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Sandra Bullock has entered negotiations to lead Alfonso Cuaron’s upcoming film Gravity after news just earlier today revealed that Natalie Portman turned down the leading role in the $80-million sci-fi epic. Variety states “scheduling conflicts” were her reason for refusal. This means that Bullock is set to play a woman in space trying to get back to her daughter after a disastrous mishap on her space station.
Other actresses who were once in contention for this role were Abbie Cornish (Bright Star), Marion Cotillard (Inception), Rebecca Hall (The Town), Scarlett Johansson (Iron Man 2), Blake Lively (Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants), Sienna Miller (G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra), and Olivia Wilde (TV’s House).
Portman was Cuaron’s personal choice for the role. She was offered the part shortly after the premiere of Darren Aronofsky’s Black Swan; her performance in the film has been held in high acclaim, leading to Oscar buzz. Meanwhile, Warner Bros. started gunning for Bullock as soon as Portman was officially offered the role.
While many wanted the role to go to Portman, Bullock seems like a natural, more believable fit. She’s a very talented actress, far more talented than many give her credit for, and say what you will, but she proved that she could brilliantly portray a loving mother in last year’s The Blind Side.
Additionally, this means it's more likely that Robert Downey Jr. will be able to keep his role in the film. He was to have completed his scenes this past summer, but conflicts concerning the female lead kept that from happening. If there had been any further confusion over the female lead, Downey would have probably had to leave due to scheduling conflicts related to the second Sherlock Holmes film (now filming) The Avengers (filming in February) and possibly for Sam Raimi's Oz, The Great and Powerful. In fact, there was much speculation as to whether or not he would be able to stay on board regardless; it was reported that Warner Bros. was seeking another male actor just in case Downey Jr. had to depart from the film.
With Bullock in the leading role, Downey Jr. in a high-profile supporting role, an acclaimed director at the helm and the popular genre of sci-fi in its favor, expect Warner Bros. to market Gravity with hopes of a box-office hit.
All in all, the dilemma that has kept Gravity in a pre-development nightmare for months has been resolved within less than 24 hours. Why couldn’t it have been this easy from the get-go?