Bullock's Back Being Funny
Sandra Bullock sings the praises of her new film The Proposal, life with husband Jesse James and how starring opposite Ryan Reynolds is a comic chemistry explosion.
Sandra Bullock first charmed audiences in the TV version of Working Girl and now is set to bring the funny once again with Ryan Reynolds in The Proposal. The film opens everywhere June 19.
Bullock is the pride of Arlington, Virginia, a suburb that otherwise boasts the home of many working in the US government. The actress found performing early and never looked back. After the 12 episodes of Working Girl aired, Sandra would first find her innate romantic comedic gifts in Love Potion No. 9. She established her acting credibility with her performance in Wrestling Ernest Hemmingway and became a superstar opposite Keanu Reeves in the pop culture sensation, Speed.
Since Speed, Sandra Bullock's name on the marquee guarantees an audience. She has built a fan base across genres, but became especially enamored for her work in romantic comedies. A success streak she walked away from six years ago. The material failed to excite her.
As soon as the script for The Proposal arrived on her doorstep, Bullock knew she had found her way back to comedy that worked.
The wife of Jesse James speaks about life with the famous outlaw reality star and what she believes are the essential ingredients required for the perfect romantic comedy.
SheKnows: The press is having fun with your first nude scene and the humor that it emits. Was that awkward with a good friend like Ryan?
Sandra Bullock: It was all the choreography. It's all on the page. You see that there is no way to shoot this unless you're buck naked (laughs). Then I went, 'Go to the gym. Cut out the carbs!' But, when it's funny -- if it turned out funny -- it was worth it.
Bullock and Betty
SheKnows: It was funny. Betty White keeps telling people she was supposed to be in that scene.
Sandra Bullock: It was supposed to be Betty and me naked. Betty has in her contract that she only does nude scenes with guys like Ryan.
SheKnows: (Laughs) You and Ryan had the audience roaring with laughter.
Sandra Bullock: I'm glad it made people laugh. It was odd. It to the point that you were so tired, you just didn't care. Anne was just like, 'your vagina is hanging out.' Cover it up! Sorry!
Leaving romantic comedies
SheKnows: Why did you get away from romantic comedies?
Sandra Bullock: I just stopped doing them six, seven years ago. They were terrible. They're not funny so they should not be romantic comedy. And most of the time, they're not romantic. So, they shouldn't be called romantic comedy, they should be called 'that other type of film.' I don't call this a romantic comedy. It reminds me of the films from the '30s and '40s where there was a landscape and a story and drama was allowed to be in there. You can't have good comedy without drama in it.
SheKnows: Did it help to have such a strong female character in The Proposal?
Sandra Bullock: They don't generally write well for women in romantic comedies. I love my comedy too much to bastardize it with bad romantic comedies. So, I thought 'OK, that's done. I'm going to find another way to work and do it in a way that I love.' So, I'm not calling this a romantic comedy. That's how I got by it. It's a motion picture (laughs).
SheKnows: I don't suppose your views on immigration changed in any way making this film?
Sandra Bullock: We are all immigrants – all of us.
A sense of Speed
SheKnows: In the boat scene, how did Ryan not get tossed into the water with your driving?
Sandra Bullock: Ryan can do anything. He was in Wolverine (laughs). I figured, 'he'll be fine.'
SheKnows: I know you and Ryan Reynolds have known each other for years, but that doesn't necessarily equal on screen chemistry. Yet, you two have it and comic chemistry in spades.
Sandra Bullock: You're right, you don't now. There have been people in films that worked together that despised each other who had enormous chemistry. I think the one thing, I got away from comedy because it wasn't being done in the way that I could do it and that made me sad. It's not appreciated, I'll abandon it. It came back. Not only did it come back to me but it came back with a man who wrote a role that I went "ahhh." Carol Burnet would have gotten this role. Anyone back in the day would have gotten this role. They don't do this anymore. Then you read the other roles. You see who was cast. You went 'oh my god, the things I'm going to learn.' I'm going to get to have that moment of timing in comedy and making it convincing and working hard and making people laugh and telling a great story. And then they said that Ryan was going to do it, I thought that this is the only other person I can do this with. That's why I want to step back into it. We were a little worried that familiarity would be a little weird. Everything's musical in my life. Timing is a rhythm. We know when to stop, when to volley, it's like music.
SheKnows: You are a natural…
Sandra Bullock: I was so thankful I got to go back. I felt bad that I had abandoned something that I guess I was naturally given. I didn't love it anymore, because I didn't get to do it the right way. I'm really thankful I got to do it with the right people who taught me how to do it better. I had to raise the bar.
A Proposal: being bad feels so good
SheKnows: Your character is not the nicest woman in the world. As America's Sweetheart with all the reputation that entails, was being bad good?
Sandra Bullock: I'm a good actress. That's why you find me likable (laughs), because I am a bitch. I am a horrible, evil bitch. But I'm a really good actress, so everyone thinks I'm nice (laughs). Everyone's got it. It's such a joy to be able to play someone who's angry it's a joy, a relief. Having to be nice all the time is exhausting. To play someone who has that under-layer of unhappiness that you know comes from someplace. To play her for three months I could be a bitch. People would ask me, 'why are you that way?' It's my character (laughs). I don't have to apologize. I take it home with me. It was pure heaven, I loved it. We all have it in is. People who do comedy are the nastiest people on the planet.
SheKnows: In The Proposal, you're pretty demanding on your assistant. I'm sure you're a peach to your assistant, but you've seen some things…
Sandra Bullock: We've all known people in this industry that you think I cannot believe that came out of their mouth. But, I hate the word assistant (laughs). No one works for me. I couldn't do anything without the people I work with.
SheKnows: The Proposal works on so many levels, it could be a classic throwback Tracy-Hepburn romantic comedies. Is that how you saw it?
Sandra Bullock: This film had it all in the script. Once the cast came together, we saw what it was going to be, we didn't relate it to anything else. The beauty of it, the setting – we were in Alaska. The setting -- that can get lost in comedies. We don't remember the setting. I love people in elements they're not used to. I didn't know places like this existed. From our costume designer that designed the clothes that helped the comedy, that sold the character, each and every detail was perfectly thought out. That's a lost art. I give it to Pete for writing, every single character in this film, you could watch for two hours and make another film. Except for me!
SheKnows: Did Jesse get to visit the set?
Sandra Bullock: Every time he (Jesse) came around there was a little flirt fest. There was something going on (laughs) with her and Jesse. There's a little eyeing. It's him against himself. It's him creating – and pushing the envelope, yeah, it is (laughs). I knew what I married and I love that about him.
SheKnows: Is it unnerving to have him on his new show?
Sandra Bullock: No one is trying to kill him. It's him pushing the envelope. It is…it is hard (laughs).
SheKnows: Do you have any plans for the summer?
Sandra Bullock: I have no plans. I'm working on a motion picture now. It's based on a book. I'm the queen of planning and scheduling. I'm trying to stop it. I just want to finish what I'm doing and go home. I want to have a weekend. I want to eat a stack of pancakes. I hope I'm always content and as satisfied as I am at this very moment.