Sound and Music
For a film set in a soundless world, sound became one of the filmmakers' most
challenging design elements. Cuaron attests, "There is no sound in space, and we wanted to honor that as much as possible. There are certain sequences when we strip away the sound,
but we felt to sustain it for the whole film would alienate the audience."
Cuaron and supervising sound editor and sound designer Glenn Freemantle took the
approach of correlating sound and touch. Freemantle explains, "One of the concepts of sound
is that it travels through vibrations. When you touch something, it resonates through that
internal connection. So Ryan is touching and coming in contact with things and you hear
Sudden silence was also an integral part of the sound design. Cuaron carefully chose
those moments, unexpectedly cutting away that aural link to remind the audience that the
characters are in a void where nothing exists to sustain life.
Cuaron also utilized music to, as he says, "take the role of sound or give a tonal
suggestion of sound."
Freemantle collaborated closely with composer Steven Price to layer the two
components. Price says, "It was great working with Glenn and his team. They were using
vibrations and low frequencies to subtly underpin the action, so you feel the impacts without
hearing them in the traditional sense. I wanted to do that in a different way with the music."
Cuaron offers, "I wanted the music to be textural, to blur the line between music and
sound, so I told Steve I didn't want any percussion. It was a challenge for him because he had
to score all the action and suspense without some of the fundamental instruments he would
normally use in a conventional action score. He began blending more electronics with acoustic
instruments to cause pulsations in place of percussion. Once he landed the concept, he just
started flying with it."
"It was a case of building intensity in the music without the usual orchestra," Price adds.
"It freed me to try anything, and do my own version of what an action cue or an emotional cue
would be. The great thing about Alfonso is he's looking to push things as far as they can go, so
you're inspired to try things you would never have thought of."
George Clooney says, "This is a film with an exquisite filmmaker at the helm and a
wonderful actress at its center. It has themes that are unbelievably resonant, more than one
might expect from a 'space movie.' It's about coming to terms with your own death...or your
own life. And I believe it will start a lot of conversations."
Sandra Bullock reflects, "Going into this film, I had no idea what I was capable of on so
many levels, physically, emotionally and mentally. It was body-changing, mind-changing, mind-
bending. I hope people who come on this amazing ride will leave the theatre also feeling
"'Gravity' may be the most challenging project in which I've ever been involved," David
Heyman states. "There were so many facets and everyone contributed so much to achieve
something unique. It is beautiful, elegant filmmaking whose complexity and difficulty tested
everybody to the umpteenth degree. But none of that is visible."
Alfonso Cuaron concludes, "It was a total collaboration, combining all the different
elements of the images and sounds and extraordinary performances. We want audiences to
come along on this journey...to share in the experience of floating weightless in the stunning but
terrifying realm of space."
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