Sometimes the best stories in movies are how they were actually made. In the case of the Academy Award-nominated Gravity, which most recently won Outstanding British Film at the BAFTAs, it took director Alfonso Cuaron almost five years to put the pieces together in making his masterpiece, and if things had gone a little different early on, who knows if it would even be one of the films nominated for Best Picture at the 86th Academy Awards? Actually, it probably would have still been nominated, but it would have been thanks in part to a different pair of stars.
In a new interview series with the Hollywood Reporter’s Stephen Galloway, Cuaron claims that in the earliest stages of the film’s planning, astronaut Ryan Stone was going to be played by Angelina Jolie and the hunky Matt Kowalski would have been Robert Downey, Jr. instead of George Clooney. Jolie, however, ran into some scheduling conflicts with another acting job and her directorial ambition for Unbroken, but with Downey it was a whole different problem – his need to improvise.
“It became very clear that, as we started to nail the technology, or narrow the technology, that was going to be a big obstacle for his performance. I think Robert is fantastic if you give him the freedom to completely breathe and improvise and change stuff. [But] we tried one of these technologies and it was not compatible. And, after that, we [had a] week that we pretended as if nothing was happening and then we talked and said, ‘This is not going to work. This is tough.’” (Via THR)
Of course it’s tough. How do you tell Robert-freaking-Downey, Jr. that it’s not working out? I would have hired him to stick around anyway just so he could be my best friend. Do you think he would do that for $20? Because I’ll pay him that much right now. He’ll have to accept a check, though.