Did you know that Robert Downey Jr was originally offered George Clooney’s role in Gravity? Disagreements forced him to drop out
Before director Alfonso Cuaron’s Gravity became a worldwide blockbuster and won him an Oscar for Best Director, the film was shaping up to be a very different project. Robert Downey Jr had been locked to play the male lead, but decided to drop out of the film, leaving George Clooney to step in.
Downey, hot off the success of the Marvel movies, found it difficult to adapt to the strict filming methods being employed on Gravity, which took away his natural ability to improvise scenes. “[It] was very clear that the technology we were going to use… was not the most compatible thing for what Robert is the best at.” Cuarón said in 2013, according to HuffPost. “That is, he takes one scene and he just starts riffing. And because of the technology that we use, it’s pretty much limited. We have to preprogram the film before shooting.”
Downey said as much in a 2015 appearance on The Howard Stern Show. “I went to do a test with a new sort of multi-spherical camera thing they were [using] for how they were going to do all the CGI,” he said. “And I’m one of those guys who can be comfortably uncomfortable pretty easily, and maybe I was just on my cycle or something, but I went in the morning to do that, and we did it for about twenty minutes, and I said, ‘This is crazy. How much longer?’ And they said, ‘It’s like another two to four hours,’ and I said, ‘No, it isn’t!’.”
Gravity went on to make over $700 million worldwide, and earned 10 Academy Award nominations--including Best Actress for Sandra Bullock, Best Picture, Best Director, Best Original Score, Best Cinematography and Best Visual Effects.
Bullock was very appreciative of Clooney’s dedication to the film, despite the fact that he had a smaller role. She said, according to ShockYa, “He’s the ultimate team worker. You never know [when] you’re dealing with someone who’s had the level of success that he has, but all he cares about is being at the table, beginning of a film, reading the script, ‘What lines are great? How can I help?’…You’re always grateful when you’re working with George because he wants everyone else to look better. He always wants everyone else to have their moment.”
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