Alfonso Cuarón's Gravity Will Be 60% CGI, Opening Shot Is Over 20 Minutes Long

We have a few updates on Alfonso Cuarón's 3D sci-fi space thriller Gravity starring Robert Downey Jr.. The film will apparently be 60% CGI, shot using a high balance of hybrid CG and live action elements like Avatar. And fans of Cuaron's long continuous takes will be excited to learn that the opening shot will last at least 20 minutes.

When will this movie be in theaters? I want it now! More information after the jump.

The Playlist discovered a listing on UK-based special effects company Framestore (recent projects include: Avatar, Clash of the Titans, they have worked with Alfanso on Children of Men and Harry Potter) providing more information about the project. Here is an excerpt:

  • The entire film will be made here at Framestore. In effect the film, as Avatar was, is 60% CG feature animation with the balance being hybrid CG and live action elements.
  • Starring Robert Downey Junior, the film is a contemporary survival thriller that follows a woman as she attempts to make her way back to earth after a satellite crash sets off a chain reaction of further crashes. Because it's set in space, most shots require every element to float in zero-gravity.
  • But then factor in that this a stylish Cuarón flick, directed with his trademark languid feel, and you begin to realize the full scale of our challenge. Cuarón's long and fluid style (the opening shot alone is slated to last at least 20 minutes) leaves no cut points to hide behind. In short, this is a hybrid of a fully animated, photo-real feature film with a blockbusting visual effects movie.
  • This is CG feature animation meets real world on a large and beautiful scale.
  • Deadline also reported earlier today that Downey Jr will "start production on the Alfonso Cuaron-directed 3D space film 'Gravity,' leave to shoot 'Sherlock Holmes 2,' and then return to finish with Cuaron." Sherlock 2 is scheduled to hit theaters for Christmas 2011, so we can probably expect to see Cuaron's film in 2012.

    Downey will play the leader of a team posted at a remote space station. "While he and a female colleague are traveling outside the space station, the other team members are decimated by debris from an exploded satellite." The female lead has yet to be cast.


    The project is written by his 28-year-old son, Jonás (The Shock Doctrine). In the original script, the sole surviving human member of the space mission was the female character (originally, to be played by Angelina Jolie), who is desperately trying to return home to Earth. The report at the time was that she was to be the only actor on screen for most of the movie, and that Jolie would also be playing her own daughter. I'm not quite sure what has been changed.

    Apparently the project was originally set up at Universal with Jolie attached but the studio put the project in turnaround, and it landed at Warner Bros with Harry Potter series producer David Heyman and Legendary Pictures. Cuarón is best known as the master filmmaker behind Children of Men, and he also helmed the best film in the Harry Potter series: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, as well as the classic Y tu mamá también.