On Movies: Defying Gravity, Embracing Technology

More coverage “And in both wings of the stage, it was just rows and rows and rows and rows of geeks on computers. . . . “It was an amazing experience, but it’s not what I consider ‘moviemaking.’ ” The reason for all the geeks and gizmos was that for much of Gravity, its two characters – NASA astronauts played by Bullock and Clooney – are floating in orbit around Earth. Zero gravity inside their space craft – and outside the craft, spinning and cartwheeling in the vast, empty, silent void. In order to create the effect of weightlessness, all sorts of rigs – nest-like rigs, bicycle seat-like rigs, rigs designed and manipulated by the puppeteers behind the stage production of War Horse – were deployed. And while the actors were in their rigging, CG animation sequences, produced over the two years leading up to the live shoot, were projected in that cube, or onto it, or something like that. Even Cuaron finds it hard to explain. “The technologies involved robotics and LED lights and integration of CG with live action,” he says. “I doubt, at the end, that my explanation would really clarify much, but I can tell you this: Everything was preprogrammed, so the actors were limited in terms of what they could do, or couldn’t do . . . . Once we started shooting, there was no room to change timings, or positions, or cues.

10 hotels featured in James Bond movies

The Langham , 1c Portland Place, Regent Street, London, W1B 1JA T; +44 20 7636 1000; from $454 per room per night Hotel Atlantic Kempinski, Hamburg, Germany Bond scrambles over the rooftop of the Atlantic Kempinski in “Tomorrow Never Dies.” Bond scrambles over the iconic, globe-adorned rooftop of the Atlantic Kempinski in “Tomorrow Never Dies,” and the hotel’s exterior also appears throughout the film. Bond, played by Pierce Brosnan, stays in the hotel’s Atlantic Suite and several scenes were filmed there. Brosnan, the director Roger Spottiswoode and Desmond Llewelyn (who played Q) all stayed at the hotel during filming. Hotel Atlantic Kempinski Hamburg , An der Alster 72-79,20099 Hamburg; +49 40 28880; from $213 per room per night Taj Lake Palace, Udaipur, India This Indian hotel doubles as Octopussy’s lair in the film of the same name, with the dining room, terrace and hotel barge appearing in various scenes. The hotel’s lily pond is also featured in the film, when Bond girl Octopussy is shown enjoying a naked swim. Local guides and staff members were used as extras. Taj Lake Palace , Lake Pichola, Udaipur, Rajasthan, India; +91 294 2428800; from $446 per room per night Fontainebleau Miami Beach, Florida In “Goldfinger,” this enormous hotel (the largest on the United States’ Eastern Seaboard) appears in the sweeping aerial shot which follows the opening credits. In the film, Bond girl Jill Masterton is found dead at the hotel after being covered in gold paint. The Fontainebleau has appeared in several other films, including “The Bodyguard,” “Police Academy 5” and “A Hole In the Head,” which starred Frank Sinatra. Fontainebleau Miami Beach , 4441 Collins Ave., Miami Beach, Florida; +1 305 538 2000; from $300 per room per night Hotel Cala Di Volpe, Sardinia, Italy In “The Spy Who Loved Me,” Roger Moore’s Bond seduces KGB agent Amasova in the piano bar. In “The Spy Who Loved Me,” Roger Moore’s Bond seduces KGB agent Amasova in the piano bar, which doubles as Bond’s hotel room. The Cala di Volpe was the first hotel to be built on the Costa Smeralda, a popular holiday spot for people who rarely enjoy the charms of hostels: Heidi Klum and Denzel Washington have both stayed at the hotel. Hotel Cala Di Volpe , Costa Smeralda, Porto Cervo 07021, Italy +39 0789 976111; from $763 per room per night Four Seasons Hotel London at Canary Wharf, London In the opening scene of “Skyfall,” Bond (played by Daniel Craig) takes a swim in this London hotel’s rooftop swimming pool.