| SAN DIEGO, July 20
SAN DIEGO, July 20 Among the monster movies and
fantasy films showcased at pop culture convention Comic-Con, the
space thriller "Gravity" stood out from the field on Saturday
with its different setting and two-person cast, as Mexican
director Alfonso Cuaron took a leap into space with Sandra
Bullock and George Clooney.
Cuaron, 51, teamed up with son Jonas Cuaron, 30, to
construct a nail-biter set in space, as two astronauts played by
Bullock and Clooney become trapped in a space station after
debris rips through their vessel.
"The whole film becomes a metaphor for something very
grounded on earth, so you don't need to be an astronaut to
identify with that. The big villain in the film is space debris,
and that space debris becomes a metaphor for adversities,"
Cuaron told Reuters.
In a "Gravity" clip shown exclusively to the Comic-Con
audience in San Diego, Clooney and Bullock are seen on a space
walk with Earth in the background. Suddenly, they lose contact
with ground control and are forced to try to take cover from
high-velocity space debris.
The Warner Bros. film opens in U.S. theaters on Oct. 4.
Movie studios use Comic-Con, an annual comics convention, to
tease tidbits of upcoming fantasy, monster and science-fiction
films and create buzz among a base of hard-core fans. More than
125,000 visitors are expected this year.
Cuaron said he and his son were inspired by the Kessler
syndrome, which predicts that a chain reaction of space junk
hitting each other would produce so much orbiting debris that
space flight would become too risky.
Jonas co-wrote the script with his father, who built a
career outside Mexico with films like "Children of Men" and
"Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban."
"I think if anybody sees my other films and then sees
'Gravity,' it's a big leap," said Alfonso Cuaron, who said Jonas
convinced him to rely less on dialogue and more on emotion and
"That was very refreshing for me, it's connecting with a
younger, fresher sensibility," the director added.
BULLOCK GOES FOR ANDROGYNY
The biggest challenge, Jonas said, was creating the illusion
of dealing with zero gravity and they were eager to stay true to
"Space was a great setting, because in space, we as humans
are definitely not meant to be there," Jonas said. "There's no
oxygen, there's no air pressure, temperatures fluctuate, so it's
a situation where at any moment, anything could go wrong."
At a Warner Bros. panel at the convention on Saturday,
Bullock gave the audience of 6,000 a glimpse of how she prepared
to play astronaut Dr Ryan Stone.
"I wanted her to look almost androgynous in a way, because
she had experienced such loss in life ... I wanted her to have a
body of someone who didn't want to remind herself of what she
lost, almost like a robot," the actress said.
Cuaron said this is one of Bullock's most "raw and
emotionally honest" performances, and that audiences more
familiar with her comedy roles in films such as "Miss
Congeniality" and last month's "The Heat" would be surprised.
"Sandra knew she was going to be so exposed being alone for
such long periods of time in the film, that she would be
emotionally so exposed. I found that she was very courageous
about it," the director said.