The purpose of a trailer is usually two-fold. It should 1) give the audience an idea of what a movie is like and 2) make them want to see that movie. The new trailer for “Gravity,” Alfonso Cuarón’s space-set suspense thriller, completes both of this objectives in one two-minute take.
“Gravity” stars Sandra Bullock and George Clooney as astronauts who experience a catastrophic accident during a spacewalk. Debris from a broken up satellite collides with their shuttle, sending Bullock’s character, Dr. Ryan Stone, tumbling into space.
The trailer itself is essentially a clip, one long take from the film’s first act. Cuarón, who also directed “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban” and “Children of Men,” has been fond of lengthy, unbroken shots throughout his career, and as he explained to MTV News at San Diego Comic-Con, their purpose in “Gravity” is to emulate documentary footage taken from space.
As you might guess from the trailer, during a large portion of the film, Bullock is alone on the screen, almost like “Cast Away” in space, but Cuarón explained that his movie’s unrelenting suspense separates it from other films with solitary characters.
“The difference with ’Cast Away’ is that ’Cast Away,’ which I love, is a drama,” Cuarón said. “Here, the tone is more of suspense. The character is in constant danger, all the time from the get-go. In many ways, the model was more ’Duel’ of Spielberg than ’Cast Away.’ ”
To create the sweeping long shots, like the one you see in the trailer, Cuarón and his production team had to invent new kinds of filmmaking robotics, something that ultimately caused a one-year delay. “Everything was a big miscalculation, because you’re writing the screenplay and thinking of cool things that you’re going to do, and then the problem is that you have to make it happen,” Cuarón said. “We realized that the existent technology was not going to make it, so we needed to create new technology. That’s the reason it took four and a half years for us to make the thing.”
“Gravity” opens in theaters on October 4.