Posted in Film

The Sandra Bullock Files #23: Making Sandwiches (1998)

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The Sandra Bullock Files is a series that looks at the films of Oscar-winning actress Sandra Bullock, all the way from her debut in 1987, to her two major 2018 releases, Ocean’s Eight and Bird Box.

Sandra Bullock wrote and directed a movie. Did you know that?

Most people, even her super fans, probably aren’t aware, because it’s never been released to DVD; in fact, it’s never been released on any platform. The film is Making Sandwiches, starring Sandra, Matthew McConaughey, and Eric Roberts, and it screened at a few festivals, like the Sundance Film Festival and the Austin Film Festival, before it quietly went away, never to be heard from again.

A few people have seen it, but most of us will never get to see a frame of it: Sandra has said it was a tool for her to learn about the ins and out of filmmaking, and that it was never meant to be released to the public. Not a single picture or clip has ever been released, not even on Youtube. Here’s hoping it’s one of those items that will show up randomly on eBay or Craigslist, but odds are Sandra herself has the only known copy in existence, and that it will never see the light of day.

The thirty-minute short, which also stars Sandra’s Speed and All About Steve co-star Beth Grant, has the following tagline: “Two slices… with the world of possibility between them.” Only one review has ever been posted of this film on the Internet Movie Database, which says the following: “Sandra Bullock and Matthew McConaughey make sandwiches in a small kitchen while watching television, where Eric Roberts, in drag aping his sister, reports on the weather. Short and weird.”

It’s that word “weird” that has made this little movie a real lost treasure, especially for us Sandra fans. It’s not some five-minute experimental film; it’s a thirty-minute movie with two big stars, re-uniting after A Time to Kill. Will this movie finally re-appear one day, like Danny Boyle’s Alien Love Triangle, which was shot in 1998 and finally released for one public screening in Wales ten years later? Anything is possible.

In an interview with Reader’s Digest, Sandra said she directed the movie simply to educate herself about writing and directing a movie, and she came away from the experience deciding that she didn’t have the talent to succeed in either of these disciplines. While Sandra has produced multiple movies over the years, she has never since written or directed any films, and it’s unlikely she ever will. Sandra has been notably her best when she’s hired as the actress, and only the actress. Take 2009 for example. She only acted in The Blind Side, the film that was her biggest critical and financial success up to that time and netted her the Academy Award for Best Actress. What’s the film she produced in 2009? All About Steve, the movie that netted her the Razzie for Worst Actress.

But still, despite her proclamation to never write and direct a film again, this short oddity Making Sandwiches languishes out there in the universe like an undiscovered love letter from youth. After the Austin Film Festival screening, it hadn’t been seen or heard about since, until an August 2011 interview with The Help star Octavia Spencer brought up the short film and Sandra for being the triggers that jump-started her career.

Spencer appeared in A Time to Kill as Sandra’s nurse, and then Sandra hired her for a small part in Making Sandwiches. Spencer had apparently agreed to help only in the casting of the short film, but soon found herself sharing scenes with Sandra and McConaughey. Sandra also brought up Spencer and the short film when she accepted her Hollywood Film Award in 2013 for Gravity: “Only in Hollywood can a P.A. become an actor in fifteen minutes, and then go on to win an Academy Award, like she did.” Spencer said her work in Making Sandwiches ultimately launched her career, because the tape got her an agent.

Wait. So there is a tape of Making Sandwiches somewhere out there, possibly collecting dust at the bottom of a talent agent’s bottom drawer somewhere? For those of us Sandra fans, Making Sandwiches remains the “lost” movie, the one least likely to ever surface for our viewing pleasure, and to give us opportunities to find a Best Scene and a Best Line.

But if it ever does get a release, officially or unofficially, it will be an event almost as exciting as the latest Sandra feature. So come on people, start checking your drawers, cabinets, and local garage sales, and let’s find this movie. It has to be out there somewhere… right?

Fun Facts

The only film Sandra wrote and directed.

The only film project Sandra has been affiliated with that has never been released to the public.

The only time Sandra and McConaughey have worked together since A Time to Kill.

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