Nowadays there are very few movies that make people want to jump out of their seats and run to the movie theaters. You could argue that some thrill of going to the movies is lost, especially considering the ever-widening load of cinematic garbage that we're force-fed annually, not to mention the ever-rising ticket prices. But is a fantastic filmmaker, a master storyteller who has directed a number of great films from Y Tu Mamá También to Children of Men. When he teamed up with the likes of , who more or less has become America's Sweetheart, for Gravity, it seemed like an unlikely but actually quite perfect match to make one of the biggest breakout movies of this fall.
'Everything in your body reacts'
One of the most difficult things our lead actress had to go through was adjusting to her body reacting as if she were floating out in space. It's one thing to pretend you're going through some intense emotional drama internally, but to add the weightlessness of being out in space along with it is mighty tough to do.
Sandra Bullock: Everything that your body reacts to, the push, the pull on the ground is completely different than it is in Zero G. To make that second nature took training and then weeks of repetition and with Alfonso's camera, the mechanics and mathematics of it all and separating it from your head where you're going to have to tell the emotional story.
'I knew that we were on similar paths in life'
But it takes more than an actress to make a movie work. There has to be some fantastic creative minds at work alongside her. Alfonso Cuarón and his son, Jonas Cuarón, both took part in writing the script for the incredible film that audiences have fallen in love with. When Bullock first met them and started working with them, everything clicked.
Sandra Bullock: I will say that the experience of meeting an artist that you are in awe of and you hope to create with one day is usually disappointing, because you put them up on a pedestal and then you meet them and you're like wow, nice person. But the exact opposite was true in the meeting with Alfonso [Cuarón] in that I got to meet a human being who's able to ... it was so right. I knew that we were on sort of similar paths in life and how we look at things and events and the unknown. We didn't know why we were there and we were going how do we deal with that. Then we went into the technological side and we went wow, I don't know how we are going to pull this off. Then I met Jonas [Cuarón], his son and his co-writer is exactly the same.
'I was always longing to do what my male counterparts got to do'
Bullock's character in Gravity goes through a though emotional journey, along with a physical one as she fights to survive as she's orbiting Earth. It's a strong, beautiful movie that almost had a chance of being changed a bit by the studios. For the longest while they wanted to change Bullock's role to that of a man, as studios still labor under the impression women can't drive an action-based narrative. Thankfully, Alfonso and company stuck to their original vision and we've got the movie that we see today, and Sandra Bullock is very grateful for that as well.
Sandra Bullock: I always was longing to do emotionally and physically what my male counterparts got to do. I just felt envious every time I saw a movie I wasn't on and it was usually a male lead, and those kinds of roles weren't available. They weren't being written. So in the last couple of years, whether it was us searching for something and turning it into a female character, developing it yourself, you weren't seeing it. In the last couple of years things have shifted. You mentioned "The Heat," that's one thing. The fact that Jonas and Alfonso wrote this specifically as a woman. It wasn't an afterthought, it was an integral part of the story, some would say revolutionary and it is revolutionary. And the fact that a studio on blind faith would fund something as unknown as this is revolutionary. To be able to be the person to do this is beyond... it made you realize I have to step up and be the best version of myself so whatever is asked of me, I can produce. Every day I'm so grateful.
'You really can't speak after the film is over'
As happy as the actress is in being part of this film, there's nothing that beats the first time you see it on the big screen. Everyone who's seen this film so far has had a jaw-dropping experience with it, and the same goes for our leading lady.
Sandra Bullock: The first time I saw it all put together was in Venice. When actors see themselves for the first time you spend all your time just watching yourself and hating yourself and picking your performance apart. There was no time to pick apart those performances because you were inundated with the extreme beauty and emotion that you created visually and I hate using the word technologically because it sounds like an inanimate object and we always go to things like this, something that's heavy. It was turned into such an emotion and such a visceral, physical experience in this movie. I don't know how they did it with sound and coming here behind your head. All of a sudden you found yourself being affected in ways that you weren't planning on being affected. George [Clooney] and I both went wow... You can't really speak after the film is over.
Gravity is out in theaters now, presented in 2D and 3D.