THR-directors

As we mentioned a few days ago, one of the great pleasures of the award season, which does arrive each year with a grand set of problems and irritants, is that filmmakers are given more opportunities than usual to discuss their work, and some of those opportunities are more extensive than others. THR has created a series of “creative roundtables” over the past few years, in which likely Oscar candidates talk with each other about their work.

Below you’ll find the new directors roundtable, in which Steve McQueen, Paul Greengrass, David O. Russell, Ben Stiller, Alfonso Cuaron and Lee Daniels discuss all manner of topics related to filmmaking. Make time for the 50-minute talk; it’s very much worth it. Read More »

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Aningaaq

(Note: Spoilers for Gravity follow.)

Alfonso Cuarón‘s Gravity doesn’t really need extra frills to make it better, but a companion short film directed by Cuarón’s son and co-writer Jonás Cuarón could enhance the experience all the same. “Aningaaq” revisits a key scene from the feature in which Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock) happens to make contact with someone on Earth — only from the perspective of the Inuit fisherman (played by Orto Ignatiussen) on the other side.

The short didn’t play in front of U.S. screenings of Gravity, unfortunately, but it could get some added attention as the Oscar race heats up for both it and Gravity. In a recent interview, the Cuaróns took the time to explain “Aningaaq,” and how it came about. Hit the jump to see what they had to say.

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Gravity set

Neil deGrasse Tyson’s complaints notwithstanding, Gravity has been hailed by most moviegoers as being one of the most realistic depictions of space travel ever put to film. It’s so realistic, in fact, that one reporter seemed fooled entirely.

At a recent press conference for the film, a journalist asked director Alfonso Cuarón about the challenges of shooting in space. The guy probably wasn’t being entirely serious — it turns out he works for a comedy show — but he later defended his question anyway, saying, “Don’t tell me I was the only one who had that doubt.” Hit the jump to watch how it all went down.

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Warner Bros. Suggested Some Major ‘Gravity’ Changes

Gravity

Having a strong story vision and a strong producer are of paramount importance when trying to guide a film through the studio machine. Without those elements, any given story can fall prey to different visions, or to the fear executives have of working with the unusual or unproven, or (worse) an idea they can’t quite visualize for themselves.

When faced with such things, the typical approach is to shoehorn in tried and true elements to make the story in question look more “normal.”

Alsonfo Cuarón has recently explained just how studio execs’ need for safety and easy visualization nearly came together with his new film Gravity. If Cuarón and his team had been less solid, the film might have fallen prey to the studio impulse to make things softer and safer. We might have seen flashback scenes, or a love story subplot, or even a male version of Sandra Bullock’s character. Cuarón explains below. Read More »

Gravity BTS

Almost all modern films rely heavily on sound to make an impact. With Alfonso Cuaron‘s Gravity, however, the things we don’t hear are just as important as those we do. Taking place entirely in space, with scenes set in the vacuum between spacecraft and within those crafts themselves, the film features a more realistic type of sound design than we’ve seen in most space-based films.

So while we hear dialogue transmitted through suit audio and some sounds of interaction channeled as vibrations through space suits worn by Sandra Bullock and George Clooney, some of the big events in the film go down without the typical booming movie sound effects. Seeing spacecraft disintegrate in near-silence turns out to be far more effective in some ways than the same scene would be with standard effects — could we see Gravity effecting any big change in how certain films are soundtracked? Here’s hoping.

Regardless, there’s a lot to talk about with respect to the creation of sound effects in Gravity. The great Soundworks Collection has a ten-minute video on the subject, which you can enjoy below. Read More »

Gravity

Alfonso Cuaron‘s Gravity landed with a huge splash this weekend, earning near-unanimous critical praise and exceeding all box office predictions to become the biggest October opening in history. Much of the appeal lay in the film’s verisimilitude. As several reviewers put it, Gravity is the closest that most of us non-astronauts will ever get to space.

But wowing general audiences who don’t know the first thing about actual space travel is one thing. Passing muster with experts is quite another. While astronaut Buzz Aldrin wrote that he was “extravagantly impressed,” astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson took to Twitter to point out everything the movie got wrong. Hit the jump to see what they had to say.

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Gravity BTS

A genius filmmakers has a brilliant idea. But there are problems: it’s going to cost untold millions of dollars to realize, and he has no clue how to make it happen. Enter a great producer.

This is what happened with Alfonso Cuaron‘s latest film, Gravity. From the outset, the small space-set movie was incredibly ambitious. No one knew exactly how to make it feel and look like the action was happening in space. So even with two A-list stars attached, the movie was a gamble. It took the watchful eye of a man Warner Bros. truly trusted. That man was David Heyman, the producer primarily responsible for bringing a little franchise called Harry Potter to the studio and making them billions. He’d previously worked with Cuaron on Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban and was Cuaron’s first phone call when looking for someone to help make his near impossible vision a reality.

/Film had the opportunity to speak to Heyman about this gargantuan task. We asked how Cuaron approached him, how he approached the studio, how you budget a film that is literally inventing technology and what one tiny change took two and half months right under the wire. Check it out below. Read More »

Gravity teaser poster header

There are few theatrical experiences as intense as seeing Gravity on a giant screen in 3D. Alfonso Cuaron‘s latest film, opening October 4, is one of the most visually and sonically impressive films in recent memory as the two elements work in beautiful tandem to enthrall the audience. It’s a must-see in 3D because the third dimension is used very specifically to enhance the tension and sense of fear. You feel as if you’re right there, floating in space with two astronauts (Sandra Bullock and George Clooney) who are about to have a very bad day.

Below, watch a featurette which explains how Cuaron and company used 3D as a main character. Read More »

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