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Stranded in space

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Cinema The science fiction thriller stars Sandra Bullock and George Clooney

G ravity is a 3D science fiction thriller directed by Alfonso Cuarón, starring Sandra Bullock as bio-medical engineer Dr. Ryan Stone and George Clooney as veteran astronaut Matt Kowalski. The duo work together to survive after an accident leaves them adrift in space. Here are excerpts from an interview with Sandra Bullock.

Could you talk of your character in Gravity, Dr. Ryan Stone ?

For someone who loses a child, you don’t ever recover. This woman, I felt, was very brilliant. In order to do away with any more pain, she removes anything that is a remembrance of what made her a mother, everything maternal.

Alfonso Cuarón talked of the debris flying through space as a metaphor for all the things that hit you in life. Could you speak of that and the effect of George Clooney’s character, Matt Kowalski?

Alfonso’s metaphors are always profound. I love how he doesn’t tell the audience what to think or feel regarding the debris. The debris exists in space. But how do we manoeuvre around it? Do we let it become part of us and carry it for the rest of our life? Or do you get out of its way, and let it pass? And Kowalski, whom George plays, is someone whose life is up there. He enjoys it, he savours it, he loves it. He appreciates everything regarding Earth, but from a removed perspective.

How did you accomplish the illusion of weightlessness in the film?

You were told mathematically where every part of your body had to be, but then your thoughts and emotions had to be completely free. I wanted my actions to become second nature. And once that happened, I was able to be completely free to experiment with different emotions. So, it was like a lesson in meditation and letting go, just like the movie is.

There’s a fascinating parallel between your own journey as an actor and the character’s…

It’s parallel in so many ways. Alfonso and I would look at one another, and we really didn’t have to say a lot. He knew what he was doing. He knew when I needed a moment. When you’re synchronised with people you’re working with and there’s that kind of harmony, you go, ‘I would love everywhere in life to be harmonious like that.’

Can you talk of what Alfonso is like as a director?

Modesty. He’s the most collaborative, the most generous, and the calmest under extreme pressure. I never saw that man once buckle under the pressure. He’s an evolved, amazingly grounded spiritual human being. Everyone who works with him will bow because of his kindness and patience, and how he collaborates. And that’s why you want to do everything you can to execute what he had in his head.

How was it working with George Clooney ?

It was very easy. We were apart for so much of this, just listening to one another’s voices. And any time there were days where we were physically together, it was just a relief. He is one of the most fun people to be around. He gets to know a person, will know every crew member’s background, what it is they like to do, what films they’ve worked on. So, after all these years it was just nice to look at one another and go, ‘We’re kind of here working.’

Have you seen the movie yet?

I’ve seen most of it, but I haven’t seen it completed, so I don’t know what the music sounds like or the 3D looks like.

It was like a lesson in meditation and letting go, just like the movie is

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