Sandra Bullock Interview - All About Steve
Sandra Bullock thought people opposed the making of this movie because the woman's character was__________and wasn't the expected stereotype.
You get a lot of pitches and a lot of projects. Why did you jump on as a producer and an actress in this one?
Sandra Bullock: "I don't know. I wish I could answer that. I wanted to do a guy's comedy and I wanted to do something that sort of said things that I believed in. And this one just happened to come across the path. Kim Barker, our writer, had my agent send it to me. I was in the middle of shooting something else and I read it and I laughed. I kept asking people to read it to make sure I wasn't nuts. But I just liked how difficult the process was going to be. I knew it was going to be hard to make. I knew a lot of people would not understand why it should be made. But I knew why I wanted to make it. And I wish I picked easier paths to go down, but I don't know how."
Why did you think people thought it shouldn't be made? Why did you form that opinion?
Sandra Bullock: "Because one of the characters in the film is a woman who is quite unique. She doesn't fall into this stereotype that we like to show in films. And that's what I loved about her because I don't feel like the stereotype in films. I feel like the odd man out who happened to get lucky in this business. I just wanted other people to know that their odd man out feeling is felt by most people, but society keeps saying, 'Be normal.' I just want to know what normal is and who is the person that made the list of what the normal things are. I'd like to speak to that person because I don't seem to know the list. That is sort of my question: what is normal and why can't we all just appreciate what's different about ourselves rather than trying to homogenize everybody."
You were actually on the phone with Sandra for three hours talking about this movie to begin with. Is that true?
Phil Traill: "It's true, the first call. I hadn't met her yet so I wasn't entirely sure that it was her. But it sounded like someone who's excited about the movie so... And then I met her the next day. We'd gotten already to a place of like I can be...well, after about 15 minutes I'd run out of polite sort of, 'Oh, this is what I love about this bit.' I'd run out of all that. I just started going, 'I didn't really like that,' you know? And she was like, 'Yeah, I didn't really...,' or she did and then we started arguing. And then I think I swore at her. I definitely swore at her, and then I was sitting there on the phone, going, 'I just told her to f-off and I'm not entirely convinced I should have done that.' And there was this pause and then she's like, 'No, you.' She said to me, 'The only person who says that to me is my husband.' So I was like, 'I think that's good. I'm in! I'm in!' She was fine, you know, 'Whatever.' She's pretty friendly. And then I went in the next day and met her. And seamlessly cut to tonight with no trauma or drama at all. It was unbelievably smooth."
What changes did you make during that first conversation when you were talking?
Phil Traill: "Oh, you know, you read a script and then try and get on the same page about everything. It's kind of complicated, even though it's a straight-up comedy, there's actually quite a lot of character arcs and character journeys. So, you know, it's hard to juggle whether some overtake others. Really I think that was the biggest thing because there's some emotional bits in the film as well, and you know it's tonal thing. 'If that bit gets really emotional, well then it's not very funny for a long while and I thought we were supposed to be laughing.' So there was bits about that where maybe that's not so funny and that could be funnier and then that could be sadder, and then that character's overtaking... That kind of stuff."
Is it weird directing someone who is also the producer?
Phil Traill: "You know, she's very good, Sandy, at separating herself on screen from herself. Like that was Mary Horowitz on screen and then she'd come to the monitor and she's watching it, going, 'No, Mary wouldn't do that.' And it was a bit like, 'Well, you just did it two minutes ago. Why did you do it if Mary's not going to do it?' But, you know, she's not very good, Sandy, so I had to help her through her acting. No."
She's never done this before.
Phil Traill: "She's never done it before. It's nice to give her her break. No."
And you got Bradley Cooper like before he blew up.
Phil Traill: "Yeah, and Ken [Jeong], right, before The Hangover went crazy. No, good for them. Bradley got The Hangover while we were shooting. I remember him getting it and he said he was going to do a great script. I was like, 'Good. Awesome.' We're very delighted for him and it may be good for us. It's all good."
When you look at this with Ken Jeong, Thomas Haden Church and Bradley Cooper, you don't picture them being friends, but I hear that they were really off the set. Were they? Did they bond?
Phil Traill: "Oh yeah, they bonded."
You look like you have some real good stories on that.
Phil Traill: "They bonded too much. Well, no, I was going to say in The Hangover Ken jumps on Bradley naked. It's like, 'That's a lot of bonding.' I didn't realize we were bonding that hard. They all like coming up with ideas so the whole thing was like one big idea fest of, 'Why don't I do this? Why don't I do that?'"
More on All About Steve