Chattanooga Times Free Press - Parade

When Sandra Met Melissa

THEY LAUGHED. THEY TRADED MOM TALES. THEY EVEN MANAGED TO MAKE A MOVIE. AND THEY FORMED AN HONEST-TO GOODNESS HOLLYWOOD FRIENDSHIP.

- by ANNE-MARIE O’NEILL

Hollywood friendship: It can’t be real, right? Nah, it’s all just air-kissing and “Love your work” and “Let’s do lunch.” At least, that’s what you might expect—until you spend some time with Sandra Bullock, 48, and Melissa McCarthy, 42. Since they first met, on the riotous buddy-cop comedy The Heat (in theaters June 28), the costars have developed the kind of camaraderi­e that even Oscar and Emmy winners can’t fake. They finish each other’s sentences, make detailed, thoughtful observatio­ns about each other’s kids, and rib each other mercilessl­y.

On the Boston set of The Heat last summer, “they were inseparabl­e,” says Paul Feig, who directed the actresses in their roles as an uptight FBI agent (Bullock) and a freewheeli­ng Beantown detective (McCarthy) who are forced to partner on a case. “Normally after movies, those friendship­s go away,” adds Feig, who also worked with McCarthy on Bridesmaid­s. “Theirs blossomed.” Back in L.A., Bullock and her 3-year-old son, Louis, went trick-or-treating on Halloween with McCarthy’s husband, actor

Ben Falcone, and their daughters, Vivian, 6, and Georgette, 3 (McCarthy was working); the whole gang visited Disneyland in December; and the two moms get the kids together for regular playdates (“We’re seeing each other this weekend,” says Bullock).

Here, in an intimate interview, she and McCarthy—wrapped in matching white bathrobes as they prep for a photo shoot—discuss their friendship, their families, and why they don’t consider themselves “Hollywood moms.”

PARADE: So you didn’t know each other before making this film?

BULLOCK: No. We have friends in common.

MCCARTHY: When people found out we were doing this thing, I got between 12 and 15 calls saying, “You’re about to meet the greatest girl in the world.”

BULLOCK: That’s awfully sweet.

MCCARTHY: Did you set them up? Maybe you told people to call …

BULLOCK: No, I don’t know that many people. Before I signed on, I talked to Melissa. Hearing her voice and how calm and happy and sweet [she was] ... it was like talking to a friend who got what it was all about. We’re extremely similar in how we enjoy ourselves in life. We have two different working styles, but once we figured that out, the rhythm of it was perfect for the characters.

What are those different styles?

BULLOCK: The first week, I was like, “What is she doing? That’s not in the script.” I was the lone actor, jack-of-one-trade, in a room full of improv actors and stand-up comedians. I mean, you should just listen to the stuff that comes out of her mouth. It’s either mental illness or genius. MCCARTHY: When I do go crazy, they’ll quote this interview, where you were like, “Maybe it’s mental illness.” Ohhhh. She knew!

BULLOCK: I believe that every human being has mental challenges. I know what my issues are … but yours are just profound. And they’re so good at making money for you—it’s fantastic.

Were you excited about working

together?

MCCARTHY: Before I knew you— don’t listen, I don’t want you to get cocky—I was asked in an interview who I thought was funny, and I said you. Because you know what? I don’t think you have any pride.

BULLOCK: She means in work!

MCCARTHY: I love to watch someone who just goes for it and isn’t worried about whether it’s silly or awkward or unflatteri­ng. And I really liked the script. I liked that they were good characters. I had no interest in doing “Two dingbats get together and things go crazy.”

BULLOCK: I’ve always wanted to do a female buddy film, the kind the guys get to do. This didn’t have anything to do with getting a guy, and it didn’t involve shoe shopping. It was about two human beings who are great at what they do struggling to gain the other’s acceptance. I’d seen Bridesmaid­s, and I said, “If Melissa McCarthy wants to work with me …”

MCCARTHY: You did not say that!

BULLOCK: I swear I did.

Were your kids on the set in Boston?

BULLOCK: The kids were everywhere. Outside in our little trailer park it was a kids’ wonderland.

MCCARTHY: We were right across from the children’s museum, and they had a hip-hop dance class that they went to and loved.

BULLOCK: Louis was like her third child, the way he fit together with Vivi and Georgie. And they were so loving with each other.

MCCARTHY: Even though he’s so tiny, Louis really played big brother. He would put his arms around their shoulders or go in front of them and block them if he didn’t like something. He was running security.

BULLOCK: Having kids connected us on a deeper level. And the things we’re obsessed with outside of being a mom are the same, too. What are they?

BULLOCK: Constructi­on and house renovation.

MCCARTHY: We’re bonkers for it.

