The actress reunites with co-star Keanu Reeves 12 years after Speed
Sandra Bullock has every right to claim herself as a mega-superstar; she can also say she's had the opportunity to work opposite fellow mega-superstars. But, back in 1994, Sandra was just on the brink of getting that 'superstar' tag when she signed on to star in the action thriller, Speed, with Keanu Reeves.
That movie changed both their careers and now 12 years later, the two are finally working together again in the romantic drama The Lake House. The film is a remake of a Korean film; Sandra plays Kate, a doctor who just got a promotion at the hospital and is moving from her house on the lake to a condo. She's living in the year 2006.
Keanu is Alex, an architect who has just moved back into his childhood house on the lake; he's living in the year 2004. The two mysteriously begin to correspond through letters left in their mailboxes and fall in love.
We caught up with Sandra who talked about working with Keanu again and how much fun they had on set together. Here's what she had to say:
Why did it take this long to reunite on a film?
Sandra Bullock: Just waiting, just wait for the right thing; often people will say, 'You and Keanu Reeves should do something; it would be great to have you guys.' It came out of nowhere; it came at us from two different directions. It was at a strange time and I was like, 'I'm not ready to do this and I read it and I went wow!' Actually, I found out about it through another director friend of mine, Paul Haggis, who said 'You should read this, it's brilliant.' They don't make movies like this any more; it's too risky and it doesn't have the formula that you can hang something on. But, I think that you don't have to spend a lot of money to make something moving. If it works, money will come later; but, everyone does things for love. Eventually, you're going to get something out of it; it might not be Batman but it'll be what it's supposed to be.
Was it difficult to deal with the lack of eye to eye contact?
Sandra Bullock: It wasn't at all; there's an ease. I don't want to say it's a comfort, but it's an ease for me to look at him directly in places when I'm not comfortable with myself. I can look him in the eye and feel that I have a place there. There's other people you can look in their eyes and not feel that you are supposed to be there. I think that was a nice luxury for me; I know what it's like to remember him, I know what it's like to wonder, we have a nice history. There's a great level of comfort that I have.
Sandra Bullock: Oh yeah, big time.
Can you talk about writing letters in this movie and not conversing through email?
Sandra Bullock: It's charged by you and your efforts. You know, that was a nice thing about the film was that people can't say 'well, why didn't they call each other? Why didn't they use e-mail?' Because the only way to communicate was at that house with this mailbox, this one mailbox, so it eliminates all the 'where's the technology?' But you know, I love nothing more than the written word and someone taking the time to.
Do you write love letters then?
Sandra Bullock: Oh yeah, big time. Well, one of the greatest gifts that girlfriends of mine gave me for a birthday like five years ago was they knew how much I love the written word; I love when someone takes the time or leaves you a note or sends a letter. They went to every single person that I ever said I admired or loved or respected as an actor or musician or philosopher or scientist.
What did they do with them?
Sandra Bullock: I mean, you would not believe the people that are in this book. And got them by sending a card and said it's her birthday, so if you want, write something, draw something or just say something that springs to mind. A stack from people, like friends; I still can't get through it because it's so overwhelming. It's like they put this leather bound book together and they said you love so much what everyone else does, you write notes, I wanted them to write notes back to you. And it was like the most, and with their handwriting or their little faces or an exclamation point, or just a little scribble. It was like you could see that they probably thought, 'Oh, I'll write a little something' and then they started writing around the sides and went around the back; they took the time.
Which birthday was this? Some magic number?
Sandra Bullock: You know what, there's no magic numbers in birthdays in my life, there are no milestones, there's no event. Every birthday has to be celebrated to its fullest, even if it's with one person or with 20. And so, no, it was for no reason and that was their reason as well. They said they didn't want it to be anything other than, that this birthday, this is what we wanted to do. And it's all the letters.
Do you believe in romantic destiny?
Sandra Bullock: I think there are different levels of romance, do you know what I mean? I can have an incredible romance with him (Keanu) when we work together; it's in that moment. It was destined for that we were scheduled to work that same day to work in that scene; that's a hard one.
Do you think these two characters were destined for each other?
Sandra Bullock: I think they chose to be together. They chose to accept this situation, and allowed themselves to let go and be a part of it. And allowed themselves the joy of what can't be explained by society.
Do you believe in that kind of destiny?
Sandra Bullock: I do believe in choice, the freedom of choice and carving out your own happiness.
What do you think of good astrology, astrological charts?
Sandra Bullock: I think they're incredible.
So how does that deal with your choice, your romantic destiny, the chart?
Sandra Bullock: Because all I can work with is what I know. What's the bigger picture? Whatever choices are being made through astrology, and destiny and faith, I have no control over. I have the control over saying yes or no to the experience. I don't know. I hope there's something amazing and bigger. There's a lot of coincidences and things that have happened in my lifetime where I go, 'did you just see that? Did that just happen?' There's no way, I do believe; I believe there's bigger things at work than just me, which is odd for an actor I know. But I believe I know there's big things that are happening and you have to choose whether you are going to be open enough to see them.
Do you remember your first big crush?
Sandra Bullock: Oh yes! Yes, Germany, first grade - Stefan.
Did you break his heart?
