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Sandra Bullock & Keanu Reeves

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Twelve years after bonding on a booby-trapped bus, Sandra Bullock and Keanu Reeves still have the chemistry that fueled Speed. These days Reeves is still a bachelor, while Bullock is enjoying wedded bliss with Jesse James, host of TV’s Monster Garage. This month the pair, both 41, reunite in The Lake House—a romance with a time-travel twist. The old friends chatted with PEOPLE’s Alexis Chiu about friendship, turtles and onscreen kisses.

How was it to team up again?

SANDRA BULLOCK: Different, but comfortable. Not comfortable in a relaxed way—but in a trusting way.

KEANU REEVES: I looked forward to it. It was nice to see you again!

Do you remember your first meeting?

BULLOCK: I had to sit in a stupid chair and pretend I was driving a bus [mimes turning a steering wheel].

REEVES: It was two actors in a room pretending to drive a bus and falling on the ground.

BULLOCK: I felt ridiculous. But he went along with it. It’s like, “I feel like an ass.” But you have to commit and just let go for those 15 minutes and be an ass.

Keanu, how has the girl from that audition changed?

REEVES: That girl is in this woman. This wonderful, energetic, positive, talented person….

BULLOCK: You are buying so much credit today!

What don’t people know about Keanu?

BULLOCK: Anything the world doesn’t know, he doesn’t want the world to know. What they do need to know is [turns to Reeves] that you’re gonna have a pet really, really soon. I think it’s time for you to step up!

REEVES: [shaking head no] Oh my God.

BULLOCK: He says he can just imagine one day I drop a turtle off at his house with a note: “Love, Sandy.”

No critters for you, Keanu?

REEVES: [singing a line from an Iggy Pop song] “I wanna be your dog!”

BULLOCK: You just have to ignore him.

In The Lake House you play people who rent a home two years apart and somehow manage to fall in love despite time and space. Was that a challenge?

BULLOCK: On a lot of films you shoot and then go back to your trailer and watch Divorce Court for six hours. This film was tricky; I felt if I let my guard down I would miss something.

So what did you do to unwind?

BULLOCK: Where’d we always eat that made us gain like 700 lbs.?

REEVES: Gibson’s—a Chicago steak house.

BULLOCK: Onion rings and fried potato pancakes!

These pig-outs were during the shoot?

BULLOCK: So nice that we wore winter clothing!

How long did you film together?

REEVES: A couple of weeks. I’d been there for a month already when she arrived, so I was like, “Go with the flow! Come on in, the water’s fine!”

BULLOCK: Then you abandoned me.

REEVES: [laughing] You were like, “Wait—I don’t trust yet.” And I was like, “Just trust!”

Are those your offscreen personalities: one cautious, one a free spirit?

BULLOCK: I’ll get up and fly by the seat of my pants. But when other people are depending on me, I become really meticulous about my actions. On my own….

REEVES: It’s “I’m gonna go dance on the table!”

Did you dance on the table?

BULLOCK: Not during this movie!

Will Jesse mind the kissing scenes?

BULLOCK: I hope he does, a little! No—Jesse knows what I do for a living; he’s understanding. And he respects and cares for Keanu. It’s not like he goes, “Ooh—let’s watch my wife kissin’ on somebody else!” Keanu’s not bending me over the fridge or anything.

First action, now romance. What’s next?

BULLOCK: We’ve been talking about a little ’40s musical. [laughing] We’ve got the bug again, of being around each other. We’re gonna mix it all up!