Sandra Bullock: I never dated George Clooney
“Yes, I’ve read that (story),” added the actress who stars with George in Alfonso Cuaron’s lavishly praised sci-fi drama.
Sandra looked fit and slim in a tight red, pink and white dress, with her long hair artfully tousled, in this interview in Toronto. “Shockingly, I think I’m one of a few people who have not dated George,” she remarked. “George and I smartly have kept it where it’s supposed to be. That’s why we like each other so much. That’s why we can still look each other in the eye.”
Of their photos together, Sandra explained, “Well, it was a Venice Film Festival movie. You have that beautiful setting, beautiful George Clooney, the dress was fabulous and I loved it. It was just all those things that make the fantasy of Hollywood so much fun when all the elements click and go together—a nice boat trip and a lifelong friendship.”
She stressed, “Not that we feel good about saying how long we’ve known each other. But we have a great level of respect and adoration for each other. We’re basically [like] siblings. That’s why we adore each other so much. We have been friends for so long and that works great.”
On how they first met, Sandra recalled, “We were all friends who shifted to everyone’s house and George was always there. He was always the insanely funny one in the corner. I think I was with my boyfriend at the time.
“George is hilarious. He does imitations better than anyone I know. You get a couple of drinks in him and he will go on for hours. He’s always been that way. The same George we have now is the same George he was then except he was an out-of-work actor then. He’s still as kind, loving and supportive of his friends now except now he can buy prettier things.”
“We’ve had the same group of friends,” Sandra continued. “We’ve known each other since I think just a few years after we got out of college and we were all in LA at the same time. We’ve known each other through his (pet) pig’s life, that pig’s death. We’ve seen each other go through relationships. It’s the same group that we all know each other through then and now. The beauty about George too is that he lifts everybody up with him. When he has success, he brings everybody along. It wasn’t just him. The minute he achieved something, it was about bringing everyone else on the bandwagon. He’s just a good guy.”
Has she been a victim of the famous prankster? “George did one and he’s now waiting for the retaliation,” Sandra replied. “He’s not allowed to do anything until the retaliation comes and it’s going to come. I just don’t know what year.”
“It involved a pool,” she elaborated on the prank. “I had a very expensive little new dress on. The agreement was that we were all going in and then he let go and only one of us went in. The dress disintegrated. There was humiliation but there was also fire that came alive that day that I now have to hold over his head. That’s probably why we’ve been friends for so long. It was a long time ago. He knows how to be kind to Sandy (her nickname).”
She emphasized, “George and everyone love to talk about his ‘pranking’ but he is one of the hardest working people that I know. He loves every aspect of this business. There’s never a time when he is not working and creating so if he was really ‘pranking’ as much as he said he was ‘pranking,’ he wouldn’t get anything done.” With a cool smile, Sandra dished, “But he’s vicious with his pranks. Do not cross him.”
Asked how she and her pal have matured, Sandra answered, “I’m sure tremendously but I don’t feel we’ve matured much, especially George. You get calmer about some things. I mean, I feel like George is exactly the same person I knew before except now he gets to do what he loves to do. He’s like a puppeteer. He can do anything he wants and he’s saving the world, basically. Me, I just feel like I’ve mellowed a lot. I’m not as insecure as I was. I feel like I’ve profoundly changed. George will probably say, ‘I’ve not changed at all and I am still as immature as I was.’ But I feel like we’re the same people—just older, more wrinkles.”
In “Gravity,” Sandra portrays an engineer on her first shuttle mission while George plays a veteran astronaut who survives an accident. They must work together as they drift in space. On dating in space, Sandra quipped, “There’s no resistance in space. You hit it and everything moves together so everyone is one big cluster together. Space dating is just not conducive to a good sex life.”
Sandra said hearing George’s familiar voice was reassuring as she spent hours by herself, suspended on wires called the “light box”—a hollow cube fitted with thousands of tiny LED lights to cast the appropriate lighting for her character as she spins uncontrollably through space.
“It couldn’t have been more perfectly paired given that we spent so little time together in this film,” Sandra said. “It was mostly each other’s voices that we had. I think because of our familiarity with each other, there was comfort in that. It made it a lot easier. Having George around is like having a life force in the room that reminds you to not take everything so heavily, which worked perfectly because it was the beginning of the film.
First team up
“You need that levity and that spirit he brings. Knowing each other for so many years—it’s just nice. We never worked together and this was the first time so it was really nice. It was not long enough but the time we had was really sweet.”
She gushed about working with “Gravity” director Alfonso Cuaron for the first time. “Alfonso Cuaron is someone that I’ve admired for so long and wanted to work with. He’s the star. When you make a film with Alfonso, you are going to get an experience that is like no other experience you’ve had.”
In parting, Sandra reflected on “letting go,” one of “Gravity’s” themes, in her personal life (she’s had her share of rocky chapters in her relationships).
She said, “I’ve been on the floor. I’ve been heartbroken. I’ve questioned why and I didn’t know how I was going to stand up but I did. You just give it some time. I don’t think people let themselves have that moment. I think grieving for whatever you’re grieving for is really important. I feel like we, as a society, pull up our socks and just get with it. I think the opposite is true—let yourself grieve and it will pass. But don’t think that it will pass when you’re in the middle of it. But it passes.”
(E-mail the columnist at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him at https://twitter.com/nepalesruben.)