Alfonso Cuarón rushed Gravity script so he wouldn’t go broke


Director Alfonso Cuarón and his son finished the script for Gravity in three weeks out of desperation for a paycheck.

It might be hard to believe that the director of a Harry Potter movie and Children of Men would be hard up for money, but that’s just the situation Alfonso Cuarón found himself in ahead of his next film, Gravity. Now, 10 years and just one movie on, the filmmaker is remembering how the screenplay came about just in time.

Speaking with Empire for a piece commemorating the 10th anniversary of Gravity, Cuarón remembered having to tell his son, Jonás, that the movie they had been collaborating on wasn’t going to be made and the clock was ticking for the team to deliver a script. “I was broke…and I really needed to put together something in order to pretty much survive.”

But it was just that sort of feeling of being lost that helped Cuarón and his son get the layout for Gravity down. “I said, ‘I’m feeling, in terms of my life, like I’m falling into the void.’ And that’s where we devised the image of an astronaut, just spinning into the void, into darkness. At this point it was just abstract ideas — [the character] didn’t have a gender or anything. But by the end of that night, maybe around midnight, we already had our first outline of the whole film.” Less than one month later, Alfonso and Jonás Cuarón completed the first draft for what would end up being one of the most captivating, suspenseful films ever made. I still remember seeing Gravity in theaters being blown away by the sheer scope of how space was depicted and how terrifying it would be in Sandra Bullock’s seat.

Although Gravity wouldn’t earn much recognition for its screenplay – voters tend to favor dialogue or premises that wow them – it did earn 10 Oscar nominations, winning the most that night with seven, including one for Cuarón’s directing. With that, he became the first of the Three Amigos – rounded out by Alejandro González Iñárritu and Guillermo del Toro – to win the statue. Cuarón would win his second statue for Roma, matching Iñárritu’s pair for Birdman and The Revenant. And then there’s poor Guillermo with his sole Best Director Oscar for The Shape of Water – hey, at least he has one for Best Animated Feature, too.

What was your impression of Gravity when it was released? Let us know in the comments section below!

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