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Movie spurs personal memories of 9/11 for Sandra Bullock

Dennis King Published: February 2, 2012
Sandra Bullock, Thomas Horn
Sandra Bullock, Thomas Horn

NEW YORK – Sandra Bullock remembers exactly where she was on Sept. 11, 2001, when two hijacked jetliners crashed into Lower Manhattan’s Twin Towers.

She was at a boutique hotel in Soho. But, being a media-savvy celebrity, she declines to say exactly which hotel, for fear that her revelation would be interpreted as some sort of commercial endorsement.

“But I had full view of both towers,” she said. “I was there, I saw the second plane, I saw people, I saw people helping people. And that for me is what resonates about the city of New York. I saw within a second the entire city come together and help one another in a way they hadn’t the day before.”

During press interviews for the Oscar-nominated film “Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close,” hosted by Warner Bros. at the Regency Hotel, Bullock talked about the cathartic nature of acting in a movie that addresses the excruciating aftermath 9/11 for families of victims.

In the film (her first role since winning the Oscar for “The Blind Side”), Bullock plays Linda Schell, widow of a man killed in the terrorist attack and the mother of a precocious young son who embarks on a painstaking journey around the city to come to terms with his beloved father’s senseless death.

Bullock said she believes the film has the potential to help people heal, but she rejects the idea that it will bring about any sense of closure.

“There will never be closure, I think for me or for so many people,” she said. “I have so many memories and emotions of it, some that still don’t register I think because your mind doesn’t let you register why someone would do that. So in a good way I hope (the memory) doesn’t ever leave, that vibrancy of what happened afterward, because it made me aware of so many things I wasn’t aware of before. So no closure but as long as everyone can talk about it and grieve I think that’s what this story is, the allowance to talk about this thing and be able to grieve.”

Bullock was born and raised in the suburbs of Washington, D.C., but in many ways she said she considers herself a New Yorker.

“My father was a voice teacher and we’d go back and forth between here and D.C.,” she said. “And my mother sang opera here, so we were always on the trains coming to New York.

“My first memory, my mom took me to see ‘All That Jazz’ on Broadway, and at that moment I knew I wanted to become a dancer,” Bullock recalled. “Did I become a dancer? No. I’m a big girl. But it’s one of my great passions, when I saw ‘All That Jazz’ and I saw the live performances.

“(New York) has always been where we went,” she said. “We had a tiny little studio apartment with a kitchen in the closet. We slept on floors and pulled out couches. In New York, there’s something for everyone. You never feel out of place in New York City. That’s a fact. Unless you’re a really poorly dressed tourist with the black socks and sandals. I think no one should wear polyester black socks and sandals. That should just be outlawed.”

- Dennis King

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