'Gravity' Thrills Comic-Con With Intense Long Takes And Sandra Bullock

Alfonso Cuaron both likes, and dislikes, the teaser trailer for his upcoming film Gravity. He told Hall H at Comic-Con a trailer full of explosions doesn't really tell the true story of the movie. He said the movie is a very intense, emotional journey that puts the viewer in an immersive experience. Hopefully, that experience should make them feel like they're floating in space. Plus, there's no sound in space, so you can't hear any explosions.

To illustrate, he showed a several minute long, long take featuring stars George Clooney and Sandra Bullock at the moment where they realize this trip into space is not going to go well. The shot sweeps all over their ship. Down, around, upside down, all leading up to a rogue, debris field that'll crash with the astronauts and send Bullock's character off into space. To say the shot was intense and scary would be an understatement.

Read more about the shot, as well as some tidbits from the panel, below.

The shot, which a written description certainly wouldn't do justice, starts on a pieceful view of Earth and Clooney talking about the gorgeous view (which you hear/see in the trailer). It ends with the final shot of the trailer, which is Bullock's character shooting off into the darkness. Imagine the madness that must take place to get from one image to the other. Now imagine all that action in one take with a camera that's floating like it's in space. Plus, that's just one shot in the film. The Comic-Con exclusive footage ended with a montage that showed an even bigger series of satellite destruction with Bullock's character hiding in a crevice.

Cuaron was joined on the panel by producer David Heyman (Harry Potter) and Sandra Bullock, making it her first trip to Comic-Con ever. Here are a few interesting tidbits.

  • First, Cuaron's mixed feeling on the trailer. There's too much action, which is not representative of the movie. Plus no sound in space. But he realizes it works.
  • Much of the floating effect was done with a custom-made 9x9 foot cube which Bullock was fastened into. It was controlled by robots like the ones that would make a car and had a camera attached that could move every which way. At times, the camera would literally zoom in from several feet away and stop one inch away from Bullock's face.
  • Since Bullock had her head in a helmet all of the time, Cuaron created CDs of sounds and music that were specific to each and every scene. They set the mood.
  • Bullock wanted the character to have an androgynous look.
  • Cuaron thinks Duel is Steven Spielberg's best film.
  • Long takes are not for hard for Cuaron. He said they're just hard for every single other person.

Gravity opens October 4.