George Clooney, Sandra Bullock Open Venice Fest Ahead of 'Gravity' World Premiere

8:51 AM PST 08/28/2013 by Eric J. Lyman
Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images
Sandra Bullock and George Clooney at the Venice Film Festival

The actress said that the role in the 3D space thriller was her "most challenging" ever, while her co-star responded to a question about Syria with a remark about Ben Affleck's upcoming role as Batman.

VENICE, Italy – George Clooney and Sandra Bullock kicked off the 70th Venice Film Festival Wednesday ahead of the world premiere of Alfonso Cuaron’s 3D thriller Gravity, with Bullock calling her role in the film the “most challenging” she has ever done, while Clooney deflected a political question with a remark about Ben Affleck's upcoming role as Batman.

Gravity will premiere later Wednesday after the official opening ceremony. The film is about a veteran astronaut (played by Clooney) and an inexperienced medical engineer (Bullock) who become stranded in space following a meteor shower. The film screened for the press early in the day, followed by a press conference.

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Bullock said in the press conference that she prepared for the role by working with real astronauts. “They were incredibly helpful, and they gave me an inside visual as to why they do what they do,” she said. “It was the craziest, most bizarre, and most challenging shoot I’ve ever done.”

Clooney, meanwhile, responding to Bullock’s remarks about preparing so diligently for her role, joked that he prepared by “doing yoga and drinking.” He said the biggest challenge was “moving slowly to mimic the way the body moves in space while speaking normally.”

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Late in the press conference, Clooney took questions not directly related to the film, but when he was asked about what he thought U.S. President Barack Obama should do regarding Syria, he took a pass.

“I wasn’t ready for that one,” he said. “I thought you were going to ask me what I thought about Ben Affleck playing Batman.”

The festival, the world’s oldest, runs through Sept. 7.

Twitter: @EricJLyman

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