Sandra Bullock: No, he broke mine; not really. I moved back to the States and then came back and my cousin started dating him. It was like in the 2nd or 3rd grade, because she was dating his brother at the time; we were in the same grade.
What are the advantages of waiting until later in life, in your thirties, to find someone to be with. Are there different things that you look for in the relationship now that you are older?
Sandra Bullock: Very clever way of masking the whole getting married question; very clever, very good. I never waited; I seized the opportunities in love. I had so much love, I had so many, not so many, but a few incredible relationships. To me, it seems like a lot because you have four years with someone, and to me that's just the same as having been married to them. But it was a part of my life; I never waited for anything. If you're talking about getting married, I never wanted to get married. It was a death sentence to me.
Sandra Bullock: Oh my g-d. How many marriages do you see that you really admire? How many people who in a marriage, go 'oh my G-d, I have the greatest relationship, I'm so happy.' Or 'I married too young' or 'I have kids and they're taking away from my life.' I want to enjoy everything that I do and be the best of myself. So being married wasn't like a thing. I wasn't raised with the 'have a white dress and a wedding.' That wasn't the way we were raised. I was raised with 'have a good life and push yourself and achieve what you want to achieve in happiness.' I never waited for anything; I was blessed enough to be loved the way I was loved in my lifetime and I hope when I'm 60, I can still look at myself and say, I'm lucky to be loved and healthy and happy. So I never waited but I think I stayed open to all possibilities and had the greatest of love and wouldn't change anything that I did, any step of the way. You know, things I look at mistakes then led me to right here this day, and the best thing that ever happened to me.
What made you make that 'leap of faith' in your own life?
Sandra Bullock: Well, believe me, it made me think about a lot of things. You know, life gives you what you need to learn and as Kate, same like me, has a passion in life, had a direction. What she was going to do, she had things in her life that presented themselves that were wonderful and a great package and all the things and the bells and whistles, that you think, that's wonderful, but it's not for me and I'm not going to go there because I don't want to harm it. I will not treat is as well as something else to give oneself to that, because she couldn't do it. And whether it was the timing in her life or she just knew being where she was, was fine. For me, I don't know how to explain it.
It just felt right.
Sandra Bullock: Yes, it was romantic destiny.
And you noticed it? And everything clicked?
Sandra Bullock: It was bigger than I was in all the right ways. And I'm a control freak, who can take care of everything myself, who carries her own luggage, takes care of the car, runs her own business, wants the evil empire, I can do anything. Tell me I can't do something I'm gonna do it, I don't need it, I don't need a man. I can take care of everything. It had everything and nothing to do with that; it just happened. It took an eight-year-old; it took my eight-year-old g-dson, he led me, that's what it was.
Like Jesse (James) does?
Sandra Bullock: He said I want to go to this place. And I went, ok, whatever, a Christmas present. This is where we're going, and that's what happened.
If you guys were to go home today, open up your mailbox, who would you like to get a letter from?
Sandra Bullock: My mom.
What would you want her to say?
Sandra Bullock: I want to know how she is, just how's she doing. Cause I'm sure she is not out having a whole adventure of her own, I just want to know how she is. Just to see her handwriting; she had very dramatic handwriting, and it was just so distinctive. I've seen it around pictures; I just want to see that handwriting on the outside of the letter. Just the handwriting, I don't really need the contents.
Were you concerned this movie would be put in a sub-genre with the fantasy aspect?
Sandra Bullock: I spent many days with that argument, and we shot stuff with that happening.
Sandra Bullock: Oh yeah, I mean, not knowing what that was, and questioning, I go, what would my mind do, I would look for wires, I would assume there's a remote control, all this kind of stuff, but then I had to step back and go, 'Eliminate all the things, the tricks that I know of through experience. This isn't me, this is a person who obviously was ready in their lifetime to be open to something like that. The logical doctor who bases everything she does on science is presented with this other worldly happening. Obviously she needed something like that in her life to wake her up and be a part of her life. So yeah, but that's because we forget about the magic of things. Kids don't care about how it happened, they get lost in it. And I think as adults, we sort of have become really jaded; it takes a lot to make us let go. That was a hard decision, but I got to the end, and it was just about letting go, you know.
What was your relationship off screen to make the on-screen relationship so intimate?
Sandra Bullock: Well I think it's a little scary to get intimate. When you have an inanimate object like a bus and the action and energy outside of yourselves, you have part of your self, you can make that the bigger thing and you have moments where the inanimate object of the house. But when we had to be together, we had to be together in the most intimate of ways. I think I got to see his history and what he has experienced these past 10 years, and who he is as now as a man, just as good as when I first met him, but that much more open. Because I think the first day was at the house.
So how do you make it so intimate?
Sandra Bullock: You just have to do something intimate with about 60 people watching you, talking, whispering as they are moving things. And then the neighborhood is out, and people hanging outside their houses. It's like, 'Boy, it's odd.' But you just have to kinda zone out in a weird way and not think about it. I'm not going to get uncomfortable, and 'what are they thinking? Am I doing something that looks odd? We are just going to do what feels right; and thankful for Alejandro (Agresti), he allowed. When it was silent with him, when we were filming it, we unconsciously knew, just keep going; you didn't need to think anymore.
You can check out Sandra and Keanu in The Lake House when it opens in theaters June 16th; it's rated PG.