Sandra Bullock and Sarah Paulson only worked together for the first time in this summer’s Ocean’s 8, but the actresses share a connection that they say feels like decades of friendship.
Bullock, 54, and Paulson, 44, teamed up again for the new Netflix thriller Bird Box, in which they play sisters thrust into the beginning of apocalyptic chaos. When it came time for Bullock and director Susanne Bier to pick who would play her sibling, the two came up with the same name.
“When we were talking about who would play the role of my sister [Bier] said, ‘It has to be someone who you will miss terribly and you can see in a very short time that you’re sisters,’ ” Bullock says in the latest issue of PEOPLE. “So when she called and said I want to talk to you about somebody, she says, ‘What do you think about Sarah Paulson?’ I was like, ‘I had literally had the same thought.’ And the fact that we were able to get her given the fact that she works 364 days a year was a tiny baby miracle.”
The Oscar winner says that it’s hard for actors to build such a strong connection in the short amount of time they have before shooting. For Paulson and Bullock, that bond was immediately there when they stepped onto the Ocean’s 8 set months before.
“We connected when we did Ocean’s, it just felt like there was a shorthand that was there by the time that we met for the first time,” Bullock says. “I don’t know why that is, it just is.”
“I think the goal is to make it somewhat believable that we had you know, a lifetime of sisterhood, which we don’t and we didn’t, but we had really bonded from that last ‘picture,’ as they used to call it in olden times,” Paulson says.
The fast friends act like sisters even when they’re not on camera and often lovingly tease each other. But they’re sincere about their admiration for each other.
“The hardest part is to look at a fellow actor and believe what they’re giving you in silence, and I can just look at her and I get the entire mood, I get the feeling,” Bullock says of Paulson. “It makes you better because you are reacting to it, rather than having to muster it up yourself.”
For Paulson, it’s Bullock’s endless capacity for kindness off camera that she admires most.
“She’s an incredible mother, she’s an incredible girlfriend, she’s one of the producers, she takes care of every single actor on the set, she knows every member of the crew, she’s genuinely interested,” Paulson says. “It was an incredible thing.”
She continues, “And also, I think she’s one of the most moving actresses of anybody that’s ever been on screen. Not only does she make you laugh uproariously but she can literally crack your heart open with one look, because she’s a truth teller as a performer.”
Bird Box starts streaming on Netflix Friday.