Ms. Bullock, the most important question first: What was it like to be working with George Clooney again in your new film, Our Brand is Crisis, which he co-produced?
That’s the most important question, really (laughs)? That guy is probably the most overrated actor in the world, don’t you think? I’m just kidding, of course. George and I are like brother and sister. We have known each other for so long. We go back to a time when nobody wanted to hire us.
And today you are both superstars …
A strange thought, to be honest. But it does make me happy that our names alone can make projects happen.
What do you mean?
Well, it’s difficult to get a movie like this one produced these days – a political satire about two American spin doctors in South America. But once you attach the name Clooney to the project, things get a lot easier very fast.
How do you choose your projects today?
What I enjoy most is having the chance to work on projects I am passionate about. I don’t care that much about the fame aspect, but having a name that opens some doors and lets you do projects you like is kinda cool.
What’s it like being one of the most powerful women in Hollywood?
It makes me laugh. What does power really mean in the movie industry? I make films, I dress up every day and make fun of myself. Is that power?
It seems a little odd that you are involved in a political film like Our Brand is Crisis. Are you a political person?
Not really. I grew up in a house that was politically divided. One parent was Republican, the other a Democrat. I’ve been influenced by both sides and experienced lots of heated debates.
How would you describe the ideal politician, somebody you would actually vote for?
That would be someone who is open and honest and who doesn’t need to hide his or her mistakes. I think most candidates today are very manipulated, part of a well-oiled machine. Why don’t we let people do the job who also admit their mistakes. It makes politicians more real, I think.
Too few people are willing to step out of their comfort zone to demonstrate peacefully for change
America is going into an election year. Are you planning to endorse any of the candidates?
No. My attitude is that I want the best for our country. Nobody is willing to step out of their comfort zone to demonstrate peacefully for change. Nobody wants the best for our overall well-being. We live in a very egocentric society today.
Do you think we have become too passive as a society?
Yes, I do. And our society is still lagging behind when it comes to equality, too. I’ve experienced that. As a woman I learned early what was expected of me. And that continued in the working world. For a while I was only cast for comedic roles in which the character was connected to the male lead. That was strange for me.
That’s obviously changed now, right?
Yes, The Heat changed that. It was the first comedy in which a female protagonist was not attached to a man. Don’t get me wrong: I love men (laughs)!
How important is it for you to make people laugh?
I love it. It gives me joy to make other people feel good. And it’s important to laugh about yourself once in a while.
As the savvy politician Jane Bodine, your character in Our Brand is Crisis, what would you say to Donald Trump and Hilary Clinton in this campaign?
It depends who my character is working for and who is paying her (laughs).
What do you tell younger colleagues who ask your advice?
Stop holding your breath and worrying all the time. Just go out there and do it. Go and find what you want in life, go for it!
Are you somebody who grabs an opportunity when you see it?
I sure hope so. When I was younger I was a bit hesitant. Today I am more assertive. I think it has something to do with being a mother. I am very aware of the fact that I have had good fortune in life with a couple bumps in the road. But with every mistake you grow. I am no exception to the rule.
You have said that you admire people who break out of their comfort zone and accept extreme roles.
Leaving your comfort zone means getting as far away from yourself as possible. Just playing myself would be boring for an audience, and for me. I have learned that leaving your comfort zone unlocks things that scare you or make you insecure, but it also forces you to dig very deep.
What does your five-year-old son, Louis, think about his mommy’s fame?
My son couldn’t care less how famous his mother is. I’ve told him many times that I am a huge star (laughs), but the cheeky little thing just thinks I’m joking.
You are half German, so we have to ask: Are you teaching him to speak German?
“Doch, natuerlich.” Of course I sometimes speak to him in German, but most of the time he just looks at me. He’s got a good ear for the language, though, and often repeats what I’ve said.