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Thursday 20 June 2019

Sandra Bullock calls for motherhood to be properly represented on screen

The star plays an unconventional mother in dystopian horror Bird Box.

Sandra Bullock stars in Netflix dystopian horror Bird Box (Ian West/PA)
Sandra Bullock stars in Netflix dystopian horror Bird Box (Ian West/PA)

By Alex Green, Press Association Entertainment Reporter

Sandra Bullock has called for the complexities of motherhood to be properly represented on screen.

The Hollywood A-lister, who plays a reluctant mother in dystopian horror Bird Box, said unconventional female roles needed to become more common.

Bullock, 54, fights an unseen monster which has decimated the world’s population in the film.

Whoever sees it is driven to kill themselves, and those that survive use blindfolds when they go outside.

The way motherhood has been represented on film needed to not just change, it needed to expand because the complexities of being a mum, I don’t think, have not been fully represented cinematically Sandra Bullock

Bird Box charts Malorie (Bullock) as she leads her two children down a treacherous river path blindfolded to a place she hopes will keep them safe.

The actress said the complexities of motherhood had not yet been properly examined by the film industry, and that she hoped the Susanne Bier-directed feature could go some way to correcting this.

She told the Press Association: “Something that I knew, I didn’t necessarily learn it, the way motherhood has been represented on film needed to not just change, it needed to expand because the complexities of being a mum, I don’t think, have not been fully represented cinematically.

“And Malorie is someone who is not a natural parent, or at least you think so. This is not someone who has a natural inclination to be mum, not the desire, the drive, or the want. And you go, ‘This is not a good representation of a mother’. But you go, ‘Is it really not?’ Because she fights. She is using everything she knows and understands to save these little creatures’ lives. Her fear is driving her.

“I learned that we need to start showing women in a more complex fashion when it comes to motherhood, the same we need to show men in a more complex fashion when it comes to those who are incredibly maternal and who are very demonstrative and loving and hopeful with their kids. It’s happening all over the world but we are just not seeing enough of it on film.”

We have got to stop thinking about this idea, which comes from a very fairytale makeup, of what a family looks like, what a partnership looks like, what a mother looks like, what a father looks like Sandra Bullock

Bullock, who has two adopted children, added that she had struggled with the film’s portrayal of motherhood, which had left her feeling “hopeless”.

She added that playing an apparently uncaring mother had made her feel uncomfortable but it had been important to shatter the “fairytale” idea that all women are natural mothers.

The Ocean’s 8 star said: “What was odd was that it was more uncomfortable for me to play Malorie in her flashbacks, when she is pregnant, when she is sort of disconnected from the idea of being a mum. I felt hopeless. I felt weak in a way.

“We have got to stop thinking about this idea, which comes from a very fairytale makeup, of what a family looks like, what a partnership looks like, what a mother looks like, what a father looks like.

“That’s what I loved so much about this (film). It was just people being there for each other, loving each other at the worst of times. You know, where they came from, what they look like or what their past was had no bearing on their current situation.”

Bird Box will become available on Netflix on December 21.

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