October 6, 2013

Sandra Bullock on ‘Gravity,’ Oscars and motherhood

The Oscar winner lost in space, in a good place

By Barry Koltnow
Mcclatchy Newspapers

(Continued from page 2)

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This publicity photo released by Warner Bros. Pictures shows Sandra Bullock, left, as Dr. Ryan Stone in “Gravity." (AP Photo/Courtesy Warner Bros. Pictures)

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This film image released by Warner Bros. Pictures shows a scene from "Gravity." (AP Photo/Warner Bros. Pictures)

Additional Photos Below

Q. So, you were psyched?

A. No. I had an opportunity to work with this great man, and I had nothing to offer. I didn’t know how to do it.

Q. That sounds like pure fear. Are you ever fearful on a movie project?

A. Every time you start a movie, you have it. I say yes, and then I panic and try to pull out. Every single time.

Q. Really?

A. Really. I think it’s going to be a bomb, and I want somebody to get me out of it. And guess what, half the time, it is a big bomb, and half the time, it’s not.

Q. Isn’t it amazing that Sandra Bullock has survived in Hollywood with that attitude?

A. It is amazing. Like the cockroaches, I just won’t die.

Q. I wasn’t comparing you to a cockroach.

A. Well, I was, and I’m comfortable with that.

Q. Once you got over your fear and accepted the role, what happened next?

A. He told me the entire movie was going to be shot in the Vomit Comet. I told him I am deathly afraid of flying. I took it as another sign that I shouldn’t do the film. It was not in my comfort zone.

Q. How did you overcome that?

A. I decided that the universe was taking me someplace I needed to go. Once George (Clooney, her co-star) stepped on board, I was almost in tears. I thought, “Thank God, I know him. I know that he doesn’t know what this is all about, either, but that he admires Alfonso.” We were both novices in Alfonso’s world, but I was so grateful that at least there was something familiar around.

Q. You must have been elated when Alfonso informed you that he had changed his mind, and would not be using the Vomit Comet?

A. He didn’t tell me. They purposely led me to believe it was still happening. It wasn’t until a few days before we flew to London that George told me.

Q. Why didn’t they tell you? I would think that it would have allayed some of your fears?

A. The producer told me later that they decided not to tell me because they felt that I would be so excited about not filming on the Vomit Comet that I would gladly do anything they asked of me. And they were right.

Q. I know you have a tendency to look at the dark side of things, but wouldn’t you have to admit that with “The Heat” and “Gravity,” your career is in a pretty good place right now?

A. Let’s just say it’s a good work week.

Q. How was “The Heat?”

A. When the studio found out it was starring two women, they cut everyone’s salaries and cut the shooting schedule. But we went ahead and did it. It’s like making spaghetti; we threw it against the wall to see if it would stick. The great thing was that they left us alone. We were just the low-budget movie with women in it. No one expected it do well.

Q. How do you react when you’re sitting in a studio meeting and they’re talking about the Sandra Bullock brand?

A. No one ever, ever has said that in a meeting. If they did, I would walk out.

Q. You understand, though, that you are seen as a valuable property in Hollywood right now?

A. Maybe this week I am. Next week, when I make a choice that doesn’t do so well, then I’m not anymore. You can’t ever think of yourself as valuable property. If you do, you’re destined to have a nice little crash and burn. I expect great failures, and I expect great heights. You can’t control it, so you have to be grateful for what you have, and then just live your life.

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Additional Photos

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Sandra Bullock, left and below, as Dr. Ryan Stone and George Clooney as Matt Kowalsky in “Gravity.”

Warner Bros. photos

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This film image released by Warner Bros. Pictures shows Sandra Bullock in a scene from "Gravity." Bullock says making the lost-in-space movie directed by Alfonso Cuaron was her “best life decision” ever. (AP Photo/Warner Bros. Pictures)

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This film image released by Warner Bros. Pictures shows Sandra Bullock in a scene from "Gravity." (AP Photo/Warner Bros. Pictures)

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This film image released by Warner Bros. Pictures shows George Clooney in a scene from "Gravity." (AP Photo/Warner Bros. Pictures)


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