NEW YORK (Reuters) - Actress Sandra Bullock says romantic comedies are bad and she is fighting against her latest movie, “The Proposal,” being put in that category.
In “The Proposal,” which will be released in U.S. theaters on Friday, Bullock plays a Canadian book editor who declares she is engaged to her unsuspecting assistant, played by Ryan Reynolds, to avoid deportation from the United States.
She spoke to Reuters about why she made the film, what she thinks of romantic comedies and the restrictions women face in the film industry.
Q: What have you been doing for the past couple of years?
A: “I have been told that I have been gone for two years. I just haven’t been in this business, in front of the camera. I have other things that are my business that I love to do ... but aren’t in front of cameras. I made this film. I produced another film. I have businesses, restoring architecture that I turn into businesses when I am done.
“I just opened a bakery and a Viennese pastry shop in an old restored building in Austin. We also have our restaurant there. I’m always working. I’m always on some construction site because that’s what I love, it’s my art form, the restoration of architecture, so I’m always doing something, just not in the media all the time.”
Q: How did you come to make “The Proposal”?
A: “Pressure, pure pressure. I didn’t want to read it ... it’s categorized as romantic comedy because we women are only allowed to do one of four categories and that’s it.
“But I didn’t want to read it. And they said ‘Look, just as a favor, read it so we can legitimately say no thank you to it.’ And I read it and I was laughing and I don’t ever find anything funny. And I didn’t look at it as a romantic comedy. This is a comedy that has romance elements in it, but it’s something completely different.
“It goes back to the olden days of comedy where it’s smart and it’s about the characters and you don’t go ‘this is about finding love and losing love.’ It has nothing to do with that but in the end what happens when you’re not looking for it there it is. It was just funny.
“I was a little open then just to hearing what they said and I figured they would screw up the casting. Then they brought up Ryan (Reynolds) who I have known for a long time. As soon as they said Ryan it made it even harder because I could visualize how we could do the comedy because we work very similarly.
“To find your comedic match, I have had it once with Hugh (Grant) and I have had it with other actors on a smaller scale, but when you find that you can’t pay for that and it just made it hard to say no. I just don’t want it to be called a romantic comedy because they’re bad. They’re neither romantic nor funny. It’s just a lame word for most mediocre films.”
Q: But you have had a lot of success with roles in romantic comedies?
A: “‘Miss Congeniality’ was a romantic comedy, I call that a buddy flick. It’s a new kind of film. If you really think about it; it wasn’t about romance, it was about her saving her friend at the beauty pageant. Men do films like this, ‘The Proposal’ or ‘Miss Congeniality,’ all the time and they’re considered comedies and there’s always love in it. There’s always love in it. There’s always a relationship. I would like to help create a broader spectrum of categories where the writing gets better. There are great writers out there.”
Q: Are you finding it more difficult to find roles as you get older?
A: “I have never been offered more work than I have at this point in my career. I have other jobs and other arts that are my job, that I love, so I don’t put all my eggs in this basket, so I can appreciate this, take just what I love and what’s worth leaving home for. There’s not a lot worth leaving home for. I have a company and I go out and find what I like.”
Reporting by Michelle Nichols; editing by Patricia Reaney