Bullock's Therapeutic Voyage of Discovery; Sandra Bullock Tells Jeff Hayward How Rehab Helped to Exorcise Her Demons

By Bullock, Sandra | The Birmingham Post (England), June 16, 2000 | Go to article overview

Bullock's Therapeutic Voyage of Discovery; Sandra Bullock Tells Jeff Hayward How Rehab Helped to Exorcise Her Demons


Bullock, Sandra, The Birmingham Post (England)


It's all very well for an actor to identify with an on-screen character, but Sandra Bullock is not someone you would expect to resort to De Niro-style method acting.

But that's exactly what the popular star decided to do to get the part right for her latest film, 28 Days - the story of a woman coming to terms with a severe drinking problem.

To research her role in the comedy drama, the 35-year-old actress spent time at the Sierra Tucson Rehab Centre.

In the film, Bullock plays an alcoholic gossip columnist who enters a rehabilitation programme and in the process learns some hard lessons about life and herself.

It might seem a surprise to see a star with Bullock's mainstream girl-next-door appeal playing a problem drinker, but that's part of the reason she got the job. Indeed, it isn't the first time an actress with a squeaky clean image has taken on such a hard-edged role - remember cute Meg Ryan depicting a drunk, violent mother in When A Man Loves A Woman?

It was Bullock's wholesome appeal that director Betty Thomas wanted when she cast her in the role.

'Betty said she wanted somebody people could really relate to, she wanted to show this could hit anyone,' explains Bullock.

'All of a sudden you realise that someone like this could actually do this amount of damage to themselves. It shocks people.'

At first Bullock admits she was wary they were going to use her sex appeal to make the film more saleable, but says after reading the script she grew to love it. It was this belief in the appeal of the story that drew her to spend the time in rehab, although she remains understandably coy about the goings-on at the centre.

'There wasn't anyone I recognised - no celebrities or sports stars,' she smiles, 'you realise this sort of thing hits everybody. It wasn't like I was treated like anything special and it was scary. I gave away lots of things about my life, and my troubles.'

It's hard to believe that anyone in the position of Bullock could actually have any troubles, but the actress admits rehab gave her the opportunity to rid herself of past demons, in particular her workaholic tendencies, and changed her attitude to life.

'There are huge chunks of my life I can't remember because I was always working,' she admits.

'When I was in rehab, I found out about things I knew I was in total denial about, like how dishonest I can be, how I don't speak my mind and how I am losing so much by keeping things inside.

'But not any more. I will work hard for a certain period of time but then my time is my time.'

In Hollywood, she's renowned as a committed actress and producer, but has never been seen as a wild one. …

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