It's been a bit on-off-on-off, but Alfonso Cuaron's Gravity does at last appear to have it's lead actors sewn up.
Likely to be joining Robert Downey Jr. on the call-sheet is Scarlett Johansson who, according to the New York Daily News has committed to the role verbally. Now come the contract negotiations, I suppose – but if she was going to take Marvel's deal on the Iron Man and Avengers film, I can't see the pay packet being an obstacle here.
I'm not intimately acquainted with the latest drafts of Gravity's screenplay but as far as I can tell, it's still in a state of flux. Indeed, it's gone from having only one human actor necessary to two lead stars in recent months, and there's also rumours of haggling between Cuaron and Warner Bros. over how much of the film can be dialogue-free.
What you might not expect is that Johansson has the most leading of those two leading roles. For great stretches of the film, she's likely to be the only character we see on screen.
The web site of FX company Framestore was carrying a synopsis for the film, but it has since been removed. Here's what it said:
Framestore is about to embark on one of its greatest challenges yet, Gravity is the next Avatar in terms of ambition. There are many innovative and visually stunning aims for this project.
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 is a stylish Cuarón flick, directed with his trademark languid feel, and you begin to realise 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.
Fortunately, having worked with Alfonso before on Harry Potter and Children of Men, we know one another extremely well. Now we are looking for the best talent in the world to help us realise this massive and beautiful film. Over the next few weeks we are interviewing and looking at reels of those in-house who want to join in as well as making trips to the US, Canada and Australia.
This is CG feature animation meets real world on a large and beautiful scale.
The Playlist found that back in June. The site currently features this job add:
We are currently actively seeking Animators to work on the upcoming feature Gravity by Alfonso Cuaron, and especially interested in anyone with pre-viz experience.
Animators should be comfortable using Maya, and ideally should have previous experience of working on large scale Film projects. Successful applicants should have the ability to work well as part of a team and should have proven ability to meet deadlines.
If you now apply and get a gig, remember… we're always looking for spies on the inside. Nudge nudge, wink wink.