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Thursday, 22 March, 2001, 10:26 GMT
The congenial Miss Bullock
Sandra Bullock
Sandra Bullock earns about $12m per film
By BBC News Online's Darren Waters

Sandra Bullock is, as the title of her latest film Miss Congeniality would suggest, disarmingly amiable and charming.

In the course of one press conference she was so self-effacing she laughed about her lack of cleavage and natural grace, shrugged off poor reviews and described comedy as "not brain surgery".

I didn't want to be ladylike in this film

Sandra Bullock

It might have been all part of a ploy to appear down to earth and thoroughly congenial but she certainly had the assembled press won over in under 30 minutes.

It can be hard to warm to someone who commands a fee of around $12m a movie. But Bullock appeared to be a lot closer to the film star character Julia Roberts played in Notting Hill than Roberts herself.

"I will make one blockbuster movie, maybe, every five years," she said.

"Everything else will be stuff that moves me, that I love and generally it will be stuff that won't make a lot of money. I'm okay with that.

"I don't feel I have to retain a level of success."

It would not be far from the truth to say that Bullock has not always enjoyed success.


Her breakthrough films Speed and the comedy While You Were Sleeping established her as an A-list Hollywood actress, but flops such as Speed 2 and Gun Shy raised doubts about her ability to back the right horse.

The Texas-based actress has certainly had her critics and she does not expect glowing reviews of her latest comedy film Miss Congeniality, although as the film's producer as well as star, she has a big stake in it.

"You know, comedies always get slammed. Every time I have seen a comedy that I felt was hilarious I would read a review and they can't stand it.

Sandra Bullock
Bullock plays an undercover FBI agent in her new film
"We don't make films like that to get reviewed - it's not curing cancer.

"I don't care about reviews. You do what you love."

In the film Bullock plays a graceless, dowdy FBI agent who is transformed into a beauty pageant contestant, unsteady on her high heels.

"I didn't want to be ladylike," she said.


"Falling over is something I do naturally in real life so I thought I would use what I know.

"Physical comedy is not something that has been allowed in film for women for a while.

"If you look at films from the 1930s or 1940s everyone is allowed to be physically inept and yet still be the leading lady.

"It seems that there was a phase when we wanted our leading ladies to be beautiful dolls."

Like her character in the film, she did not initially have a high regard for beauty pageants or the contestants.

"We hired a lot of beauty pageant girls and they were hilarious. Some took their job very seriously but for the most part they got the joke.


"I do have a different perception now - for some of the people."

Julia Roberts has single-handedly opened up doors

Sandra Bullock

She was quick to scotch rumours of jealousy and competition between Hollywood's actresses.

"Our industry enjoys pitting women up against each other. They want to see a really good catfight and they are not going to get it - at least not on film.

"You'd be amazed at how much the women in the industry support each other. And how much they enjoy each other's company."

She singled out Julia Roberts for praise.

"A lot more roles are coming about and that has to do with women opening films and making money.

"Julia Roberts has single-handedly opened up doors for women-driven films because she is saying you can make money doing films like this."

She admitted comedy actors tend to get overlooked by the critics but said she had not been waiting for a call from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences this year.

"Can you believe it was overlooked?" she joked.

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21 Dec 00 | Entertainment
Bullock safe after plane crash
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