Life is pretty delicious for Sandra Bullock right now. And we mean that literally. The Oscar winner, 49, is wrapping up a tasting of new pastry items at Walton’s, a bright, airy Austin bakery/café she refurbished and opened four years ago. Wearing a black T-shirt and jeans, that great mane of hair twirled up in a knot, she is a warm hostess, quick with a hug and lusty encouragement to eat, eat.
The last time EW sat down with Bullock was in 2009. Shortly thereafter she’d win an Oscar for her tough and bighearted performance in The Blind Side. She’d also go through a very public divorce and reveal that she’d adopted a beautiful, sparkly-eyed baby boy named Louis. If ever there were a woman who’d earned the right to lie low and nest awhile, it was Bullock, who navigated her season of grand combustion with grace and dignity. “She could run a country if she needed to,” says longtime friend Matthew McConaughey.
In 2013 Bullock got her groove back magnificently. She returned to her physical-comedy roots alongside Melissa McCarthy in Paul Feig’s joyful buddy-cop movie The Heat, the one drink of water for female moviegoers in a summer desert of capes, cars, and exploding White Houses. Then, in October, Bullock delivered a bravura one-woman performance — throat tight, breath jagged, eyes wounded and alert — in Alfonso Cuarón’s Gravity, a $536 million-and-counting formula-free smash.
Bullock knows how ephemeral happiness can be. “When people are like, ‘Life is so good,’” she says, “I go, ‘No, life is a series of disastrous moments, painful moments, unexpected moments, and things that will break your heart. And in between those moments, that’s when you savor, savor, savor.’” We sat in her bakery and talked about moments of all kinds.
Just before The Heat came out, you told me it was the greatest love story of your career.
Melissa and I had that loving, weird connection where we just went, “Wow, you can’t buy it, you can’t manufacture it.” We’re so different in our comedy styles, but somehow they complemented each other and we were a modern odd couple.
You really let Melissa shine in a big way. Was that hard on the ego?
Yeah, I mean, ego is everywhere and you always have to put it in check. I do different comedy than Melissa’s. Her style is…I mean, it comes out of her mouth and you gotta back up. And once I realized that that drove the film, I had to step back. Otherwise I would’ve been fighting for something that would’ve ended up on the cutting-room floor…. They needed a pseudo-straight person, and I became that. It wasn’t what I was hoping for, but the end result was the success of the film and people liking us together. The movie is exactly what it’s supposed to be — it’s about friendships and two people being awkward and funny and not caring what anybody else thought about them. Now people go, “What about a Heat 2!?” I don’t want to do a sequel. But what I would love to do is another film with Melissa. We always talk, like, what if we do a road trip that’s a silent film? [Laughs] I know I came out of that movie with a friend for life.