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Sandra Bullock put the bad experience of Speed 2 behind her and agreed to do the sequel of Miss Congeniality Ė because she had control (and sheís a control freak), as she explains to Jenny Cooney Carrillo in Los Angeles.

Sandra Bullock hasnít lost her sense of humor in Hollywood, despite a career full of hits (Speed, Two Weeks Notice, While You Were Sleeping and Miss Congeniality) and misses (Forces of Nature, 28 Days, Murder by Numbers and Hope Floats). The 40-year-old star who is currently involved with the tattooed monster truck show host Jesse James is making us laugh again on-screen as Detective Gracie Hart in Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous. After Gracieís beauty pageant friends Cheryl (Heather Burns) and Stan (William Shatner) are kidnapped, she goes undercover in Las Vegas to find them, and sheís joined by her new FBI partner, Sam Fuller (Regina King).

Why did you agree to a sequel to Miss Congeniality after your bad experience with Speed 2?
No one ever expected Miss Congeniality to be such a big hit and strike a chord the way it did and I was one of the producers, so I got to be a part of it from the beginning and make decisions about everything, rather than being an actor-for-hire like I was on Speed 2. There were things I wanted to say in this film and I got a chance to have that input.

What happens to Gracie in this film?
In the first film, Gracie didnít care whether a guy came and went but then she fell in love. This time around she has heartache at the beginning because heís gone, and we see her values have dropped because she thinks something is wrong with her. She also thinks the FBI doesnít value her in a lot of other aspects too. My mother raised me as an individual to take care of myself and do everything I wanted in life and if you happen to meet a partner in life, thatís great too, but with or without the guy, youíre OK. So I wanted that for Gracie, so sheíd realize how unique and amazing she was all by herself.†

So you still have no interest in marriage and children?†
I revere marriage as a very honorable institution and I respect it too much to abuse it, unlike a lot of people who get into it without thinking twice. I respect children and bringing life onto this planet too much to do it according to someone elseís plan. I donít think marriage should be the pinnacle of your life and if it makes people feel like youíre not complete because you havenít been married or had kids Ö letís ask how they feel about someone who has been married and divorced sixteen times.

How did turning 40 affect you?
I had a great birthday, I went on vacation and Iím working as much as I want to work so nothing changed except everybody asking me how it felt! I think those milestones are something created to sell magazines, because the numbers with a zero at the end look better in print. Life is great and I wouldnít go backwards if you paid me.

What is so special about your current boyfriend, Jesse James?
Whoever I love has to have a good sense of humor and tolerance for me and respect for humanity. They have to have a level of kindness and be creative. I found the common thread with the people that I have in my life is that theyíre maverick thinkers and people that inspire me, so I wonít go into anybody specific, but I have been one of the most fortunate people I know.

How did you feel about the dance number in the film?

In the film I got to be a bad dancer and my job was to back up Regina King, who got to be Tina Turner and I was so jealous of that! I wrote to Dolly Parton and personally begged her to make a cameo in this movie too, so Sandra Bullock the producer got her to say yes!

Everybody says youíre one of the nicest stars in Hollywood. Is that true?
When Iím at work talking to you journalists, Iím not going to make myself unattractive! But we all have a bad day and Iím no exception; someone pisses me off and Iím grumpy because I didnít eat right and Iím a control freak so I get upset if I donít get what I want that day. But I try not to bring it to work because youíre together for 13 hours a day for three intense months and you have to leave your garbage at home.

So what makes you mad?
The fact that we as people canít seem to accept each otherís differences and that war exists and that there are dictators who have the power to abuse humanity and destroy spirits. The list is very long but when I run for President, Iíll talk about it more! (laughs)†

Is it true you turned down Hilary Swankís role in Million Dollar Baby?
I was attached to that film a long time ago with another director and we had a very hard time getting that film made because it was a female boxing movie, so I finally had to move on to another film. We all loved that story and Iím just glad somebody made it. They were able to get Clint Eastwood and Hilary Swank and they are the people who should have been in it.†

Published March 17, 2005

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Sandra Bullock in Miss Congeniality 2


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