Ever since he left their TV franchise “E.R.” in the mid ’90s, Warner Bros. supported George Clooney’s cinematic endeavors which eventually included respected and critically acclaimed films such as “Syriana,” “The Good German,” “Michael Clayton” and “Good Night, and Good Luck.” While only few of those titles were profitable, he returned the favor with the very lucrative “Ocean’s Eleven” franchise. Now, Clooney is helping WB out once more by replacing Robert Downey, Jr. in Alfonso Cauron’s 3-D Sci-Fi drama “Gravity.”
The long gestating project has gone through a slew of different actors since it first came to fruition at Universal Pictures. Originally, Angelina Jolie and Downey, Jr. were slated for the lead roles. When it segued to Warner’s Jolie dropped out and everyone from Marion Cotillard to Natalie Portman were either tested or offered the part while Downey, Jr. remained in the fold This fall, Cuaron and WB finally settled on last year’s best actress Oscar winner Sandra Bullock for the title role only to have Downey, Jr. depart over scheduling issues. According to The Hollywood Reporter, this caused WB to consider killing “Gravity” once and for all, but Clooney’s arrival helps save the Cauron passion project.
Set in the not so distant future, “Gravity” mostly centers on a female astronaut (Bullock) who is trying to get back to earth after an asteroid shower cripples the space station she was working on. Clooney will play the commander of the station who is initially the only other survivor, but his character is a supporting one that mostly appears in the first act.
Clooney will segue from his directing duties on “The Ides of March,” which Ryan Gosling and Paul Giamatti will star in, to an expected spring shoot for “Gravity.” That should also allow Bullock to also appear alongside Tom Hanks in “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close” for director Stephen Daldry after the first of the year.
The 49-year-old actor recently appeared in “The American” for Focus Features. He is also no stranger to Sci-Fi having appeared in Steven Soderbergh’s underrated remake of “Solaris” in 2002.