‘Gravity’ Reactions From Scientific Icons; Clooney Wrote Key Scene in Film

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Gravity Scientific fact vs. Fiction Gravity Reactions From Scientific Icons; Clooney Wrote Key Scene in Film

[WARNING: Major Gravity SPOILERS Follow!]

A lot of people know how George Clooney showed up to lend his trademark wit and charm (some would add smugness) to the two-person show that was Gravity – but did you know he also lent a bit of his talent as a writer, as well?

In a press conference (brought to our attention courtesy of Movies.com), Cuarón himself revealed that a key scene in the film was actually written by Clooney, who stepped in to help the filmmakers get over a big hurdle in the story.

The scene in question takes place about 2/3 through film; Ryan Stone is nearly home-free to a nearby space station after a hellish bid to live… except her rocket ship is out of gas. Defeated and broken, Ryan begins to lower her oxygen levels with the concession that she’ll die and be with her deceased child  – that is, until Clooney’s Matt Kowalski returns from seeming peril to pep-talk Ryan into making a last-ditch push for survival.

Gravity Still 3 570x243 Gravity Reactions From Scientific Icons; Clooney Wrote Key Scene in Film

As discussed on the Gravity podcast episode, the scene was a big risk (breaking realism in favor of a more abstract and existential exploration of Ryan’s mind), but it paid off big time – primarily due to the willingness of the audience to suspend obvious rationale out of love and hope for Kowalski to make it. Given that it was Clooney himself who wrote the seen, there’s a clear opening for cynics and haters to tear into him for yet again indulging in his own persona – but Cuarón, for one, was grateful for the assist:

…It was when [Bullock’s character] was ready to go back [to Earth, near the end of the film]. When she has this dream and starts talking to Kowalski about her daughter. And that’s something that George wrote. You have an amazing partner when you work with him.

We were struggling with rewrites, we’d stripped everything, a lot of the dialogue; we knew that anything that was going to be said, it was going to have a lot of weight. There was one scene we were doing over and over and over, and George overheard that we were dealing with that. And then one night I receive an e-mail from him, saying, ‘I heard you were struggling with this. I took a shot with the scene, Read it. Throw it out.’ And we ended up using it. This was exactly what we needed.

George Clooney Wrote Key Scene for Gravity Gravity Reactions From Scientific Icons; Clooney Wrote Key Scene in Film

Bullock and Clooney on set with Cuarón

 Not only was introducing a “Whoops, it’s all a dream” moment into a break-neck thriller extremely risky, the scene also represents the most direct and overt moment of pontification about emotion and philosophy that the film ever touches on. It would’ve been so easy for it to come off as cheesy and soapy, but thanks to Clooney’s matter-of-fact dialogue and sympathetic, straight-shooter delivery, it all works. And when Kowalski vanishes from the screen for that final time, the audience both feels the loss, and has the understanding of why Ryan would sit up and decide to fight again.

That’s great scene work – bravo, Mr. Clooney.

What do you think about science fiction vs. science fact in Gravity? Did anything about the film’s presentation of space exploration bother you? Let us know in the comments.


Gravity is now in theaters. Be sure to Read our Review – and listen to us discuss it on the SR Underground Podcast.

Sources: Movies.com, TwitterTHRNBC News (hat tip to /Film)

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  1. SPOILERS!!!!!

    He wrote that scene? I loved that scene! I think everyone did. My girlfriend was like “Wait wouldn’t her face get blown off?” then it was just a hallucination/dream to help her push forward. It was perfect.

    • I know right
      I was like
      Oh my god, did the studio went back to the film and bring back George Clooney for no reason then it was a dream and I was like how neat
      I will go back to gravity sometimes next week

    • Technically, your face wouldn’t explode if that happened. I was surprised when that happened too. After asking just about everybody sitting near me, I was told to “shut the f*ck up” by my loving older brother. Also, I was called a “space virgin” if I remember correctly. What the hell does that even mean? Anyway, after the movie, I was told that the whole “face exploding in space” thing was just a myth.

      • We’re all space virgin
        I don’t know anyone who did coitus in a weightless environment

  2. That was my favorite scene!!!!!!!!!

  3. I really enjoyed Gravity but there were some points in the movie when I was questioning whether the physics of what they were doing were sound or not. Especially when she (spoiler) pulls a Wall-E and uses that fire extinguisher to catch up with a space station plummeting to earth.

    But I did really enjoy the scene Clooney wrote. It was touching. And although I knew it wasn’t possible, I had hoped for a brief moment that he really had come back!

    • A fire extinguisher is basically a propeller so yes, pulling a Wall-E is theoretically feasable. To actually succeed in accurately targetting your goal is another matter and though it is addressed in the film, I thought she made it a little too easily.

  4. The Scene that George Clooney wrote is one of the Best of the Move and one of m Favorite as wel. :)


    That entire scene, from her fiddling with the radio, to her triumphant speech describing her daughter still brings tears to my eyes.
    As a father, especially of daughters, when you miss your children (thankfully mine aren’t deceased, but I’ve had to be away from them for long periods of time) your memories of them aren’t poetic, they’re honest. The little things, like not wanting to brush her hair, those are the things that warm your heart & keep you going.
    When I’m struggling, I don’t do it for a little Angel, but I do it for my little butthead that thinks it’s hilarious to stick her dirty feet in my face.

    Beautiful scene. Honest scene.

  6. Why do we enjoy fictional astronauts in fictional space more than real ones in real space? We don’t.
    What’s going on in space right now? Send someone to Mars and everyone will tune in. Furthermore if anyone
    does enjoy the fiction more, it’s a little thing we call STORY.

  7. George wrote the vodka scene?! I frickin’ love that scene! Its my favorite scene in the film! I couldnt stop crying after that part- way to go george!!=D

  8. I love movies set in modern space travel with all its dangers and awe so i don’t have to have 100% technical accuracy . Till i’m a bonefied astronaut i’ll just sit and enjoy these movies for what they are .. FUN ! It is good to see a space movie with that old school late 60’s early 70’s space drama vibe ( MAROONED,ect ) besides , these movies remind us of when we strove to reach for the stars to advance and improve all mankind instead of slowly killing ourselves off. All the idiots in washington ( democrats and republicans ) should watch this to learn what TRUE heroism and service costs and means , NUFF SAID !

  9. I can understand why astronauts would be irked by something that inst 100% accurate. I think most people have watched a movie and caught some inaccuracy’s going on and it’s ruined the moment or possibly the entire film. Obviously the majority of people who watch the film will be looking at story/cinematography/acting so I cant see it being a problem.

  10. How did Sandra Bullock bring me to tears in this scene? Why don’t more directors let her actually act? Cause she can, apparently, quite well.

  11. this movie is way overhyped. It was ok… but the way they killed cloony sucked. his and her motion was stopped. end of story. they could have both gotten back to the station at that point. I know why they did it… they should have both came off the shute and he says here’s the plan… you jump off me and we will slingshot back to the station all while unhooking his lanyard.

    and yes the wall-e fire extinguisher ride made me lol.

  12. *chute

  13. That scene was totally Buzz Lightyear to the rescue! Loved it. And if you really watch it you can tell it’s not the Kowalski character but Ryan’s mind’s version of him. It was her minds characterization of him.

  14. I just wanna say, Neil DeGrasse Tyson is an arrogant dick in a sweater vest. Carl Sagan would slap him so hard across the face!!