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It's Lively vs. Johansson for Role Opposite Downey Jr. in "Gravity"

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    NEWSLETTERS

    When news broke that Blake Lively had tried to elbow her way into Scarlett Johansson's role in the sci-fi thriller "Gravity," we ignored it because it was presented as a failed attempt long past. Whoops.

    It turns out that Lively and Johansson have both tested for the role, according to Heat Vision, of "a woman as she attempts to make her way back to earth after a satellite crash sets off a chain reaction of further crashes," according to a synopsis from Framestore, the special-effects company that will be helping bring writer-director Alfosnso Cuaron's vision to life. The female, whoever ends up with the role is very much the focus of the film, with RDJ playing a secondary role.

    "The Town"

    [NATL] "The Town"
    Ben Affleck gets back behind the camera for this crime drama in which he also stars as a bank robber who falls for the one woman who can send him and his crew to jail. Co-stars Rebecca Hall, Jon Hamm, Jeremy Renner, Blake Lively and Chris Cooper. Opens Sept. 17. (Published Monday, Jul 19, 2010)

    Johansson wowed us years ago in "Lost in Translation," but since then we've been argyle unimpressed. Looking back at her career, she's never been the lead in a commercially successful film, it would seem a huge gamble putting her front and center for such a big-budget project.

    Lively's star is clearly on the rise, with the "Gossip Girl " earning praise for her work in Ben Affleck's upcoming heist film "The Town." And of course she's gorgeous and brings little to no preconceived impression to her work. We're openly rooting for the young upstart.

    Angelina Jolie had once been attached to the role, but walked away when producers wouldn't pay her the $20 million fee to which she is accustomed, opening the door for another actress. In addition to Lively and Johansson, Marion Cotillard also tested but is no longer in the running.

    There's been speculation that the role has been tweaked as she was originally a mother, but both Lively and Johansson are old enough to have kids. The role that would have to be changed would that of the kid. In any event, it's clear that Cuaron has shifted his focus to actresses much younger than Jolie.

    Opening with a 20-minute opening shot, taking place almost entirely in zero gravity being 60-percent CGI, the film's effects budget will no doubt be huge, which would explain why they balked at Jolie's hefty price tag.