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The Proposal – Director Anne Fletcher

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Sandra Bullock and Anne Fletcher © Touchstone Pictures

Anne Fletcher’s first love is comedy, yet she started her career as a choreographer in movies such as Ice Princess, The 40 Year Old Virgin, Bring It On, and Buffy The Vampire Slayer on television. Because of this work she was tapped as the director for Step Up, and will be the Executive Producer for the upcoming Step Up 3D. Last year she directed her first comedy, 27 Dresses, and now helms Sandra Bullock’s new movie The Proposal, in which Bullock portrays Margaret Tate, a New York book editor who makes her assistant Andrew’s (Ryan Reynolds) life totally unbearable – that is, until she needs him to marry her so that she’s not deported back to Canada. He agrees to the charade, as long as there’s a promotion for him, and soon both are headed to Alaska to meet his wacky family, including Grandma Annie (Betty White).


I read that it was the comedy in The Proposal that attracted you to this.

Sandra Bullock and Anne Fletcher © Touchstone Pictures
Sandra Bullock and Anne Fletcher © Touchstone Pictures

I love comedy so much and it’s always been in my fiber. I was in improv and sketch comedy troops. Comedy makes me the happiest. After directing Step Up my goal was to do a comedy. But you can’t just jump into it. You have to prove yourself a little bit.  With [27 Dresses] I got to exercise my comedy a bit. And then this came along, The Proposal, and it had so much comedy in it. Sandra Bullock is a female comic genius. There really isn’t anybody on her level. I’ve been completely and utterly spoiled by her professionalism, her talent, her mind, her sense of humor, her sense of being. And Ryan Reynolds is one of a kind – Jack Lemmon and Chevy Chase combined.

What was it about the character Margaret Tate that intrigued you?

Margaret starts off being a hard-nosed business woman who only focuses on work and wants to get to the top, and that’s really the only goal that she had in life. When you really dig deep into this person, you realize that she’s got a lot of flaws. Margaret starts out really hard, but during the course of the film, she’s becomes herself again. Sandra is a movie star. She comes to work, she knows why she’s there, she gets the job done. And her chemistry with Ryan is bar none.

Did the unusual night time/daytime hours in Alaska adversely impact your shooting schedule?

Ryan Reynolds, Anne Fletcher and Sandra Bullock © Touchstone Pictures
Ryan Reynolds, Anne Fletcher and Sandra Bullock © Touchstone Pictures

For me it did, because I’m not a morning person and we did shoot this movie every single day and I was so irritated, every morning I was so miserable coming in, and they were like, ‘Hello everybody!’ because everyone else liked getting up in the morning. For me, on a personal and selfish level, I hated getting up at those hours, but I loved the idea in the script that the sun never goes down in the summertime in Alaska, I think that was kind of fun and we hadn’t seen anything like that before.

Can you talk about Betty White’s character’s heart attack scene in the film – was it a fine line you had to walk?

Betty White and Anne Fletcher © Touchstone Pictures
Betty White and Anne Fletcher © Touchstone Pictures

There is a fine line in doing that, but because you have Betty White playing that part it’s not very difficult to do, to walk that fine line of not pushing it too far, we know it’s coming – hopefully some people won’t see it coming, but you want to get swept away in the drama for a minute so we can get back to the comedy. You can’t have the comedy without the drama, and Grandma Annie has to be conniving and get in there the way that she does, that’s all Betty White. Audiences are so in love with Betty, she is so comfortable on screen – a television icon. She just has a quality about her that you love as a person and on screen.