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Bullock says she’s done with romantic comedies

She stars in ‘Miss Congeniality 2’ and the upcoming drama ‘Crash’
/ Source: The Associated Press

Like her character in “Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous,” Sandra Bullock has entered a new career phase.

After so many romantic comedies, the actress says 2002’s “Two Weeks Notice” may have been her last hurrah in the genre. Co-star Hugh Grant was the “ultimate partner” and a fitting way to go out, she says.

She’ll co-star in the upcoming independent movie “Crash” and is days away from wrapping a film based on Truman Capote’s writing of “In Cold Blood” (she plays Harper Lee, Capote’s childhood friend and author of “To Kill a Mockingbird”). A reunion with “Speed” co-star Keanu Reeves is in the works as well; they’ll pair up for “Il Mare,” a romantic drama.

While “Miss Congeniality 2” may seem like more conventional Bullock fare, it does have some twists. Bullock returns as FBI agent Gracie Hart, but because of the fame brought on by her crime-busting success in the first movie, she can no longer go undercover. Instead, she becomes the agency’s spokeswoman — but can’t bear to stay uninvolved in investigations.

AP: What attracted you to doing a sequel to “Miss Congeniality?”

Bullock: Marc Lawrence, the writer. He and I work together, obviously, a lot. We were doing something else a year later and he was talking about it and nobody was talking about it as a sequel or part two. He said, “Well, let me put it on paper.” And I went, “I’m not doing it. I’m not doing it. There’s nothing else to tell.” And he goes, “What have you always wanted to do? What have you always wanted to say?” ... I said as long as it’s Gracie and it’s something that I really like and that I think people don’t say enough in films.

AP: You’ve recently been quoted saying you’ve grown tired of romantic comedies. After movies such as “Forces of Nature,” “Love Potion No. 9” and “While You Were Sleeping,” why?

Bullock: I just said I’m not going to do them for a while. And all of a sudden they were like, (deep voice) “You’re never, ever doing them?” ... I had nothing else to say in that department — I’m not the expert. ... I favor right now the comedy in “Miss Congeniality” so much more. ... I like the challenge of that a lot more than the comedy being revolved around landing the dude.

AP: Was it important to you that your partner in “Miss Congeniality 2” be a woman? There aren’t many female buddy movies.

Bullock: I didn’t know why. When I made the first “Miss Congeniality,” I wondered why is it that all the comedies are always romantic comedies? Why can’t I be like a physical comedian? I would literally ask, “What is Jim Carrey not doing, and can we change it to a female?” For some reason, they didn’t think that women would be accepted being that physical and that out there. ... No one ever shows women watching out for one and other. We’re either scratching each other’s eyes out or stealing each other’s husbands or there’s a lead woman and there’s a best friend who usually is a better written role and has two scenes.

AP: You seem to be conscious of portraying a strong, funny independent woman on-screen.

Bullock: It’s not so much conscious, it just is — if that’s viewed as strong and independent. I mean, I find people’s weaknesses really strong. If they can say “something screwed up and I don’t know how to fix it and I made a huge mistake.” It’s just what I believe. It’s for men and women. I like the misfits. I like the awkward feeling. I like the people who feel like they’re absolutely inept and have no place — and that’s basically everybody.

AP: Do you get a lot of scripts that fit the bill?

Bullock: Not a lot. But there’s a lot of good material and a lot of great writers and that’s why I’ve had a production company (Fortis Films) for a long time. We develop our own.

AP: Do you enjoy working as a producer, as you did on this film?

Bullock: The nice thing about it is I have complete say in the business. Nothing gets past, whether it’s how the Web site is set up internationally or what things will be used in our film overseas, product placement. I’m like, ‘Look, I’m not a product placement kind of person.’ ... But I like to micromanage that way.

AP: You turned 40 last July, which puts you in rarified air as an A-list actress. Why do you think actresses traditionally have not had much longevity?

Bullock: I have no idea. I’m working more than I ever have. The whole 40 thing has been a media thing. I’ve never been asked that question more since I’ve been on this press junket. There was no big party. Nobody asked me what it was like to turn 36 — that was a hell of a year. ... It depends on what you base your career on. If it’s based on youth, then when the youth is going, you should find something else to base it on. I don’t consider myself just an actor. ... I don’t think when people think of me, they think of here’s the sex symbol that must maintain x, y and z. I could be wrong, but I seriously doubt that that’s how I’m perceived and I’m very happy about that.

AP: I’ve often heard you described as someone men want to date and women want to be friends with.

Bullock: That’s a good perception. I like that one. ... But the most important thing out of both of those is having the women as your friends.