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'Gravity' director Alfonso Cuarón explains why George Clooney replaced Robert Downey Jr

Filmmaker says Australian actor struggled with technology on set

Gravity director Alfonso Cuarón has explained why George Clooney replaced Robert Downey Jr in the sci-fi film.

Clooney starred opposite Sandra Bullock in the space thriller, but Downey Jr and Angelina Jolie were originally set to take on the two main roles. Jolie, however, was forced to pull out due to scheduling conflicts with her work on Maleficent and directorial duties on Unbroken.

Speaking to the Hollywood Reporter about Downey Jr's exit, meanwhile, Cuarón said: "It became very clear that, as we started to nail the technology, or narrow the technology, that was going to be a big obstacle for his performance.

"I think Robert is fantastic if you give him the freedom to completely breathe and improvise and change stuff," he added. "[But] we tried one of these technologies and it was not compatible. And, after that, we [had a] week that we pretended as if nothing was happening and then we talked and said, 'This is not going to work. This is tough'."

Gravity has been nominated for 10 Academy Awards at this year's Oscars, including Best Film and Best Director. The film collected six gongs at the BAFTA Awards earlier this week, with Cuarón winning Best Director.

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