Director Alfonso Cuarón’s new sci-fi venture, Gravity, sounds promising but has struggled to secure a leading lady - which is a pivotal role to fill, since the gal in question will be the only character onscreen for most of the film (a la Tom Hanks in Castaway).
Warner Bros. reportedly wanted Sandra Bullock to star as the female protagonist in Gravity after Angelina Jolie chose to pass on the project. Natalie Portman was offered the lead a week or so prior to the announcement about Bullock, and is now - according to Heat Vision - "in active negotiations" to take on the part.
Portman has been in the limelight of late as she continues to gain accolades for her tour-de-force performance in possible Superman director Darren Aronofsky's Black Swan. The Oscar-nominated actress would certainly make for a compelling lead in Gravity - but what effect would her coming onboard for Cuarón’s latest have on the film's budget?
Gravity was originally being planned as an $80 million epic that would be 60% CGI and feature a 20-minute single shot opening sequence - along with a handful of elaborate tracking shots (which Cuarón became famous for using after Children of Men). It is for this reason that Warner Bros. has reportedly been adamant about the casting of a more bankable name like Bullock or Jolie in the lead.
Will Gravity be restructured as a lower-budget affair if Portman signs on? It would not be the first time that an acclaimed director had to scale back their plans for an expensive, FX-heavy project - Darren Aronofsky's The Fountain (see below) is one example that immediately comes to mind.
Gravity is foremost a thrill ride that revolves around a single individual's attempts to stay alive within the confines of an enclosed space - specifically, that of a spaceship racing back to Earth. As the recent indie release Buried demonstrated (read Screen Rant's review here), this premise can make for a riveting experience if it executed properly - and Cuarón is more than capable of doing that.
The bigger concern is whether or not Gravity could become trapped in development purgatory if Warner Bros. and Cuarón are unable to agree on the scale of the project. That seems unlikely at this juncture, but such a turn of events would not be without precedence in Hollywood.
We will keep you updated on the status of Gravity as more news comes our way.