Entertainment ( Leaderboard Top ), pagematch: 1, sectionmatch: 1

Sandra and her Pinoy connection

Sandra Bullock with The Proposal co-star Ryan Reynolds on Imelda Marcos (inset): Like her, I have developed a fondness for shoes

(Second of two parts)

Sandra Bullock is not the type of big Hollywood star who expects reverential treatment from the people around her. (Believe me, in my long career, I’ve encountered quite a few — both local and foreign.) As her The Proposal director Anne Fletcher told me: “Sandy’s the roll-up your sleeves and let’s get dirty and get the work done person.”

More than a month ago, I flew to Los Angeles to interview Ms. Fletcher and her The Proposal stars Sandra and Ryan Reynolds (the movie opened in Metro Manila theaters yesterday). While I got full cooperation from all three, the Sandra Bullock interviews will always be special because I half-expected her to be something like of a Godzilla in leggings: Temperamental, moody, arrogant and with an ego as big as the Staples Center — everything you associate with A-list actresses in Hollywood. To my relief, she turned out to be the complete opposite: She was warm, friendly and accommodating from Day 1 (for the print interviews). For Day 2 — for television — she proved to be even more cooperative.

In one of the function rooms of the Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills, I was already a wreck by the time I got my turn to do my TV interview with her (we were rotated among the three in quick succession). But she still looked fresh and cool even after her interviews with an army of TV people from all over the world (I was among the last one to get my turn to talk to her).

I re-introduced myself as the journalist from the Philippines and to my surprise she said in the friendliest tone: “Of course, I remember you from yesterday.”

As soon as I settled on my chair, she asked me if I wanted to fix my coat and she reached over to do it herself. That didn’t take two seconds, but that kind gesture will stay in my memory for a lifetime.

Entertainment ( Article MRec ), pagematch: 1, sectionmatch: 1

I actually felt uncomfortable in the beginning because when I got into the room, she and the other women from production were deep in conversation. When I attempted to apologize for the intrusion, she assured me: “Oh, that’s perfectly alright. We were just talking about shoes — you know, girl stuff.”

So she likes shoes. Shades of Imelda Marcos, I kid her. “Oh, Imelda Marcos? Well, we all know about that sad part of Imelda Marcos. In the beginning I never really understood about the shoe thing and why she had so many shoes — until I developed a fondness for shoes myself. But to that extent? No! I don’t have that many shoes. I think that’s ridiculous. But I do appreciate the construction of a nice pair of beautiful shoes,” she said, looking down to check her own footwear — the brand of which I have no idea because I am the type who once thought that Jimmy Choo was a Chinese restaurant in Los Angeles.

From Imelda Marcos, we shifted topics, but it was still about Filipinos — about Pinoys who become illegal aliens in the United States (no need to gloss over that — it’s a fact). The story of The Proposal, after all, is about a Canadian publishing executive (played by Sandra) who is about to be deported by the US immigration office. So what is her view on illegal immigrants because there are so many in America and not all of them come from the Philippines, but from all over the world? “You know, we are all immigrants in this country. That was what this country was founded on. Native American Indians are the only true Americans. But rules have been set and we have to follow those. If I went to your country and I want to become a citizen, you have rules that I have to follow and I just have to follow them. Here in the United States, all of us are immigrants, as I said, and we have to adhere to those rules,” she answered.

But what if she were put in the same situation — the one that happened to her character in The Proposal where she had to pretend to be engaged to her young assistant, Andrew Paxton (Ryan) just so she doesn’t get deported? Would she have done the same thing? “I wouldn’t do that — getting into that kind of a situation or scenario,” was her quick response. “I’m too much of a chicken. I’m a bad liar. Maybe if I had time to plan and remember the details. But then, maybe I won’t. I’d be too scared.”

Still on the topic of Filipinos, Sandra said that she has some Filipino friends. “I have several friends who are Filipinos, but not a lot,” she volunteered.

Does she interact often with Filipinos? ”My first boyfriend was Filipino,” she said and that got me wide-eyed, remembering how Reese Witherspoon also told me that her brother had a Filipino girlfriend once. “But he is Fil-Am,” she clarified.

So what happened? — I asked, trying to extract details. “What happened was that he left me for my best friend! And I blame you and your country!”

For somebody as gullible as this writer who would believe anything — even if you told me that Santa Claus was Kapampangan, I wasn’t sure if her wild reaction was serious or done in mock anger as part of her sense of humor that I couldn’t understand that time.

Seeing the nervous look on my face (I had turned pale), she waved her hand and said: “Of course, I’m kidding!”

Bravely, I followed it up by asking what happened to this Fil-Am. “I had him killed! He’s dead! He wrecked me!” she wailed, pretending to be devastated.

Before the CSI and similar investigative shows start swooping down on Sandra, let me tell you that the actress later told me that she and the Fil-Am ex-boyfriend eventually ironed out things between them and they became friends. “We are okay now,” she assured me.

To lighten up the mood a bit (oh, that exhausted me — whew!), I told Sandra that she has a huge following here in the Philippines and local moviegoers line up to watch her movies — and that is true because we all love Sandra and her films, don’t we? “I’m not really aware of that — that I have a lot of fans in the Philippines. But I like hearing it. I wasn’t aware of that, but that makes me happy now. Tell them I want to thank them,” she responded — with her face brightening up some more.

Would she consider ever visiting the Philippines? “Now that you said that the people in the Philippines like me — I’m so coming. Invite me and I’ll show up,” she said cheerfully and, more importantly, with sincerity.

Yes, Ms. Bullock, please come to the Philippines and I assure you the world-renowned Filipino hospitality will more than make up for that first heartbreak you went through with that Fil-Am boyfriend of many years ago.

Entertainment ( Article MRec ), pagematch: 1, sectionmatch: 1
  • Follow Us: