Just when it looks like Alfonso Cuaron has finally found his female lead for Gravity in Sandra Bullock (after being turned down by Angelina Jolie twice and Natalie Portman), the director may be about to lose his leading man.
According to Deadline “scheduling problems have made Robert Downey Jr. suddenly doubtful for Gravity“. The actor may only be required for 3 weeks on set as he won’t be leading the film, but fitting that in amongst Sherlock Holmes 2 and The Avengers could be difficult. Plus Sam Raimi and Disney want him for Oz, the Great and Powerful.
Gravity will be an ambitious movie set in space which will be 60% CG feature animation. Much of the film is devoted to a woman’s struggle to get back to Earth (and her daughter) after her team at a remote space station are decimated by debris from an exploded satellite. Robert Downey Jr. would star as the team leader at the space station, and it was never the intention for him to carry the film.
Deadline says that Warner Bros. “expect to work out the scheduling problems” so Downey might not be off the project yet, but the drama and delay over finding a leading lady hasn’t helped matters. I’m sure they could find another actor for the role if Downey is unavailable, but Warner Bros. would prefer a big name as they haven’t put $80 million+ behind a female-lead sci-fi film for a while.