Director Cuarón reveals pressure to change thriller 'Gravity'

Alfonso Cuarón (third from the left) with the cast of 'Gravity'. (Reuters)

Alfonso Cuarón (third from the left) with the cast of 'Gravity'. (Reuters)

Gravity director Alfonso Cuarón has revealed the pressure he was under to change the story of his space-walk thriller to conform to studio executives' expectations. In an interview with io9.com, the Mexican film-maker outlined some of the suggestions he had to fend off.

The $80m-budget Gravity has been praised for its "spectacular simplicity", in its story of two astronauts stranded in high earth orbit after their spacecraft is crippled by debris. But the director said: "With making a film it's like trying to create a tune in the shower while you have a hundred people singing around you. You have to focus yourself in on the tune that you're trying to create. Because you have hundreds of people singing different songs at the same time around you."

Among the "songs" provided by executives, Cuarón highlights a demand for constant cutting to Mission Control in Houston, a la Apollo 13: "You need to cut to Houston, and see how the rescue mission goes. And there is a ticking clock with the rescue mission."

Another request was for the script to include flashbacks: "You have to do flashbacks with the backstory." Then there was the suggestion that the film's lead actor Sandra Bullock has "a romantic relationship with the Mission Control commander, who is in love with her."

At one point, Cuarón – who directed Children of Men and Y Tu Mamá También – said studio nervousness got to the point where one executive asked him to "pump up the action value, like having an enemy, like a missile strike". And finally, to "finish with a ... rescue helicopter, that would come and rescue her".

But Cuarón said he wasn't complaining: "In the end, they were all very respectful because they had a clear view of what we were doing. And I understand all this ... this is the process."

Gravity broke records with its $55-million opening weekend in the US earlier this week. Gravity also stars George Clooney and Ed Harris. – © Guardian News and Media 2013 

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