“Gravity” has a number of breathtaking sequences set in the vacuum of outer space (as you might’ve heard from the rave reviews), but one much more intimate scene inside an escape pod hits just as hard — thanks to an emotional performance from the film’s lead, Sandra Bullock.
When MTV News sat down with the Bullock and her director, Alfonso Cuarón, they shared their experiences creating the scene and bringing space to the big screen in a realistic and terrifying way.
Mild spoilers ahead.
As Bullock’s character, Ryan Stone, sits in the tight quarters of an escape pod in an extended take, she wrestles with her fate in light of the series of disasters she just experienced. Cuarón explained that, ironically, filming the scene was surprisingly difficult, even for the complicated shoot.
“It was actually very complicated. If you revisit the scene, you will see that it’s probably longer than the opening scene,” he said. “I don’t want to go into spoilers. [The scene goes] into when she gets a new resolution to keep on going. It’s one continuous take, and it’s a tour de force of performance by Sandra Bullock. I agree, it’s my favorite.”
For Bullock, who had to spend days in total isolation due to the high-tech rigs used to create the spacewalks, the scene in the capsule provided a different challenge.
“It was one of the few days that you had people around, and I go ‘Ugh, now the thing that I hated so much, which was the isolation, I now have people around. I want them to go away.’ It was just leaving me alone,” she said. “I always had the earwig in my ear, and there was always a musical piece that reminded me of the scene, so I had our sound guy, Chris, play it, so I could zone everyone out. The minute that they were ready to shoot, I had him turn it off, and I just did the scene. ”
But there was one time that Bullock did too good of a job tuning out the crew around her. “I was in one of the pods with the fire scene. It was such a long delay,” she said. “Someone I work with came to me and said ‘Look.’ I go, ‘What is it?’ ‘You’re sound asleep.’ I don’t know if I should be proud of comfortable.”
“Gravity” is in theaters now.