Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, Anne Hathaway, Helena Bonham Carter, Rihanna y Sarah Paulson get together for the reboot of the heist franchise that had .....
George Clooney and Brad Pitt as head actors in the past. Bullock, 53, leads the pack as Debbie Ocean, sister of the late con man Danny (George Clooney), who steps out of jail and back into old habits with an elaborate plan to rob a $150 million diamond necklace from the ultra-exclusive Met Gala. With her we talked in New York about her future movie Bird Box for Netflix and her passion to convert male characters in female characters, and, by the way, she speaks four languages and one of them is Spanish.
Q: You play Danny’s sister in this movie, who of course was played by George Clooney in the Ocean’s movies. What did you think of this idea to play his sister?
A: I got a call with this idea, and I didn’t think it wouldn’t work, but in the beginning, I just thought it’s a neat idea but it will never happen. Sure enough a year later we were getting ready to shoot this movie. That’s Hollywood for you.
Q: How many hours of phone conversations did you have with George Clooney to get the back story of the brother/sister relationship right?
A: Many hours on the phone (laughs). I like to call George up at random times and talk movies. That’s my favorite past time. No, I am just kidding, of course.
Q: Was it fun to play with other women on set?
A: A ton of fun. I know a lot of people thought it was a risk and it wouldn’t work out. But we had so much fun together. Two years ago, we never thought an all female ensemble would be doable in this genre. And now it’s out there. So proud of this movie.
Q: The conversations among the women come across totally relaxed and natural. Was that all scripted, or did you guys improvise a bit?
A: We played around a lot (laughter). We tried to stick to the script most of the time, but this just happens, you go off script, the camera keeps rolling, and all of the sudden it’s in the movie.
Q: We haven’t seen you in a while, you didn’t miss Hollywood much?
A: Not really. You know, I’ve been around for a long time, and I am fortunate enough these days to really pick and choose what I want to do. This project was something I was very interested in, that’s why I am back here.
Q: There is a ton of great cameos in this movie. Some of the old Ocean guys shows up. Was that fun?
A: Of course, it was. I won’t give up who shows up in this movie, but it’s always great when you have some nice surprises. But this movie was mainly about the women in this film.
Q: It felt like the old Frank Sinatra feeling of friends hanging out, was there a lot of bonding?
A: We were able to connect in the way we could. We worked crazy long days. We were draped all over each other on a couch at midnight. You don’t always get what you hope for. But we managed to connect on a level we never thought we could. That many women never get to work together like this. I feel very lucky because there are no more stones I need to turn over. With this one I came out with so much more than I had hoped for. All these women are now on my text thread.
Q: What’s interesting to me is this is a movie where women are not limited to fight over a man. It’s a new world for women in Hollywood, would you agree?
A: We are orchestrating a crime instead of fighting over a man. That alone was a thrill for me. It was exciting to do something so unusual. And we had a director who was very sympathetic to that. We all want to see more women directors. But here we had a director who really loves women.
Q: What message does this movie have for women?
A: You don’t have to grow up to be a princess. That’s what our director said. And I love that. We need women of all characters, nuanced, complicated, that’s what we need to show young women especially.
Q: What other message do you like to see more in movies today?
A: Women taking care of each other, being good to each other. Recognizing talent and being able to step back and let others shine. Sure, we can fight, but it should all be for the greater good – which of course it’s about money (laughs). I really like to see women that lift each other up. There is a lot of love and support out there, and we need to start showing it on screen.
Q: The “MeToo” movement is really changing the game.
A: Unfortunately, it’s a human issue, but I think it’s important that the media keeps covering this issue. It has to remain political and keep the conversation going. And we need the support from the men as well.
Q: We meet all the Oscar winners first in the movie, was that planned?
A: Of course it was planned. Oscar winners have priority in life! – No, I am just kidding of course. While we were filming someone on this crew was winning award after award.
Q: What was the best part about reuniting and doing another movie together?
