Natalie Portman Offered the Lead in Alfonso Cuaron's Gravity!
This is amazing news! I will happily admit that Children of Men director Alfonso Cuaron's next new sci-fi project Gravity, that we've written about before, is one of my most highly anticipated projects currently in development. I love sci-fi, I love Cuaron, his style and the way he pushes the limits of filmmaking, and the plot sounds fascinating, too. Originally we heard that Angelina Jolie was going to play the female lead in the film, but she declined, which has caused a lot of changes, including a tweak in the script to also give Robert Downey Jr. a role. But the great news, from RiskyBiz, is that Natalie Portman has been offered the lead!
There was a big hoopla last week when Jolie dropped out and everyone thought the project was going to be canceled without her, then Deadline wrote an piece mentioning that other female candidates Warner Bros was looking at included: Portman, Sandra Bullock, Naomi Watts, Marion Cotillard, Carey Mulligan, Scarlett Johansson, Sienna Miller, Abbie Cornish, Rebecca Hall, Olivia Wilde and Blake Lively. I love a lot of those actresses (mostly Cotillard, Mulligan, Wilde) but to see Natalie Portman in an Alfonso Cuaron sci-fi movie is pretty much a dream come true, or at least as close as I can get to my other dream of marrying Portman.
Apparently the project was greenlit in the last few days and Natalie was offered the role without a screen test based on all the awards buzz about her performance in Darren Aronofsky's Black Swan (read my review - I think she deserves the Oscar myself). She is "expected to read the latest version of the script this week and make her decision shortly." Shooting is slated to begin at the end of January in early 2011, before Downey Jr. has to go off to "other engagements." I'm sure Portman also has other jobs, given she's about to blow up with her awards-level Black Swan role and appearances in Your Highness and Marvel's Thor next year.
As a recap, Gravity is an epic story about a lone survivor (though we heard the script might've been tweaked to include two survivors, Downey Jr being the other) stranded on a space station after satellite debris slams into it and wipes out the crew. She must make her way back to Earth and survive a "solitary ordeal much in the way Tom Hanks did in Cast Away." I've also heard some industry buzz that apparently Cuaron wants to shoot the entire thing in one shot, or something similar, and if you've seen Children of Men that idea should make your jaw drop. We will of course keep you updated on whether Portman decides to take the role or not.