EXCLUSIVE: I’m hearing scheduling problems have made Robert Downey Jr. suddenly doubtful for Gravity, the Alfonso Cuaron-directed Warner Bros space film that weathered a bunch of setbacks before finding its footing when it landed Sandra Bullock for the lead female role. Now, Warner Bros is denying Downey will exit, despite what I’m hearing. The studio is saying they expect to work out the scheduling problems, and executives certainly have access to Downey at the moment because he’s junketing the Todd Phillips-directed Due Date. I’m also hearing that Bullock is among those lobbying him to stay. A Downey exit is a blow: just wait until you see what he brings to Due Date. But it’s not necessarily fatal, because he was playing a supporting part.
UPDATE: Insiders say that Warner Bros is making a full court press for Sandra Bullock to play the role of a space station team member who tries to find her way back to earth and her daughter after the space station she is working on is destroyed by a debris field from an exploded asteroid. Bullock, coming off the Oscar win for The Blind Side, certainly has the drawing power and the chops to hold the screen. Numerous actresses have wanted to make the film because it is ambitious and original, and also because for the opportunity to work with director Alfonso Cuaron, which is a major reason Robert Downey Jr. agreed to co-star. Portman’s reps confirmed that she won’t star in Gravity, citing scheduling conflicts.