Clooney Filling the Void Left By Downey Jr. in “Gravity”

When you set out to make a big-budget, two-hour-plus 3D movie that takes place in zero-gravity and stars a woman stranded on a space station trying to get back to her kid on Earth, there are going to be problems.

Writer-director Alfonso Cuaron struggled for months to get a female lead--a character scripted to basically carry the entire film--before finally getting Sandra Bullock on board to star in "Gravity."

But the search went on for so long that he eventually lost Robert Downey Jr., who had agreed to playing a supporting role. There aren't many people who could replace RDJ without giving up a lot in terms of star power and chops, but George Clooney qualifies.

Clooney will play an astronaut who, along with Bullock survives a space disaster, according to The Hollywood Reporter. With any luck, the film will start shooting in the spring.

The long wait will allow Clooney to finish shooting his next directorial effort, "Ides of March," a political drama based on the play "Farragut North." The film will star Ryan Gosling as a young press secretary who falls prey to some backroom politics.

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