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.
EXCLUSIVE: Gravity, the 3D film that Warner Bros is mobilizing with director Alfonso Cuaron and Robert Downey Jr., is suddenly in danger of falling back to earth after Angellina Jolie said no to a full court press and a big money offer to star in the film. It has put Warner Bros in a bind. The studio needs an actress who can hold the screen and draw an audience to an $80 million film. Much like Tom Hanks’ role in Cast Away, the Gravity heroine is the only person onscreen for a large part of the movie. Beyond Jolie, which other actress do you bet on?
Cuaron first courted Jolie when the project was tethered at Universal. She was intrigued with the filmmaker, but passed around the time it landed at Warner Bros. I’m told the studio tested or made approaches to actresses including Sandra Bullock and Natalie Portman (word around town is the studio’s intrigued with both), Naomi Watts, Marion Cotillard, Carey Mulligan, Scarlett Johansson, Sienna Miller, Abbie Cornish, Rebecca Hall, Olivia Wilde, Blake Lively. Warner Bros made a second overture to Jolie, but she just passed for a second time. While Downey certainly has the star power to carry such a movie, he plays a comparatively small role and it was never Downey’s or Cuaron’s intention for him to carry the picture.
Scripted by Cuaron and his son Jonas, Gravity is set on a remote space station. While a team …