A: It’s nice to just sort of be able to work together. Like you grow up, you think, you share life experiences, you share your mellowing out, you share your, hopefully, your new sense of self like you’ve learned something hopefully. It’s nice that we work in a place where you’re allowed to keep coming back and have new experiences. And I don’t think any of us take that for granted. But to be able to sit with Grant and George and argue about what we’re impassioned by, and we might all come from different places. We all ended up with the same end result which was what was best for the movie. And we’re good at arguing our points of view, and never feeling like it got personal. So that’s what I really appreciate about the opportunity to do it.
Q: Sandra anything to add to the actual situation in America?
A: I mean I was raised in Arlington, Virginia, born in DC., and raised in a household where one was republican one was democratic. So, I got both sides. And the thing that I remember the most is not understanding why, if you were doing the right thing, why did people want to kill you? That was a question I remember asking my parents that they couldn’t answer. Why is it that when people are trying to help other people and they’re stepping forward, why do they get killed? And I remember not getting an answer for that. And I know that they couldn’t answer that because I was too young to understand, I think, the bigger picture of it. But I’ve always been … I’m not politically vocal. I just want what’s best for our country. I would like my rights represented, those of my son. Very selfish views I think, everyone else has them, but I had watched the freedom fighter’s documentary many times. There was one story that just really affected me about this young woman, first to go to college. She went and told her parents, “I’m going to leave college in order to ride. And to represent the future.”, and I was so moved by that. I go, “Who would do that now? Who would do that for my son?”. About who's willing to get off the carousel of success and winning and making money and how they look. To let that go, and put your neck out for the greater good? Have we all gotten too scared and too safe? I don’t know. That all stemmed from how I grew up. My parents broke the mold. They did things that were not fashionable. My mother was definitely ahead of her time as a woman. I never realized I was a woman and that there were … I mean I know I was female, but I never realized that there were limitations or that I was looked at as ‘less than’. Until I was actually pretty deep in this business and I had a pretty unsettling moment, and I went, “Oh my God! I’m being treated this way because I’m female.”. So, a lot of things started bubbling up or allowed ... to blossom in me. And I don’t know if it’s politically republican, democratic, I don’t know. But I grew up to be exactly who I was supposed to be, and have the opinions I’ve wanted to have … and didn’t realize that there were limitations to that until … you know. So, I thought, politically I was pretty open minded and could speak my mind, and then I realized that I wasn’t supposed to.
Q: Sandra, what point in your career, what was the tipping point that made you start looking at roles that were written for men, and start saying, “I want to approach these.”.
A: I want to be a man? My quest started before this film, when I was looking at comedies. I just wanted … I was like, why is the only comedy that’s available for women romantic comedies? I was so done, but I yearned for comedy. So, I started, I was like, “Can I look at every script that Jim Carrey didn’t want to do and just see if that can be switched?”. It started a while ago, just looking and nothing really popped up that I felt was extraordinary. And then The Heat showed up, which was sort of, I felt, out of the need for women to have a comedy that wasn’t centered around getting a man.
Q: What did you learn looking up these roles?
A: I’ve learned absolutely nothing. No, I’ve learned that you can’t worry about getting a no. I think we’re pretty, as actors, used to getting no’s in this business, but you have to keep going forward or you’d never work again. So, I’ve learned that sometimes just asking, you know, it can’t hurt to ask. And I’m glad I asked. And they could have said no, but they didn’t, you know?
Q: What is your personal opinion with the Hispanic community in the United States? And what would your character say to Donald Trump and his campaign?
A: I think they’re actually doing really well on their own. I think they’ve got pretty good people working behind them. Well I never separate the Hispanic community from America. You know? It’s like I don’t … my friends my family are from Hispanic communities so I’ve never looked at that like a separate thing to address and what I would say to them. Like, if it’s a good person, come into my fold. If you’re not a good person, stay out of my house.
Q: Did you learn some Spanish?
A: I’m fluent in German which in no way helps with my Spanish. I do have a very short but useful Spanish, I can order food in this language por instance.
Q: Have you ever read any Spanish Authors?
A: I do like to read. I can’t pin point specifically a list of Spanish Authors but I enjoyed Reading 2666 from Roberto Bolaño and Time of the Hero de Mario Vargas Llosa
By Maria Estévez, Correspondent Writer