It is a film that may get her an Oscar nomination. Sandra Bullock’s latest runaway hit, Gravity is about astronauts who run into trouble while in space. The actress who balances her life as a single mum and her career, chooses to live in cities like Austin, Texas, and New Orleans. She is firmly in the top 10 list of Hollywood’s highest paid actresses and her films tend to make money. More from the actress about her latest project.
How did you train for the film?
You had to retrain your body from the neck down to react and move as though it’s in Zero-G without the benefit of Zero-G moving your body. Because everything that your body reacts to with a push or a pull on the ground is completely different in Zero-G. So to make that second nature just took training and then weeks of repetition and then syncing it with Alfonso’s camera and the mechanics and the mathematics of it all, and then separating that from your head when you had to connect to the emotion and tell the emotional story.
After working in darkness for months, did you like what you saw in the final version?
The first time I saw it all put together was in Venice. Technology is something that’s heady. It was turned into such an emotion and such a visceral physical experience in this movie. So we had that same reaction. I think George [Clooney] and I both went, ‘Wow.’
This has to be an emotionally grueling role for you.
I’ve always said the experience of meeting an artist that you are in awe of and you hope to create with one day is usually disappointing because you’ve put them up on a pedestal and then you’re like, ‘Wow, that’s not a nice person.’ [Laughs] But the exact opposite was true in the meeting with Alfonso. And the important thing for me was, I can’t selfishly take journeys anymore because I have to take a little boy along with me. And I said, ‘can you make it an amazing experience for him and make it so I’m not somewhere not paying attention because I’m so worried about where he is?’ And David turned the back lot of a sound stage in rainy London into a wonderland for a one and a half-year-old. Everything was bumper-guarded. People would go, ‘What is that?’ And I’d go, ‘That is to protect a child’s head. All of it.’
What is it like to perform on screen for a great deal of the movie by yourself?
I never thought, ‘I’m the only person on screen.’ Because there’s George, who’s a vital part of this film and represents life and this outlook on living, and if you don’t have that, this film could not exist.
What about the research you did for the film, and the people at NASA that you talked to?
We had a lot of technicians around us that helped me, literally, with knowing where buttons were on the Shuttle and Soyuz. I was more concerned about body work and how it worked in Zero-G, and there was no one to ask. My brother-in-law was with a friend at some wine packaging place and the guy said, ‘You know, my sister is an astronaut.’ And my brother-in-law went, ‘Well, my sister-in-law is getting ready to be an astronaut.’ So he got my number for Katie [NASA astronaut Catherine Coleman], and she called, and I was able to literally ask someone who’s experiencing the things that I was trying to physically learn. It’s just the oddest thing to reprogram your reactions.
We’ve seen you in The Heat and The Blind Side but this is truly different.
Yeah, I’m always longing to do emotionally and physically what my male counterparts always got to do. And those kinds of roles were not available. They weren’t being written. But in the last couple years, things have shifted. And the fact is that Jonás and Alfonso wrote this specifically as a woman—it wasn’t an afterthought.
Gravity is scheduled to release today.
— Team Indulge