Comic-Con 2013: Alfonso Cuaron calls ‘Gravity' ‘an amazing miscalculation'

By Lucas Shaw

NEW YORK ( - When Alfonso Cuaron first finished writing the script for "Gravity," his upcoming film starring George Clooney and Sandra Bullock, he promised cinematographer Emmanuel "Chip" Lubezki they would finish it in one year.

The film, about two astronauts abandoned in outer space space, would have two characters and a simple premise.

"We can shoot it in one year and we're out," Cuaron recalled telling Lubezki, with whom he worked on movies such as "Y Tu Mana Tambien" and "Children of Men."

That was almost five years ago.

"For next 4 ½ years kept on reminding me of that," Cuaron joked.

The Mexican filmmaker soon discovered that no technology could replicate an environment of zero gravity - where two people float and spin on different axes.

"That doesn't happen on planet Earth," Cuaron told the audience in Hall H at San Diego Comic-Con.

Eager to make the movie anyways, he tried a variety of approaches, including the Vomit Comet. That's the name of a ship that goes up near the stratosphere and then comes down. Though Ron Howard used it in "Apollo 13," Cuaron decided I wouldn't work for his film because the characters don't float. They fall.

"It's so much fun, but the problem is you're limited to the space of the place and it lasts for only 20 seconds," Cuaron said.

Cuaron has a predilection for long takes, so he and his team used different technologies for different segments, including one that placed Bullock in a nine-by-nine cube where everything around her moved and she was static. All of the segments shared one common element - they were very painful.

"It's been an amazing miscalculation," Cuaron said. "It was supposed to be ready last November and was not ready. I haven't finished it yet. One day I'll finish it."

"Gravity," whether Cuaron is ready or not, is scheduled to come out this fall.