by Dan P. Lee.
“If the fox has been chased by hounds and gets away with it,” Alfonso Cuarón, 51, said a few weeks ago, sitting across from me at a tiny table at a restaurant called Ducksoup, overlooking Dean Street in London, not far from his apartment, “is the fox happy?”
I’d asked him how he’s feeling, now that Gravity, his seventh film, was finally finished and would be shown for the first time publicly in a few days, when it would open the Venice Film Festival. It was a beautiful sunlit afternoon, and a few minutes earlier, his girlfriend, Sheherazade Goldsmith, had dropped him off in a small, boxy blue BMW. Cuarón is exceedingly friendly, smiling, attractive, with salt-and-pepper hair and matching stubble. He is a vegetarian, and had filled our table with every vegetarian dish on the menu. He wanted to know if we should order more. He was hungry.
“No, I think it is relief,” he continued in his thick Mexican accent. “The fox is happy when he’s frolicking in the river and fucking other girl foxes”—his “fucking” sounds like “focking”—“and playing with the cubs in the meadow.” Gravity has been, he reminded me, four and a half years in the making.
He’d spent more than a year in postproduction inside a dark room just up the street, staring at computer screens as animators arrived in waves, day after day, behind him, so that eventually he stopped turning around to look at them and just continued pointing with his laser, directing the merging and layering of all the disparate elements that had to come together. “It’s a long time to be happy, disappointed,” he said. “But no, I’m very pleased. We got away with it. That’s the thing. It’s a very unlikely film, first of all, to put together. It’s basically one character floating in space.”
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