Sandra Bullock says playing ex-convict in 'Unforgivable' was 'liberating'

Sandra Bullock says playing ex-convict in 'Unforgivable' was 'liberating'

Actor Sandra Bullock in a scene from the film, “Unforgivable” / Courtesy of Netflix

By Kwak Yeon-soo

Sandra Bullock, an actor who has taken on a wide range of roles and projects, ranging from “The Blind Side,” to “Gravity,” to “Bird Box,” said it was “quite liberating” to portray an ex-convict who is determined to reenter society despite facing the harsh reality of social stigma.

In Nora Fingscheidt’s “Unforgivable,” based on the British miniseries of the same name, Bullock plays Ruth Slater, who is looking to reconnect with her younger sister after serving 20 years in prison for a violent crime. The Oscar-winning actor also co-produced the film with Graham King and Veronica Ferres.

For Bullock, it was the script that drew her into wanting to get this film made.

“I read the film screenplay before watching the miniseries. I actually didn’t watch the ending of the miniseries. I fell in love with the script and didn’t want to know if we were copying something or if we were originating something new. I didn’t want to be influenced by how the series ended because I loved how our film ended,” she told reporters.

In a press conference with Korean reporters held via Zoom, Bullock said that it was heartbreaking to meet with real-life female prisoners who had experienced similar stories to that of her character, Ruth, and to listen to their stories.

“It was really important for me to share stories that millions of people experience every single day. I wanted to depict those people who think they are doing the right thing for love and family. It’s a very common story without a movie made about them. I wanted to tell it as truthfully as I could,” she said.

Sandra Bullock says playing ex-convict in 'Unforgivable' was 'liberating'

Actor Sandra Bullock in a scene from the film, “Unforgivable” / Courtesy of Netflix

The acclaimed actor stressed that the film is an American story as well as a human one. Admitting that she has been given a great privilege, she feels lucky she gets to share stories of ordinary people facing extraordinary circumstances, who try to do the right thing.

“I know I’m so lucky to do what I do for a living, so lucky that there’s a story I get to tell,” she said.

“We made really good entertainment. We’re going to keep you on the edge of your seat. We’re going to surprise you, make you mad, start a conversation that people are going to disagree on, but in the end, the same question will arise for everyone: ‘what would I have done if I were in Ruth’s situation, had I been born into the life Ruth was born into?'” she said.

Bullock shared that she came to have more appreciation for people marginalized by society, who are often overlooked in their pain.

“So many don’t feel seen, especially, on the internet or social media. You have to live a life that doesn’t exist in order to be valued and liked. And why does it always have to look like something other than what you are, when who we are is good enough, if you’re doing everything for good reasons?” she asked.

The most challenging part of filming was trying to be not so judgmental about Ruth’s character.

“Everyone has two sides. There’s a side that people see it based on their experience of life, and then there’s the truth. We had this journey of, ‘How long do we keep the audience from seeing past its (own) judgment?’ When do we open up Ruth’s journey so the audience thinks, ‘I feel sympathy toward her but I shouldn’t.’ Everything was a battle of, ‘What is the right amount?’ But that’s life too,” she said.

“Unforgivable” will premiere on Netflix, Dec. 10.

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