Actress Sandra Bullock is regarded as one of Hollywood’s best. Her filmography includes classics such as Bird Box, The Proposal, and Miss Congeniality. She has excelled in blockbusters like the Speed franchise, as well as her more dramatic roles such as The Blind Side, for which she won the Academy Award for Best Actress.
Bullock has been headlining big-budget productions for quite some time now and her star status has made sure that films that could be deemed risky are getting to be made. One such film was 2015’s Our Brand Is Crisis. The political comedy co-starred MCU star Anthony Mackie and was produced by George Clooney. However, the film’s protagonist, which was played by Sandra Bullock, was originally supposed to be played by a man.
Sandra Bullock In Our Brand Is Crisis
Based on a documentary by Rachel Boynton, the Sandra Bullock starrer Our Brand Is Crisis was a political satire. It was a fictionalized account of the Bolivian Presidential election in 2002 and told the story of an American political campaign strategist who helped win the election. Bullock plays the protagonist ‘Calamity’ Jane Bodine, who helps the candidate win the election.
The film was produced by George Clooney and Grant Heslav under their Smokehouse Pictures production company. Clooney was originally set to star as Bodine and also direct. Clooney later stepped down as the director and star of the film after which Sandra Bullock was cast as the protagonist. David Gordon Green was chosen as the director.
Despite a screening at the prestigious Toronto International Film Festival, the film was a box-office disaster upon release. It grossed only $8.5 million at the global box office against a $28 million budget. While Bullock was praised for her performance, the rest of the film received criticism.
Sandra Bullock’s Gender-Swapping Roles
Sandra Bullock plays Jane Bodine in the film. The character was allegedly based on political campaign strategist James Carville, who helped Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada win the Bolivian presidential election. Initially supposed to be played by George Clooney, Bullock entered negotiations after he stepped down.
Bullock mentioned that she was looking for good comedic roles for women that were outside the romantic comedy genre. The Proposal star apparently expressed interest in the political satire after hearing that Clooney was developing the project. She said,
“Why do the boys always get the great comedies that weren’t romantic comedies? I just wanted to find something … I love physical comedy. I just started hunting four or five years ago.”
She also mentioned that when the idea was pitched, there was only one question that arose and that was if the writer could do the switch. She said,
“You know, there is so much talk about that [gender swapping] right now…and it’s getting heightened which makes me very happy…that I was able to say, ‘Would you be willing to take a role that was written and that you guys have worked on cherished for a long time…and change it to a female?’ And there was not a lot of hesitation. The only hesitation was can the writer do it.”
Producer Grant Heslav mentioned that not much about the character was changed when the switch happened. Clooney also commented on how there were a lot more roles out there for women if producers just started thinking.
While the failure of Our Brand is Crisis might be just the film’s fault, Sandra Bullock has since appeared in another gender-swapped reboot, Ocean’s Eight. Interestingly, Bullock plays Debbie Ocean, the sister of the character played by George Clooney in the Ocean’s Eleven series.
Source: The Hollywood Reporter