BULLOCK: The minute they’d say, “And cut,” we’d bolt to our little chairs, flip open our iPads, and look at magazines. “I’m tearing down a wall; do you think we should do the window here?” We’re kindred spirits in that world. If we had a beer den, with Barcaloung­ers—but our version of that—it’d be great.

MCCARTHY: There’d be fabric swatches everywhere. And reclaimed wood.

How much have you been able to hang out together as families?

BULLOCK: Well, when she returns my calls … I’m sorry, this week you’ve been amazing.

MCCARTHY: As you’re still texting to Sandy, she’s texting you back. As you’re hitting send, she already has a very thought-out Part-1a-of-Section-2b response.

BULLOCK: I don’t want an opportunit­y to go missing because of my lack of organizati­on.

MCCARTHY: Ben and I live like hermits. The night of a concert, we’ll be like, “Do you think we can get tickets?” And everybody is like, “No, why didn’t you do this earlier?” But you’re the complete opposite. You do it 16 months out.

BULLOCK: Sometimes I do feel compelled. It’s who I am. I’ve learned, though, to let go a lot. Do you worry about whether you’re a good or bad mom?

BULLOCK: Every single of BULLOCK: every single day.

MCCARTHY: It plagues me. I feel intensely guilty for working. In my memory, my mom and dad were constantly there. But in reality my dad worked in Chicago for the Belt Railway arguing arbitratio­n cases, and my mom was a secretary. We were all so happy that I didn’t register that they worked. You have to be able to provide for your kids. But I feel like it’s a weird modern phenomenon that you always feel guilty for it.

BULLOCK: I don’t know if I feel like a bad mom, but at the end of the day I’m always plagued with, did I do enough? Should I go in a different direction? But I also know that my entire life revolves around Louis. As long as he knows the minute he walks in the room that he is the most amazing creature I’ve ever met, everything else is pretty much … you can’t do anything about it. Does fame create problems for you? What about paparazzi?

MCCARTHY: Strangers shouldn’t be allowed to take a picture of your child and sell it for profit. They think, “We’re putting out a product,” but you’re putting out a child.

BULLOCK: We’re adults, and we’re fair game—not that I like being photograph­ed going in and out of school in my sweatpants. But I instinctiv­ely throw things over Louis’s head. I’m nearsighte­d, so he spots them much earlier than

before i signed on, i talked to melissa,” says Bullock. “hearing her voice and how calm and happy and sweet [she was] ... it was like talking to a friend.”

I do, and he doesn’t like them. He gives them the stink-eye, and they’re like, “That’s such an angry kid,” but I look at them and say, “Only when you guys are around.” Aside from that, do you think

it’s different, or more difficult, raising kids in Hollywood?

BULLOCK: I don’t raise Louis in Hollywood. I raise him in my world. To me the good thing about living in L.A. is diversity in lifestyle choices, color, and religion. I want Louis to look around and see every color under the sun. I also have the luxury of splitting my time between L.A. and Austin.

[ When I meet other parents], there’s so much baggage that comes with what I do. I go, “Try not to read into what you’ve read, because this is the woman I am. I’m Louis’s mom.”

MCCARTHY: Ben and I have absolutely nothing to do with the Hollywood that’s all actors and the Sunset Strip. We crave talking to people who do different things and are passionate about it. We have some of the most rock-solid, lovely friends in the world.

BULLOCK: When she and Ben invite you into their circle, you’re like, “This is going to be great!” To see a couple that has fun, that supports each other— that’s what I love about them. They have that electricit­y; they look at each other and you think, “There’s not just laughing going on in that house.”

MCCARTHY: I like I’m MCCARTHY: gonna keep him.

BULLOCK: [ nods in agreement] BULLOCK: He responds to my texts and emails.

 ??  ?? TWO OF A KIND There was a lot of comic improv in The Heat. “I thought, ‘Either we’re never going to work again, or we’ve made the greatest love story of all time,’ ” says Bullock.
TWO OF A KIND There was a lot of comic improv in The Heat. “I thought, ‘Either we’re never going to work again, or we’ve made the greatest love story of all time,’ ” says Bullock.
 ??  ?? THE STARS ALIGN Clockwise from right, a scene from The Heat; McCarthy and her husband, Ben Falcone; Bullock with the Oscar she won for The Blind Side.
THE STARS ALIGN Clockwise from right, a scene from The Heat; McCarthy and her husband, Ben Falcone; Bullock with the Oscar she won for The Blind Side.
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 ?? cover and opening photograph­s by RUVEN AFANADOR ??
cover and opening photograph­s by RUVEN AFANADOR
 ??  ?? Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy star in The Heat, in theaters June 28
Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy star in The Heat, in theaters June 28

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