plan for the film to include up to 60% CG feature animation, be shot in Cuaron's trademark fluid style and feature an opening shot intended to last at least 20 minutes. Whether casting changes have affected this or the budget remains to be seen. Shooting was originally planned for late-'10 but with all the casting dilemmas, its now planned to shoot after co-star Robert Downey Jr. finishes work on "The Avengers" early in 2011.
It's also unclear what this would mean for "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close" and if the the film will wait for Bullock to be done with "Gravity," or try to recast. With Tom Hanks thought to be circling Kathryn Bigelow's "Sleeping Dogs," Daldry's film may now be without both of its leads. We're sure official confirmation will come in a day or two, either way.