Sandra Bullock’s latest movie Bird Box has received mixed reviews, but that hasn’t deterred her. At her press conference, she’s inordinately proud of the movie and effusive in her praise of her director Danish Oscar winner, Susanne Bier.
In the movie Bullock, 54, plays a mother who has to protect two children, one her own and the other adopted. In order to protect those children she has to be brutal in warning them never to take off their blindfolds. In real life, Bullock has two children – one she adopted from birth and the other at almost three years of age.
Meanwhile the film has become Netflix’s biggest hit to date and it’s sparking an Internet craze, encouraging people to walk around blindfolded doing the Bird Box Challenge.
Your character goes through the entire film being afraid of the unknown. What scares you in real life?
Flying. I hate flying. I do a lot of closing my eyes and meditating anytime there are bumps or something doesn’t sound right. That is always the time that I think I am going to die and I start doing a lot of praying.
Are you still God fearing?
God laughs at me a lot, but also I think God understands me and helps me.
In what way?
I have lists, I have crazy lists that help me to remember to get things done.
Just recently someone said to me, “Why don’t you let someone else help you?” And I said that would be nice if someone could be me, and they said, “Why don’t you let us try?”
But then I went, “OK, but I have to have a backup plan just in case you fail.” And they were like, “Stop!”
So, you see I have a hard time letting people help me because I want to do everything perfectly. But I am working really, really hard on that.
It’s a daily struggle for me, my desire to make everything perfect. Sometimes it ruins the present moment, and I am aware of that. But my lists are very important to me because I feel a great sense of accomplishment when I can cross it off, and then transfer what is left to a fresh piece of paper and know I can start to do this tomorrow.
With your own kids how much of a disciplinarian are you?
I am hard on my kids in that I want them to be respectful and kind, but I also want them to be kids and for us to have a really good time.
So, I have to restrain myself because my sternness comes out of fear. I have to stop being as scared as I am and just remember that it’s about now and the enjoyment.
Do you ever think that maybe you are less strict with your daughter than you are with your son?
I think about that all the time especially because my children are very different.
Louie is such a feeler yet he is all boy, but he feels deeply, and if he sees someone hurting he will go to them.
Laila on the other hand is fearless, absolutely fearless. But I didn’t get her until she was two-and-a-half so I am aware of the trauma she experienced up until that time, even if she doesn’t remember it.
The kids are just so different. The other day I raised my voice, and Louie started tearing up, and then I started tearing up, and I was like, turn away, turn away, be strong.
But I don’t treat him any differently because he is a boy and she is a girl; she’s learning how to do laundry right now even though she wants to go outside and work on a car, but I want them both to have the benefit of what we consider girl stuff and boy stuff.
Both of your kids are African-American. Do you confront the racial issues?
Absolutely. I am overly protective about that, and I have endless conversations with my kids that millions of other parents have because of the colour of their skin.
I know their feelings as they step out into the world so I have to be a little bit softer with them, because of that added pressure.
Are either of them interested in acting?
My son, no. My daughter a couple of months ago, said. “I am going to be an actress.” And I said, “OK, why do you want to be an actress?” And she goes, “Because they have purses.” She’s thinking of my (goodie) bag that I come home with.
So, none of them have expressed any interest, but my daughter’s got an amazing voice. She is an amazing singer.
How has becoming a parent changed you?
The funny thing is I had this thought yesterday coming down the stairs, I was like. “Oh my God, I had no idea what love felt like until I had kids.”
There are so many trivial things attached to that: they drive me crazy and I want them to go to sleep and when they are asleep, an hour and a half into the quiet, I miss them.
I go to their rooms like, “Are they alive?” And then I get up at 1.30am and I walk up and down the hall and I look in the bed and I need to kiss them, but oh no, now I have woken them up, and now she won’t let me sleep.
For me it’s the most painful and beautiful feeling on a daily basis. My kids destroy me daily.